Sunday, May 24, 2009

two palaces, a piano & a pizza place

Despite the fact that we did not visit with Emerson today (which feels strange - I miss her face), we were very busy and did just as much walking - a new blister on my toe to prove it.

This morning we went to a concert given by 4 pianists; it was very lovely but I couldn't help wishing my ears were more schooled in such things - and couldn't help wishing I understood enough Serbian to laugh at the jokes made by the woman I assumed was the producer of the event at the end. :)

Then J took us to meet with the Desmarais family, the Canadians adopting an adorable little boy on Reece's Rainbow, to head for the Royal Compound tour. We had a few nervous laughs when we realized some of us weren't up to the "dress code" given for visitors of the Compound - no, no miniskirts or tube tops LOL, just good twill shorts like most of us North American yuppies live in for the summer. I was making dramatic plans to sit out with them in peaceful protest of the policy but it turned out to be a nonissue and we all got to spend the next 2+ hours seeing many beautiful things in many tiny rooms with many, many other people.

Did I mention I have a touch of claustrophobia? ^_^

Everything really was amazing but my favorite part was the home theatre in the stuffy basement. Imagine this brightly colorful room decorated with the arches and swirled paint of some Sultan's dream, throw in a huge projection screen on one wall and a few remote controls and the latest new releases from the video store sitting carelessly on the table between armchairs once occupied by the leaders of each district of Yugoslavia. It was so... human. I wonder if they've seen the bootlegged copy of Angels & Demons? :)

On the bus ride there and back we got our first up-close look at the skeleton buildings remaining from the NATO bombing in the 90's. We wondered if Biden drove by these buildings, and if he did if he felt even the slightest desire to jump out of his limo and start rebuilding them. I wonder if most Americans even remember those bombings, and how they would feel watching them limp across a bus window.

Serbia is a very strange country, strangely amazing that a people could come through so much struggle still somehow as one, still struggling to be more one than we could really understand. Maybe if we did we'd understand why they hope to keep it that way. ^_^

But enough philosophical meanderings - we were very kindly treated to a delicious dinner in the Bohemian Quarter by our new North American friends, had the sweet creamy ice cream in the Pedestrian Zone we've been meaning to for a week, and scoped out the Pizza Hut everyone keeps raving about - we have plans to celebrate (or cry) over a few pies, breadsticks and beers (nonalcoholic for me, of course) tomorrow night after we finally get (or don't get) the allusive Minister's signatures!

We can't wait to go home, but we are happy to be in such good company while we're here! :)

A few pictures from the Palace site: