Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thursday, 2010-10-14; Dubrovnik and the War


I eventually head out, despite the rain. I made my way upward, partially at least. The view was still magnificent and beautiful. I'm really glad I came here. I can't imagine how breathtaking it must be when the weather is actually nice. I'm amazed at how poorly most of the photos I've seen depict the landscape, showing just a cluttered red-roofed Old Town, which doesn't do justice to the majesty of it at all. I'm glad I took the path I did: as I wrote to Bojana, as I travel down the coast, each place is more beautiful than the last. But unfortunately with crappier weather and more full of tourists.

I had another chat with Mike[1] while I was using the computer out in the hall. This time about QE[2] and inflation. He had what I thought were kind of nutty ideas that inflation was good and that it's just numbers and it doesn't matter.[3] I thought it was quite bizarre; reminiscent of that chat with Denis in Murmansk.

Speaking of money, now I can see from my cheapest month of $xxxxxxx that I am going to be spending quite a lot to make it to January, especially since this was the cheap part. I don’t know that I can sustain two or three months in Western Europe especially with the dollar in the tank against the Euro. Hrm.

I had more crappy bakery lunch, and then saw a sign for a photo exhibition about the war. It was 30 kuna[4] which I thought was a bit steep, but whatever. It was pretty terribly set up, in my opinion. The photos lacked captions; each group had miniatures of many of the photos with descriptions (but in different groups from the full-sized). So it was impossible to see the picture and its description right there. I wonder if it wasn't the point, but I found it frustrating.

I was dismayed that at first it appeared to be just one floor, and that exhibit was about the Afghanistan war. It was a grim reminder at how the country had been shit all over by international interference. And another reminder about things raised in нити[5], I mean these are just regular people born into a terrible position from which they probably cannot ever escape. Like at этажи (photo exhibit we'd visited in St. Petersburg, with more war photos), a reminder of what a god-awful place the world is, as I'm simultaneously reminded of its beauty by my surroundings.

But on the next floor, there were—in addition to more middle-eastern stuff—photos from the Balkan wars.

There was a book called 'blood and honey': Bal=honey and kan=blood in Turkish, apparently. (Or not:

"Balkan" comes from a Turkish word meaning "a chain of wooded mountains".

Pasted from <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkans>)

IMG_3801Anyway it was a grim reminder of the hell into which the region had descended two decades ago. It's amazing, the entire region fighting each other, Serbians, Croatians, Montenegrins, Bosnians. I'm sure it's biased, especially being where I am, but again it looked like the Serbs were basically trying to take over what they considered Serbian territory. But the siege of Dubrovnik I still don't understand. I once again cannot really reconcile all the narratives as I bounce from place to place. I mean the roots go way back, even to WWII with the Croatian Axis-aligned puppet government, and beyond even that. I mean what the hell. What a bloody mess. And my friends here lived through it, and it has shaped their lives. Bojana and Tanja, originally from Sarajevo (that part seems more clearly that Serbia was in the wrong and the international community was right to intervene). I guess Bojana being from Sarajevo I can now more readily comprehend her distrust and blame of the international community. For Sarajevo suffered at the hands of NATO even though it was to stop Serbian aggression. Or at least that's the narrative as I know it. Anyway and then Ana and Slavonija and Vukovar, which I now have a much greater appreciation for. I hope we go there, but at the same time I feel a little awkward about it. That would certainly explain more of her father's distrust of the Serbs. Anyway I've seen scant evidence of the war in Croatia, and even in Belgrade, just that Army headquarters.

So there were some, I guess, "underground news" articles spread with the books in the middle of the second floor. I grew to discredit all of them as the archives from months ago had silly things like "Israel will imminently attack Iran" and "US will imminently attack Colombia" and "Oil spill may not stop for years."

I grew sick of being soaked and returned. Didn't do much else; again left in the evening in search of food, and revisited many of the same places I had earlier at night, but it wasn't as picturesque as I'd hoped it'd be. So I just chilled and occupied myself some more. I wish I weren't wasting my time so wholesale here. I should be learning or reading or something. Anyway the piano[6] reprised much of its repertoire.


[1] Hostel owner

[2] Quantitative easing

[3] I now agree with him. If in the past you’d have $10 and things cost $1, and now you have $100 and things cost $10, what’s the difference?

[4] $6

[5] http://marksowul.blogspot.com/2007/07/threads.html

[6] Next door, as mentioned earlier

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