Monday, 15 February 2010

Check Mate.

Into Sunday 14th February.

We ended up spending Saturday night in Sloga - a throwback, late eighties, pre-war bar - which went out of its way to justify Sarajevo's reputation as a rock n roll city. It was packed, cheap and good fun. We'd been recommended it by Nefa, who works afternoons at Halvat - well to be fair she recommended Basement - but gave the place such a build up that we weren't sure we'd cut it.

'I like it in there,' she said 'All Bosnians who go are very beautiful. All over 1 metre 90 and dressed in the most stylish clothes. Sloga is for more ordinary people I would say.'

So Sloga it was.

Sunday was recovery and a bit of a catch up. We took another stroll up to the bus station and back. Ema is sorting out some interviews for us for later in the week and so in the meantime we're left with planning, re reading the stories and chance meetings.

Outside the Saborna Crkva the men were playing outdoor chess at great speed on a huge board.

'They're impressive, aren't they?' Said a stranger who was standing next to us.

'They are,' agreed Stef, 'do you play?'

'I used to, but not once I'd left the city,' he said slowly.

'Oh?' we nodded and prepared to listen.

'I have a great sorrow for what happened here. I'm back to visit my sister, but now I moved to Germany and have my family there.''

'Is it strange coming back?'

"Not so much. It's still strange there though, often I'm asked - 'what nationality are you?' - I always say - 'Yugoslav!' - and they always say - 'No what nationality? Croat? Serb? Bosnian?' - I won't answer this question. It doesn't exist this question for me. You know that when you travel you get to see great things. The Cathedral in Koln, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. All these great things and you ask - 'how could humans make this? How could they make this in the Middle Ages?' Now in Sarajevo I don't ask 'how could?' I say 'what now?'"

Back at Halvat we repeated the conversation with Ema.

'Felt sorrow?' she said smiling gently 'So he should! He left.'

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