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RENEGADE BELGRADE & the Balkans in General

It's morning in Novi Beograd. I am lying in bed, debating whether or not I have to get up just yet. As I linger in that half awake state, listening to buses and cars below,  an airplane overhead, the occasional dog barking, I hear an increasingly familiar sound--clop, clop, clop--hooves ... read more

danielle hayes

SerbiaSerbia

Stuck: A Story from Life on the Black List

SETTING:      SERBIA CHARACTERS:       A MAN & A WOMAN, a husband and wife      THE AMERICAN, their barely there guest, a student stopping by. THE STORY: For the woman's birthday the couple plan a trip to Prague and the hot springs of Hungary. They are two middle aged artists ... read more

danielle hayes

SerbiaSerbia

Wanderlust for the Rest of the World

"We can't get out." There is a desperation in Maya's voice that I haven't heard before. Maya is twenty-one, a university student, and one of Belgrade's finest street artists. Decidedly optimistic and apolitical (if there is such a thing), she is a creator of pleasant surprises, splashes of color on ... read more

danielle hayes

SerbiaSerbia

Belgrade: A Good Kind of Gray

Maybe it is time to mention that I am no longer living in Croatia. I moved to Serbia a little over two weeks ago. As we drove into Belgrade, one of my classmates turned to me with a grimace. "Dirty," she mouthed. It was true. Though "Beograd" literally means "white ... read more

danielle hayes

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Getting Around

TXT 2 PRK

danielle hayes

04 Dec 2009

Serbia

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danielle hayes

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So you're cruising around Belgrade and you see an open parking spot in the city center. First of all, congratulations, they're hard to come by. Second, don't be fooled by the absence of parking meters. Parking is not free. The good news is that you don't have to scramble for change. In Belgrade you pay for parking via text message. The city is divided into zones each with their own number to text. You can usually gather this from nearby signage, but if you're not sure ask a passerby or local business owner.

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Must Do

REX: An alternative to museums and movie theaters

danielle hayes

04 Dec 2009

Serbia

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danielle hayes

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REX is a self-defined "cultural laboratory" working to promote "a culture of curiosity." Obviously, it's worth checking out. In my few weeks in Belgrade I have attended a poetry night, seen a photography exhibit, taken part in a tai chi workshop, blown up dozens of balloons, and watched a circus cabaret performance, all in REX. To learn more, check out their website : www.rex.b92.net

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Etiquette

Balkan hospitality: Drinks come in rounds

danielle hayes

04 Dec 2009

Serbia

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danielle hayes

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Balkan hospitality is the real deal. Expect to be well fed, and with a drink in hand, whenever in the company of locals. When it comes to paying, your hosts will generally insist on buying the first round, but you should insist on paying for the next one. There's none of this splitting the bills. If you're only having one round of drinks, be sure to treat them the next time you're out.

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Food

Get a hot chocolate high

danielle hayes

04 Dec 2009

Serbia

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danielle hayes

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Hot chocolate in many cafes in the Balkans is like hot chocolate pudding. In other words, it's kind of like crack, sans the drug culture and possibility of arrest. My tip: order it. All the time. Soak up this cafe culture where you can sit for hours over a drink. Venture into some of the more exotic options--hazelnut, mint, dark and white chocolate. And don't forget the slad (whipped cream) on top. Enjoy!

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Health

LADIES: Future Offspring or Bare Feet? Your Call.

danielle hayes

25 Oct 2009

Serbia

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danielle hayes

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There are a number of commonly held beliefs in both Croatia and Serbia about things perilous to your lady parts. When my Serbian host mother catches me barefoot inside she looks at me with raised eyebrows. Then she hands me a pair of slippers with one hand while gesturing to the fallopian tube region with the other. A draft (or breeze) is also considered quite dangerous, and don't even think about leaving the house with wet hair. Even my Serbian peers freaked out when they saw me sitting on a stone bench--"Your ovaries!"

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