Friday, March 16, 2007

Back in Kosovo

After a wonderful two and half weeks of globetrotting (you can read about my Travels), I arrived back in Kosovo on the 14th. Not a whole lot happened while I was away on the political front.  There is still a lot of discussion about what the UN will do since the negotiators are incapable of negotiating anything in regards to the status of Kosovo.  Of course, no one was really holding their breath after about a year of wasted time trying to get two parties that are diametrically opposed to change their minds :o)
In life news, it looks like I will be moving again :(  My landlord wants 200 Euros more rent each month because I am supposedly using much more electricity by being a homebody and that he is going to up the rent to 700 Euros a month for a flat where I have the use of only one bedroom because the other two are full of his belongings!  Anyways, now because my landlord is being greedy, I have looked at renting another flat in Dragodan for around same price that I'm paying now.

The stories those of us who have been in Kosovo for a while will make the hairs on the back of some people's necks stand up :)  I know I've said it before, but sometimes the mentality of the people in Kosovo just takes you by surprise because they don't seem to consider the big picture, only the immediate here-and-now.  In fact now that I'm on a roll, I think that I'll share a couple of my favorite (or horrifying) Kosovo landlord stories...I'll leave out the ethnicity of the landlords but the stories are not limited to any one ethnic group!  These happenings occur all over Kosovo and elsewhere in the Balkans!

I had a friend that was living in one of the villages outside of Pristina.  His landlord was a very nice guy.  In fact, he brewed his own raki in a shed behind the house in big oil drums.  We always wondered what would happen if there was a fire...our belief is that the entire village would be wiped out.  After a while, my friend started noticing that his belongings were disappearing.  It turns out that a key to the house was left on the window-sill and pretty much everyone in the neighborhood was using the washing machine to do their laundry.  Basically, my friend made the unfortunate mistake of renting the community launder mat!  Additionally, when my friend went on vacation, the landlord's family moved into the flat and used up whatever food/drink that he may have left in the refrigerator without replacing them.

Another friend of mine had a similar experience with the landlord's family moving into the flat in his absence but also while he was away at work.  One day he returned a bit early to discover the landlord's son and the boy's girlfriend in his bed getting busy.  Needless to say, he slept on the couch that night and soon moved out to another house :o)

A girl-friend of mine had interesting experiences during a visit from her parents and then with her cleaning lady in one flat near the Grand Hotel.  When her parents came for a visit, her mother decided to help clean up the flat while she was away at work.  When the mother pulled the cushions out of the couch, she was shocked to discover a rather large collection of X-rated movies stashed underneath.  Evidently, the previous renter of the flat forgot to take the movies when moving out and the landlord didn't check under the cushions for left belongings (don't they know where to look for the spare change?!)  A couple weeks later, having forgotten something at home in the morning, my friend ran home at lunchtime and walked in on the cleaning lady trying on her bathing suits.  The cleaning lady was sacked and I doubt that the suits were wore before a really good washing :o)

Now you have to understand that the landlords aren't bad people...they just have a funny way of thinking about personal privacy and what it means to rent a home.  There are many, many more humorous stories (I could probably write a bestselling book!) but alas, I probably so be off to gather more interesting stories about living in Kosovo!