Balkan Reflections

This blog has been set up to assist in communicating with friends and family while we are in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Location: Ontario, Canada

Striving to a better day.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Today I will list things that I’ve noticed about Banja Luka while here.

I do not necessarily have explanations for these things and would appreciate input from anyone who might know about these things.

Things I’ve noticed…

-Many yards in our neighbourhood have manual, old fashioned water pumps in them. I don’t think the houses are really much more than about 40 years old.

-Very little wood is used in house construction. Brick and stucco (inside and out) are primary materials.

-Doors, even in large commercial buildings like hotels, open inward. That would never pass fire code in North America, I don’t think.

-Nearly everyone seems to smoke. Mind you at about 60-75 cents a pack, it’s not nearly as expensive as in North America.

-General diet seems to include much more salt and fat than in North America…but my the food is GOOD!

-People here consume a lot of bell peppers…roasted, pickled, fresh…and in a delicious spread called Ajvar.

-Many more businesses (but not all, by any means) close on Sunday.

-the windows and doors in newer buildings are VERY energy efficient.

-There is no copyright protection whatsoever.

-Women are much more style conscious.

-Women also get their hair ‘done’ much more, and use a lot more hair colouring…but again, the price is definitely an encouragement.

-Serbian Catholics do not like to be called Serbian…they are Croatian.

-Croatian Catholics do not use the Cyrillic alphabet. Everyone sings at Mass, and when Sister wants them to stay after Mass to learn new music, they stay…every single person!

-Serbian language sounds a lot like Klingon, especially when you’re reciting the days of the week.

-Everyone with a yard seems to have a garden.

-Serbian music sounds very ‘Eastern’…as in Middle Eastern, not as in ‘Great Big Sea’.

-Restaurants with high chairs for babies are very rare.

-The better the restaurant, the more primitive the toilet facilities. Ah, yes…the hole in the floor type facilities. No, I’m not kidding. 04_alps/day2/rr_043_a.jpg

We’ve found these in more than one place. When you’re done, you pull a cord and water rinses off the tray.

-Gas stations have terrific WCs (as they’re very often called here. Which is especially interesting when you remember that Serbian has no ‘W’ in its Latinate alphabet). They also don’t seem to care a whit whether or not you purchase gas.

-Some restaurants, especially in very old areas like around the bridge in Mostar, have no toilets at all.

-Rakija is considered a health drink.

-Serbians wear a lot of black

-Serbians really like very colourful socks, and wear some very interesting footwear, too, like shoes and boots with square toes, and shoes and boots with long and very pointed toes.

-Lingerie is sold in great quantity at the public, open, market.

-People here do not use back carriers for babies. Ours seems to be unique. We have seen a couple of Snuglis.

-despite the diminutive size of many elderly Serbian women (I’m not sure how these women managed to produce the very tall Serbs we see now) I have not noticed any signs of osteoporosis.

I guess now I should come up with a list of things I will and will not miss about Bosnia and Herzegovina…


Anonymous joy1 said...

VEry interesting!
I would bet one thing you will NOT miss would be the "WC's"! I just cannot picture even using one of these "hole in the floor" things!
Have loved reading your posts. Hope you can keep it up till the very end of your visit there!

12:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to be having a very enjoyable time.
We have had lots of talks about WC around the world, with differernt people who are from away or they are travellers like you all.
I love Bell peppers!
K and C from CR

10:25 am  
Blogger WICatholic said...

The url took me to an error page that was flirting... 04_alps/day2/rr_043_a.jpg

no picture there...?

9:31 am  

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