Thursday, September 1, 2011

Novi Sad, day zero

On the flight from Zurich to Belgrade, I napped hard. I woke up about twenty-five minutes before landing and looked across the man to my left and out the window. From the corn and grain fields, it looked like it could have been the American midwest. Then the dark Danube (Dunav/Дунав in srpski) cut across the landscape-- we were certainly over Vojvodina, not Kansas.

On the van ride to Novi Sad, I saw the corn fields more closely. Many are completely parched. The western Balkans have had a bad heat wave lately. Last week, Belgrade got all the way up to 40°C (~104°F).

Driving down the highway, I saw some graffiti on traffic signs (no more than in North Carolina) that reminded me of some I saw in Greece. I was able to pick out the Celtic cross, a symbol often associated with the far right all across Europe. When we got into town, antifascist and other graffiti was equally or more common.

As we approached Fruška Gora national park on our way north, the crops started surviving better. I saw several roadside stands selling fresh fruit, and one selling shoes. 

The Serbian language is written in either of two scripts: Latin or Cyrillic. I find it extremely easy to read the Latin script, simply because I'm so familiar with it, but the Cyrillic is more common on signs. I really need to work on my Cyrillic. I've been able to recognize a few cognates and loanwords on my ride here, but only when printed in the Latin alphabet. 

Jacob and I are sharing a room at a hostel. The room's a little small for all our luggage but it's pretty nice otherwise. Dinner with the rest of the BYP Serbia group soon!

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