Friday, October 12, 2001

Bosnia then. For all those currently anxious about the supposed Christian-Islam tension caused by a few crazy Arabs driving planes into giant buildings, youll be reassured to know that Bosnia has a very high Muslim population - the highest in Europe I think. Even better - we re staying with a few of the jihad crazed psychos.

We arrived yesterday then, into Mostar. The night before had been spent having a few drinks with Ivan, and leaving on a better note than from the afternoon. He did still seem to want to kick his habit and there appeared some hope in this happening, if he keeps in the same frame of mind. We ll remain in touch so I suppose Ill find out.

Mostar then, is a city of 100,000 nestled into a valley surrounded by some very attractive mountains towering on all sides. All landmined to hell no doubt. The city itself seems more like a village, with even the main street (on the Muslim side) simply being an extended winding lane. Buildings everywhere are peppered with bullets, many entirely derelict and in a total state of collapse. Hollowed and gutted. Bridges are collapsed into the water and abandoned and destroyed vehicles are dotted around. There appears to be no hurry (or no money, more accurately) to repair any of this. And its all got a charm to it, meandering through narrow high streets with buildings collapsing all around.

The Mostar birds are pretty good looking too.

So we arrived yesterday and quickly found a place to stay - with a mad professor called Omar. Omar is tall, thin and gaunt, and mostly appears solemn and silent except for the occasions he grunts something in a throaty murmur or laughs at something usually very silly. Like when I helped him take down the washing and he handed me a pair of pants.

Im presuming hes Muslim, not just because of how he looks but because immediaely upon entering the house we had to take off our shoes. This has caused one big problem - Simons feet. Put quite simply, Simons feet were not built for Islam. Usually they are hidden away, out of my noses reach, but this time theres no escape. The fumes are almost visible. I think Omar must rapidly be considering a conversion to Christianity.

We re staying in the Muslim side of town, full of Mosques. The city used to be well integrated, but its now separated into the Muslim side and the Croat side, the two sides apparently mixing little. I havent yet been to the Croat side but I imagine its got all the facilities of the Muslim side. From an outsiders point of view, its all very petty. The difference between these people is negligible, but they let the small differences they have create a major division between them. And unfortnately, Bin Ladens mates blowing up buildings isnt going to help matters.

So, we re going to remain in Mostar for the day, and probably tomorrow head to Sarajevo (pronounced sar-ADGE-eh-vo, in my world anyway) in search of a fabled Indian restaurant (!) and hpefully this girl Marina I met in Zagreb.

Thats it for now then. If I dont write again its because the evil Muslim Omar has cut my little white Western throat.

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