The lovely and unseasonable weather we've been having in Belgrade has sadly come to an end. Since Thursday it has got steadily colder and rained. Today after Mass I even saw that most dreaded thing of all...snow. However, far from cursing its advent as I would normally do I am rather happy about it and hope that Belgrade gets enough snow that it sticks and at least moderately covers surfaces for a day or two. I have never seen Belgrade in snow and look forward to the opportunity to shoot Kalemegdan and the rest of the city under a blanket of white...I'll even get up before the rest of the city to do it before people trample it.
Work stuff is going semi-well here although I am having a major gripe with the staff of our donors who are being counter-helpful. I vent enough to my colleagues here in Belgrade so I shan't say anything more about that here-only that if I cannot get all the activities under this program complete in the short time I have it is not my fault as the funder continues to hold me back.
So that randomness as I'm sure you were wondering where it was. Many people have heard me mention my favorite coffee place here, Coffee Dream, and have heard me lament that while in the States I cannot partake of Coffee Dreams strawberry frappes and moccachinos (which are the most perfect blend of European drinking chocolate and coffee). My friends here have introduced me to another recently arrived coffeechain: Costa Coffee. A British chain it serves Italian style coffee with flavour almost as intense and dark as Illy. It has also introduced muffins and cafe sandwiches to Serbia. Although I have been told that the muffin dough is imported from England as they do not trust the Serbs to follow a recipe, the muffins are lovely and, as I found out after Mass today, so are the focaccio sandwiches. What is truely gratifying though, is the coffee. Costa's macchiatos are what a macchiato should be, not the giant cups of coffee Starbucks want you think it should be, and Costa's ristrettos are strong and tart. After I broke through the thin crust of foam so dark it itself tasted like a coffeebean and took my first sip, my heart stopped. The fumes rose from the petit cup through my nose slamming into my brain with a force to knock me backwards and as my blood cucled that first sip around my body and returned to my heart stained as black as the coffee my heart again began to beat. Deep and hard THUNK! THUNK-THUNK! It has been ages since a coffee affected me thusly.
I certainly needed that kick today as I was out late last night with some friends. One of the things I enjoy most about my job (other than of course the travel!) is the people I get to meet. Three of the four people last night I knew previously through my job and and all four are long-time journalists who told amazing stories about their work and travels. Even though my job restricts me to the adminiserative side of media, my hunger for travel and desire to be a writer made their tales shine more brilliantly than perhaps they would have otherwise. And speaking of journalism, I may yet have a chance to write some interesting things for even just this blog.
I've mentioned the political situation here a few times already. Things only continue to get worse, not better, despite the less bad guy winning the presidential elections. The Prime Minister V. Kostunica, retains too much power and both can, and will, oppose Tadic and leas the parliament against him. In addition to the weakening state of the governmnet, Kosovo is expected to finally declare its independence sometime between February 16-18. should this happen my friends once again advise that I stay in my room until they can come get me and take me to their place. I may yet get my wish to experience another protest infront of the American embassy; although this time I do not know that I shall risk going near it. Well maybe near it, but not into it as I did last time.
Oh, and the thing I love best about Costa Coffee...it has a no smoking section which here is pretty unheard of.