Saturday, September 3, 2011


Welcome to Bosnia

This blog has been neglected like a brace-faced, sunburned, and uncombed red-headed step child.  I intend to post a ton about art in the near future.  However, as it goes in the summer, the art world takes a vacation and as it so happens, so did I.  I journeyed long and far to distant Eastern Europe, where my boyfriend, a native, has been staying for a while.  Having been there once before, I knew the language barrier would be my biggest obstacle, so I brought along books in English by some authors I came to think of as friends:  Willa Cather, Gustave Flaubert, Ernest Hemmingway, Vladimir Nabokov, and Dave Hickey.  I also brought a travel case of art supplies, and a suitcase of clothes I imagined epitomizing chic European travel. While I ended up taking a break from art completely, I did take in my travels like an artist would, focusing on beauty and details.  Here are some moments of beauty and culture I found myself inspired or surprised by.

In case you don't know, (and it's OK if you don't- I spend a lot of time explaining this to my family), Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very, very old country on the Western end of Eastern Europe, situated close to Italy and Germany.  It became part of communist Yugoslavia after WWII, but like Germany, eventually went back to the way it was, (for the most part), after forty or so years of Communist ways.

There it is- that little green country across the water from Italy's boot.

Unlike Germany, however, Yugoslavia had to endure a very bitter and bloody breakup with Serbia and Croatia first, leaving scars of genocide and fucked up reminders of human cruelty scattered across the Muslim towns and villages of Bosnia.  It's been 15 years since the war, and there has been a ton of development and revitalization.  It's still a terrible world economy, however, and countries like Bosnia bear the brunt of a lot of the world's financial instability.  I was reminded many times of my privileged American expectations in a still-developing country, like, where are the art galleries?  That said, it also has so many amazing things that we don't have, like a wealth of history, amazing, normally-free range and organic food, relaxing night life, and cheap beer.

I did a lot of this
And a lot of this- I ate amazing meals like oven-roasted trout for about $5
Tuzla's main square
Sarajevo's old town back streets
Old town tourist route
Beautiful, Austro-Hungarian details

I love these reliefs
There's no way I could find something like these mysterious doors in Oakland
Gypsy wedding!

Punk is not dead- it's just in Bosnia
Fakes, fakes, fakes- I could have dressed in knock-offs head-to-toe
I got stiffed with fake money, too
Look at the size of this beer!  2 Liters!
There are homeless dogs and kitties everywhere that the townspeople collectively feed.  I made little friends all over town.
A wild cat
This swan almost bit me, though
What a cute little buddy!
My favorite one

Stay tuned for Part II !

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