Friday, September 18, 2009

New Blog

Well, I think I am finally done moving over my 2009 Kosovo blog into this new format.  I apologize in advance if some of the links don’t work and some of the formatting is not the most astetically pleasing.  I’m still working out minor kinks during the transfer and learning how to use a new software package :)   But hopefully in the end, this transition will make it easier for everyone to find information on Life in Kosovo and a viewpoint on some of the happenings over the past eight years I’ve been living here.

Last night, I went to the Embel Rita Circus which has been located behind the Pristina Sports Stadium for the past few weeks.  I’m not sure how much longer the circus will be in town but they seem to still be generating quite a bit of interest.  Tickets range from 5-10 Euros which is nothing really.  I have some pictures and videos which I will try to post soon :)   I think this is the first time I can remember the circus coming to Pristina so no doubt it has been a real treat for the children to see elephants, llamas, and of course tigers!
I will be offline starting tomorrow and probably will not be updating for about 10 days.  I’m finally realizing the dream to travel different places in Europe by going on a cruise that starts on Sunday.  But if I do happen to find a computer with decent internet service, I’ll update if I can :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vetevendosje Demonstrates

With the signing of the information-sharing protocol between EULEX and Serbia last Friday, Vetevendosje along with 20-some other organizations demonstrated in Pristina in front of the EULEX Police HQ. The some 500-600 demonstrators reportedly demanded the resignation of Kosovo PM Haschim Thaci. So far there have been no reports of violence against EULEX despite the speculation but EULEX vehicles are scarce on the streets of Pristina this past weekend with EULEX Security doing active patrols in their “airport follow-me” decorated vehicles to look for unsecured vehicles. Unfortunately for the demonstrators, the weather has taken a turn for the worst with a thunderstorm rolling in which literally will put a damper on the protest.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

Rumor has it that at 1700 hours today, the protocol between EULEX and Serbia on the sharing of information for cross-border organized crime is expected to be signed.  Vetevendosje reportedly has organized massive street demonstrations with several other groups.  There is speculation and rumor that Vetevendosje plans on reacting violently and will burn EULEX vehicles on the streets.  So far today has been very quiet and feels just like the calm before the storm.

I have to say thanks to Sam and the crew from UNDP for organizing a fantastic quiz night at 91 last Sunday.  They managed to raise more than 250 Euros to benefit the animal shelter.  The next quiz is tentatively scheduled for 20 September.  The quiz questions are quite broad and well done so I would encourage everyone to come out and give a Euro (just one Euro!) to participate in the quiz.  There was a bottle of whiskey and a few gift certificates up for grabs in this last quiz.

One of the companies that was offering gift certificates is a new company called Divine Cleaning Service.  I’ve been seeing brochures around and checked out their website which has a lot of information about their services.  I’m very interested in their pet service which according to their office manger (who speaks excellent English!) means that I get to leave Smokey at home and someone will come every day to feed and walk him while I’m on vacation.  I plan on using the service while I am gone on my next holiday which is from 20-27 September (and unfortunately for you dear readers, I’ll be on a cruise ship so I probably will not be offering many updates during that week!)  But back to the pet service, I’ll report back on how Smokey fared and what the service is like when I get back!

It is always nice to stumble across a non-political article about Kosovo.  One of the reasons for initially starting this blog was to help my family understand a little better what it was like to live here and that yes, there was public transportation and I was not riding a horse to work :)   Sofia Echo recently published an article called “Kosovo: A Curious Attraction” that gives a nice overview of Kosovo from a foreigner’s perspective.

It appears that EULEX won the legal battle against whoever put up the fake EULEX website as the hosting account is suspended this week.  Had I been a little bit smarter and faster, I should have taken some screenshots of the pages because as I said, someone put quite a bit of work into the site!  Luckily I was able to find a cache of parts of the site.  To give everyone an idea what the site said, here’s an excerpt from the Fun Facts:  “Peter Feith is the ultimate authority in deciding what the Ahtisaari plan (and in a sense the Kosovo constitution) means. So if King Peter, after getting drunk or getting hit by a bus, decides that the plan makes Kosovo part of Japan, it is so decided…“  And one of the links that stated “Harvested Serbian livers and kidneys for sale.  Shop EULEX Smart: Croats sell them for a 10% discount!  Livers are Going Very Fast; Reserve Yours!

It has been suggested a couple of times that I slightly change my blog from it’s current format into a standardized blog which I may be doing soon.  So pardon any mess that may occur over the next weeks as I begin transitioning the pages :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

EULEX Continues Getting Slammed

Last Thursday, 27 August, Vetevendosje struck again and slashed the tires of some 30 EULEX vehicles in the Dragodan and Tophane area.  A fake albeit very well-made copycat EULEX website has popped up recently (  I’ve heard that EULEX is trying to have the website shutdown so who knows how long it will be up, but it’s worth a look and a chuckle as you read (I particularly liked the “Fun Facts” section on the bottom right of the page *hehe*) On Sunday, 6 September 2009, there will be a quiz night at 91 Pub from 1900 hours to raise funds for the Kosovo Dog Shelter which is always in need of support.  Several different prizes have been arranged by the organizers and it is only 1 Euro per person.

Thinking of the dog shelter, I’m happy to say that the Spazmutt is doing well.  I think my landlady is starting to slightly warm up to him after all this time although the daughter of the family is still absolutely terrified and seems to think that his only goal in life is to eat her.  It’s interesting how there seems to be a culture of fear in regards to dogs in Kosovo.  The other day when walking Smokey several of the neighborhood boys wanted to come pet Smokey but one of the adults on the street was very stern in telling them no and that the dogs are bad.  Funnily enough a few of the girls in the neighborhood had just finished petting him a little ways up the road.  But I think in walking Smokey on the street and letting the kids pet him (of which he is very patient to the point of letting some of them pull and play with his tail) has helped in dispelling some of the fear that the adults seem to have difficulty conquering and imbed in the children in regards to animals.

A week or so ago, someone contacted me about finding a good hairdresser.  After having some truly horrifying and artistically interesting haircuts in Pristina, I managed to find a very good hairdresser in the Ulpiana area.  For information and telephone numbers for some of the hairdressers and beauty salons, visit my Kosovo Tips page :)

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