One world language?

Did you know that someone has developed a “new international language”?

Forget German, French, or Spanish… if you are trying to decide on a language to teach your children, perhaps you should teach them Esperanto instead!

Esperanto claims only 16 grammatical rules, and most importantly, has no genders (for those that struggled with German) and no EXCEPTIONS to grammar rules!

So, if you’re bored this summer (or need something to do on your long marathon-training runs) you could download some of the Esperanto songs and teach yourself a new international language.

Adiaux fidelulo leganto…

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Hugging the wall

Gorona (our Intrepid leader) demonstrates just how easy it is to stand on this little stone outcropping up against the wall. If you can balance on the outcropping, remove your shirt (while balancing) and then put it back on, your wish will be granted (or so the tradition goes).

And then almost everyone else tries it (rather unsuccessfully).

As a matter of fact, the last time we saw Warren last night, he was on his 3rd round of attempting to perform Goranas trick with a crowd of observers.

If you attempt to recreate this trick at home, feel free to comment with a link to your photo.

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Five items you can turn into a fan

1) A city map
2) A menu
3) An Intrepid Trip Notes Paper
4) A flyer someone hands you on the street
5) In desperation, just about anything

So we have been in Belgrade for one and a half days now. You may recall Belgrade as a site of NATO bombings not so long ago in the Kosovo War. I am in an internet cafe called the KGB. There are (again) about a zillion computers for playing games (Warcraft, half-life, etc) and five stations for internet users. There is also loud pounding music and funky lights.

Yesterday we had a “short” 5-hour walking tour of Belgrade. It was only supposed to be 2 hours (with one hour indoors) but it turned out to be a little longer. In order to convince myself to set foot in the sun, I decided to use reverse psychology. So for several hours I hummed Christmas carols, made comments like “gosh, I should have brought my winter jacket” etc. I did survive the tour, and it was nice to see Belgrade, but it sure was HOT and no amount of reverse psychology cured that!

Some miscellaneous pictures from Belgrade. These are some of the pictures of the fortress that has been taken and retaken more than 80 times over the history of Belgrade by various forces. It is strategically located at the convergence of two rivers (the Danube and another one that I can’t remember).

Above is one of the white walls (Bel Grade is known as the “white city” although not any of it is white except the old fortress walls).

Here are some more interesting pictures. Your job could be a “walking billboard” in 40 degrees Celsius heat wearing black clothing (but you do get to chat on your cell phone while you do it).

What do you do when it is this hot? (and the humidity is this high too)… Well, you catch up on your movies. The Cinema is in English with Serbian subtitles. So after a taxi (air conditioned, thank goodnes) I decided to see Ocean’s Thirteen. And who should be sitting behind me in the theatre but Max and Karen. After Ocean’s 13, we decided it should be a double feature and after a short ice cream break, we went back for Die Hard 4. For all of you who like to watch Jack almost be killed time and time again in 24, you should really get yourself out to see Die Hard. It was very entertaining and there was a lot of “cute” banter between John McClaine and his young cyber-friendly sidekick Matt.

We have a 7.5 hour bus trip to Sarejevo tomorrow, leaving at 6am, so I’d better go for now. I’m not sure how much more of this oven-like heat I can endure, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the bus at least has windows (or even better, air conditioning). It’s hard to complain about things like lack of air conditioning when you’ve seen the kind of conditions that people in these parts have endured under communism, under the Nazis, etc. Every time I think that I am just too uncomfortable to bear it anymore, I remember the photos of the people packed into cattle cars for the 10-day trip to the concentration camps, where many of them were immediately killed in the gas chambers, and then it seems a bit unreasonable to complain about such things.

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Slovakian Statue Challenge

I think Mark really likes these statue challenges (perhaps he should be a tour guide in retirement). Maybe some newspaper should run these instead of a crossword puzzle. These first two are a row of statues along one of the Castle walls in Brataslova. The inscription on a sandwich board next to the statues said “Iron Man” in English, but I have no idea what it is all about.
Beneath this text is another “statue” in the old part of Brataslova. It is a tank hanging from some kind of cable. No idea what this one is either.

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Cool grafiti walls…

Sometimes, the art you find along the way is just as appreciated as the art you set out to see. These walls of an under-the-road pedestrian passage were really colorful and beautiful.

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