I`m back in Istanbul… After two weeks of being away (check out the itinerary: Istanbul-Belgrade-Munich-San Francisco-Seattle-Chicago-Munich-Belgrade-Istanbul) and missing the greatest celebration ever (Galatasaray became the champion in a Hitchcock kind of an ending)…
It was an exciting trip. Really…
First I went to Belgrade and had an unforgetable weekend with my friends, family and most importantly my beloved. I promised I won`t write much about it, so I`m keeping the promise – I`ll just say I enjoyed every moment spent near her…
Then I flew to Seattle via Munich and San Francisco. It was a looooong and exhausting trip full of interesting things happening. I left Belgrade thinking that I`m going to a visit to an open society, to the greatest democracy of the world… And what was my first encounter in San Francisco? Well I was put in this “random” group that they choose from each flight to be double-checked. Heh, random my ass – it was myself (Serbian), 2 african guys (Morocco I think) and an Indian. I had to answer lots of questions, to enter into some stupid machines etc. They even checked my skin wth those papers they use to check if there is powder on your bag. Hey, my skin!!! What do they think about us Serbs – that we don`t have labs but prepare bombs by our bare hands? 🙂
Anyways, while they were checking my bags for the second time, the alarm at the airport started literally screaming (one of those that create panic :)). Customs girls immediatelly left the area along with all other customs guys and cops with automtic guns and masks arrived shortly, yelling and trying to organize “defence line” or whatever. Now imagine my situation – I`m in the customs area which I`m not allowed to leave. So, if I leave, cops will shoot at me and if I don`t then terrorists will 🙂 What a system! Fuck visitors, defend the customs fuckers and the staff… Unbelievable… U just sat there and laughed until they turned off the alarm and told us it was a regular practice… Girl was also trying to “calm me down” and explain that I shouldn`t be affraid etc. hehe… I told her that I`m from Serbia and therefore not affraid of stupid alarms, which made her face change color to “scared-white”, so she just packed my bags and let me through 🙂 awesome trick to get through the customs :).
And yeah, this is just one of the checks that I had – they also checked me in Munich (americans, not germans! – pa pa paranoia :)), and I was being questioned by an United Airlines lady when checking my bags to go to Seattle from SF.
Seattle was awesome. The conference is one of the most inspirational ones that I`ve been to so far. It didn`t have an aiesec atmosphere, but the fact that Microsoft people are so passionate about helping underserved is simply amazing and inspirational. I`ll write a separate post about the conference…
The city itself is beautiful, but I couldn`t live there… It`s somehow “sterile” – no people in the streets, no small bars, way too many smoking restrictions 🙂 etc. I guess I`m not used to live in an organized environment :).
My trip back was also quite interesting. I flew through Chicago where I literally experienced the impact of 500,000 Serbs living there (it`second biggest “serbian” city of the world, after Belgrade :)). It seems that most of the people working the airport are Serbs, and all people travelling also Serbs… I felt like I`m on Belgrade airport :).
As you already know from my previous post, the referendum was going on in Montenegro at the same time. And I flew to Munich not knowing what happened… Not knowing if I have a connecting flight from Munich to Serbia and Montenegro, or just Serbia. Couldn`t really sleep those 9 hours of my flight. The thing is that most of the people that I know don`t care too much about it, but I do. A lot. We are the same people and we should stick together. So I spent 9 long hours of trying to organize my thoughts and control all the emotions hammering me all the time… And when I finally landed in Munich and heard about what happened, I didn`t know how to react – should I cry, should I be angry, should I be proud because Serbia is “finally” independent again and we won`t need to feed Montenegrins anymore (and whatever else pro-independence parties are bullshitting about)? Well, I just felt empty… Is it that I was tired or simply used to living in a country that becomes smaller almost every year? I have no idea… But I felt nothing… At least at that time… Emotions hit me later… But that`s something I`ll leave for myself…
Anyhow, the passport control guy was funny when I gave him my passport – he looked at it and started laughing really loud: “oh my god! this is awesome! your passport is issued in Yugoslavia, you left Serbia and Montenegro a week ago and now you are coming back to Serbia! hahhaahah”. Yeah, it`s a funny situation, but I didn`t feel like that at the time, so I just looked at him with my “shut up or else…” face and he started apologizing and let me pass (another great trick? :)).
“Great” Lufthansa failed again and we were 45 minutes late in Belgrade, so I missed the flight to Istanbul and had to stay in Belgrade for 2 more nights (fuckers from Lufthansa wouldn`t reimburse my ticket – they simply don`t care. grrrrrr). Heh, just what I needed… And even if the jet-lag screwed me completely, I still enjoyed every second of those 2 days… I guess you can imagine why… 🙂
And just when I thought nothing more can happen, there was a huge fire at Istanbul airport, so we had to circle around Istanbul for some time before landing… It was funny looking at people around me in the plane – you could clearly see who is serbian and who is not – those laughing and inventing jokes about the situation are Serbs… Others either didn`t care or had scared faces… I guess we are the only nation in the world that is crazy enough to joke about literally anything and anywho and don`t feel bad about it… 🙂
Of course, as soon aswe landed, my phone started ringing. You think that my friends wanted to see if I`m alive? Noooo, not really… They asked questions like:
“Hey dude, I know you like barbecues, but preparing this big is really something”
“Hey, does everyone in Istanbul has to know that you arrived? you should stop doing these things – you`re ruining the image of Serbia”
hehe, I love my friends 🙂
So these are some random things happening to me in last 2 weeks… I`m looking forward to new travels and hopefully new customs passings – now I`m interested in how different countries do it… I think I`ll write a book once about it… 🙂
PS Pics will be uploaded soon…