Sunday, October 14, 2001

I'm only actually here writing this because I was absolutely bursting for the toilet and this Internet place has a proper toilet with toilet paper. Man, what a relief. No way could I face one of these holes in the ground without paper. Big Nev does not use his hand.

Right now we're in the middle of what has already been termed "The Sarajevo Situation". I'm feeling just a little spaced after getting all of three hours sleep last night (part of which was spent slumped against a wall inside a tower block). We have nowhere to stay now and so don't anticipate getting any sleep tonight, and will get a bus to Belgrade probably tomorrow.

So here's the deal:

We headed out yesterday with the very simple idea of having a couple of drinks and getting back to our delightful residence with Ivana and Mama! before 10pm. After surviving the indignity of going to a small restaurant thing and having to drink coke because they didn't serve alcohol, we then spent at least an hour and a half wandering about, looking for somewhere - anywhere - that served proper measures of beer. Failing comprehensively.

Sarajevo nightlife appears to consist not of actually going anywhere, but walking up and down the big main pedestrianised street. It's absolutely mobbed with people, going nowhere. We actually followed a group of guys, hoping they might be going somewhere that served proper sized beers, and we followed them all down the street until we reached the end - and they simply turned round and walked back again.

We relented eventually, and settled for a gay beer in a "shiny" bar. It was getting later now, 9pm-ish, and so we reckoned it was probably time to head. Make sure we got back in time so as not be locked out by Ivana and Mama!. Then something slightly improbable happened.

I know one person in Sarajevo, and one person only. And vaguely too. That girl Marina that I met last week in th Zagreb hostel. Just for a morning, and that was it. She doesn't even live here anymore - having set up camp in the war torn country of America. So it was perhaps inevitable we'd bump into her in the street.

At first she just walked past, flashed by, and I stopped and said "I know that person..." but I wasn't sure. Simon had never seen the girl before, so had no idea, but he persuaded me to find her again and after a small hunt, we caught her.

She was a little surprised, but obviously absolutely delighted to meet me again - as all girls would be. She was meeting some friends, but said to come along, and as it turned out it was just the three of us that ended up in some out of the way bar called, imaginatively, "The Bar." A name rivalling Dingwall's famous club "The Club" for innovation.

"The Bar" turned out to be a really rather good bar. Underground, dark and extremely smoky, but with very good laid-back music that picked up tempo during the night. And it appeared never to close too. Importantly, it sold proper sized beer, albeit expensively. And so the drinking began, and any thoughts of returning back to Mama! before 10pm thrown out the window.

I don't know how much I drank, and really don't want to know how much I spent, but things definitely get hazy later on. We spoke to Marina for ages, and the place got busier and busier. There was some dancing, Simon mercifully being too tired to participate, in where I spoke to some guy from Portugal apparently. I don't know what language we spoke, because I don't recall it being in English, but as I don't speak any other language you'd have thought it would have to be. The international language of drunkenness.

We left after 5am, Simon enjoying some sleep on a couch. It was still dark, and quite cold (I still have only T-shirts with me), and we made out way back to our tower block to find, rather obviously, it was locked up and we had nowhere to go. Except hanging around outside the door, on the 5th floor of a Sarajevo communist tower block. Simon slumped to sleep by the stairs, after getting extremely angry with me repeatedly trying to open the door (honestly, a good Christian boy should not know such words), and I'm not sure exactly what happened with me, because the last thing I remember is beng crouched against a wall and suddenly I woke up on a couch, with the terrifying image of Mama! bursting in the door, grinning maniacally.

Apparently Ivana found us sleeping outside her door, and bustled us inside. With great excitement I imagine. Her and Mama! found our whole going out for the night ("Disco!") higely amusing, with Mama! repeatedly patting my head affectionately. She also made us yet more soggy scrambled eggs which I'm sorry, but was not what the doctor ordered after 3 hours sleep and hungover. Especially with a big long strand of Mama! hair included.

Anyway, time is running out here, but we've left now, saying our fond farewells, and have decided to go another all-nighter, probably with Marina as we're meeting her later tonight. Our bags are in lef luggage, which we'll pick up tomorrow morning. Our plan is to zip through Belgrade and to Monte Negro in just a couple of days, on overnight trains. I can see great exhaustion ahead.

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