Sunday, April 30, 2006

While you're waiting for our Istanbul stories

We just got back from our adventure in Istanbul, and we're still getting our thoughts in order for blogging. In the meantime, here are a few things worth checking out:

Slate's Fred Kaplan on exporting more of American culture than The OC and tanks.

Two Chinese Boys. Funniest thing I've seen in ages.

New ads for Dunkin' Donuts. Music by They Might Be Giants.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Water, water, everywhere...

In case you guys over in the States haven't heard, the Balkans are pretty much under water at the moment (although not being situated on any of the major rivers, we are A-OK here in Kragujevac). The Danube has reached record levels, and the flooding is destroying houses and farmland throughout the region. When I was returning from Budapest last Monday, there were times when the water was less than a foot from the tracks on either side of the train.

On a lighter note, I wanted to share this picture that I found on the BBC website of an intrepid traveler in Belgrade.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hey, look, I'm adjusting

While Dan has been busy blogging away over the past few days, I've been taking my mom around Serbia and Budapest. We had a great trip, and my mom did the work of the USPS by hauling lots of my favorite things across the ocean. Three cheers for Ginger Betty's ginger snaps! Also gingerbread cookies that look like the Serbian flag. Thank you mom!

It was interesting to watch someone having first impressions of Serbia - I've been here for eight months now, and everything seems more or less normal. Seeing through my mom's eyes, I remembered the things that seemed so strange to me when I first arrived. (The first picture she took was of the turkish toilet at the Belgrade bus station. I don't like them, but they don't surprise me anymore.)

One thing I realized is that I've learned to accept "Serbian Hospitality" graciously, without insisting on paying for things or making an overly big deal about thanking people, which is potentially embarrassing for the hospitality-giver. I'm pleased to have this new skill, as it's something I really struggled with in the beginning, although I don't know how it will serve me when I go back to the US.

I did my best to respect the traditions of Serbian hospitality and only let my mom pay for two dinners, and that was so she wouldn't be too anxious. (Of course, Serbian hospitality rules don't apply in Hungary.) It was super to see my mom, and it was cool to be the tour guide.