AN AMERICAN IN SERBIA: WHAT LIVING IN BELGRADE IS LIKE AFTER 50+ YEARS IN AMERICA

INTRODUCTION

Three years ago, I arrived in Serbia. The idea was to see what living in my native city for about six months would be like after spending half a century in America. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men…

Three months after my arrival, a temporary living arrangement became a permanent wedlock. I married my landlady. I grew a beard. I still wear it. I lost some weight. Healthier food and lifestyle, I suppose. Those were some of the good things.

The rest… well, it was a culture shock. So much rudeness. So much senseless bureaucracy. So much unnecessary regulation. So much intolerance.

Now we have been back in Belgrade for a fourth summer/fall in a row. I’ve already shared with you a number of stories which document the progression of Serbia into a police state and an economy driven by washed up drug and human trafficking money. And slowed down by nonsensical regulation.

Now I want to share with you some of the good sides of the Serbian capital – Belgrade. Such as its beautiful location at the confluence of two big European rivers – the Danube and Sava. Which makes it ideal for riding a bike or a myriad of other sports and recreational activities.

View of the rivers’ Sava and Danube confluence from the Kalemegdan fortress in Belgrade

THE THIRD VACCINE, THE LAST BIKE RIDE

In a few days, my wife and I will be heading back to our home in Arizona. Since the CDC has not yet approved the third Pfizer vaccine for recipients of the Moderna Covid vaccines, I thought I’d use the chance to get one here in Belgrade before we leave. Which I did this morning at the Palilula Medical Center.

There were quite a few people, but I was lucky to bit called up a bit ahead of my turn, and was able to get in an out in just over half an hour.

After a quick breakfast, I decided to use a beautiful fall day for my last bike ride along the Danube and Sava rivers. I figured I’d “shake out” my vaccine a little bit. It turned out more than a little bit – over 3 hours of walking and biking. (I am fine, by the way, don’t worry. For now ). Take a look at the map and the pics.

Smiley PNG

BTW – hope you’ve noticed that the Danube is actually BLUE in Belgrade, though the same cannot be said necessarily of the same river in Vienna. 🙂

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: RECKLESS BELGRADE DRIVERS, NO POLICE

When I came to the final part of my ride, under that lovely bridge over the river Sava with a single bridge pylon at the Ada Ciganglija river island, I stopped to take some pictures. Then two cars appeared, both driving on the bike path.

Since this is one of my major peeves with policing in this city – the police are obsessed with minor infractions, such as parking, while disregarding some life-threatening ones, like driving on bike paths or pedestrian walkways – I used my camera to snap the picture of the two culprits.

The driver of that first car – license plate BG 2024 KO – was a woman. She veered off to the left when she was me with the camera.

The driver of the second car was a man in his 60s – license plate BG 785 TJ. He also quickly moved to the left when he saw me. Then he unleashed a barrage of profanities at me for taking the picture.

“Who gave you the right to take that picture of me?” he yelled from inside the car, having stopped it.

“And who gave you the right to address me with pertu,” I replied calmly. “We did not tend sheep together.”

I walked over to my bike and continued my ride while kept on cussing and fuming.

“Wait till the police knock on your door, you arrogant reckless asshole,” I thought in a faint hope that someone from the Belgrade police may see these pics and take action. Fat chance, I know. But it was a nice thought.

Smiley PNG

Till the next time. Bye, bye from Belgrade.

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