Hitchhiking in snowy mountains

I have sympathized with countless friends over countless lost phones, never exactly understanding what is so difficult about keeping track of them. Now that I have lost mine, it feels pleasantly irresponsible.

My phone departed me en route to Uzice, the village I am staying in with a Serbian family.

My host and I hitchhiked to Mokra Gora, the village of the famous Serbian director of Life is a Miracle. Hitchhiking is apparently a regular mode of transportation here. It took us five rides and at one point we had to stand in a hitchhiking queue. We took a train through the mountains and visited some filming locations of the Life is a Miracle set. I forgot to bring my flat-sister, it’s tough being 2D.

In Serbia the Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7th and after 24 hours in the festive countryside I can confidently identify the sound of a gunshot. Initially I had to clarify “firework or gunshot?” I added an awkward explanation of Canada’s gun laws: Hunting yes, celebrations…frowned upon.

Another custom is picnicking at a grave after someone passes away. There is an annual day of remembrance but they also visit a grave 1 week, 40 days, 6 months and 1 year after someone passes. The Serbians laughed whole heartedly explaining how ridiculous they thought it was to light cigarettes, pour liquor into the ground and to sprawl a picnic over the burial site – sometimes in the pouring rain. That sort of thing may get you arrested in Canada, but I think its quite sweet.

Christmas hasn’t been “Hallmarked” here. During communism Christmas celebrations were not allowed and the holiday hasn’t been fully adopted yet. It’s more like this day where if you’re religious you begrudgingly follow some customs with your family. The rest of the country went to the bar and we followed.

In the first bar the shoulder blades of the man standing behind me were at least 4” taller than my head while I was wearing heels. If he turned around to talk to me I probably would have thrown my arms up in fear, Darwinism at its finest.

The next wine bar has live folk and gipsy music. The musicians were glowing with happiness standing in the middle of the bar bumping elbows with the crowd. It was incredible to dance in a crowded room and know that no one was watching, everyone was captivated with the band.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Belgrade. Why, might you ask? That will be another post.

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