Sunday, December 11, 2005

Odds and ends from my last month of not blogging

  • As a foreigner in a place like Kragujevac, which has relatively few foreigners, it's amazingly easy to meet interesting people. Within the same week, we went out with one of my colleagues, who's on his way to becoming a professor of Slavic historical linguistics; a prominent American law professor/death penalty activist who's working to reform the Serbian court system and guest lecturing in about four law schools here; and the former Pakistani ambassador to Nigeria. This last guy is particularly interesting; he moved here with his wife, who is from here, so that their 2-year-old twins could be close to her family. As a result, he seems starved for English-speaking contact, so while the kids played with their Serbian nanny and his Macedonian cook prepared a Pakistani meal, he picked my brain about the US political scene.
  • One of the common questions I get from Serbians is "What do you think of our music?" Usually they're thinking of the turbo-folk music I wrote about last time, but I've been educating myself on Serbian music so I can tell them about what I do like. In addition to the folk music from the kafana, I've heard some Serbian techno and Gypsy brass music, both of which I like a lot. Plus, last night Meaghan and I went to a performance of traditional music and dancing. It was just what we couldn't find when we looked for flamenco in Seville: local people performing their own traditional music for each other, not for tourists. It was a series of ten or eleven troupes, some of which danced like wedding guests, while others did very athletic performances with spinning and leaping, and still others seemed to be reenacting fairy tales. The costumes were great; we especially liked the guys wearing hats that looked like shaggy sheep skins.
  • I heard a great joke from one of my students: An Englishman, a German, and a Serb are stranded on a desert island when a magic fish comes by and says to them, "I will grant each of you one wish." "OK," says the Englishman, "send me home to England." And he disappears. "And send me home to Germany," says the German. He, likewise, disappears. Some time passes. Then, the Serb says to the fish, "I'm bored - bring those two guys back here."

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy to hear you're life is filled with interesting people! Hope to see you this summer. Cheer! -Aaron

Yakima_Gulag said...

Sounds like you and Meaghan are haveing a nice time in Serbia, I love Serbian Gypsy brass too! it's amazeingly good! and that's a cute joke!

Anonymous said...

will you be honest and say what(or who) makes you really angry here in serbia? be honest...
how do you like people here?