So by the way I am writing about my ONE week in Sarajevo we will all be so bored out of our skulls by the amount of poor Tolkien-esque description that neither you, or I, will want to ever visit this blog ever again. With that in mind, I will try my very best to take the best parts of the remaining days I haven’t told you about… and “quickly” tell you about them.
Thankfully for us all I spent most of my time in a youth centre on the city’s shirt collar, training to be better at my job and give me a crash course in what I’ve signed myself up for. Which was a rather pleasant experience. Lovely people were meet, shitty white wine was drunk, nibbles were nibbled, notes were scribbled, and we weren’t coaxed the madness of the teambuilding staple exercise that is the ‘trust-fall’.
Man, I hate that shit with a passion.
If you and I ever find ourselves in a trust-fall exercise, I hope you like how lino-flooring feels on your ass, because you’re going to be hitting it. I do not care how much I like you, or how many times I’ve told you sincerely that I have your back; I ain’t catching you bitch. Because I have a slight problem with doing what people tell me to do. So if I was told to catch someone I just met who placed the ir faith in me, by an authoritative figure I in turn just met… then we have a problem.
Where did we leave off? Was it the fine sandwich store? I think it was. It was definitely the lovely restaurant with the menu half in local/half in English, I just checked. So after a coffee, a chicken sandwich, follow up on a few emails, and about three cigarettes. You know, to catch my breath after such an immense hike through the city’s old town and business district. Cigarettes are a must, which pains me deeply to say.
After another hour or two of walking I found myself in Otoka, an area of town that was deemed part of the Srprska Republika. Hence why it has it’s own bus station, giant shopping centre, other fun amenities. This is the area in which my training was to conducted at a youth centre, built into a hill overlooking Otoka. With seven levels, the front door rests in a different postcode to the back door. John Paul II youth centre is that big and splendiferous.
Unfortunately, I spent close to the remainder of my days in the Youth Center and am not allowed to divulge the goings-on inside. Top secret SALTO SEE/EVS stuff, you guys understand (SHIT loads of trust exercises, bonding sessions, workshops in non formal teaching practices, sharing, three meals a day in a shared dining room with a load of priests drinking and feasting on delicious savour, and my favourite part of the entire experience, language comparison).
After being held up for a better part of a week, the whole gang started to venture out into the bars of Otoka, and the side streets of the maze-like bazaar. The group consisted of two women from Poland (one a teacher and one a radio DJ), an Italian woman who spent most of her life on the Indian and African continents, a couple of Brits living in Brčko, and am eighteen year old from Austria (I only mention the age, because she is an invested polyglot. Speaking at least conversationally in five to six languages… Hardworking bad-ass). All of us volunteers were chaperoned by the lovely representatives from SALTO/EVS, Andre and Lidija.
All together we roamed the streets, met backpackers whom had nothing left in the world but the promise of the road, two-bit businessmen in shirts and shorts hustling foreigners into buying less than desirable trinkets, beautiful little restaurants and some gloriously giant coffee outlets.
When our time came to an end on the Saturday, we met each other for breakfast for the last time down in the dining area of the youth centre. Though our time was short-lived it was relished greatly, and with that a sombre air filled the room. Saying our goodbyes and see you soons, we set off. Filling our respective Saturdays up with reasons to forgo our slight sadness’.
I chose to meet up with someone I’d met in Brčko at a house party… that I don’t think I told you about (I have to have some secrets guys, be cool). She took me around the city and went to watch the new J.K.Rowling movie with me. Which by the bye, was pretty damn cool. Eddy should stick with the wan thing, it works well. After having a lovely day I started my return back up to Brčko and daily life at my youth centre.
Sarajevo is a beautifully city with incredible architecture, mountains surrounding the city limits like great battlements, history, people, food, smells, madness and more. I highly recommend it. Most of all, I say that you need to go to the Pink Houdini. A jazz bar that hasn’t really settled on an overall theme yet. Poles to dance on, walls splattered with fluorescent colours, a small room in the back bathed in a black light, with all the chairs mismatching. The night we went a singer/actor sporting a baritonal voice serenaded us and told us of his profession(s). It was like walking around in my mind. Seriously thought that a fell through a pocket of space time and ended up inside myself. Which is always fun….