Vacation Dreaming

I want a vacation. No, strike that, I NEED a vacation. Badly. I can taste it in the back of my throat like a coat of dust.

Problem: my bank account has a distressing lack of funds.

Solution: Hmm. I’ll get back to you on that. But for now, let’s talk about where we are going.

So, where are we going? Right now I have Sarajevo on the brain. Since meeting Damir, I have been learning a lot about the former Yugoslavia and the culture of the Balkan states and I am truly fascinated.

I just finished a really good book called Pretty Birds by Scott Simon:


Pretty Birds is the fictional story of a muslim teenager, Irena, during the Siege of Sarajevo that lasted from 1992-96. The story chronicles how this teenager goes from carefree high school basketball star to ruthless sniper high up in the rafters of Sarajevo’s bombed out buildings. It’s really unimaginable… yet based on real events.

This weekend Damir and I rented a fascinating film called No Man’s Land which won the Academy Award for best foreign language film in 2002. This fantastic movie is about two “soldiers” (really, just two guys stuck on opposite sides of a war) who get caught in a trench between the Serbian and Bosnian front lines. The banter back and forth between Ciki and Nino is at times very very funny, but the movie is also very troubling. It depicts very accurately how Bosnia and Herzegovina was “helped” by the media and the UN, which is to say not helped at all.

If you are the type of person who doesn’t mind subtitles, I definitely recommend this film, however having at least a broad understanding of the conflict between Serbia and Bosnia/Herzegovina is helpful.

So, I was saying I am thinking about Sarajevo. After looking at the horrible images easily found all over the web you might think it a strange choice. For a very brutal and graphic testament to the war, this NY Times piece is very powerful. A more poignant example might be the Sarajevo Library, which was destroyed in August 1992 (right around the time I was starting college I guess) after being targeted by Serb Nationalist Forces.

Library before and after:

I know this isn’t your typical destination. But I’ve done pretty. I’ve done resorts. I’ve done ruins and art museums. I’ve done fruity cocktails… and yes, I love a good fruity cocktail on a sunny beach, but my brain is looking for something a little more substantial. The story of this remarkable city is unlike any other. I want to check it out for myself.

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