Sunday, October 21, 2001

We haven't camped in almost a month. It hasn't rained in almost a month. We've decided to camp.

Guess the rest.

So, we're in Budva right now, in an internet cafe of all places. Actually, I lie. We're actually in Edinburgh. We missed the flights to Frankfurt and have been so embarrassed we've been sleeping with an elderly gentleman called Ronald, who has kindly let us share his bed. My finances on the supposed trip have actually been spent on scabby prostitutes, and Simon's money on sweets. It's been a hell of a ride, I can tell you. God knows what diseases I've caught.

But anyway, to continue this pretence, yeah we're in Budva in Montenegro, a fairly attractive town by the coast. We arrived yesterday and after a small amount of searching found a campsite, which is closed, but which we're staying in nonetheless. This is due to the Serbian metalworkers from Vojvovdina whi have let us stay there, alongside the entire Earth's population of insects and derelict caravans, for the small price of some chicken and some beer.

Yeah. Let us not pretend - this campsite is hell. Awful, not only with a capital A, but a capital W, F, U and even L. The moment we pitched our tent, a furious hoard of flies immediately commandeered the inside of the outer layer of the tent (we've been extremely careful with the actual innermost layer and only a few hardcore flies have got in) and next to the tent we actually witnessed the terrifying sight (for a lady) of waves of spiders. Yes, quite literally so many spiders moving so fast it became spiderwaves. I'm not kidding.

The hell does not end there. Then there's the toilets. Holes in the ground are bad enough, but these holes are not just utterly, but comprehensively and absolutely filthy. Not even my scatalogical mind can fully describe these toilets, but let's just say the insects are not deterred. Toilet paper is an invention for the future here. I have not yet had to insult by body by "fully" utilising these holes in the ground (thank God for more advanced cafes) because I just know that if I did, I'd have a nest of spiders immediately colonising my bowels.

Poor Simon, alas, has been severely suffering ever since Sarajevo and especially Dubrovnik (aka Fistfest 2001). Tomorrow, I predict, 20000 insects explode from his stomach.

But there is redeeming features. Not with the campsite, but with the fact that we are staying there virtually for free, and we have had the curious company of some Serbian metalworkers from Vojvovdina. We've drank some beer with them, they've made us a huge meal, and they've terrified us with Serbian politics.

We met them yesterday, because they're making a new gate for this godawful campsite. I can only imagine the gate is to keep away all future potential visitors. The owner hasn't been about (except briefly, but he didn't seem to care that we were there) so they've been happy to let us use the "facilities". Our payment has merely been a heap of chicken and some beer, costing us less than 4 pounds each altogether, and for which we got a massive meal. There's three of them, but only one speaks English, called Vekac. He's clad permanently in camoflage gear and has a nose that looks exceedingly broken. He's 31 and has served in the Serbian army. He's been very friendly to us, but thank God for being Scottish. Because he hates Croatians, he hates Muslims, and oh boy, he hates Kosovan Albanians. He fought against them and when we said we planned on going there, it was a bit of a bombshell. He's dead against it, primarily because he genuinely thinks we're going to die. He honestly doesn't believe we'll survive Kosovo, so much so that he's taken our emails so he can email us in December to see if we're alive. He seriously can't believe that we could leave a Muslim country alive.

It's strange. He's a decent guy and he's been very friendly to us, but his beliefs are very obviously warped by growing up in a country that's had some serious turmoil. The Serbians have taken a kicking. It's easy for me, an outsider, to see that Serbia has behaved pretty badly in the last bunch of years (though certainly not the only country to have done so from this area) but obviously from the Serbian perspective, living in Serbia and bombarded by Milosevic press, and especially when you've fought for your country, it's hard to see those other countries as anything but "enemy". When he discovered we were Scottish and not English, it was a massive relief for him, as suddenly we were no longer guilty of trashing his country. When other people passed by an spoke to him, and he mentioned we spoke English, he'd immediately tell them we were actually Scottish. As if to say, "Don't worry, they're ok"

I could write much much more on this, but I really don't have time. This whole area is way too messed up with petty differences. They're killing themselves over nothing. All these peope are pleasant and friendly to me, an outsider. I see no difference in these people, except for the fact the affiliate themselves with a nationality that therefore appears to make them sworn enemies with people just like them, but affiliated with a different nationality. They're just being a bunch of idiots. Like schoolchildren on a bigger and more genocidal scale, but the fundamental remains - grow up.

So tonight, because I don't trust the weather, I've decided to sleep inside a storage type building. It's got a soft spongy mattress type thing but, more importantly, the Serbian's stash of beer. This may put paid to tomorrow's plans to get up early to go to Podgrice and then wherever the easiest bus is.

Yeah, I'm alcoholic now. The last day I didn't drink was in Zagreb, and that was just 1 day from 10. Before then... oh, maybe Buzet or Piran, but we're talking single days here. The last time I didn't drink for two days in a row... I honestly couldn't tell you.

Simon however has gone on the wagon. He's realised that it's all the alcohol that's been upsetting his stomach. Good luck man.

When I return to Aberdeen, when you spot me hiding the whiskies under my bed, I'd appreciate it if you could help me out through this imminent problem of mine. Or failing that, just buy me a pint. Cheers.

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