ŠVEDSKA – SWEDEN – SVERIGE

Istorijski centar glavnog grada-The historic centre in the capital

Istorijski centar glavnog grada-The historic centre in the capital

Maturanti ispred Gradske vecnice u Malmeu-Graduates in front of the Malmoe City Hall

Maturanti ispred Gradske vecnice u Malmeu-Graduates in front of the Malmoe City Hall

Matursko slavlje ispred Nordijskog muzeja-Graduates' celebration in front of the Nordic Museum

Matursko slavlje ispred Nordijskog muzeja-Graduates’ celebration in front of the Nordic Museum

Pogled na grad-A view of Stockholm

Pogled na grad-A view of Stockholm

Rekonstruisani brod u Vasa muzeju-Reconstructed Vasa boat in the museum

Rekonstruisani brod u Vasa muzeju-Reconstructed Vasa boat in the museum

Skrivena kuca jednog od clanova grupe Aba-A hidden house of a member from Abba group

Skrivena kuca jednog od clanova grupe Aba-A hidden house of a member from Abba group

Smena Kraljevske garde u Stokholmu-Changing of the Royal Guard in Stockholm

Smena Kraljevske garde u Stokholmu-Changing of the Royal Guard in Stockholm

Svedska akademija-The Swedish Academy

Svedska akademija-The Swedish Academy

Svedska lepota-A Swedish beauty

Svedska lepota-A Swedish beauty

Bicikl je osnovno prevozno sredstvo-Bicycle is the main transportation

Bicikl je osnovno prevozno sredstvo-Bicycle is the main transportation

Cuvar kraljevskog dvorca-the guardian of the Royal Palace

Cuvar kraljevskog dvorca-the guardian of the Royal Palace

Gradska vecnica u Malmeu-Malmoe City Hall

Gradska vecnica u Malmeu-Malmoe City Hall

Grand hotel u Stokholmu-Grand Hotel in Stockholm

Grand hotel u Stokholmu-Grand Hotel in Stockholm

Irvasi na putu u Laponiji na severu zemlje-Reindeer on the road in the northern province of Lappland

Irvasi na putu u Laponiji na severu zemlje-Reindeer on the road in the northern province of Lappland

Smena Kraljevske garde u Stokholmu - Changing of the Royal Guard in Stockholm

Smena Kraljevske garde u Stokholmu – Changing of the Royal Guard in Stockholm

“Svenska flika” je dugo bila moja omiljena fraza na ovom jeziku, koja znači
švedska devojka. Kada bih je izgovorio u prisustvu Šveđana, samo bi se
nasmejali znajući šta mislim.
Moja mediteranska letovanja u mladosti bila su obeležena pojavom brojnih
primeraka ove skandinavske lepote, tako drugačijih od naših po pitanju
izgleda i slobode ponašanja. Voleli smo Šveđanke jer su jednostavno bile
drugačije, prirodnije, jednostavnije i, slobodno mogu reći, pristupačnije od
naših devojaka. Čak sam uspeo i da se zaljubim u jednu od njih i pišem joj
pisma bez odgovora na čuvenu Karolinsku bolnicu u kojoj je radila, jer je to
bilo jedino što sam znao o njoj, Katarini iz Upsale, kojoj nisam znao ni
prezime.
Poznato je da je Švedska zemlja sa skoro najvišim životnim standardom na
svetu, što se ne može odmah primetiti ma ulicama Stokholma, njenog glavnog
grada, pa ni u unutrašnjosti zemlje. Šveđani ne pripadaju onim ljudima koji
će to javno pokazivati, jer su oni u svakodnevnom životu jednostavni,
nepretenciozni i, moglo bi se reći, veoma skromni. Neprimetni su u načinu
oblačenja, ali su zato vrlo primetni u piću, tradicionalnom poroku svojih
razuzdanih vikenda. Neću zaboraviti noć provedenu na brodu kompanije Viking
Line iz Helsinkija za Stokholm, koja je izgledala kao valpurgijska noć,
oslobođena svih predrasuda prema svima i prema svemu.
Srce glavnog grada, njegov istorijski centar Gamla Stan (Stari grad),
smešten je na centralnom ostrvu, koje jedno od četrnaest ostrvaca na koja se
kasnije, tokom istorijskog razvoja, Stokholm proširio. Iako je u poslednjih
nekoliko vekova teško stradao u požarima, monumentalnost njegovih građevina
ostala je da dominira brojnim kanalima koji ga odvajaju od Severnog mora,
dajući mu epitet Venecije severa. Parkovi, kanali, ostrvca, hiljade
biciklista i najveći broj jedrilica u odnosu na broj stanovnika, čine pejzaž
ovog severnog arhipelaga jedinstvenim.
Sa prozora Grand hotela, najvećeg i najprestižnijeg u Švedskoj, u kome se
tradicionalno održava simpozijum Naukom do lepote, posmatram, s druge strane
kanala, ogromnu kraljevsku palatu iz XIII veka koja je, nakon požara, a
zatim i rekonstrukcije, poprimila ovaj oblik u XVIII veku. Kraljevska
porodica odavno ne stanuje u njoj, već tu samo organizuje prijeme, između
kojih turisti obilaze njene dvorane i svakodnevno posmatraju spektakularnu
smenu straže. Posebno u letnjim mesecima, smena straže se odvija uz muziku i
na konjima koji paradno prolaze gradom, pre nego što stignu do samog dvora.
Muzeji i druge palate su veoma brojni u ovom gradu, od čega bih posebno
izdvojio Nordijski muzej sa stalnom postavkom posvećenom delu najvećeg
švedskog pisca Avgusta Strindberga, i Vasa muzej u kome je smešten istoimeni
ratni brod koji je potonuo u stokholmskoj luci početkom XVII veka, a izvađen
šezdesetih godina XX veka. Njegova restauracija je trajala više od dvadeset
godina i danas ponosno evocira švedsku naciju na vremena pomorske dominacije
u ovim vodama.
Koncertna dvorana Stokholma je mesto dodele čuvene Nobelove nagrade i
ponosan sam što je i moja mala zemlja, koja je te 1961. godine bila znatno
veća, u ovoj dvorani dobila svoj jedinog Nobelovca za književnost, Ivu
Andrića. Samo se Nobelova nagrada za mir dodeljuje u Oslu, od strane
Nobelovog komiteta koji je deo norveškog parlamenta.
Ne znam da li zbog toga, ponekad, zaluta u pogrešne ruke.

Jun 2000.
_______________________________________________________

“Svenska flika” was my favourite phrase in this language for a long time -
it means a ‘Swedish girl’. When I mentioned this in front of Swedish people
they would just laugh, knowing what I meant.
Mediterranean holidays of my youth were marked by the appearance of many
examples of this Scandinavian beauty, so different from our standards of
beauty and norms of behaviour. We liked Swedish girls because they were
different – more natural, simpler and more approachable than our girls. I
even managed to fall in love with one, and send her love letters with no
response from her; I sent them to the famous Karolinska Hospital where she
worked; that was the only thing I knew about her, a Katarina from Uppsala,
whose family name I did not know.
It is a well-known fact that Sweden is a country with one of the highest
living standards in the world, which cannot be detected straight away on the
streets of Stockholm, its capital, or even in the countryside. Swedish
people are not the kind to flaunt it, as in everyday life they are simple,
unpretentious, and very often, even modest. They are not conspicuous in the
way they dress, but they are in the way they drink – their traditional vice
during unrestrained times at weekends. I will not forget the night spent on
a Viking Line ship from Helsinki to Stockholm which resembled the Walpurgis
Night, free of prejudice in every sense.
The heart of the capital and its historical centre, Gamla Stan, is located
on the central island which is one of the 14 islands where Stockholm
gradually spread as it was growing over time. Despite being badly damaged in
fires in the last couple of centuries, its monumental buidlings still
dominate numerous canals which actually separate the city from the North
Sea; it is rightly called the Venice of the North because of that. Parks,
canals, islets, thousands of cyclists and the largest number of sailing
boats per capita, make the scenery of this Northern archipelago unique.
From the windows of the Grand Hotel, the biggest and most prestigious in
Sweden, the usual venue for the Beauty through Science Symposium, I observe
the huge Royal Palace on the other side of the canal; it dates back to the
13th century, but after a fire it was reconstructed and gained its current
shape in the 18th century. The Royal Family has not been living in it for a
long time, it is only used for receptions and special occasions; it is open
to tourists who visit its rooms and watch a daily, spectacular changing of
the guards. It is especially impressive to watch during summer months when
the changing of the guard happens with music and on horseback; the horses
take part in a parade moving through the city until they reach the Palace
itself.
Museums and other palaces in this city are numerous, out of which I would
single out the Nordic Museum with a permanent exhibition devoted to the work
of the greatest Swedish author, August Strindberg, and the Vasa Museum which
houses the battleship with the same name that sank in the Stockholm port in
the early 17th century and was taken out in the early 1960s. Its restoration
lasted more than 20 years and today the result is a proud reminder to the
nation of their naval supremacy in these waters.
The Stockholm Concert Hall is the venue where the famous Nobel Prize is
awarded ceremonially and I am proud that my small country, which was much
bigger in 1961, got its only Nobel Prize winner for Literature here, Ivo
Andrić. Only the Nobel Prize for Peace is awarded in Oslo by the Nobel
Committee which is part of the Norwegian Parliament.
I don’t know if that is the reason why this particular Prize ends up,
sometimes, in the wrong hands.

June 2000

ŠVAJCARSKA – SCHWEITZ – SUISSE – SVIZZERA

Jezero sa drvenim gotskim mostom Kapelbrike u Lucernu-Wooden gothic style Chapel Bridge in Lucerne

Jezero sa drvenim gotskim mostom Kapelbrike u Lucernu-Wooden gothic style Chapel Bridge in Lucerne

Katedrala Svetog Petra u Zenevi-The St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva

Katedrala Svetog Petra u Zenevi-The St. Pierre Cathedral in Geneva

Labudovi na Zenevskom jezeru-Swans on Lake Geneva

Labudovi na Zenevskom jezeru-Swans on Lake Geneva

Most Mon Blan u Zenevi-Mont-Blanc Bridge in Geneva

Most Mon Blan u Zenevi-Mont-Blanc Bridge in Geneva

Na jezeru Lugano-On the Lake Lugano

Na jezeru Lugano-On the Lake Lugano

Pogled na Cirih-A view of Zurich

Pogled na Cirih-A view of Zurich

Selo Gandria na jezeru Lugano-Gandria village on the Lake Lugano

Selo Gandria na jezeru Lugano-Gandria village on the Lake Lugano

Spomenik Slomljena stolica na Trgu nacija u Zenevi-Broken Chair on the Place des Nations, Geneva

Spomenik Slomljena stolica na Trgu nacija u Zenevi-Broken Chair on the Place des Nations, Geneva

Bazel-stari grad na Rajni-Basel-the old city on River Rhine

Bazel-stari grad na Rajni-Basel-the old city on River Rhine

Gradska vecnica Lugana-Lugano Town Hall-Palazzo civico

Gradska vecnica Lugana-Lugano Town Hall-Palazzo civico

Jezero Lugano-Lake Lugano

Jezero Lugano-Lake Lugano

Švajcarska je zemlja besprekornog uređenja, u kojoj se ništa ne prepušta
slučaju, u kojoj je ta savršenost nekada dovedena do samog apsurda da
prelazi u komiku. Brojne su priče mojih prijatelja koji su se našli u takvim
situacijama. Za veliko prekoračenje brzine jedan od njih nije platio veliku
kaznu, već je morao da poseti deset psihijatrijskih seansi da bi objasnio
takvo ponašanje. Drugi je ostavio pticu na terasi i prijateljima ključeve od
stana da je hrane i paze na nju. Brižni komšija to nije razumeo, već je
alarmirao vatrogasce koji su evakuisali papagaja i smestili ga u hotel za
ptice dok se vlasnici ne vrate, što ih je koštalo više nego celokupni
godišnji odmor. I tako nikada kraja anegdotama o savršenoj švajcarskoj
organizovanosti u svim oblastima života.
Možda mi, ipak, tolika savršenost nije dozvoljavala da ostanem u Ženevi
početkom osamdesetih godina XX veka, sa svojom devojkom, poreklom iz
Argentine, koja je tada radila za Međunarodni komitet Crvenog krsta u tom
gradu. Iako je Ženeva jedan od najlepših gradova na svetu, sedište
Ujedinjenih nacija i brojnih svetskih organizacija u kojima sam, možda,
mogao ostati da radim, ipak to nisam učinio, a razlozi mi ni do sada nisu
potpuno poznati. Danas sam, ipak, zadovoljan tom odlukom. A tada sam se
divio lepotama starog grada s pogledom na Lemansko jezero, zamkovima duž
njegovih obala, trkama starih automobila na putu izmedju Lozane i Ženeve.
Retki modeli, kao Bugatti ili Hispano-Suiza mogli su se samo tada videti, u
punom nekadašnjem sjaju i opremi njihovih bogatih vlasnika.
Švajcarska jezera su zaista nešto posebno. Moje oduševljenje je bilo
neskriveno kad sam, po dolasku u Lugano, u italijanskom delu te zemlje,
ugledao redove palmi duž obale jezera i razumeo zašto ovaj grad nazivaju
švajcarskim Rio de Žaneirom.
U staklenom vozu koji teško savladava ogromni uspon, idući cik-cak pružnom
trasom, polako se penjem na Zermatt, jedan od vrhova Alpa i poznati skijaški
centar. Na vrhu me čeka čuveni švajcarski fondue, u tipičnoj planinskoj
kolibi. Osim što se može sastojati od više vrsta sireva, fondi se pravi i
kao dezert od više vrsta rastopljenih čokolada, u koje se stavljaju komadi
svežeg voća.
U Švajcarskoj se uživa u svim oblastima života, posebno tradiciji i kulturi.
Sve je ovde tradicionalno, u pravom smislu te reči, od čokolade i satova do
bankarstva. Stotine godina usavršavanja u veštini kako uspešno sačuvati
nečiji novac i bogatstvo, stvrorili su od ove zemlje oazu sugurnosti tokom
svih nesigurnih epoha kroz koje je Evropa prolazila.
Vekovno odsustvo bilo kakvih ratova na ovim prostorima svakako je ključ
takvog razvoja.
Mi, koji smo oduvek ratovali, sada se pitamo da li je to uopšte imalo svrhe.

Septembar 1983.
_______________________________________________________

A country with perfect orderliness, where nothing is left to chance, where
perfection sometimes turns absurd and transcends into comical. There are
many stories of my friends who found themselves in exactly such situations.
One of them had to attend 10 sessions with a psychiatrist to explain why he
had committed a speeding offence whereas the penalty he had to pay was not
that high. Another one left his bird on the balcony, leaving the keys to the
flat with a friend, who would feed the bird and take care of it. An
over-considerate neighbour did not grasp that and called the fire brigade
who evacuated the parrot and put it in a bird hotel until the owner’s
return. This cost them more than the entire holiday. So there is no end to
funny anecdotes about Swiss perfect organisation in all areas of life.
Perhaps that perfection did not allow me to stay in Geneva in the early
1980s with my girlfriend from Argentina, who at the time worked for the
International Committee of the Red Cross in that city. Even though Geneva is
one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the seat of the United
Nations and many other international organisations where I could perhaps
work, I still did not stay, and I do not know the exact reason even to this
day. Yet today I am happy with that decision. And at the time I admired the
beauty of the old town with views over Lake Léman, the castles along its
shores, the races of old timers en route between Lausanne and Geneva. Rare
models such as Bugatti or Hispano-Suiza could only be seen then and there in
their former glory and full gear provided by their rich owners.
The Swiss lakes are something really exceptional. My delight was obvious
when, upon arriving in Lugano, in the Italian part of the country, I spotted
palms along the shore of the lake and realised why this place is called a
Swiss Rio de Janeiro.
In a glass train climbing an enormous incline along a zig zag rail track
with effort, I slowly ascend towards Zermatt, a famous ski resort and one of
the Alpine peaks. At the top, famous Swiss fondue awaits me in a typical
mountain hut. Apart from being made of various kinds of cheese, fondue can
be made as a dessert, dipping pieces of fresh fruit into a mix of melted
chocolate.
In Switzerland, all areas of life are enjoyed and especially tradition and
culture. Everything here is traditional, in the true sense of the word, from
chocolate, to watches, to banking. Practising for hundreds of years the
skill of preserving someone’s wealth and money has made this country into an
oasis of safety throughout all the unstable periods Europe went through. The
key to this sort of development is certainly the complete absence of wars
from this region.
We, who have always waged wars, now ask ourselves whether they had made any
sense at all.

September 1983

ŠPANIJA – SPAIN – ESPAÑA

Gradska kuca u Madridu-Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid

Gradska kuca u Madridu-Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid

Katedrala Sagrada Familia u Barseloni-Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Katedrala Sagrada Familia u Barseloni-Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Katedrala u Toledu-Toledo Cathedral

Katedrala u Toledu-Toledo Cathedral

Kralj Huan Karlos sa ambasadorom Srbije Dankom Prokicem-King Juan Carlos with Serbian Ambassador Danko Prokic

Kralj Huan Karlos sa ambasadorom Srbije Dankom Prokicem-King Juan Carlos with Serbian Ambassador Danko Prokic

Plaza Zorilla, spomenik istoimenom pesniku i konjicka skola u Valjadolidu-Plaza Zorilla in Valladolid

Plaza Zorilla, spomenik istoimenom pesniku i konjicka skola u Valjadolidu-Plaza Zorilla in Valladolid

Pogled na Segoviju-A view of Segovia

Pogled na Segoviju-A view of Segovia

Pogled preko reke na Toledo i utvrdjenje Alkazar-A view of Toledo and  Alcazar fortification

Pogled preko reke na Toledo i utvrdjenje Alkazar-A view of Toledo and Alcazar fortification

Simbol Madrida Medved i Drvo (El Madrono) na centralnom trgu Puerta del Sol-the symbol of Madrid on the central square

Simbol Madrida Medved i Drvo (El Madrono) na centralnom trgu Puerta del Sol-the symbol of Madrid on the central square

Toranj katedrale u Segoviji-The tower of Segovia Cathedral

Toranj katedrale u Segoviji-The tower of Segovia Cathedral

Ulaz u park Guelj u Barseloni-Entrance to the Park Guell in Barcelona

Ulaz u park Guelj u Barseloni-Entrance to the Park Guell in Barcelona

Zamak u Segoviji- inspiracija za Diznijeve filmove-Alcazar of Segovia-An inspiration for Disney cartoons

Zamak u Segoviji- inspiracija za Diznijeve filmove-Alcazar of Segovia-An inspiration for Disney cartoons

Arena u kojoj se odrzava borba s bikovima-A bullfighting venue

Arena u kojoj se odrzava borba s bikovima-A bullfighting venue

Centar Madrida-The centre of Madrid

Centar Madrida-The centre of Madrid

Centralni trg (Plaza Mayor) u Valjadolidu- Central square in Valladolid

Centralni trg (Plaza Mayor) u Valjadolidu- Central square in Valladolid

Centralni trg (Plaza Mayor) u Valjadolidu-Central square in Valladolid

Centralni trg (Plaza Mayor) u Valjadolidu-Central square in Valladolid

Deo najpoznatije katedrale u Barseloni-Part of Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona

Deo najpoznatije katedrale u Barseloni-Part of Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona

„Neka umuknu svi andaluzijski psi i zatvore berbernice Sevilje, neka stane Gvadalkivir i zamre tropsko bilje, zaustave igračice flamenga, toreadori, konkvistadori, inkvizitori. Ja večeras volim u vrtovima Alhambre, olupinama Kolumbovih brodova, na pesku Toremolinosa i pećinama Sijera Grande. Večeras sam rob svojih sagorelih hemisfera i tvojih srebrnih očiju, mrtvog vina i srušenih Alkazara, arapske horde u meni se kriju, Servantesi snova i očaja.“
Ovako je nekada izgledala Španija u mojoj poeziji, Španija moje mladosti koja se odigravala na pesku Andaluzije, uz sve aluzije na protekla vremena koje je sadržala. Seviljska katedrala u vrtu pomorandži bila je moje omiljeno mesto, kao i vrtovi Alhambre, u kojima sam, u vreći za spavanje, proveo noć. Mirisi Orijenta još tada su me zapahnuli i duboko se uvukli u mene, da više nikada ne izađu. Zamišljao sam sve što je arapska civilizacija ostavila na ovim prostorima, naročito uz opise Leona Afrikanca iz njegove rodne Granade.
Španiju osećam kao svoju zemlju i čak je i bolje poznajem. Zato mi je i teško da izdvojim bilo koji deo te zemlje jer je sve to deo mene, deo jednog perioda mog života koji sam tamo proveo. Mogao bih zato da pišem o barovima u Bilbau i plažama San Sebastijana jer sam tamo išao u pohode jednoj Ani i napisao poemu Baskija, oduševljen poštenjem i mentalitetom tog naroda, koji je tada bio poznat jedino po svojoj terorističkoj organizaciji. Sa terase njene kuće u malom mestu Funterrabia, slušao sam kako odjekuju bombe i priče o ekstremnim Baskima koji beže preko granice u drugu polovinu svoje domovine, koja se nalazi u Francuskoj. Bilo je to davno pre ujedinjenja Evrope. Ni tada vetrovi Kastilje nisu imali milosti u svom pohodu na vetrenjače. Kao da u sudaru sa vetrovima iz La Manče dozivaju svog Don Kihota, davno pogubljenog na suncu Estremadure.
Španija je jedna od veoma malog broja zemalja u kojima bih mogao i želeo da živim. I moj veliki porodični prijatelj Danko Prokić, koji je u neko vreme bio vršilac dužnosti ambasadora Jugoslavije u Madridu, a danas ambasador Srbije, želeo je to isto. Želeo je da kupi kafić u Barseloni i tamo ostane da živi; da provodi svoje dane na šetalištu Ramblas, plažama Costa del Sol, među čudnovatim Gaudijevim građevinama na aveniji Diagonal ili u parku Guelj. Taj grad je toliko voleo svog ekscentričnog arhitektu Gaudija da mu je dao punu umetničku slobodu igre kamenom, iz koje je nastala najneobičnija i nikad dovršena katedrala Sagrada Familia, kao i mnoge druge zgrade nestvarnih oblika. Stradao je 1926. godine od udara tramvaja i od tada to vozilo nikada više nije prošlo gradom. Toliko su ga voleli.
Velaskez, Goja, El Greko… mogla bi se cela večnost provesti u muzeju Prado u Madridu.
Srednjovekovni zamak u Segoviji, malom gradu severno od Madrida, inspirisao je Diznija da, prema njemu, u svojim filmovima nacrta zamkove iz bajki.
Španija jednostavno traži da se živi u njoj, da se istražuju njena istorija i kultura, da se sazna zašto se iz nje krenulo u Novi svet.
Možda će nova Evropa odavde dobiti neke odgovore na svoje brojne nedoumice danas.

Avgust 2009.
________________________________________________________________________

‘May all the Andalucian dogs shut up and all the Barbers of Seville shut down, may Guadalquivir stop in its flow and tropical plants die, may flamenco dancers, toreadors, conquistadors and inquisitors stop in their tracks. I am making love tonight in the gardens of Alhambra, in Columbus’ shipwrecks, on the sand of Torremolinos and in the caves of Sierra Grande. Tonight I am the slave of my burnt out hemispheres, and your silver eyes, dead wine and ruined alcazárs, Arabian hordes lurking in me, Cervantes made of dreams and despair’.
This is what Spain looked like in my poetry, the Spain of my youth, unfolding on the Andalucian sand, with all the insinuations and references to the past. The cathedral in Seville, in the orange orchard, was my favourite place, as well as the gardens of Alhambra, where I spent the night in a sleeping bag. The scents of the Orient engulfed me even then and got under my skin, never to leave. I imagined everything the Arabic civilisation left behind in this region, especially stirred by the descriptions of Leon the African, while staying in his native Granada.
I feel like Spain is my own country and that I actually know it even better than my own country. That is why it is so difficult to single out any particular bit of the country, because it is all part of me, part of one period of my life which I spent there. So I could write about bars in Bilbao, or San Sebastián beaches, as I went there to visit a certain Ana and I wrote a poem Baskija (Basque country), delighted with honesty and mentality of these people who were known at the time, only by their terrorist organisation. From the terrace of her house in a small town called Funterrabia, I listened to bomb explosions and to the stories of Basque extremists running across the border to the other half of their homeland which is in France. That was a long time before the unification of Europe. Even then the winds of Castille did not have mercy attacking the windmills. It seems like they collide with the winds from La Mancha, calling their Don Quixote who perished long ago under the sun of Extremadura.
Spain is one of the very few countries where I could and would like to live. My old time family friend, Danko Prokić, who was the Chargés d’affaires in the Yugoslav Embassy in Madrid for a while, now the Ambassador of Serbia, wanted the same. He wanted to buy a café in Barcelona and settle down; to spend his days on Las Ramblas Promenade, on the beaches of Costa del Sol, among Gaudi’s quirky buildings on Avenida Diagonal, or in Park Güell. This city loved so much its eccentric architect Gaudi that it gave him total freedom to play with stone shapes, resulting in the most unusual, and never finished cathedral, Sagrada Familia, as well as many other surreal buildings. He died in an accident in 1926 as he was hit by a tram; since then, there have been no trams in Barcelona. They loved him so much.
Velázquez, Goya, El Greco…you can spend an eternity in Museo del Prado in Madrid. A medieval castle in Segovia, a small town North of Madrid, inspired Disney to use it as a model for a fairytale castle in his cartoons.
Spain simply demands living in it, researching its history and culture, in order to find out, among other things, why the journey to the New World originated here.
Maybe a New Europe could get some answers here to its many dilemmas of today.

August 2009

 

KANARSKA OSTRVA – CANARY ISLANDS – CANARIAS

Skulpture od peska na plazi Las Canteras-Sand sculptures on Las Canteras beach

Skulpture od peska na plazi Las Canteras-Sand sculptures on Las Canteras beach

Vulkan Teide-Mount Teide volcano on Tenerife

Vulkan Teide-Mount Teide volcano on Tenerife

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus

Auditorio Alfredo Kraus

Katedrala u Laguni-The Cathedral of San Cristobal de La Laguna

Katedrala u Laguni-The Cathedral of San Cristobal de La Laguna

Plaza u Las Palmasu-Playa de las Canteras in Las Palmas

Plaza u Las Palmasu-Playa de las Canteras in Las Palmas

Promenada u Las Palmasu-The seaside promenade in Las Palmas

Promenada u Las Palmasu-The seaside promenade in Las Palmas

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Iako na njima obitavaju sve vrste kanarinaca, ova ostrva ipak nisu po njima dobila svoje ime, kako se veruje, već po psima (lat. canis). Naime, stari Rimljani su na ostrvima naišli na opasne domoroce i njihove pse i po tome ih nazvali, a psi su kasnije postali i nacionalni simbol Kanarskih ostrva.

Bliža afričkoj obali nego matici Španiji ova ostrva, njih sedam, čine jedinstveni arhipelag u Atlanskom okeanu koji nazivaju minijaturnim kontinentom. Morfološke i klimatske karakteristike ovih ostrva vulkanskog porekla kao što su kombinacija saharskih vetrova, vlažnih polarnih povetaraca i Golfske struje prave stalnu prolećnu klimu preko cele godine. Peščane plaže smenjuju pustinjske dine, plantaže ananasa i banana, četinarske šume u brdima i tipične vulkanske pejzaže, posebno na ostrvima Tenerife i Lanzarote.

U starim legendama ona su ostatak mitske, davno potonule, Atlantide, kao i deo pomorskih puteva Feničana, Grka, Rimljana i konačno Španaca koji ih preuzimaju u XV veku kao usputnu stanicu u osvajanjima Novog sveta.

Od tada ova vulkanska ostrva postaju nerazdvojni deo Španije kao njena najudaljenija autonomna provincija. Privlače veliki broj turista preko cele godine zahvaljujući blagoj suptropskoj klimi i brojnim atrakcijama kao što su Nacionalni park i vulkan Teide, neobična flora  i fauna na ostrvima, karnevali, zanimljiva kuhinja ili španska kolonijalna arhitektura. Ulogu glavnog grada dele dva mesta na najvećim ostrvima, Santa Cruz de Tenerife i Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, što je, verujem, jedinstven slučaj.

Oktobar 1995.

_______________________________

Even though these islands are inhabited by all kinds of canaries, they were not named after them, as is the popular belief, but after dogs (latin – canis). In fact, the Romans encountered dangerous native tribes and their dogs on these islands and named the islands after them; later on the dogs became the national symbol of the Canary Islands.

This unique archipelago consisting of seven islands is located in the Atlantic Ocean and is closer to the African shore than to mainland Spain. It is often called a mini continent. These volcanic islands have the morphological and climatic traits that combine the Saharan winds, humid polar breezes and the Gulf Stream, creating a spring- like climate that lasts throughout the year. Sandy beaches alternate with desert dunes, pineapple and banana plantations, and then the pine forests in the hills; in addition to that the typical volcanic scenery is abundant, especially on the islands of Tenerife and Lanzarote.

In ancient legends these islands were described as the remnants of the mythical, long gone continent of Atlantis; they were also part of the sea routes of the Ancient Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans and finally the Spanish who acquired them in the 15th century as a stop on the way to conquering the New World.

Since then, these islands have been an integral part of Spain as its furthest autonomous province. Throughout the whole year the Canary Islands attract many tourists due to their mild sub-tropical climate; they also abound in attractions such as the National Park and Teide Volcano, the unusual flora and fauna of the islands, the various carnivals,  an interesting cuisine, and the Spanish colonial architecture. The role of the capital city is shared between two cities on the biggest islands, a phenomenon which, I believe, is rather unique. They are Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

October 1995

 

 

Balearska ostrva – Balearic Islands – Islas Baleares

Kartuzijanski manastir-Cartuja de Valldemossa, a former Carthusian monastery

Kartuzijanski manastir-Cartuja de Valldemossa, a former Carthusian monastery

Katedrala na Ibici-The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows of Eivissa

Katedrala na Ibici-The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows of Eivissa

Plaza na Formenteri-The Formentera beach

Plaza na Formenteri-The Formentera beach

Pogled na Ibicu-A view of Ibiza

Pogled na Ibicu-A view of Ibiza

Pogled na Valdemosu na Majorci-A view of Valldemossa in Majorca

Pogled na Valdemosu na Majorci-A view of Valldemossa in Majorca

Scena u starom gradu-A scene in the Old Town

Scena u starom gradu-A scene in the Old Town

Stari grad Ibica - Old Town (Dalt Vila) of Ibiza

Stari grad Ibica – Old Town (Dalt Vila) of Ibiza

Stari grad Ibica i jedrenjak- Old Town (Dalt Vila) of Ibiza and the sailing boat

Stari grad Ibica i jedrenjak- Old Town (Dalt Vila) of Ibiza and the sailing boat

Ulaz u tvrdjavu na Ibici-The entrance to the fortress in Ibiza

Ulaz u tvrdjavu na Ibici-The entrance to the fortress in Ibiza

Ulazak u luku na Formenteri-The entrance to the port in Formentera

Ulazak u luku na Formenteri-The entrance to the port in Formentera

Ulicica u Valdemosi na Majorci-A street in Valldemossa on Mallorca

Ulicica u Valdemosi na Majorci-A street in Valldemossa on Mallorca

Zidine starog grada Ibice-The walls of the Old Town of Ibiza

Zidine starog grada Ibice-The walls of the Old Town of Ibiza

Detalj sa Palme-A detail from Palma de Mallorca

Detalj sa Palme-A detail from Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Majorka i Ibica su dva najpoznatija ostrva koja, zajedno sa Menorkom i Formenterom čine Baleare, španski arhipelag nadomak Valensije. Palma je sigurno najveća i prešla je put je od masovnog turizma osamdesetih godina prošlog veka do ekskluzivnog koji ima danas. Stara imanja sa kućama preuređena su u butik hotele, a mala mesta kao što su Valdemosa ili Fornaluč
predstavljaju bisere ostrvske arhitekture. Sličan je i stari grad Ibica, Dalt Vila, pod zaštitom Uneska, sa širokim glavnim ulazom u utvrđenje, katedralom i brojnim kamenim uličicama oko nje kojima možete lutati kroz vence bugenvilija i hibiskusa koji padaju sa njihovih belih zidova.

Ludi noćni život i diskoteke koje se ne zatvaraju do kasnih jutarnjih časova čine ovo mesto svetski poznatom atrakcijom za one koji vole tu vrstu provoda, bez ikakvog opredeljenja i predrasuda. Hiljade mladih ljudi uzbuđeno prati zalazak sunca na plaži u Sent Entoniju, nakog čega, po nestanku vatrene lopte, nastaje oduševljeni aplauz praćen ritmovima muzike iz svetski
poznatog obližnjeg Kafea del Mar.

To je Ibica danas, u kojoj, u koliko ste željni pravog odmora, to nije mesto za vas. Likovi koji se popodne polako bude iz noćnog mamurluka i spremaju za novi prolaze nespretno u potrazi za nekim novim provodom koji je bio jedina svrha njihovog dolaska.

Oni koji žele da osete bar malo blagodeti mora odlaze na obližnje ostrvce Formenteru koje je neprekidnim trajektima povezano sa Ibicom. Ono ima duge peščane plaže sa svetlotirkiznom vodom koje podsećaju na karipske, jedino im nedostaju redovi palmi.
Ali ko još na obraća pažnju na to?

Avgust 2013.

__________________________________________________________

Palma de Majorca and Ibiza are the two most well known islands, which together with Menorca and Formentera make up the Balearic islands, a Spanish archipelago not too far from Valencia. Palma is the largest city and has progressed from mass tourism in the 1980s to exclusive tourism at present. Old manors with large houses have been turned into boutique hotels, while the small towns of Valldemossa and Fornalutx are true gems of insular architecture. Similarly, the old town of Ibiza, Dalt Villa, boasts wide main entrance to a fort and cathedral surrounded by numerous narrow, stone paved alleyways where you can stroll amongst bougainvillea and hibiscus growth hanging off the whitewashed walls. The old town is under the protection of UNESCO because of its outstanding beauty and historical heritage.

The crazy night life, where clubs remain open until mid-morning, make Ibiza a world renowned tourist spot for those who like this kind of entertainment, without judgement or prejudice. Thousands of young people applaud excitedly to the setting sun at the beach in Sant Antoni, and once the fiery ball has gone, the applause merges with music flowing from the adjacent, world renowned Café del Mar.

That is today’s Ibiza. If you are looking for a restful holiday then it is not the place for you. Slowly waking up in the late afternoon from the previous night’s hangover, the fun-seekers move about clumsily, already looking for a new thrill – as this was the only reason for their visit in the first place.

For those who want to experience the benefits of the sea at least a little – the adjacent islet of Formentera is only a short ferry ride away from Ibiza. There you will find long sandy beaches and turquoise water, like in the Caribbean, only with the rows of palms missing.

But who cares about that anyway?

August 2013

 

 

ZIMBABVE – ZIMBABWE

Drvo baobab na Slonovim brdima-A baobab tree on Elephant Hills

Drvo baobab na Slonovim brdima-A baobab tree on Elephant Hills

Duga nad vodopadima-A rainbow above the falls

Duga nad vodopadima-A rainbow above the falls

Dzinovska kornjaca-A giant turtle

Dzinovska kornjaca-A giant turtle

Filip na slonu-Filip on top of an elephant

Filip na slonu-Filip on top of an elephant

Lavovi poziraju na steni-Lions posing on the rock

Lavovi poziraju na steni-Lions posing on the rock

Siroki osmeh lokalne devojke-A wide smile of a local girl

Siroki osmeh lokalne devojke-A wide smile of a local girl

Spomenik Dejvidu Livingstonu-A monument to David Livingstone

Spomenik Dejvidu Livingstonu-A monument to David Livingstone

Ulicna pijaca suvenira u glavnom gradu-A souvenir street market in the capital

Ulicna pijaca suvenira u glavnom gradu-A souvenir street market in the capital

Viktorijini vodopadi-Victoria Falls

Viktorijini vodopadi-Victoria Falls

Africke visespratnice-African skyscrapers

Africke visespratnice-African skyscrapers

Anglikanska crkva u Harareu-Anglican church in Harare

Anglikanska crkva u Harareu-Anglican church in Harare

Ispred mene je “najveća vodena zavesa na svetu” preko koje se čitavom
dužinom pruža duga. To su Viktorijini vodopadi čija se voda, sa visine od
preko sto metara, obrušava u provaliju, a zatim mirno, reka Zambezi
nastavlja svoj put ka Indijskom okeanu. Vodopadi su prirodna granica izmedju
Zambije i Zimbabvea, a brojna ostrva, na 1.7 km širokom zambijskom delu
reke, čine da se sedam manjih vodopada sliva u jedan veliki, što se najbolje
može videti u sušnoj sezoni. Tada je manje vode, pa su vodopadi razdvojeni,
ali i tada svojim prodornim hukom zaslužuju naziv koji im je dalo lokalno
pleme – “Dim koji grmi”. Iako nisu ni najveći, ni najdublji, ipak se
ubrajaju u Sedam prirodnih svetskih čuda.
Prvi Evropljanin koji ih je ugledao bio je škotski misionar i istraživač
centralne Afrike, doktor Dejvid Livingston, koji im je dao ime prema imenu
svoje kraljice Viktorije. Možda je prvo srpsko dete, koje je ovde selo na
slona, bio moj sin Filip, a ja sam se u tom trenutku osećao kao Livingston i
svi afrički istraživači. Možda sam upravo video jednog novog istraživača,
ili sam to bar veoma želeo.
Harare je glavni grad, sa prijatnom klimom i mirnom kolonijalnom atmosferom,
koja se oseća iza dugih ograda, koje kriju ogromna imanja belih
zemljoposednika i njihove vile u viktorijanskom stilu. Dugi nizovi
ljubičastih krošnji jacaranda drveća u aveniji Montagu i ogromne bugenvilije
čine samo deo prirodne raskoši ovog grada. Bivša Južna Rodezija i glavni
grad Solzberi skoro do osamdesetih godina prošlog veka bili su jedan od
sinonima za aparthejd, dok Robert Mugabe nije sve promenio i postao
predsednik države i nacionalni heroj širom Afrike. Posle trideset godina
vlasti, čula za demokratijom ipak malo otupe usled stalne želje da se ona
očuva po svaku cenu, a zemlja postaje poprište političkih borbi i borbe
protiv kolere. Sva se idila odjednom ruši, ali i postepeno vraća. Kao jedan
od sinonima afričke slobode, ova ogromna i lepa zemlja mora nastaviti da se
bori i potom uživa u onome za šta se sama izborila.
To se popularno naziva demokratijom afričkog tipa.

Septembar 1999.
________________________________________________________

I stand in front of the world’s largest ‘water curtain’ the length of which
a rainbow sprawls. These are Victoria Waterfalls and the water which
precipitates from more than 100m high into an abyss, continues calmly as the
River Zambezi into the Indian Ocean. The waterfalls form a natural border
between Zambia and Zimbabwe and many islands on the Zambian part of the
river, which is 1.7km wide, help direct the water of 7 different falls into
a huge one; this is best observed during the drought season. There is less
water then so the falls are visible in separate streams, but even then with
the tremendous roar they make they deserve the name given by a local tribe:
‘The smoke that thunders’. Even though they are not the largest or the
deepest, they are still counted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the
World.
The first European person that saw them was a Scottish missionary and
explorer of Central Africa, Dr David Livingstone, who named them after his
Queen Victoria. Perhaps the first Serbian child who climbed an elephant here
was my son Filip and at that moment I felt like Livingstone and all other
African explorers. Perhaps, in my son, I just saw a brand new explorer, or
at least I wanted to see one.
Harare is the capital city, with a pleasant climate and tranquil colonial
atmosphere emanating from behind long fences which hide from view huge
estates of white landowners and their villas in the colonial style. Long
rows of purple jacaranda trees in Montague Avenue and huge bougainvillea are
only part of the rich natural beauties of this city. The former Southern
Rhodesia and its capital Salisbury were synonymous with Apartheid until the
1980s; then Robert Mugabe changed everything around and became the country’s
President and an African national hero. After his 30 years in power, the
sense of democracy is not sharp anymore and is led by a continuous desire to
preserve it at any cost; so the country is torn by a political power
struggle and a fight against cholera. All the ideals fall away and then are
gradually recaptured. As a symbol of African freedom this beautiful and vast
country must continue to fight and then enjoy the fruit of its hard won
battles.
In lay terms this is called ‘Democracy of the African variety’.

September 1999

ZELENORTSKA OSTRVA – CAPE VERDE – CABO VERDE

Fogo vino-Vinho do Fogo-Fogo wine

Fogo vino-Vinho do Fogo-Fogo wine

Na vulkansom tlu-On the volcanic soil

Na vulkansom tlu-On the volcanic soil

Nacionalni park Fogo-Fogo National Park

Nacionalni park Fogo-Fogo National Park

Popodnevna radost na plazi - Afternoon joy at the beach

Popodnevna radost na plazi – Afternoon joy at the beach

Popodnevna radost na plazi-Afternoon joy at the beach

Popodnevna radost na plazi-Afternoon joy at the beach

Raznobojni camci-Colourful boats

Raznobojni camci-Colourful boats

Sao Filipe, centre

Sao Filipe, centre

Stara crkvica na ostrvu Sal-An old church on the Sal Island

Stara crkvica na ostrvu Sal-An old church on the Sal Island

Stara kolonijalna zgrada-An old colonial building

Stara kolonijalna zgrada-An old colonial building

Sveze ociscene tune-Fresh tuna fish

Sveze ociscene tune-Fresh tuna fish

Upozorenje-A warning

Upozorenje-A warning

Uvek opusteni-Always relaxed

Uvek opusteni-Always relaxed

Zid galerije-A gallery wall

Zid galerije-A gallery wall

Zivot pod vulkanom - Life under the volcano

Zivot pod vulkanom – Life under the volcano

Zivot pod vulkanom- Life under the volcano

Zivot pod vulkanom- Life under the volcano

Zivot pod vulkanom-Life under the volcano

Zivot pod vulkanom-Life under the volcano

Cekajuci dnevni ulov-Waiting for a daily catch

Cekajuci dnevni ulov-Waiting for a daily catch

Dnevni ulov-A daily catch

Dnevni ulov-A daily catch

Kakva je samo razlika u izgovoru imena ove zemlje na mom jeziku i jeziku njenog naroda. Samo ću nabrojati ostrva onako kako izvorno zvuče na melodičnom portugalsko – kreolskom jeziku: Sal, Boavista, Santiago, Maio, Fogo, Brava, São Nicolau, Santa Luzia, São Vicente i Santo Antão. Ali to ipak nema prizvuk onog izgovora kojim bi, već legendarna, Cesária Évora svako od tih imena unela u neku od svojih pesama, kojima je po celom svetu pronela slavu ove zemlje. Kako bi svet inače znao za ovaj arhipelag i, u setnim tonovima njenih pesama, pitao se kakav to narod tamo živi kad može imati takvu muziku? Pa takav isti narod kao što su i njene pesme, sa onim što sadrži prizvuk svih pesama na portugalskom, a što bi se nazvalo skoro neprevodivom rečju saudade, koja se  neprestano čuje. To je i tuga i seta, i bol za nečim izgubljenim, i, što bismo mi rekli, „žal za mladost“, žal za neostvarenom ljubavlju, žal za životom koji prolazi na jednom, tako dalekom i siromašnom mestu kao što je Cabo Verde, dok se, ipak, može provesti na nekom drugom, mnogo bogatijem. O svemu tome peva Cesária i njeni sledbenici Tito Paris, Teofilo Chantre, Herminia… i svi drugi koji svetom prenose te tužne i tako prepoznatljive melodije.
Lepota je u jednostavnosti ovih ostrva, od kojih se svako razlikuje od onog susednog, kao da pripadaju raznim delovima sveta. Sal je kao pustinja sa plažama koja liči na Namibiju, Santo Antao je zeleno skoro kao tropska džungla, Sao Visente liči na portugalsku provinciju, Fogo je potpuno u vulkanskom pepelu. I upravo te raznolikosti doprinose izazovu za lutanjima po ostrvima, jer se na svakom drugačije osećate, ali je muzički ritam uvek isti.
Lokalnom stanovništvu, ipak, ne treba mnogo povoda za zabavu. Dovoljno je da samo neko pokrene ritam. To može biti i biciklista koji obilazi ostrvo, noseći dva ogromna zvučnika iz kojih se čuje melodija, koja, neznano kako, uvek prodire duboko u dušu i vodi misli i telo u lagani ritam. Tako se kreću i na plaži, i na doku, i, na kraju, svi plešu i raduju se, i stari i mladi, i deca i psi. Sve se pretvara u jedan lagani trans sa ponavljanjem ritma, što traje satima. Možda su i tužni, ali znaju da se raduju.
Najveći deo ostrva Fogo je od vulkanskog peska, a sledeća erupcija može biti već sutra, jer je prethodna bila nedavno. To, međutim, ni malo ne uzbuđuje stanovnike niti bilo ko  pokušava da negde ode. Ljudi su ovde srećni i proizvode jedno od najboljih i najgušćih crnih vina koje sam ikada probao.  Vinho do Fogo. Toliko je dobro da sam čak odande, preko pola Afrike i Evrope, nosio ceo karton bez ijedne razbijene flaše. Radovao sam mu se i delio ga sa prijateljima, nekada sebično, priznajem, znajući da ga možda nikada više neću probati. Nema ga ni u Portugalu.
Nema ga nigde, samo na jednom od najlepših mesta koje me je zauvek osvojilo i kome želim da se vratim, praćen ritmovima pevačice svih vremena i kraljevskog imena -  Cesária Évora.

Jul 2007.
______________________________________________________________________

What a difference in pronunciation of the name of this country in my language and in their own! I will just list the names of the islands as they sound in the melodious Portuguese-Creole language: Sal, Boavista, Santiago, Maio, Fogo, Brava, São Nicolau, Santa Luzia, São Vicente and Santo Antão.Yet I still cannot invoke the accent with which the legendary Cesária Évora would mention each of them in her songs, making her country famous around the world. How would the world know about this archipelago if not through the blue tones of her tunes; the world is asking: ‘What people live out there when they make this kind of music?’ Well, the people are the same as her songs, full of saudade, an almost untranslatable word, often heard, and present in every song. It is sorrow and sadness, a pain from a loss of something, and as we would say ‘the sorrow of youth gone’; it could also be the sorrow of an unfullfiled love, the sorrow because life is passing in such a remote and poor place like Cabo Verde, whereas it could be spent somewhere else where there is more beauty and riches. Cesária sings about all that; so do her successors such as Tito Paris, Teofilo Chantre, Herminia…and all the others who spread these typical sad melodies around the world.
The beauty of these islands is in their simplicity; every island is different from the next one, as though they belong to different parts of the world. Sal is like a desert with beaches, resembling Namibia, Santo Antão is as green as a tropical jungle, São Vicente looks like Portuguese countryside, Fogo is entirely covered in volcanic ash. The variety is what attracts you to stroll around these islands because you feel differently on each, and yet the rhythm of the music is the same everywhere.
However local people do not need much persuasion to start entertaining themselves. It is enough for someone to start the music. This could even be a cyclist who is riding around the island carrying two huge loudspeakers playing a melody which, unknowingly, penetrates the soul, taking the mind and the body with its easy rhythm. This is how they move on the beach, on the pier, and in the end everyone is dancing and being happy, the old and the young, the children and the dogs. Everything merges then into a sort of trance with rhythmical repetition, lasting for hours. Maybe these people are sad, but they know how to be happy.
The largest part of Fogo island is made of volcanic ash and the next erruption can be as soon as tomorrow, because the last one was not so long ago. Yet the locals do not seem to care about it, nor does anyone think of going somewhere else. People here are happy and produce one of the best full bodied red wines I have ever tried. Vinho do Fogo. It is so good that I carried a carton of it, without breaking a single bottle, across half of Africa and Europe. I enjoyed it and shared it with friends, sometimes, I have to admit, a bit stingily, knowing that I may never get to drink it again. You cannot find it in Portugal. You cannot find it anywhere, only in one of the most beautiful places that has captured my heart, the place I want to go back to accompanied by the rhythms of the singer for all times and a royal name – Cesária Évora.

July 2007.

ZAMBIJA – ZAMBIA

Biciklisti-Bicycle men

Biciklisti-Bicycle men

Cistoca je pola zdravlja-The Clean Restaurant

Cistoca je pola zdravlja-The Clean Restaurant

Deca u provinciji Lukulu na zapadu zemlje-Children of Lukulu province in the west of the country

Deca u provinciji Lukulu na zapadu zemlje-Children of Lukulu province in the west of the country

Drvo zakaranda-A jacaranda tree

Drvo zakaranda-A jacaranda tree

Moj prijatelj Dr Goran Jovic nakon avionske nesrece-My friend Dr. Goran Jovic after the plane crash

Moj prijatelj Dr Goran Jovic nakon avionske nesrece-My friend Dr. Goran Jovic after the plane crash

Na ulasku u Livingston-Entering Livingstone City

Na ulasku u Livingston-Entering Livingstone City

Plameno drvo-A fire tree

Plameno drvo-A fire tree

Pripremanje hrane-Preparing the food

Pripremanje hrane-Preparing the food

Radoznali pogled-A curious look

Radoznali pogled-A curious look

Seoska scena-A village scene

Seoska scena-A village scene

Tipicno selo-A typical village

Tipicno selo-A typical village

Trzni centar-A shopping complex

Trzni centar-A shopping complex

Viktorijini vodopadi - Victoria Falls

Viktorijini vodopadi – Victoria Falls

Viktorijini vodopadi-Victoria Falls

Viktorijini vodopadi-Victoria Falls

Zalazak sunca na reci Zambezi-Sunset over Zambezi River

Zalazak sunca na reci Zambezi-Sunset over Zambezi River

Uvek sam se divio istraživačima Afrike, koji su bez dovoljno poznavanja
lokalne geografije, stanovništva, običaja, plemena, medicine, naoružani
entuzijazmom i željom da svoja istraživanja prikažu pred Kraljevskim
geografskim društvom, osvajali nova bespuća ovog kontinenta. Brus,
Livingston, Barton, Stenli bili su moji idoli koje sam zamišljao u malim
karavanima crnih nosača opreme, kako sa improvizovanim kartama u rukama sede
u sumrak ispred svojih šatora i, slušajući zov džungle, pitaju se kuda to
uopšte idu. I kad bi tako taj Dejvid Livingston prvi put čuo “dim koji
grmi”, kako domoroci nazivaju Viktorijine vodopade na reci Zambezi, a zatim
ih i ugledao, kakvo je to bilo osećanje? Siguran sam – osećanje vredno svih
prethodnih napora, osećanje ispunjenosti svoje misije. Zato sigurno
zaslužuje da se po njemu naziva grad na ivici zambijske strane tih vodopada,
skoro najvećih na svetu i svrstanih među Sedam prirodnih svetskih čuda.
Moderni Livingston je sigurno moj prijatelj doktor Goran Jović, jedan od
retkih, ako ne i jedini plastični hirurg u Zambiji. On sam pilotira malim
avionom koji je dobio iz humanitarnih izvora do najudaljenijih sela, spušta
se na improvizovane zemljane piste, vadi svoje prethodno sterilisane
instrumente i izvodi operativne zahvate na licu mesta. Koliko je samo puta
presadio kožu opečenima, rekonstruisao velike defekte tkiva, operisao
ožiljne kontrakture, zečju usnu i posledice ko zna sve kakvih afričkih
bolesti. Sve to on sistematski izlaže na afričkim i drugim kongresima, pa
zbog svojih rezultata čak postaje predsednik Istočnoafričkog hirurškog
koledža. A veoma je nesrećan kad mu se pokvari avion, koji inače sam
popravlja i kad mora dugo da čeka rezervni deo. Ili, još gore, kad mu se
avion sruši, a i to se desilo.
Retki su danas takvi ljudi, kao što je i Livingston bio retkost za svoje
doba.

Septembar 1999.
________________________________________________________

I always admired the explorers of Africa who conquered its new territories
without the prior knowledge of the local geography, population, customs,
tribes and their medicines; yet they were equipped with enthusiasm and a
desire to show the result of their explorations to the Royal Geographical
Society. Bruce, Livingstone, Burton, Stanley – they were my idols; I
imagined them in small caravans with local black guides carrying their
equipment; I saw them sititng at sunset in front of their tents with
makeshift maps in their hands; while listening to the call of the jungle,
they must have wondered where actually they were going. And when David
Livingstone heard for the first time ‘The Smoke that Thunders’ as the
natives call the Victoria Falls on the River Zambezi, and then spotted them,
what did he feel? I am sure the feeling was worth all the previous effort,
it was the feeling of mission accomplished. For sure he deserves a city
bearing his name, situated on the verge of the Zambian side of the
waterfalls, probably the world’s largest waterfalls and one of the Seven
Wonders of the World.
My friend, certainly a modern day Livingstone, Doctor Goran Jović, is one of
the very few, if not even the only plastic surgeon in Zambia. He himself
flies a small plane that he got from humanitarian sources; he goes to the
most remote villages, lands his plane on makeshift earthen runways, taking
out his previously sterilised instruments and performing surgeries on the
spot. How many times did he graft the skin of the patients with burns,
reconstruct big tissue defects, operate on scar contractures, cleft lips and
palates, or treat the effects of various African diseases. He presents all
this systematically at African and other congresses of plastic surgeons, and
because of his results he even becames the President of the East African
College of Surgeons. And he is really unhappy when his airplane, which he
fixes himself, breaks down and he has to wait for a part for a long time. Or
even worse, when the plane crashes, and even that has happened!
People like him are a rarity these days, much as Livingstone was for his
time.

September 1999.

VIJETNAM – VIETNAM

Katedrala u Sajgonu-A cathedral in Saigon

Katedrala u Sajgonu-A cathedral in Saigon

Katedrala u Sajgonu-Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Katedrala u Sajgonu-Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

Kolonijalne kuce u Hoi Anu-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An's old quarter

Kolonijalne kuce u Hoi Anu-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An’s old quarter

Kolonijalne kuce u starom gradu na obali-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An's old quarter at the waterfront

Kolonijalne kuce u starom gradu na obali-Colonial style buildings in Hoi An’s old quarter at the waterfront

Komunisticki slogan-A communist slogan

Komunisticki slogan-A communist slogan

Kuca u kojoj je snimljen Tihi Amerikanac-A house where The Quiet American was filmed

Kuca u kojoj je snimljen Tihi Amerikanac-A house where The Quiet American was filmed

Main Post Office in Saigon-Glavna posta u Sajgonu

Main Post Office in Saigon-Glavna posta u Sajgonu

Mala luka-A small port in Phu Quoc Island

Mala luka-A small port in Phu Quoc Island

Masaza na plazi-Massage on the beach

Masaza na plazi-Massage on the beach

Nasmejane Vijetnamke-Smiling Vietnamese ladies

Nasmejane Vijetnamke-Smiling Vietnamese ladies

Opera u Hanoju-Hanoi Opera House

Opera u Hanoju-Hanoi Opera House

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok - A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok – A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok-A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Plaza na ostrvu Fukok-A beach on the Phu Quoc Island

Pruga ide kroz grad-A railroad running through the city

Pruga ide kroz grad-A railroad running through the city

Saobracajna guzva-Traffic jam

Saobracajna guzva-Traffic jam

Susenje lignji na suncu-Drying squid in the sun

Susenje lignji na suncu-Drying squid in the sun

U kolonijalnoj kuci-In the colonial house

U kolonijalnoj kuci-In the colonial house

U parku u Hanoju-In the park in Hanoi

U parku u Hanoju-In the park in Hanoi

Vreme je za rucak-Lunchtime

Vreme je za rucak-Lunchtime

Zajednicki rucak-A lunch for the whole family

Zajednicki rucak-A lunch for the whole family

Zaliv Halong - Ha Long Bay

Zaliv Halong – Ha Long Bay

Zaliv Halong-Ha Long Bay

Zaliv Halong-Ha Long Bay

Zene u belom na biciklu-Women in white riding a bike

Zene u belom na biciklu-Women in white riding a bike

Ogromna drvena džunka razvila je svoje veliko tradicionalno jedro i lagano klizi modrim vodama zaliva Halong. Sa palube posmatram nestvaran pejzaž, u kome više od dve hiljade zelenih ostrvaca kao da izrasta iz mora, praveći svojim obrisima bajkovite forme istočnjačkih mitskih bića. Prema jednoj legendi, veliki zmaj iz mora je svojom vatrom okamenio sva bića na svetu i dao im te začudne oblike. Zaliv Halong je Uneskova riznica, koja je poslužila kao najlepši prirodni dekor za snimanje filma Indokina. Bilo je to vreme u kome je Margerit Diras pisala svog Ljubavnika, prema kome je, u delti Mekonga, snimljen istoimeni film. Bila je to francuska kolonijalna epoha nekadašnjeg Sajgona, a današnjeg Ho Ši Mina, glavnog grada Vijetnama. Bila su to romantična vremena koja su ubrzo, već polovinom prošlog veka, počela da prerastaju u rat koji je tu zemlju godinama dovodio u središte svetske javnosti. Slavni general Ho Ši Min je svoj narod predvodio u borbi za konačnu slobodu, izvojevanu protiv mnogo jačih protivnika, i tako ušao u istoriju. Oni jači, ali ipak poraženi, danas bezbrižno dolaze kao turisti, tražeći poprišta svojih izgubljenih borbi u nepravednom ratu u kome nisu imali milosti. Vijetnamci su im, naizgled, sve oprostili.
Dolazak u Hanoj, posebno iz mirnog Laosa, predstavlja napad na sva čula. Ulicu je, čini se, nemoguće preći od hiljada motociklista koji se kreću u svim pravcima, ali ipak tako pažljivo da nikoga ne dotaknu. Voziti se na motoru kao taksijem vrlo je praktično u toj gužvi i podjednako uzbudljivo kao i vožnja rikšom. Tako se na originalan način mogu obići znamenitosti ovog grada: stare pagode, kolonijalna zgrada opere i pozorišta na velikom trgu ili kompleks Hrama literature posvećen Konfučiju. Poseban doživljaj je i poseta tradicionalnom lutkarskom pozorištu na vodi, gde se dočaravaju mitske priče iz ovih krajeva, od ljubavnih zgoda do vatrometa.
Negde na polovini puta između severa i juga ove zemlje, koja je nekada bila tako i podeljena, nalazi se mestašce Huế. U davnim vremenima bio je to važan trgovački centar u koji su pristizale kineska i tajlandska svila, tikovina sa Bornea, začini iz Indije i gde su bogati trgovci izgradili svoje romantične vile, koje su danas pretvorene u muzeje. U jednoj od njih snimljen je poznati film Tihi Amerikanac, prema motivima Grejema Grina. U susednoj vili kupio sam stari komplet za pušenje opijuma od slonovače i ebonosa. Bio je to zanosni porok, kome su pribegavali čak i mnogi Evropljani tog vremena, povlačeći se u posebne odaje zadimljenih čajdžinica, gde bi se predavali čarima omamljujućeg dima i prividne sreće. Bila je to Francuska Indokina.
Ja se, ipak, predajem romantičnoj šetnji po Sajgonu u potrazi za mestima koja su obeležila tu epohu: gradska većnica i opera, crkva Notre Dame, stare katedrale, zgrada pošte u art deko stilu, koja više liči na muzej sa telefonskim govornicama u punom drvetu, patinirane kolonijalne vile u gradskim parkovima. Osim modernih Vijetnamki, njima ponekad prošeta, ili se proveze na biciklu, crnokosa devojka obučena u dugu i do vrata zatvonu belu tuniku, sa dubokim prorezima sa strane, kako bi se videle bele pantalone, sa velikim belim šeširom na glavi, sa koga nemarno leprša svilena tračica.
Deluje pomalo nestvarno.

Decembar 2006.
____________________________________________________________________________

A huge wooden junk ship has put up its big traditional sail and slowly glides on the navy waters of Halong Bay. From the deck I observe a surreal landscape in which more than two thousand small islands appear to just grow out of the sea while their contours seem to form the shapes of fantastic beings from Far Eastern mythology. According to a legend, a big dragon from the sea turned all the beings into stone with its fire and gave them these strange shapes. Halong Bay is listed as a UNESCO Heritage site and it provided the most beautiful natural backdrop for the shooting of the film Indochine. At the time Marguerite Duras was writing her novel A Lover after which a film with the same name was made in the Mekong delta. That was the French colonial era of Saigon, today’s Ho Chi Minh City, and the capital of Vietnam. Those were romantic times which quickly, already in the mid-20th century, dissipated into war time, putting this country into the centre of the world’s attention for many years. The famous general, Ho Chi Minh, led his people in the fight for eventual freedom, winning against a much stronger opponent and thus entering history. The stronger, yet defeated ones, visit nowadays as carefree tourists, looking for their missing dead on battlegrounds, those lost in an unjust war in which they showed no mercy. Seemingly, the Vietnamese have forgiven them everything.
Arrival in Hanoi, especially after the calm of Laos, means an attack on all your senses. It seems impossible to cross the street where thousands of motorcyclists move every way, yet carefully enough not to run into anyone. Using a motorbike taxi is very practical in this crowd and equally exciting as a rickshaw ride. Thus you can go around the city in an original way and see all the sites: old pagodas, the colonial Opera building and theatre on the big square, or the Temple of Literature devoted to Confucius. A unique experience is a visit to the traditional puppet theatre on water, where local mythical stories are depicted, ranging from trials and tribulations of love stories, to fireworks.
Somewhere half way between the North and the South of the country, which used to be divided like this, is a small town of Huế. In the olden times it used to be an important trade centre dealing in Chinese and Thai silk, teak from Borneo, spices from India; this is also the place where wealthy merchants built their romantic villas which were later turned into museums. In one of these villas The Quiet American, a famous movie, was shot, based on Graham Greene’s story. In the villa next door I bought an old opium smoking set made of ebony and ivory. It was a vice difficult to resist at the time, enjoyed even by many Europeans who surrendered themselves to the appeals of heady smoke and a fleeting sense of happiness in secluded smoke-filled tea rooms. That was the French Indochina.
Yet I surrender myself to a romantic walk around Saigon looking for places that have marked this era, the City Hall and the Opera, the Church of Notre Dame, the old cathedrals, the Post Office building in Art Deco style resembling a museum with phone booths made of solid wood, old colonial villas in city parks. Apart from modern Vietnamese women, you can sometimes see a girl on a bike or walking, dressed in a long white tunic buttoned up to the chin; with long slits on the sides to reveal white trousers; and on her head a huge white hat with a silk ribbon carelessly floating in the wind.
It appears a little surreal.

December 2006

VENECUELA – VENEZUELA

Ejndzelovi vodopadi-Angel Falls

Ejndzelovi vodopadi-Angel Falls

Grobnica Simona Bolivara - Bolivar's tomb at the National Pantheon

Grobnica Simona Bolivara – Bolivar’s tomb at the National Pantheon

Grobnica Simona Bolivara-Bolivar's tomb at the National Pantheon

Grobnica Simona Bolivara-Bolivar’s tomb at the National Pantheon

Kolonijalna arhitektura malog mesta-The colonial architecture of El Hatillo

Kolonijalna arhitektura malog mesta-The colonial architecture of El Hatillo

Lokalni suveniri i maske-Local souvenirs and masks

Lokalni suveniri i maske-Local souvenirs and masks

Memorijalni centar posvecen Bolivaru i drugim istorijskim figurama-National Pantheon of Venezuela

Memorijalni centar posvecen Bolivaru i drugim istorijskim figurama-National Pantheon of Venezuela

Moj brat Milan na putovanju kroz Venecuelu-My brother Milan travelling through the country

Moj brat Milan na putovanju kroz Venecuelu-My brother Milan travelling through the country

Pogled na Karakas-A view of Caracas

Pogled na Karakas-A view of Caracas

Spomenik oslobodiocu Simonu Bolivaru u jednom malom mestu-Bolivar's monument in El Hatillo

Spomenik oslobodiocu Simonu Bolivaru u jednom malom mestu-Bolivar’s monument in El Hatillo

U unutrasnjosti zemlje-Somewhere in the countryside

U unutrasnjosti zemlje-Somewhere in the countryside

Zgrada Univerziteta-Central University of Venezuela

Zgrada Univerziteta-Central University of Venezuela

Chavecito ili mali Hugo Chavez je lutka aktuelnog predsednika ove zemlje, u
vojnoj uniformi i sa crvenom beretkom na glavi, koji podignutom rukom i
uzbuđenim glasom uzvikuje revolucionarne parole, po uzoru na svog učitelja
Fidela Kastra. U pozadini se čuju mase sledbenika koje to glasno odobravaju,
dajući tako bezrezervnu podršku svom vođi. Sve je to snimljeno i postavljeno
u kinesku lutku, koja se prodaje u slobodnoj zoni aerodroma ostrva
Margarita, jedne od najatraktivnijih turističkih destinacija u ovoj zemlji.
Ostrvo je smešteno severno od obale Venecuele, zajedno sa još nekoliko
tropskih arhipelaga. Dok prolazim sa lutkom koja drži govor, osećam na sebi
začuđene poglede putnika u avionu.
Prirodne lepote ove zemlje su beskonačne i još nedovoljno ispitane, kao što
su guste džungle naseljene indijancima, ili čuveni vodopadi Džejmsa
Ejndžela, od kojih se jedan obrušava sa visine od približno jednog
kilometra, pa se voda skoro uopšte ne vidi jer se pretvara u oblak finih
kapljica, koji se lagano spušta na čitavo područje. Sećam se koliko im se
moj brat divio ovim krajevima, tokom davne ekspedicije u bespućima
Venecuele, Amazonije i Gvajane.
U ovoj zemlji sve je u znaku oslobodioca Simona Bolivara, čak je i sama
zemlja nazvana bolivarskom republikom. Današnji oslobodioci Južne Amerike,
predvođeni Čavesom i Kastrom, već su ostvarili novu koaliciju koja se lagano
širi kao antiglobalistički protest. Nekima to deluje simpatično, kao
povratak revolucionarnim vremenima, dok je drugi shvataju kao ozbiljnu
pretnju nekim političkim trendovima na ovim prostorima. Južna Amerika se ne
može lako prisvajati i iskorišćavati, posebno bogate zemlje kao što je
Venecuela, a koja, pritom, još poseduje i naftu.
Lutajući nebezbednim ulicama glavnog grada Karakasa, sagledavam i drugu
stranu te populističke politike obećanja i nade. To su zgrade okovane
rešetkama na prozorima i ljudi koji godinama retko izlaze na ulicu.
Venecuelanske lepotice, ipak, pomalo ublažavaju tu stvarnost i smelo se
prikazuju u punom sjaju svojih oblina na plažama, modnim pistama i izborima
za mis. Rezultat radnji, postupaka i parada lepotica u nacionalnoj trci za
neku od titula mis – zemlje, kontinenta, univerzuma – jeste nova reč ili
pojam koji sve to objedinjuje – misologija. Lepota devojaka iz Venecuele je
poznata, ali takođe i kolonijalna lepota starih delova grada kojima one
šetaju u ritmu salse, dok ih prate zvona sa katedrala i radoznali pogledi
stranaca. Divna je Venecuela u tom svetlu.
Koalicija Čaves – Kastro – Maradona – Kusturica samo joj daje novi šarm,
onaj revolucionarni, čiji je glas ponekad tako potreban ovom svetu.

Oktobar 2004.
_____________________________________________________

Chavecito or a miniature Hugo Chavez, is a doll in a military uniform with a
red beret on its head, representing the current President of this country,
who waving his hand declaims in a fervent voice revolutionary slogans he
learned from his teacher Fidel Castro. In the background you can hear the
masses of people loudly cheering thus giving unconditional support to their
leader. Of course all this is pre-recorded and fitted into a Chinese doll
which is on sale in Duty Free shops at Margarita Island Airport. One of the
most attractive tourist spots in this country, the island is situated north
of the Venezuelan coast along with a couple more tropical archipelagos.
While I walk by, holding the talking doll, I can sense the astonished looks
that fellow passengers on the flight are casting my way.
This country’s natural beauties are infinite and not yet explored enough,
such as the dense jungles inhabited by an indigenous Indian population or
the famous James Angel Waterfalls; one of the falls is coming down from
approximately one kilometre height so that its water is barely visible as it
transforms itself into a mist made of fine droplets, slowly descending on
the entire region. I remember how much my brother admired them during an
expedition a long time ago when he explored the wilderness of Venezuela,
Amazon rainforest and Guyana.
In this country everything is under the auspices of Simon Bolivar, the
liberator, even the country called itself the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela. Today’s liberators of Latin America, led by Chavez and Castro,
have already developed a coalition which is growing slowly but surely,
spreading like an anti-globalisation protest. Some people find it likeable
as though it was a return to the revolutionary times, whereas others see
this coalition as a serious threat to certain political trends in this
region. South America cannot be appropriated and exploited so easily,
especially the rich countries such as Venezuela, which on top of everything
possesses oil as well.
Wandering the unsafe streets of the capital Caracas, I can see the other
side of the populist politics based on promise and hope. I can see buildings
with barred windows and people who rarely get out into the streets for
years. Yet, this rough reality is somewhat eased by the Venezuelan beauties;
they bravely show off their curves in their full glory, on beaches, catwalks
and beauty contests. The result of all these procedures and doings, parades
of beauties competing in the national race for one of the titles – Miss
Venezuela, Miss South America, Miss Universum – is a new concept and a new
word – ‘missology’. Venezuela is known for the beauty of its women, but also
for the beauty of its old towns built in the colonial style, where these
beautiful woman walk in the rhythm of salsa, accompanied by chiming of the
cathedral bells and curious looks of passers-by. In this light, Venezuela is
just splendid.

Chavez – Castro – Maradona – Kusturica coalition just gives it new charm,
the revolutionary one, whose voice is sometimes much needed in this world.

October 2004.

VELIKA BRITANIJA – GREAT BRITAIN

Bakingemska palata-Buckingham Palace

Bakingemska palata-Buckingham Palace

Big Ben, Vestminsterska palata i most - Big Ben, Westminster Palace and Westminster Bridge

Big Ben, Vestminsterska palata i most – Big Ben, Westminster Palace and Westminster Bridge

Big Ben, Vestminsterska palata i most-Big Ben, Westminster Palace and Westminster Bridge

Big Ben, Vestminsterska palata i most-Big Ben, Westminster Palace and Westminster Bridge

Centar Edinburga-The centre of Edinburgh

Centar Edinburga-The centre of Edinburgh

Cuvar-A guardian

Cuvar-A guardian

Edinburski zamak-Edinburgh Castle

Edinburski zamak-Edinburgh Castle

Londonsko oko ili Milenijumski tocak-The London Eye is the tallest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere

Londonsko oko ili Milenijumski tocak-The London Eye is the tallest Ferris wheel in the Western Hemisphere

Mali hotel u unutrasnjosti-A small hotel in the countryside

Mali hotel u unutrasnjosti-A small hotel in the countryside

Pogled na Edinburg i Severni most-A view of Edinburgh and the North Bridge

Pogled na Edinburg i Severni most-A view of Edinburgh and the North Bridge

Pokretni most na Temzi kraj Tauera-Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London

Pokretni most na Temzi kraj Tauera-Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London

Prirodnjacki muzej u Londonu - Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjacki muzej u Londonu – Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjacki muzej u Londonu- Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjacki muzej u Londonu- Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjacki muzej u Londonu-Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjacki muzej u Londonu-Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjaki muzej u Londonu -Natural History Museum in London

Prirodnjaki muzej u Londonu -Natural History Museum in London

Proslava u Skotskoj-A celebration in Scotland

Proslava u Skotskoj-A celebration in Scotland

Protesti ispred britanskog Parlamenta-Protests in front of the Palace of Westminster

Protesti ispred britanskog Parlamenta-Protests in front of the Palace of Westminster

Sediste britanske tajne sluzbe u Londonu-MI6 in London

Sediste britanske tajne sluzbe u Londonu-MI6 in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu - Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu – Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu -Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu -Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu- Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu- Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu-Trafalgar Square in London

Trafalgar skver u Londonu-Trafalgar Square in London

Zamak Skon u kome su krunisani skotski kraljevi-Scone Palace-the crowning place of the Kings of Scots

Zamak Skon u kome su krunisani skotski kraljevi-Scone Palace-the crowning place of the Kings of Scots

Velika Britanija je poznata kao Engleska, ali je najpravilnije Ujedinjeno
Kraljevstvo Velike Britanije i Severne Irske, gde se još svrstavaju Škotska
i Vels. Ko bi do kraja razumeo Engleze, kad verovatno ni sami sebe potpuno
ne razumeju, odnosno samo se pretvaraju da su se razumeli. Mi tada kažemo:
prave se Englezima. Kad se za nešto misli da jeste, a u stvari nije, ili bi
možda moglo biti kada bi se pravilno razumelo, što u stvari i nije baš do
kraja mogućno jer nije sve onako kako izgleda, mogla bi se tako definisati
celokupna britanska kolonijalna politika. Jer ako bi se Englezi pitali, svet
je i dalje jedna velika njihova kolonija. Iako mnogi od njih ne znaju za
druga ostrva osim njihovog, sebe ipak s pravom smatraju središtem sveta. Ali
kad ste jednom zaista posedovali pola sveta, a tradicija vam teče u krvi,
teško je odreći se takvog nasleđa.
Ako zaboravimo tu englesku nadmenost i kolonijalnu politiku, koja je svetsko
bogatstvo dovela u njihove muzeje, zamkove i privatne kolekcije, ipak ostaje
toliko toga za divljenje u jednom kulturnom i uopšte duhovnom ambijentu te
zemlje. Ogroman je broj prepoznatljivih simbola koje sigurno ne poseduje ni
jedna druga zemlja, a dovoljan je i samo njihov jezik, koji je danas
univerzalan.
Volim London kao centar sveta, divim se starim engleskim gradovima (ovde je
sve staro), ali ipak su mi, prema mentalitetu, bliži Škotlanđani. Kao da
potiču sa Mediterana, sa puno onog izvornog, a ne engleskog humora. Skloni
su da preteraju u svemu, posebno u piću, ali poseduju neki šarm u tome, kao
i odlike pravog prijateljstva. Velšani i Severni Irci su im slični, ali za
nijansu umereniji. To su narodi Ujedinjenog kraljevstva. Drugi narodi su svi
narodi sveta koji ovde žive i sigurno ne postoji ni jedna svetska
nacionalnost koje ovde nema. To je, ipak, za divljenje. Iako su bili često
pod represivnom britanskom kolonijalnom vladavinom, oni ipak svi hrle pod
kraljičine skute. Sve su zaboravili, genetski kod izbrisali i, evo ih ovde,
svi narodi na okupu! Kako da se onda ipak ne divite tim Englezima koji na
volšeban način i dalje sve drže pod kontrolom? Rekao bi Šekspir ˝Kako vam
drago˝.
Englezima je ionako svejedno.

Jun 1975.
_________________________________________________________

Great Britain is widely known as England, but the most correct term is the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which of course
comprises Scotland and Wales. Who is going to understand the English all the
way when, most likely, they do not understand themselves fully either, or
rather, they just pretend they do? Then in Serbian we would say for people
like that -’they pretend to be English’. The essence of their spirit, also
underlying the British colonial politics, could be described as something
that is deemed to be in a certain way, but actually it is not, or could be
if it was understood properly….however that in itself is not entirely
possible because things are not always as they seem. Because, if it was down
to the English, the world would still be their huge colony. Even though many
of them do not know about any other island but their own, they still rightly
consider it the centre of the world. However, if once in the past you did
possess half the world, and this strong tradition is coursing through your
veins, then it is truly difficult to renounce such a heritage. If we put
aside this English arrogance and colonialism which have brought the riches
of the world into their museums, castles and private collections, there
remains so much to be admired in the cultural and spiritual domain of this
country. The number of symbols representing this country is vast and they
cannot be found anywhere else, and the English language is the universal
language of the world.
I love London as the capital of the world and I admire the old cities in
England (everything is old here!), but mentality-wise I feel more akin to
the Scots. As though they have originated in the Mediterranean, they are
full of natural humour, which is different from the English one, and they
tend to be excessive in everything, especially drinking. But they carry it
off with charm; and they are great friends. The Welsh and the Northern Irish
are similar, but slightly more restrained. They are the peoples of the
United Kingdom. The other peoples that live here come from all over the
world and probably there isn’t a single nationality that is not represented
here. That is to be admired! Even though they were often oppressed by the
British colonial rule, they have still all came running to Britain
scrambling for the Queen’s protection. They have forgotten everything,
deleted their genetic code and here they are – everyone together! How can
you then not admire these Englishmen who, as if by magic, still keep
everything under control? As Shakespeare would say: ‘As you like it’.
Anyway, the English do not care either way, not really.

June 1975

 

 

Gibraltar – Gibraltar

Crkva Svetog srca-The Sacred Heart Church

Crkva Svetog srca-The Sacred Heart Church

Engleske telefonske govornice i mapa Gibraltara na glavnom trgu-English telephone booths and map of Gibraltar on the Casamates Square

Engleske telefonske govornice i mapa Gibraltara na glavnom trgu-English telephone booths and map of Gibraltar on the Casamates Square

Gibraltarski majmuni - The Rock apes

Gibraltarski majmuni – The Rock apes

Gibraltarski majmuni- The Rock apes

Gibraltarski majmuni- The Rock apes

Gibraltarski majmuni-The Rock apes

Gibraltarski majmuni-The Rock apes

Gibraltarski Parlament sa bistom Dzona Mekintosa na istoimenom trgu-The House of Assembly with the bust of John Mackintosh on The Piazza

Gibraltarski Parlament sa bistom Dzona Mekintosa na istoimenom trgu-The House of Assembly with the bust of John Mackintosh on The Piazza

Gibraltarski Parlament sa bistom generala Dzona Dona-The House of Assembly with the bust of Sir George Don

Gibraltarski Parlament sa bistom generala Dzona Dona-The House of Assembly with the bust of Sir George Don

Gradska kuca-the City Hall at The Piazza

Gradska kuca-the City Hall at The Piazza

Katedrala Svete Marije-The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned

Katedrala Svete Marije-The Cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned

Katedrala Svetog trojstva - The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Katedrala Svetog trojstva – The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Katedrala Svetog trojstva-The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Katedrala Svetog trojstva-The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

Mesto ukrstanja piste sa autoputem - A crossroad of the runway and the highway

Mesto ukrstanja piste sa autoputem – A crossroad of the runway and the highway

Mesto ukrstanja piste sa autoputem- A crossroad of the runway and the highway

Mesto ukrstanja piste sa autoputem- A crossroad of the runway and the highway

Mesto ukrstanja piste sa autoputem-A crossroad of the runway and the highway

Mesto ukrstanja piste sa autoputem-A crossroad of the runway and the highway

Pogled na pistu i Gibraltarsku stenu-A view of the runway and The Rock of Gibraltar

Pogled na pistu i Gibraltarsku stenu-A view of the runway and The Rock of Gibraltar

Spomenik na ulazu u grad-The monument passing the airport

Spomenik na ulazu u grad-The monument passing the airport

Spomenik palima u Velikom ratu i Ruski topovi-The City War Memorial and two Russian Guns from the Crimean War

Spomenik palima u Velikom ratu i Ruski topovi-The City War Memorial and two Russian Guns from the Crimean War

Svetionik-Europa Point Lighthouse

Svetionik-Europa Point Lighthouse

Top od sto tona-100 Ton Gun Napier Battery

Top od sto tona-100 Ton Gun Napier Battery

U glavnoj ulici-At the main street

U glavnoj ulici-At the main street

Još jedna jabuka razdora, u ovom slučaju između Engleza i Španaca. Iako ih imaju previše, oni im i dalje veoma znače, jer kada su jednom posedovali pola sveta, ovi ‘ostaci’ kao što su Gibraltar ili Foklandska ostrva, makar bili i na drugom kraju planete, predstavlju nešto za šta se Imperija i dalje čvrsto drži i ne dâ drugima.

Nekada od presudnog strateškog značaja Gibraltarska stena je danas samo uspomena na burne dane u kojima se kontrolisala plovidba ovim tesnacom koji odvaja Sredozemno more od Atlantskog okeana. I kolonija malih majmuna, jedinih koji slobodno žive u Evropi, simbol je engleskog prisustva. Kažu da kada njih ne bude, neće više biti ni Engleza na ovim prostorima, pa je još Čerčil dao da se ponovo nasele kada je njihov broj pao ispod kritičnog. Veselo trčkarajući po stenama i često silazeći do grada ne slute koliko su ovde bezbedni i od vitalnog značaja, kao jedan od lokalnih simbola.

Gibraltar ima više puteva prokopanih u krečnjačkoj steni, nego oko nje. Oni su posebno za vreme Drugog svetskog rata služili kao skloništa evakuisanom stanovništvu, kao bolnice, pekare, skladišta za smrznute namirnice i destilerije za vodu. Bastioni, kazamati, vojnička groblja i memorijalni centri, topovi upravljeni ka moru koji su posebnom tehnikom dopremani na velike visine, svojim prisustvom svedoče o burnoj prošlosti ovog naroda, u čijem se govoru mešaju engleske i španske reči.

Nedostatak prostora doveo je do neobičnog ukrštanja aerodromske piste i autoputa koji engleski policajci uredno zatvore prilikom svakog prolaska aviona. Pored British Airwaysa i lokalnih prevoznika iz Velike Britanije, moj prijatelj Dragi Jevremović, koji živi u nedalekoj Marbelji, dobio je ponudu da osnuje državnu aviokompaniju GibAir čije ime slično zvuči na srpskom jeziku, Džiber, ali ima neko drugačije značenje. Ona bi trebalo da Gibraltar poveže i sa nekim drugim mestima u Maroku i Španiji, sa kojima je on tesno istorijski povezan, ali ne i fizički. Brisanje granica savremenog sveta moglo bi tako da učini bespredmetnim svaku teritorijalnu pretenziju, makar i ovih malih prostora.

Ipak, strategija i tradicija to još uvek ne dozvoljavaju. Ono što je moje, to je samo moje.

Februar 2014.

__________________________________________________

One more historical rift, this time between the British and the Spanish. Even though the British had many territories around the world, once the Empire comprising half the world fell apart, the ’remainders’ such as Gibraltar and the Falklands became even more important. They could be situated in remote parts of the planet, but the former Empire would cling on them for dear life.

Once upon a time the Rock of Gibraltar had strategic importance whereas today it just holds a memory of the turbulent times when naval navigation was controled at this strait linking the Mediteranean with the Atlantic Ocean. Even the colonies of small apes, the only wild monkeys in Europe, represent the symbol of the British presence. It is said that when they disappear, the British will disappear too from Gibraltar, so Churchill during his time in the office made sure he re-populated them once their number was seen as falling below critical. They happily bounce aroud the rocky landscape, often descending into town, not suspecting that as an ever important symbol of the British, they are safe and protected here.

More roads in Gibraltar cut through the limestone rock rather than going around it. During the World War II they were used for shelters for the evacuated population, for hospitals, bakeries, storage for frozen goods and water distilleries. Bastions, casements, soldier cemeteries and memorial centres, cannons pointing to the sea (hoisted to high altitude by a special technique) all bear witness to the turbulent past of this nation whose language is a mixture of English and Spanish words.

Lack of space has led to an unusual crossing of runway and motorway, duly closed by the British police each time an airplane is passing through. Apart from  British Airways and some local British carriers there are no other airlines, so incidentally my friend Dragi Jevremović who lives in nearby Marbella was offered an opportunity to set up Gibraltar’s national airline, GibAir. The idea is to connect Gibraltar with certain places in Spain and Morocco with which there has been a historical link but not a physical one. Erasing boundaries in the modern world could thus render any territorial dispute meaningless, including in tiny Gibraltar.

Yet strategic interest and tradition still do not allow that. What is mine – is only mine.

February 2014.

 

 

Severna Irska – Northern Ireland – Tuaisceart Éireann

Jedan od najstarijih kafea na svetu-The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Jedan od najstarijih kafea na svetu-The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Gradska kuca u Belfastu-Belfast City Hall

Gradska kuca u Belfastu-Belfast City Hall

Albertova sahat kula-The Albert Memorial Clock

Albertova sahat kula-The Albert Memorial Clock

Ulica Senkil u Belfastu-simbol otpora-Shankill Road in Belfast-the symbol of resistance

Ulica Senkil u Belfastu-simbol otpora-Shankill Road in Belfast-the symbol of resistance

Pozoriste u Belfastu-The Grand Opera House, Belfast

Pozoriste u Belfastu-The Grand Opera House, Belfast

Okovani prozori-Boarded up windows

Okovani prozori-Boarded up windows

Natpis na zidu-A sign on the wall

Natpis na zidu-A sign on the wall

Kraljicin Univerzitet u Belfastu-The Queen's University of Belfast

Kraljicin Univerzitet u Belfastu-The Queen’s University of Belfast

Kapela u ulici Senkil-Shankill Road Gospel Hall

Kapela u ulici Senkil-Shankill Road Gospel Hall

Jedan od najstarijih kafea na svetu-The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Jedan od najstarijih kafea na svetu-The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Engleski protestanti i irski katolici večita su jabuka razdora u ovoj odvojenoj engleskoj teriroriji koja se nalazi na severu Irske. Irski katolici smatraju da ona, naravno, pripada Republici Irskoj, dok je Englezi
smatraju svojom još od davanja nezavisnosti Irskoj 1921. godine. Oružani sukobi koji su tada nastali bili su pod vođstvom Irske Republikanske Armije (IRA), od Irskog rata za nezavisnost i Uskršnjeg ustanka do jačanja partije Šin Fejn i Krvave nedelje 1972. godine.
Velika međusobna netrpeljivost Engleza i Iraca, protestanata i katolika, ogledala se u stalnim uličnim sukobima, posebno u ulici Šenkil u Belfastu, glavne gradu Severne Irske. Tu se na svakom koraku mogu videti zidovi oslikani narodnim herojima u ratničkim uniformama, važnim datumima u borbi za nezavisnost i grbovima regimenti i palih za slobodu koje narod nikada neće zaboraviti. Brojne zgrade imaju okovane prozore ispred kojih se slikaju Japanci, a koji su služili kao zaštita od ubacivanja granata ili suzavca tokom protesta.
Protesti su uglavnom prestali, moj prijatelj Đorđe Miljković i ja relativno bezbrižno šetamo ulicom Šenkil i drugim delovima Belfasta, pa ipak povremeno osetimo izvesnu nelagodu uz poglede lokalnih stanovnika koji misle da ne razumemo njihovu situaciju i samo želimo da slikamo revolucionarne murale.
Ako ne možeš silom razrešiti situaciju, možeš parama. Vešti Englezi su toliko novca ubacili u Severnu Irsku kojim su veoma poboljšali kvalitet života, da danas verovatno retko kome pada na um odvajanje, a još manje terorističke akcije.
Treba ga samo imati dovoljno.

Septembar 2007.

_____________________________________________________________

English Protestants and Irish Catholics have always had a bone to pick over this separate British territory situated in the north of Ireland. The Irish Catholics maintain it belongs to the Republic of Ireland as a matter of course, whereas the British consider it their own ever since giving independence to Ireland in 1921. Armed conflict that ensued was instigated by the IRA (Irish Republican Army), from the Irish War for Independence and The Easter Rising to the rise of Sinn Féin and Bloody Sunday in 1972.

High intolerance between the Northern Irish and the the Republican Irish, the Protestants and the Catholics, often culminated into street violence, especially on Shankill Road in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. At every corner you can see walls painted with pictures of national heroes in armed gear, important dates in the struggle for independence, regiment insignia and pictures of those who fell for freedom, never to be forgotten by the people. Many buildings have boarded up windows which gave protection against grenades and tear gas during protests; nowadays Japanese tourists take photos in front of them.

Protests have mostly gone these days, and I walk with my friend Đorđe Miljković along Shenkill Road and other parts of Belfast, in quite a relaxed way; yet occasionally we feel uneasy under the scrutinising gaze of local residents who may think that we do not understand their situation and only want to take pictures of the revolutionary murals.

If you cannot resolve a situation by force, you can with money. The cunning British have poured so much money into Northern Ireland, improving the quality of life so much so that hardly anyone thinks anymore about separation, let alone terrorist actions.

You only need to have enough of money.

 September 2007

 

VATIKAN – VATICAN CITY (THE HOLY SEE) – SANTA SEDE

Vatikanski vrtovi-The Vatican Gardens

Vatikanski vrtovi-The Vatican Gardens

Mikelandjelova Pieta-Michelangelo's Pieta

Mikelandjelova Pieta-Michelangelo’s Pieta

Oltar crkve Svetog Petra-The altar at St. Peter's Basilica

Oltar crkve Svetog Petra-The altar at St. Peter’s Basilica

Papa iza neprobojnog stakla svog vozila - The Pope behind the bulletproof glass of his vehicle

Papa iza neprobojnog stakla svog vozila – The Pope behind the bulletproof glass of his vehicle

Papa iza neprobojnog stakla svog vozila-The Pope behind the bulletproof glass of his vehicle

Papa iza neprobojnog stakla svog vozila-The Pope behind the bulletproof glass of his vehicle

Papa pozdravlja mase - The Pope greeting masses

Papa pozdravlja mase – The Pope greeting masses

Papa pozdravlja mase-The Pope greeting masses

Papa pozdravlja mase-The Pope greeting masses

Papa pozdravlja plasticne hirurge sveta-The Pope greeting world plastic surgeons

Papa pozdravlja plasticne hirurge sveta-The Pope greeting world plastic surgeons

Pogled na Crkvu Svetog Petra-A view of Saint Peter's Basilica

Pogled na Crkvu Svetog Petra-A view of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Pogled na kupolu crkve Svetog Petra iz vrtova Vatikana-A view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica from the Vatican Gardens

Pogled na kupolu crkve Svetog Petra iz vrtova Vatikana-A view of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica from the Vatican Gardens

Sikstinska kapela-Sistine Chapel

Sikstinska kapela-Sistine Chapel

Trg Svetog Petra - St. Peter's Square

Trg Svetog Petra – St. Peter’s Square

Trg Svetog Petra-St. Peter's Square

Trg Svetog Petra-St. Peter’s Square

Vatikanski muzej-The Vatican Museum

Vatikanski muzej-The Vatican Museum

Vatikanski vrtovi - The Vatican Gardens

Vatikanski vrtovi – The Vatican Gardens

Iako je svaki tekst posvećen jednoj zemlji, odnosno državi, u nedoumici sam
kako da Vatikan posmatram kao državu. Radije bih ga prihvatio sa nekog
umetničkog stanovišta i divio se delima velikih majstora koja krase
Sikstinsku kapelu i vatikanske muzeje. Ili bih ga posmatrao kao jednu
virtuelnu celinu, koja vekovima pokušava da kontroliše svet upornim
nametanjem svojih religioznih shvatanja i stavova, čak i tamo gde im možda
nije mesto, u džunglama Amazona ili Afrike, kao i na ostrvima Polinezije.
Najnovija španska enciklopedija sveta postavlja pitanje zašto se onda
katoličanstvo nije brže i masovnije uspostavljalo u tim predelima, a
istovremeno daje i odgovor: zbog surovosti kojima su se te metode
sprovodile. Pogromi južnoameričkih civilizacija sigurno su nametali
nedoumicu lokalnom stanovništvu o prihvatanju jedne nove, a tako bezdušne
religije.
Vatikan je ipak jedna ideja koja je uzela atribute državnosti. Zašto se,
onda, kao države ne proglase Konstantinopolj, Meka ili Jerusalim, kao
nosioci svojih religija?
Papa je vrhovni verski poglavar katoličkog sveta, čije je sedište u
Vatikanu, najmanjoj suverenoj državi na svetu. Njegov se izbor, posle smrti
prethodnog pape, posmatra sa više pažnje nego izbor američkog predsednika
koji se bira na četiri godine, a papa za ceo život. Njegovu reč, čini se,
slušaju više nego bilo koju predsedničku. Voleo sam prethodnog papu zbog
njegovih putovanja; bio je neumoran putnik sve do smrti. U tome smo sigurno
bili veoma slični.
Katolička crkva je tokom istorije znala da često ekskominicira viđenije
ljude, pa je ta zla sudbina zadesila i oca plastične hirurgije Gaspare
Taljakocija krajem XVI veka. On je bio proklet i ekshumiran zbog svojih
rekonstruktivnih operacija nosa, koje su smatrane protivprirodnim i
ilegalnim, dok je njegovo delo tek 1958. godine dobilo teološku
revalorizaciju rečima pape Pija XII: “Ako posmatramo fizičku lepotu u
hrišćanskom svetlu i poštujemo uslove na osnovu naših moralnih učenja, tada
estetska hirurgija nije u suprotnosti sa božjom voljom, jer restaurira
perfekciju najsavršenije kreacije, a to je čovek.”
I ko onda može biti veći katolik od pape?

Mart 2011.
__________________________________________________________

Even though each text is devoted to one country, or state, I am in two minds
about how to acknowledge Vatican as a state. I would rather accept it from
the artistic point of view and admire the creations of the great masters in
the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. Or perhaps I could observe it as
a virtual entity that has attempted to control the world through the
centuries with its persistent imposition of its religious tenets and views,
even in places where they don’t belong, such as in the jungles of the Amazon
or Africa and on the islands of Polynesia. The most recent edition of the
Spanish World Encyclopaedia poses the question about why Catholicism did not
spread faster and more widely in those regions and it gives the answer at
the same time: because of the cruelty of the methods used to propagate the
faith. The extermination of the South American civilisations certainly
created a dilemma for the locals about accepting this new, yet so cruel
religion. After all, Vatican is just a belief system that adopted the
attributes of a state. Why wouldn’t Constantinople, Mecca or Jerusalem
become states, given that they are bearers of their respective religions?
The Pope is the supreme religious figure of the Catholic world whose seat is
in Vatican, the smallest sovereign state in the world. The election of the
new Pope, after the death of the previous one is followed with more
attention than the election of the American President who is chosen every
four years, whereas the Pope is chosen for life. The words of the Pope are
more listened to than any president’s. I liked the previous Pope because of
his travels; he was an indefatigable traveller until his death. We are quite
similar in our passion for travel.
During its history the Catholic Church did not shy away from excommunicating
some famous people and Gaspare Tagliacozzi, the father of plastic surgery,
met his ill fate this way at the end of the 16th century. He was cursed and
exhumed because of the reconstructive surgeries of the nose he performed;
they were deemed unnatural and illegal and his work was re-evaluated in a
theological sense only in 1958 by Pope Pius XII, who said: ‘If we observe
physical beauty under the auspices of Christianity and follow the conditions
of our moral teachings, then aesthetic surgery is not in opposition to God’s
will, because it restores the perfection of the supreme creation, and that
is man.’
So then, who could be a bigger Catholic than the Pope?

March 2011

VANUATU – VANUATU

Aktivni vulkan Jasur na ostrvu Tana-Active volcano Yasur, Tanna Island

Aktivni vulkan Jasur na ostrvu Tana-Active volcano Yasur, Tanna Island

Bungalovi na ostrvu Iririki preko puta glavnog ostrva Efate-Bungallows on Iririki Island opposite the main island of Efate

Bungalovi na ostrvu Iririki preko puta glavnog ostrva Efate-Bungallows on Iririki Island opposite the main island of Efate

Deca se igraju-Children having fun

Deca se igraju-Children having fun

Decji pozdrav-Greetings from local children

Decji pozdrav-Greetings from local children

Demonstriranje paljenja vatre-A demonstration of lighting the fire

Demonstriranje paljenja vatre-A demonstration of lighting the fire

Dobrodoslica-A welcome

Dobrodoslica-A welcome

Drvo banjan u centru sela Jakel na ostrvu Tana-A banyan tree in the Yakel village, Tanna Island

Drvo banjan u centru sela Jakel na ostrvu Tana-A banyan tree in the Yakel village, Tanna Island

Kad nebo potamni-When the sky gets dark

Kad nebo potamni-When the sky gets dark

Laguna-The lagoon

Laguna-The lagoon

Lokalni ples na glavnom trgu sela Jakel na ostrvu Tana-A local dance of the Yakel tribe, Tanna Island

Lokalni ples na glavnom trgu sela Jakel na ostrvu Tana-A local dance of the Yakel tribe, Tanna Island

Lokalni ples-A tribal dance

Lokalni ples-A tribal dance

Lokalno pleme na glavnom trgu-A local tribe on the central square

Lokalno pleme na glavnom trgu-A local tribe on the central square

Mele vodopadi na Efateu - Mele Cascade Waterfalls on Efate Island

Mele vodopadi na Efateu – Mele Cascade Waterfalls on Efate Island

Mele vodopadi na Efateu- Mele Cascade Waterfalls on Efate Island

Mele vodopadi na Efateu- Mele Cascade Waterfalls on Efate Island

Mele vodopadi na Efateu-Mele Cascade Waterfalls on Efate Island

Mele vodopadi na Efateu-Mele Cascade Waterfalls on Efate Island

Mestani pripremaju hranu-Natives preparing food

Mestani pripremaju hranu-Natives preparing food

Pijaca-A marketplace

Pijaca-A marketplace

Pogled na glavni grad Port Vila sa ostrva Iririki-A view of the capital Port Vila from the Iririki Island

Pogled na glavni grad Port Vila sa ostrva Iririki-A view of the capital Port Vila from the Iririki Island

Sa plantaze kafe-From the coffee plantation

Sa plantaze kafe-From the coffee plantation

Zalazak sunca-A sunset

Zalazak sunca-A sunset

Zene i deca plemena Jakel na ostrvu Tana-Women and children of the Yakel tribe, Tanna Island

Zene i deca plemena Jakel na ostrvu Tana-Women and children of the Yakel tribe, Tanna Island

Državu Vanuatu, do pre tridesetak godina britansko-francusku koloniju Novi
Hebridi, čini grupacija od osamdeset tri ostrva u Melaneziji, u južnom
Pacifiku, od kojih je najveći broj nenastanjen. Ono što vas na aerodromu
odmah obraduje jeste lokalna folklorna grupa, sa veoma prijatnom muzikom
pacifičkih predela, kao i natpis da je ova zemlja izglasana za najsrećniju
na svetu u 2006. godini. To se zaista od prvog trenutka oseća i zapaža na
licima ovih ljudi koji su uvek nasmejani i ljubazni, a za kriminal kao da
nikada nisu ni čuli. Iako više nego skroman, ekonomski status sigurno
doprinosi nekim negativnim društvenim pojavama, kojih ovde skoro i da nema.
Setio sam se da sam se, odmah po završetku studija medicine, dugo dopisivao
sa lokalnim ministarstvom zdravlja, kome su bili potrebni lekari posle
sticanja nezavisnosti. Moram priznati da sam se ipak, posle toliko godina,
zapitao kako bih podneo toliku udaljenost i izolaciju, makar i u prijatnom
okruženju. Glavni gradić Port Vila, na ostrvu Efate, i danas ima samo
nekoliko asfaltiranih ulica u centru, nekoliko dobrih restorana sa
francusko-kreolskom kuhinjom i nekoliko boljih hotela, dok sva ta
infrastruktura nedostaje na ostalim ostrvima.
Ono što se, međutim, može doživeti u ovoj zemlji znatno prevazilazi sva
očekivanja, posebno odlazak na ostrvo Tana, mada su i ostrva Pentekost i
Espirito Santo posebna po svojim lepotama. Na Tani se nalazi živi i veoma
aktivni vulkan Jasur, koji je poznat po tome što se vozilom može stići skoro
do samog oboda kratera. Već u podnožju vas čeka dobrodošlica sa pesmom
Vanuatu people are friendly…, ali meštani se veoma retko upuštaju u dalju
avanturu odlaska ka vulkanu, osim vodiča. Potpuno razumljivo, jer stravičan
prizor stalnog izbacivanja užarenog kamenja i pečurki gustog dima samo je
ponekome podnošljiv događaj, posebno kad padne mrak, a pred vama se odvija
spektakularan vatromet uz zaglušujuću tutnjavu iz grotla, kao padanje bombi
u daljini. Nekoliko desetina metara ispod, nalazi se jedinstveno sanduče
vulkanske pošte, u koje se može ubaciti razglednica. Dobio sam je.
Drugi jedinstveni događaj je poseta lokalnim plemenima i upoznavanje sa
njihovom kulturom i običajima, ali poseta u kojoj ste skoro sasvim sami, uz
saznanje da je kanibalizam ovde do skora bio normalna pojava. Njihov trud,
ljubaznost i mogućnost da celo selo izvodi čitave rituale i plesove samo za
vas, taj spektakl ipak čine posebnim. I na kraju, poseta izolovanom plemenu
Jakel koje živi kao u prvobitnoj zajednici. Njihov ples na prostranom
utabanom platou ispod džinovskog banjan drveta u koje ulaze i na kome prave
kućice, čini ovu posetu nezaboravnom. I još kad vam vodič, kome je samo
najintimniji deo tela oskudno umotan u slamu i upravljen na gore, kaže da se
upravo vratio iz Londona, gde je bio kod princa Filipa, da je najteže podneo
hladnoću i cipele, nađete se začuđeni i pitate kako. Odgovor je: ”Kulturna
razmena”!
To je britanska formula za dugo i snažno održavanje tradicionalnih
kolonijalnih veza.

Februar 2008.
________________________________________________________

A group of 83 mostly uninhabited islands in Melanesia in the South Pacific
comprise the state of Vanuatu which used to be a British-French colony,
called the New Hebrides until some 30 years ago. As soon as you get to the
airport you are nicely surprised by a local folklore troupe, playing some
very pleasing music from the Pacific region as well as a board saying that
Vanuatu was voted the happiest place in the world in 2006. This can really
be felt right from the start and is showing on people’s faces, they are
always smiling and kind; as far as crime is concerned, it is like no one has
a clue what that is. Even though the very modest economic standing of the
country certainly contributes to some antisocial behaviour, it barely exists
here. I remembered how, immediately upon my graduation in Medicine, I
started a long stream of correspondence with the local Ministry of Health
who were recruiting doctors following the gaining of independence of the
country. I have to admit, that many years later, I asked myself how I would
have coped with such isolation and being so removed from everywhere else,
notwithstanding the pleasant surroundings. Even today the capital city of
Port Vila on the Efate Island has only a few tarmacked streets in the
centre, a handful of good restaurants with French-Creole cuisine and a few
good hotels, while this infrastructure is lacking on all other islands.
Yet, what you can experience in this country surpasses all expectations;
especially on the island of Tanna, even though the islands of Pentecost and
Espirito Santo are also special in their beauty. On the island of Tanna
there is a live and very active volcano, Yasur, known for the fact that it
is possible to come to the edge of its crater by car. Already at the foot of
the volcano you are greeted by a song Vanuatu people are friendly., however
local people very rarely engage in the adventure of visiting the volcano,
except for the guide. That is completely understandable, because the
terrible scene of burning stones being belched out and mushrooms of thick
smoke coming out constantly is an event that few can tolerate; especially
after dark falls and you witness a spectacular fireworks accompanied with
the unbearable rumble coming from the depths of the crater, like bombs being
dropped nearby. A few dozen meters below is a peculiar mailbox for ‘volcanic
post’ where you can drop your postcard. I actually received it at home.
Another unique experience is a visit to local tribes and getting to know
their culture and customs; yet it is a visit on your own with the full
knowledge that cannibalism used to be a normal occurrence here until
recently. Yet the locals are kind and put an effort into their performance;
the fact that the entire village performs their rituals and dances just for
you sets this spectacle apart from the rest. And finally a visit to an
isolated tribe that live like in prehistoric times. Their dance on the
spacious well-trodden clearing under a gigantic banyan tree into which they
enter and make small huts inside, made this visit unforgettable. And then
the guide, whose private parts only are barely wrapped in straw and sticking
upwards, tells you that he just returned from London where he met Prince
Philip and how the most difficult bits for him to endure were the cold and
wearing shoes, you feel dumbfounded and ask yourself ‘how is this possible?’
The answer is ‘cultural exchange’.
That is obviously the British formula for maintaining strong colonial bonds
for a long time.

February 2008

UZBEKISTAN – UZBEKISTAN – O`ZBEKISTON

Centar glavnog grada-Central Tashkent

Centar glavnog grada-Central Tashkent

Gur-e Amir, Samarkand

Gur-e Amir, Samarkand

Ispred dzamije u Taskentu-In front of the Tashkent Mosque

Ispred dzamije u Taskentu-In front of the Tashkent Mosque

Madrasa of Ulugh Beg, Registan, Samarkand

Madrasa of Ulugh Beg, Registan, Samarkand

Mir-e 'Arab madrasa and Kalan minaret, Bukhara

Mir-e ‘Arab madrasa and Kalan minaret, Bukhara

Mir-e 'Arab madrasa, Bukhara

Mir-e ‘Arab madrasa, Bukhara

Mladenci u Hivi-Newlyweds in Khiva

Mladenci u Hivi-Newlyweds in Khiva

Na izletu u grad-On the trip to the city

Na izletu u grad-On the trip to the city

Ostaci Aralskog mora - The reminders of the Aral sea

Ostaci Aralskog mora – The reminders of the Aral sea

Ostaci Aralskog mora-The reminders of the Aral Sea

Ostaci Aralskog mora-The reminders of the Aral Sea

Pogled na pustinjski grad i tvrdjavu Hiva-A view of the desert city and the citadel of Khiva

Pogled na pustinjski grad i tvrdjavu Hiva-A view of the desert city and the citadel of Khiva

Registan-srce Centralne Azije i dinastije Timurida-Registan-the heart of Central Asia and Timurid dynasty

Registan-srce Centralne Azije i dinastije Timurida-Registan-the heart of Central Asia and Timurid dynasty

Skraceni minaret u Hivi-Short minaret in Khiva

Skraceni minaret u Hivi-Short minaret in Khiva

Tradicionalna igra narda-Narda, a traditional game

Tradicionalna igra narda-Narda, a traditional game

Tradicionalni restoran u Buhari-A traditional restaurant in Bukhara

Tradicionalni restoran u Buhari-A traditional restaurant in Bukhara

Tvrdjava u Buhari - Bukhara citadel

Tvrdjava u Buhari – Bukhara citadel

Tvrdjava u Buhari-Bukhara citadel

Tvrdjava u Buhari-Bukhara citadel

Velika dzamija u Buhari i Kalan minaret-The Great Mosque with the Kalan minaret, Bukhara

Velika dzamija u Buhari i Kalan minaret-The Great Mosque with the Kalan minaret, Bukhara

Zene u tradicionalnoj odeci isred dzamije u Buhari - Women in traditional clothes in front of the mosque in Bukhara

Zene u tradicionalnoj odeci isred dzamije u Buhari – Women in traditional clothes in front of the mosque in Bukhara

Osećam se kao da sam u nekom prethodnom životu već živeo u ovoj zemlji. Kao
da sam prolazio kroz Buharu i Samarkand u XII veku kao prodavac tepiha ili
začina, a, možda, i pesnik na dvoru amira Timura, harizmatičnog vladara ovih
predela, čija se teritorija protezala od Moskve do Indije. Njegov unuk je
stvorio Mogulsko carstvo, koje je zauzelo veću polovinu Azije, a, opet,
njegov unuk je sagradio maestralnu građevinu za sva  vremena, Tadž Mahal.
Amir Timur je zbog toga ovde više nego kralj, on je simbol moći ovog naroda
koja je tokom vekova izbledela, ali koja je ostala da lebdi među modroplavim
i tirkiznim zidovima džamija i medresa iz njegovog vremena. Bila je to moć
koja se teško može zamisliti i razumeti jer je bila ogromna i neograničena.
Amir Timur, međutim, nije bio samo jedan od sedmorice najmoćnijih vojskovođa
sveta, već i učeni čovek svog vremena, koji je na svom dvoru razvijao
astronomiju, književnost i nauku. Tu je samo posmatranjem i pomoću astrolaba
otkriveno dve hiljade novih zvezda, koje je mnogo kasnije zabeležio Galilej
i ostali evropski astronomi. U Buhari je tada živeo nadaleko poznati lekar
Ibn Sina, poznatiji kao Avicena, koji je napisao Medicinski kanon i postavio
osnove te nauke.
Buhara, Samarkand i pustinjska tvrđava Hiva plene svojom neobičnom lepotom,
koja se još jedino može videti u persijskoj arhitekturi tog vremena. Hiva je
grad muzej na otvorenom prostoru, veliko utvrđenje u kome su vladari
vekovima gradili džamije, medrese, palate i ogromne minarete, koji su imali
posebnu svrhu: da svojom veličinom pokažu moć, ali i lepotu, da se sa njih
osmatra teritorija, ali i za ritualno kažnjavanje osuđenih na smrt, bacanjem
sa vrha. Tako je stradao i arhitekta minareta koji je trebalo da bude
najveći, ali je ostao nedovršen i zato nazvan Kratki minaret ili
Kalta-Minor. Za utehu, lokalni vladar ili kan, otišao bi do balkona na kome
su ga čekale novodošle konkubine. Ako nije znao za koju da se odluči, bacio
bi jabuku ka njima, pa koja bi imala sreće da je uhvati, bila je njegova te
noći. Ti magični gradovi puni su takvih priča, što su i Priče iz hiljadu i
jedne noći. Stvarnost je sigurno bila drugačija za obične ljude, a
definitivno se promenila nastankom sovjetskog Uzbekistana posle Oktobarske
revolucije. Iako ih je carska Rusija mirno zauzela još polovinom XIX veka,
Uzbeci se nikada nisu potpuno navikli na rusku dominaciju, ali joj se nisu
mnogo ni protivili. Danas se čvrsta vlast veoma oseća u zemlji, ali zato je
sve mirno, uređeno, čisto i oslobođeno svakog kriminala. Nisam skoro boravio
u nekoj tako čistoj zemlji i sa tako prijatnim ljudima.
Na krajnjem severu šetam po pesku koji je nekada bio dno Aralskog jezera,
ili mora, zbog njegove slane vode. Oko mene je groblje brodskih olupina koje
nemo svedoče o trenucima kada su plovili po vodi. Vode, međutim, ovde više
nema i jezero je skoro nestalo za pola veka. U to vreme, da bi omogućili
navodnjavanje pustinje, Sovjeti su izgradili čitavu mrežu irigacionih
kanala, koji su vodu reke Amu Darja sproveli velikim delom u pustinju, tako
da je Aralsko jezero postepeno ostajalo bez vode. Uskoro ga uopšte neće biti
i, kažu, da mu nema spasa. Nestajale su tako dinastije, carevine se gubile,
vladari odlazili, pa zašto ne bi jedno jezero promenilo geografsku kartu? I
sve se to zbiva u uzbečkoj republici čudnog imena Karakalpakstan; ako bismo
to preveli sa turskog, to bi značilo Zemlja crnih kapa, kako su je nazvali
ruski istraživači u XIX veku kad su ugledali ljude sa crnim kapama koji su
nekada tamo živeli.
Aralsko more žrtvovano je radi zelenih žitnih polja, čitavi narodi za ideje,
ali grad Samarkand je izdržao sve žrtve iz prošlosti i za sva vremena ostao
simbol Orijenta.

Maj 2010.
_____________________________________________________

I feel like I had already lived in this country in a former life. Maybe I
passed through Bukhara and Samarkand in the 12th century as a carpet or
spice merchant, or maybe I was a poet at the court of Amir Timur, the
charismatic ruler of this region, whose empire stretched from Moscow to
India. His grandson created the Mughal Empire, conquering the better half of
Asia, whereas his grandson in turn, built the majestic Taj Mahal to stand in
eternity.
Because of all of that, Amir Timur is regarded as more than a king here, he
is the symbol of this nation’s power which has diminished over the
centuries, and yet it still lingers between the azure and turquoise walls of
the mosques and madrasahs from his time. It is very hard to imagine and
understand this kind of power because it was immense and limitless. However,
Amir Timur was not only one of the seven greatest warriors of all times, he
was also one of the most learned men of his time, cultivating the learning
of astronomy, literature and science at his court. Here, only through
observation and with the help of an astrolabe, two thousand new stars were
identified, documented much later by Galileo and other European astronomers.
The famous doctor Ibn Sina, better known as Avicenna lived in Bukhara at the
time; he wrote The Canon of Medicine and established the foundations of this
science.
Bukhara, Samarkand and the desert fortress of Khiva are fascinating in their
unusual beauty which can only be found in the Persian architecture from that
period. Khiva is a museum city in the open, a huge fortress within which
rulers have built through the centuries – mosques, madrasahs, palaces and
tall minarets, which had a special purpose, to personify power but also
beauty with their size, to be used as observation points, but also for the
ritual punishment by throwing those condemned to death from its top. That is
how the architect of the tallest minaret ended up – this was supposed to be
the biggest minaret but it remained unfinished and was thus called
Kalta-Minor, or the Short Minaret. In turn, a local ruler or Khan would seek
solace by going to the balcony where newly arrived concubines were waiting
for him. If he could not make up his mind as to which one to choose, he
would throw an apple to them, so whichever one was lucky to catch it, would
spend the night with him. These magical cities are full of such stories;
they are also the stories of The Arabian Nights. The reality was quite
different, for sure, for the ordinary people and it changed profoundly with
the establishment of the Soviet Uzbekistan after the October Revolution.
Even though they were conquered peacefully by the Russian Empire in the
mid-19th century, the Uzbeks never really accepted Russian domination, but
neither did they rebel against it. Today the strong grip of the state rule
is felt everywhere in the country, but that is why everything is peaceful,
orderly and clean and free of any crime. I cannot remember visiting a
country as clean as this one and with people as friendly as here.
In the far north of the country, I walk on the sand which used to be the
bottom of the Aral Lake, or the Aral Sea as it is called because of its
salty water. Around me is the cemetery of derelict ships standing as mute
witnesses to the time when they were used at sea. Yet, there is no water
here anymore and the lake all but disappeared in half a century. At the
time, in order to bring water to the desert, the Soviets built an entire
network of irrigation canals taking the large part of the water of Amu Darya
River to the desert, so that the Aral Lake was gradually left without water.
Soon it will disappear completely, it is said, there is no way of saving it.
Entire dynasties vanished, empires were lost and rulers departed, so why
wouldn’t one lake change the map? And all this is happening in an Uzbek
republic with a strange name – Karakalpakstan; if we translated this from
Turkish, it would mean The Land of the Black Caps, as it was called by the
Russian explorers in the 19th century when they saw people who lived there
wearing black caps.
The Aral Sea was sacrificed for green fields of wheat, entire nations were
sacrificed for ideas, but the city of Samarkand withstood all the past
sacrifices and remained a symbol of the Orient for all times.

May 2010

URUGVAJ – URUGUAY

Katedrala u Montevideu-The Cathedral in Montevideo

Katedrala u Montevideu-The Cathedral in Montevideo

Najstarije pozoriste Solis-The oldest theatre-Teatro Solis

Najstarije pozoriste Solis-The oldest theatre-Teatro Solis

Oldtajmer u predgradju-An oldtimer in the suburb

Oldtajmer u predgradju-An oldtimer in the suburb

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of the capital

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of the capital

Poster prvog Svetskog prvenstva u fudbalu-The poster of the First World Cup

Poster prvog Svetskog prvenstva u fudbalu-The poster of the First World Cup

Punta del Este

Punta del Este

Tvrdjava iznad zaliva Montevideo-Fortaleza del Cerro overlooking the Bay of Montevideo

Tvrdjava iznad zaliva Montevideo-Fortaleza del Cerro overlooking the Bay of Montevideo

Zeleznicka stanica u Montevideu-Montevideo railway station

Zeleznicka stanica u Montevideu-Montevideo railway station

Zgrada Parlamenta-Palacio Legislativo-The Uruguayan Parliament

Zgrada Parlamenta-Palacio Legislativo-The Uruguayan Parliament

Spomenik nacionalnom heroju Hoze Artigasu - Monument of the national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas

Spomenik nacionalnom heroju Hoze Artigasu – Monument of the national hero Jose Gervasio Artigas

Palata Salvo na Trgu nezavisnosti - Salvo Palace at Plaza Independencia

Palata Salvo na Trgu nezavisnosti – Salvo Palace at Plaza Independencia

Istorijski spomenik - Historical monument La Carreta

Istorijski spomenik – Historical monument La Carreta

Uvek sam se pitao zašto je pravilan naziv Istočna Republika Urugvaj i zašto
Urugvajce nazivaju “istočnjacima” kad se država nalazi na zapadu. U stvari,
ona je na istočnoj strani Južne Amerike i istočnoj strani reke Urugvaj. Ime
potiče od starosedelaca i znači “reka gde žive obojene ptice”.
U glavni grad Montevideo najčešće se stiže ogromnim i brzim katamaranom
preko Srebrne reke Río de la Plata iz susednog Buenos Ajresa, kao što sam i
ja učinio zajedno sa svojim kolegom i prijateljem Radmilom Rončevićem. Odmah
vas opčini prijatna atmosfera neposrednosti i jednostavnosti, dopunjena
blagim ukusom kubanskog uticaja, posebno u starom gradu Ciudad Vieja. Sve se
vremenom menja, pa je i stari grad poprimio obrise centra gradskog noćnog
života.
Mnogo je vremena proteklo da bi se neko sećao prvog svetskog fudbalskog kupa
u Montevideu 1930. godine, ali je on ipak bio nezaobilazni događaj u tom
sportu u kome se pamte legendarni golovi iz tih dana. Jugoslavija je bila
jedna od četiri evropske zemlje koje su se tamo takmičile i ušla je u
finale. Dok sam posmatrao čuveni Estadio Centenario, pomislio sam koliki to
mora da je bio uspeh za ono vreme, a koji nam je i danas nedostižan. Srpski
film reditelja Dragana Bjelogrlića Montevideo, bog te video, koji romantično
govori o tim događajima, doživeo je svoju premijeru tačno osamdeset godina
kasnije u Beogradu.
Palata Salvo je najzanimljivija građevina u starom gradu, podignuta na mestu
nekadašnje poslastičarnice La Giralda, gde je Gerardo Matos Rodríguez 1917.
godine komponovao najpoznatiji tango svih vremena La Cumparsita, što u
prevodu znači mala parada. Stari snimci te tango himne kao da me vraćaju u
doba imigracije u Južnu Ameriku u vreme oko Prvog svetskog rata, kada je
tango na ovim prostorima stvarala niža klasa. Ne sme se, naravno, zbog Male
parade ni pomisliti da je Urugvaj kolevka tanga, zato što je veliki sused
Argentina odavno prisvojila tu titulu. Urugvajci su, ipak, omiljeniji u
južnoameričkom svetu, a oba naroda imaju specifične i veoma slične naglaske.
Voleo sam da posmatram neobične modele oldtajmera dok prolaze uličicama
gradića Colonia del Sacramento koji se nalazi na Uneskovoj listi, ili starim
delovima Montevidea, pored teatra Solis ili spomenika nacionalnom heroju
koji se zvao Hoze Artigas. Umro je u izbeglištvu, u dubokoj starosti,
polovinom XIX veka, a da nije ostvario svoje ciljeve. Kažu da je tražio
sedlo da bi, kao gaučo, umro na konju. Poznato je da Urugvajci imaju neki
specifičan ponos, kao i tugu u pogledu.
Mondensko poluostrvo Punta del Este ili južnoamerički Monte Karlo znatno se
razlikuje od ostalog dela zemlje po raskošnim vilama bogataša i poznatih
ličnosti sveta estrade, ogromnim turističkim brodovima kruzerima koji ovde
pristaju, prostranim peščanim plažama i lukom u kojoj su usidrene luksuzne
jahte, ali i kolonije dobroćudnih morskih lavova. Pre pola veka ovde su
dolazili Frenk Sinatra i Din Martin, a danas Madona, Banderas i mnogi drugi.
Urugvaj ima neku posebnu privlačnost koju svet odavno oseća i koja ga čini
drugačijim.

Novembar 1998.
_____________________________________________________

I always asked myself why the correct name for Uruguay was the Eastern
Republic of Uruguay and why Uruguayans were called ‘the Easterners’ when the
country itself is in the West. In fact, it is situated on the East coast of
South America and on the East bank of the Uruguay River. The name itself
originated from the aborigines in whose language it means ‘the river where
colourful birds live.’
Most often the capital city Montevideo is reached by a huge and fast
catamaran across the River Plate, Río de la Plata, from neighbouring Buenos
Aires, as I reached it together with my friend and colleague Radmilo
Rončević. You are immediately struck by a pleasant atmosphere of openness
and simplicity, complemented by a Cuban flavour, especially in the old city
- Ciudad Vieja. Everything changes, so even the Old City has started to look
like a night life hot spot.

It was too long ago for anyone to remember – the first Football World Cup in
Montevideo in 1930; yet it was an all-important event in this sport and
those legendary goals are still remembered. Yugoslavia was one of the four
European countries that competed and got into the finals. While I looked at
the famous Estadio Centenario (Centenario Stadium), I thought how
significant this success was at the time and how it is not within our reach
today. Exactly 80 years later, a Serbian film by a film director Dragan
Bjelogrlić, Montevideo, bog te video, depicting those events in a romantic
fashion, had its premiere in Belgrade.
Salvo Palace is the most interesting building in the Old City, built on the
site of the old patisserie La Giralda, where in 1917 Gerardo Matos Rodríguez
composed the most famous tango of all times, La Cumparsita, meaning ‘the
little parade’. The old recordings of this tango anthem transport me to
Latin America at the time when massive immigration took place, around the
time of the First World War, and tango in this region used to be created by
society’s lower classes. Yet, it is not allowable to think that Uruguay is
the home of the tango because of ‘the little parade’; the mighty neighbour,
Argentina, has claimed that title long ago. Yet, Uruguayans are more liked
in the Latin American world where both the Argentinians and the Uruguayans
have a very peculiar, yet similar accent.
I liked to watch the unusual makes of old timers passing down the narrow
streets of a small town Colonia del Sacramento, which is listed in UNESCO’s
World Heritage Fund, or in the old parts of Montevideo, next to Solis
Theatre or near the monument of the national hero José Artigas. He died at a
very old age in exile in the mid-19th century without fullfiling his goals.
It is said that he asked for a saddle so that he could die as a gaucho,
while riding a horse. It is well known that the Uruguayans have a particular
pride as well as a certain sadness in their eyes.
The fashionable peninsular resort of Punta del Este, the so-called South
American Monte Carlo, differs conspicuously from the rest of the country,
mostly because of the opulent villas of rich people and world famous
celebrities, but also the huge tourist cruisers which stop here, the vast
sandy beaches and a port in which luxurious yachts are moored, as well as
the colonies of benevolent sea lions. Half a century ago, Dean Martin and
Frank Sinatra visited here, and now it is Madonna, Antonio Banderas and many
others.
Uruguay possesses a special attractiveness, which was acknowledged by the
rest of the world a long time ago; it just makes that difference.

November 1998

UKRAJINA – UKRAINE – УКРАÏНА

Turisticki tramvaj u Dnjepropetrovsku-A tourist tram in Dniepropetrovsk

Turisticki tramvaj u Dnjepropetrovsku-A tourist tram in Dniepropetrovsk

Crkva Svetog Andreja u Kijevu-St. Andrew's Church, Kiev

Crkva Svetog Andreja u Kijevu-St. Andrew’s Church, Kiev

Crkva Svetog Vladimira u antickom gradu Hersonesu na Krimu - St. Vladimir's Cathedral overlooks the excavations of Chersonesus, Crimea

Crkva Svetog Vladimira u antickom gradu Hersonesu na Krimu – St. Vladimir’s Cathedral overlooks the excavations of Chersonesus, Crimea

Crkva Svetog Vladimira u antickom gradu Hersonesu na Krimu-St. Vladimir's Cathedral overlooks the excavations of Chersonesus, Crimea

Crkva Svetog Vladimira u antickom gradu Hersonesu na Krimu-St. Vladimir’s Cathedral overlooks the excavations of Chersonesus, Crimea

Inkermanski manastir Svetog Klimenta-The Inkerman Monastery of St. Clement

Inkermanski manastir Svetog Klimenta-The Inkerman Monastery of St. Clement

Kijevsko-Pecerska lavra-The Kiev Monastery of the Caves

Kijevsko-Pecerska lavra-The Kiev Monastery of the Caves

Klupa sa Lenjinom u natprirodnoj velicini-A bench with Lenin's oversized statue

Klupa sa Lenjinom u natprirodnoj velicini-A bench with Lenin’s oversized statue

Livadijski dvorac na Krimu-Livadia Palace in Crimea

Livadijski dvorac na Krimu-Livadia Palace in Crimea

Manastir Svetog Mihajla sa zlatnim kupolama-St. Michael's Golden-Domed Cathedral

Manastir Svetog Mihajla sa zlatnim kupolama-St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral

Moja majka ispred spomenika slovenskim prosvetiteljima Ciriju i Metodiju u Kijevu-My mother in front of the Monument of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs

Moja majka ispred spomenika slovenskim prosvetiteljima Ciriju i Metodiju u Kijevu-My mother in front of the Monument of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Apostles to the Slavs

Na ulazu u kucu A. P. Cehova - At the entrance to Chekhov's house

Na ulazu u kucu A. P. Cehova – At the entrance to Chekhov’s house

Na ulazu u kucu A. P. Cehova-At the entrance to Chekhov's house

Na ulazu u kucu A. P. Cehova-At the entrance to Chekhov’s house

Palata Alupka u podnozju Krimskih planina-Alupka (Vorontsov) Palace at the foot of the Crimean Mountains

Palata Alupka u podnozju Krimskih planina-Alupka (Vorontsov) Palace at the foot of the Crimean Mountains

Pogled na Kijevsko-Pecersku lavru i reku Dnjepar-A view of the Monastery of the Caves and the Dnieper River

Pogled na Kijevsko-Pecersku lavru i reku Dnjepar-A view of the Monastery of the Caves and the Dnieper River

Saborna crkva Sv. Vladimira u Kijevu-St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev

Saborna crkva Sv. Vladimira u Kijevu-St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kiev

Setaliste kraj mora u Sevastopolju-Artillery Bay, Sevastopol

Setaliste kraj mora u Sevastopolju-Artillery Bay, Sevastopol

Stari trolejbus - An old trolley bus

Stari trolejbus – An old trolley bus

Stari trolejbus-An old trolley bus

Stari trolejbus-An old trolley bus

Kao ljubitelj starih prevoznih sredstava sa nestrpljenjem sam ušao u glomazan ruski trolejbus iz pedesetih godina, koji vozi na najdužoj liniji te vrste u svetu, oko osamdeset kilometara, izmedju Simferopolja i Jalte na poluostrvu Krim. Jedan je od retkih koji se zadržao među trolejbusima novije generacije, ali sam baš njega čekao i, možda, malo zamorio svoju majku, koja se sigurno pitala zašto baš taj najstariji (ali i najudobniji). Kao da je lebdeo na toj relaciji, malo se zamarajući na uzbrdicama, ali i klizeći bešumno nadole.
U glavnom gradu Kijevu, na brdu iznad Dnjepra, nalazi se devet vekova star crkveni kompleks Kijev-Pečerske lavre, koji svojim nebesko plavim crkvama, sa zlatnim kupolama i vrhovima, dominira gradom, kao i Saborna crkva Svete Sofije, crkva Svetog Andreja i mnoge druge.
Krenuli smo potom duž ogromne reke Dnjepar, najpre u Dnjepropetrovsk. To je bio grad teške industrije i skoro zatvoren za posete u vreme velikog Sovjetskog Saveza, a danas su metalurški kombinati na volšeban način prešli u ruke privatnika, koji su od toga napravili svoje imperije i postali nedodirljivi. Naš prijatelj i domaćin Miško Prokić godinama posmatra te promene radeći za nove vlasnike, ali ipak, u svom iskonskom poštenju, nije naučio kako da se sam dovoljno obogati. Previše je rizičnih radnji koje vode do takvog bogatstva, a koje su neki od tih bogataša pretočili u lične gradske komplekse, koji više liče na zabavne parkove bez stila i u koje je uložen neverovatan kapital. Sva ta parada kiča novonastalih tajkuna, zajedno sa dugonogim lepoticama, pruža delimično sliku moderne Ukrajine. Ona druga strana je njena istorija i kulturno nasleđe.
Sa trema kuće Antona Pavloviča Čehova, nedaleko od Jalte, posmatram onu istu pučinu koju je i on gledao pišući Tri sestre na ovom mestu. Ali je i nosio svoju lekarsku torbu, koja je takođe tu. I klavir na kome je svirao Rahmanjinov tokom poetskih večeri na kojima se skupljala ruska intelektualna elita onog vremena. ˝Medicina je moja zakonita žena, a literatura ljubavnica˝, jednom je rekao Čehov.
Put kroz istoriju Krima najpre me je doveo na klupu sa Lenjinom u pomalo natprirodnoj veličini, jer veliki Lenjin je svakako morao biti viši od običnog čoveka, što u stvarnosti nikako nije bio. U obližnjem Livadijskom dvorcu Romanovih, tokom Konferencije na Jalti 1945. godine, njegov neslavni naslednik Staljin krojio je posleratnu sudbinu sveta sa Čerčilom i Ruzveltom, dok je današnja sudbina crnomorske flote u Sevastopolju predmet rasprava između Rusije i Ukrajine.
Toliko različitih doživljaja na tako malom prostoru kao što je Krim čini to poluostrvo skoro državom u državi, a da nisam ni pomenuo Odesu, Simferopolj, mali zamak na steni koji se naziva Lastavičje gnezdo, pa ni krimska vina. Čak ni Potemkinova sela, koja su preko noći nicala na caričinom putu za Krim, a potom završila u istorijskoj izreci.
Ona danas predstavljaju novu ukrajinsku realnost.

Jun 2004.
________________________________________________________________

This one is a rare ancient specimen among the new models, but I wanted to wait for this particular trolley bus, perhaps making my mother tired in the process; she must have asked herself why we had to get on the oldest trolley bus (but at the same time, the most comfortable one). During our ride we appeared to just float above the ground, the engine getting a bit tired when going uphill, but gliding effortlessly downhill without a sound.
In the capital Kiev, on a hill above the Dnieper River a 900 year old church complex, Kiev Pechersk lavra is to be found, dominating the city with its sky blue churches with golden domes and towers; Saint Sophia Cathedral and Saint Andrew’s Church are also prominent, among many others in this city.
Then we cruised along the immense Dnieper River, first to Dniepropetrovsk. This used to be a city of heavy industry, closed to foreigners during the grand Soviet era, and today those heavy industry plants have magically got into private hands –providing their owners with untouchable empires. Our friend and host Miško Prokić has been observing this change for years working for these new owners, but being honest as he is, he did not accumulate wealth himself. There are too many risky routes leading to this wealth, which was used by some oligarchs to build entire private cities, resembling amusement parks with no style; enormous capital has been injected into them. The kitsch parade of newly made tycoons, together with long legged beauties, provides a partial picture of modern Ukraine. The other side of the coin is Ukraine’s history and cultural heritage.
From the porch of the house that used to belong to Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, near Yalta, I gaze at the same open sea he must have been looking at while writing ‘Three Sisters’. But he also carried with him his doctor’s bag – and I can see it here too. Also the piano on which Rachmaninoff played during recitals that gathered the Russian intellectual elite of that time. Chekhov once said: ‘Medicine is my lawful wife and literature is my mistress.’
My travels to the important historical sites in Ukraine led me first to a bench with Lenin’s oversized statue sitting on it; the Great Lenin had to be taller than the average man, which in reality he wasn’t at all. In a nearby Romanov castle called Livadia, where the Yalta Conference was held in 1945, his infamous successor Stalin was deciding the fate of the post war world with Churchill and Roosevelt, while today the fate of the Back Sea fleet in Sevastopole is the subject of grave discussions between Russia and Ukraine.
So many different experiences in such a small place – this makes the Crimean Peninsula almost a state within a state; and I have not even mentioned Odessa, Simferopol, a small castle on top of a rock called the ‘Swallow’s Nest’, or even Crimean wines. Or the Potemkin villages which sprang up overhinght on the Empress’ way to Crimea and ended up in a famous saying.
Today they are the new reality of Ukraine.

June 2004

UJEDINJENI ARAPSKI EMIRATI – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة‎

Spomenik topu u Abu Dabiju-Canon Square, Abu Dhabi

Spomenik topu u Abu Dabiju-Canon Square, Abu Dhabi

U pescanim dinama-In the sand dunes

U pescanim dinama-In the sand dunes

Vodeni prolaz - Dubai Creek

Vodeni prolaz – Dubai Creek

Vodeni prolaz-Dubai Creek

Vodeni prolaz-Dubai Creek

Zalazak sunca na Dzumeiri-Sunset at Madinat Jumeirah

Zalazak sunca na Dzumeiri-Sunset at Madinat Jumeirah

Dubai, zabava na dokovima-An Arabic party at the docks of Dubai Creek

Dubai, zabava na dokovima-An Arabic party at the docks of Dubai Creek

Izlet u pustinju-A trip to the desert

Izlet u pustinju-A trip to the desert

Luksuzni hotel Burdz el Arab - A luxury hotel-Burj Al Arab

Luksuzni hotel Burdz el Arab – A luxury hotel-Burj Al Arab

Luksuzni hotel Burdz el Arab-A luxury hotel-Burj Al Arab

Luksuzni hotel Burdz el Arab-A luxury hotel-Burj Al Arab

Najvisa zgrada na svetu Burdz Kalifa-Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

Najvisa zgrada na svetu Burdz Kalifa-Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

Pogled na plazu Dzumeira-An aerial view of Jumeirah from the Burj Al Arab

Pogled na plazu Dzumeira-An aerial view of Jumeirah from the Burj Al Arab

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai

Na pomen te zemlje, najčešće pomislimo na Dubai, najveći i najpoznatiji grad u Emiratima, arhitektonsko čudo savremenog sveta. Zato je i želja svakog graditelja da tu iskaže svoje mogućnosti, bez ikakvog ograničenja. Tu je iz peska nikla najviša zgrada na svetu, evo upravo ispred mene, ceo kilometar u visinu, a kažu da je na samom vrhu apartman vladara, šeika Al-Maktuma.
Dubai je samo jedan od sedam Emirata, od kojih je Abu Dabi takođe poznat i, što je još važnije, poseduje naftu koju Dubai nema. Zato je svojim gotovim novcem uspeo da spase ekonomiju Dubaija koja se, do vremena velike krize 2009. godine, razvijala uglavnom na kreditima. Idealan spoj malih emirata izniklih iz pustinjskog peska, koji su, poput sokola, za samo nekoliko decenija dotakli sam vrh svetskog razvoja i postali simbol bogatstva.
Kad se u smiraj dana slegnu te razvojne potrebe i probudi beduinski duh, ovi novi nomadi sednu u svoja tehnološki napredna vozila i odu negde daleko u pustinju, i to što dalje, pa  čak dotle da ne vide sveprisutne naftovode; tu razapnu svoj šator i samo gledaju u daljinu. Poneko pusti sokola ili uzjaše kamilu, tek toliko da ga prođe želja. Nije ipak bilo tako davno kada su njihovi očevi samo to posedovali.
Danas sigurno imaju mnogo više nego što im je potrebno, ali nemaju više onu beduinsku slobodu koju vole i koju traže vikendom u pustinji. Kamile su zamenili ogromni japanski džipovi kojima luduju po peščanim dinama, sokolove privatni avioni kojima vode žene u kupovinu u London. Kao da već nemaju sve u ogromnim tržnim centrima, izgrađenim od bleštavog belog mermera.
U težnji za davnim vremenima i tradicijom, savremena arhitektura ovog grada sve više ističe arapsko nasleđe, pa se čitava nova naselja i hotelski kompleksi grade tako da iz daljine izgledaju kao stari pustinjski gradovi sa kućama od blata. To je ipak prijatnije gledati nego neumoljive oblakodere koji se samo podižu da bi sustigli jedni druge u tom suludom takmičenju u visini i bizarnim obličjima.
Ovom prilikom nisam tu došao da bih razgledao Dubai jer sam u njemu već nekoliko puta boravio. Ovde sada živi moj stari prijatelj i brat Nenad Pandudović zvani Stanislav (prema liku iz predstave Radovan III), koji mi godinama verno ispunjava želje i omogućava da obiđem zemlje u koje se ne ulazi lako. Priroda njegovog avanturističkog posla u avijaciji u kriznim žarištima, mnogo puta je doprinela da obiđem neke države u koje bih teško dospeo bez njegove pomoći. Ovoga puta to su Irak i Avganistan.
I zato, dok pišem ove redove u zapuštenom avganistanskom konzulatu čekajući vizu, beskrajno sam mu zahvalan na tome.

Avgust 2009.
_____________________________________________________________________________

At the mention of this country we most often think of Dubai, the biggest and most famous city in the Emirates, the architectural wonder of the modern world. That is why every architect wants to showcase their work here and without any limitations. Here, right in front of me, the tallest building in the world arises from the sand, a whole kilometre in height and it is said that the apartment of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Al-Maktoum, is at the very top.
Dubai is just one of the seven Emirates among which Abu Dhabi is also famous, and unlike Dubai, it has oil. That is how it managed to save Dubai’s economy with its cash reserves; this economy had been developing until the crisis of 2009 exclusively on borrowing. The interlinking of the small Emirates was ideal – they rose from the sand into unprecedented heights, like falcons, managing to reach the peak of the world development in only a few decades. They became a symbol of wealth.
At day’s end when the race for development slows down and the spirit of Bedouins awakens, these new nomads get into their technologically advanced vehicles and drive far away  into the desert; they want to go so far as not to see the oil pipelines which are everywhere. Then they put up their tent and just sit staring in the distance. Occasionally someone would fly their falcon or ride their camel, just to fulfil that primal desire. It wasn’t that long ago that their fathers had only that and nothing else.
Today they certainly have more than they need but they don’t have any more the freedom of the roaming Bedouins, which they miss and search for in the desert at weekends. Camels have been replaced by huge Japanese jeeps which perform mad acrobatics in the sand, and falcons have been replaced by private jets in which they take their wives shopping in London. As though they already don’t have everything in the gigantic shopping centres made of dazzling white marble.
Aspiring to evoke the olden times and the tradition, contemporary architecture of this city emphasizes more and more the Arabic heritage, so that entirely new residential and hotel complexes are built to resemble desert towns with mud huts, when seen from the distance. Yet this is more pleasing to the eye than the stern skyscrapers which are built only to surpass each other in this crazy competition of heights and bizarre shapes.
This time I did not come to Dubai for sightseeing as I have already visited several times before. My old friend and brother, Nenad Pandurović nicknamed Stanislav after a character from the play Radovan III, now lives here. For years he has faithfully fulfilled all my wishes and enabled me to enter countries which you cannot get into so easily. The adventurous nature of his job in the aviation of various regions in crisis, has helped me many times to visit some countries which I would not be able to without his help. This time they were Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hence, I write these lines while waiting for a visa in the neglected Afghan consulate feeling immensely indebted to him.

August 2009

UGANDA – UGANDA

Brzaci Belog Nila - White Nile rapids

Brzaci Belog Nila – White Nile rapids

Brzaci Belog Nila-White Nile rapids

Brzaci Belog Nila-White Nile rapids

Glavna ulica u Dzindzi-Main Street in Jinja

Glavna ulica u Dzindzi-Main Street in Jinja

Grobnice Buganda kraljeva-The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi

Grobnice Buganda kraljeva-The Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi

Hindu hram u Kampali-The Hindu Temple in Kampala

Hindu hram u Kampali-The Hindu Temple in Kampala

Lokalna zabava-Local party

Lokalna zabava-Local party

Na brzacima Belog Nila-At the White Nile rapids

Na brzacima Belog Nila-At the White Nile rapids

Na izvoru reke Nil-At the source of the river Nile

Na izvoru reke Nil-At the source of the river Nile

Obala Nila-The shore of The Nile

Obala Nila-The shore of The Nile

Ostrvo na Viktorijinom jezeru-An island on Lake Victoria

Ostrvo na Viktorijinom jezeru-An island on Lake Victoria

Ribolov na Viktorijinom jezeru-Fishing at Lake Victoria

Ribolov na Viktorijinom jezeru-Fishing at Lake Victoria

Suton na Nilu-Sunset at The Nile

Suton na Nilu-Sunset at The Nile

Tekst na izvoru Nila-Source of The Nile, text

Tekst na izvoru Nila-Source of The Nile, text

Tradicionalni ples na lokalnoj zabavi-Traditional dance at the local party

Tradicionalni ples na lokalnoj zabavi-Traditional dance at the local party

Ekvator u Ugandi na Masaka putu-The Uganda Equator on Masaka Road

Ekvator u Ugandi na Masaka putu-The Uganda Equator on Masaka Road

Nilski konji u nacionalnom parku-Hyppos in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Nilski konji u nacionalnom parku-Hyppos in Queen Elizabeth National Park

U skoli-In a local school

U skoli-In a local school

A girl-Devojcica

A girl-Devojcica

Africka goveda dugih rogova-The African longhorn cattle

Africka goveda dugih rogova-The African longhorn cattle

Jedna od mojih fascinacija je reka Nil. On nastaje spajanjem dve njegove
najveće pritoke, Belog i Plavog Nila. Ovde u Ugandi, i ne tako daleko od
glavnog grada Kampale, nalazi se izvor Belog Nila, koji je poznat po svojim
brzacima. Bio sam i na izvoru Plavog Nila u Etiopiji, kao i na mestu gde se
te dve reke spajaju u Kartumu, u Sudanu. Nil je izvor života severnog dela
Afrike, kao što je to reka Kongo za središnji, ili Zambezi za njen južni
deo. To su afričke arterije.
U jednom džunglovitom kvartu glavnog grada Kampale, u staroj kolonijalnoj
kući, ispijamo ko zna koji viski sa samoproklamovanim srpskim počasnim
konzulom, koji nam priča svoje doživljaje o prijateljstvu i podršci
gerilskom vođi, a potom predsedniku ove zemlje Joveri Museveniju u borbi
protiv nadaleko čuvenog diktatora Idi Amina. Svojim neverovatnim
rasipništvom Idi Amin Dada uspeo je da zemlju dovede do potpune propasti,
posle čega je tražio da mu Narodna banka štampa dolare. Zaratio je sa
susednim zemljama, strane diplomate primoravao da mu se klanjaju, strancima
otimao imovinu, dok na kraju svi oni nisu napustili zemlju, a priča se ni da
mu kanibalizam nije bio stran. Jedan naš muzičar učio ga je u njegovoj
palati da peva pesmu Mujo kuje konja po mjesecu jer mu se upravo ona dopala
dok je bio u poseti jugoslovenskom predsedniku Titu. I još je mnogo sličnih
anegdota o poznatom diktatoru, sve dok nije svrgnut sa vlasti, a ostatak
života mirno proveo u svojoj vili u Saudijskoj Arabiji. Toliko je davao
stranim državnicima da se verovatno nisu mnogo trudili da ga vrate u zemlju
na suđenje za nepotizam, zločine i ubistva hiljada neistomišljenika. Njegov
neobičan lik verno je prikazao Forest Viteker u filmu Poslednji škotski
kralj. Amin je bio poznat po tome da je izmišljao i prisvajao razne
kraljevske titule.
Brzaci Belog Nila odnose sećanja na ovaj neverovatni lik novije afričke
istorije. To je jedina reka koja izvire iz najvećeg tropskog jezera na
svetu, jezera Viktorija, i kreće na dugo putovanje da bi se spojila sa
svojom sestrom bliznakinjom, Plavim Nilom. Tu, na zapadnoj obali reke,
satima je zadivljen stajao Džon Spik, zagledan u izvor Nila, koji će 1862.
godine obelodaniti svetu u Kraljevskom geografskom društvu u Londonu.
Začudno je naći se na mestu odakle nešto potiče, polazi, nastaje i razvija
se do nesagledivih razmera. To je Nil, koji protiče kroz raznolike pejzaže,
dodirujući kulture kao ni jedna druga reka na svetu. To je reka koja
postavlja granicu između bogatstva i bede, između života i smrti, od samog
početka vremena.
To je reka nad rekama.

Septembar 1997.
____________________________________________________

One of the things that has always fascinated me is the Nile. It comes into
existence by the merging of its two biggest tributaries, the White Nile and
the Blue Nile. Here in Uganda, not so far from the capital Kampala, is the
source of the White Nile, famous for its rapids. I visited the source of the
Blue Nile in Ethiopia as well; also the place where these two rivers become
one, Khartoum in Sudan. The Nile is the source of life for Northern Africa,
much as the Congo is for Central Africa, or Zambezi for Southern Africa.
These are Africa’s arteries.
In an old colonial house in a jungle-like quarter of the capital Kampala, we
drink countless whiskies with a self-proclaimed Serbian honorary consul who
recounts some anecdotes about his friendship with the guerrilla leader
Yoweri Museveni who later became president, whom he supported in his fight
against the well known dictator Idi Amin. Idi Amin Dada brought the country
to its knees with his incredible profligacy and then requested the National
Bank to print dollars for him. He instigated war with neighbouring
countries, forced foreign diplomats to bow to him, snatched property from
foreigners, until they all left the country; it is said that he was not
averse to cannibalism either. One musician from our country had to teach
him, at his palace, to sing a song called Mujo kuje konja po mjesecu (A
Bosnian folk song), because he grew to like it so much during his visit to
Tito. And there are many more anecdotes about this famous dictator, until he
was ousted from power, only to spend the rest of his life quietly in his
villa in Saudi Arabia. He gave so much money to foreign statesmen that they
did not really bother to extradite him to his country, where a trial for
nepotism, crime and killings of thousands awaited him. His unusual character
was accurately portrayed by Forest Whitaker in the movie The Last King of
Scotland. Amin was well known for making up and adopting various royal
titles.
The rapids of the White Nile carry away the memories of this unbelievable
character of recent African history. The White Nile is the only river that
springs from the world’s biggest tropical lake, Lake Victoria, commencing a
long journey in order to merge with its twin, the Blue Nile. Here on the
West Bank, John Speke stood for hours in awe of this river, gazing at its
source, and in 1862 he made it known to the world with his presentation to
the Royal Geographical Society. It is a wonder to be present at the source,
the beginning of something that develops from here into a power of
indescribable dimensions. That is the Nile, flowing through such a variety
of landscapes, brushing with various cultures, like no other river in the
world. This is the river that creates a border between the rich and the
poor, between life and death, from times immemorial.
This is the river above any other.

September 1997

TUVALU – TUVALU

Pecanje-Fishing

Pecanje-Fishing

Prelazak aerodromske piste-Crossing the runway

Prelazak aerodromske piste-Crossing the runway

Ribarski camci-Fishing boats

Ribarski camci-Fishing boats

Sa premijerom i portparolom Tuvalua-With the Prime Minister and Speaker of Tuvalu

Sa premijerom i portparolom Tuvalua-With the Prime Minister and Speaker of Tuvalu

Vesele zene ostrvske - The Merry Wives of Tuvalu

Vesele zene ostrvske – The Merry Wives of Tuvalu

Vesele zene ostrvske-The Merry Wives of Tuvalu

Vesele zene ostrvske-The Merry Wives of Tuvalu

Zabava na plazi-Fun on the beach

Zabava na plazi-Fun on the beach

Aerodromska cekaonica-The airport waiting room

Aerodromska cekaonica-The airport waiting room

Atol Funafuti-Funafuti Atoll and conservation area

Atol Funafuti-Funafuti Atoll and conservation area

Devojcica ispred crkve-A girl in front of the church

Devojcica ispred crkve-A girl in front of the church

Ispred Narodne banke-In front of the National Bank

Ispred Narodne banke-In front of the National Bank

Medjunarodni aerodrom. Iza je Parlament-Funafuti International airport with Parliament building behind it

Medjunarodni aerodrom. Iza je Parlament-Funafuti International airport with Parliament building behind it

Mrtvi su uvek blizu-The dead are always close by

Mrtvi su uvek blizu-The dead are always close by

Ostrvljanka na motoru-An islander on the motorbike

Ostrvljanka na motoru-An islander on the motorbike

Fidži je jedino mesto sa koga postoji let za ovu udaljenu pacifičku grupu
atola, koji su do nedavno bili Ostrva Elis, a danas država Tuvalu. Na putu
ka jedinom aerodromu na glavnom atolu Funafuti, razgovaram u avionu sa
svojim saputnikom, bivšim premijerom te zemlje, a sada portparolom vlade,
koji se zove Rt. Hon Sir Kamuta Latasi. Uvažena zvanja i godine koje nosi
ipak mu dozvoljavaju da se radoznalo upusti u razgovor sa jedinim strancem u
malom avionu i verovatno jedinim Srbinom koga je ikada upoznao i koji je
krenuo na njegov atol. Neposredno pored aerodroma, kaže mi, nalaze se
njegova kuća, zgrada Parlamenta i crkva, i sve što treba videti je na svega
desetak minuta hoda. Uz smešak mi kaže da najveći atol ima četiri hiljade
žitelja, a svih osam atola zajedno – jedanaest hiljada stanovnika, što nije
dovoljno ni za omanji stadion.
Kad sam se malo opustio, napravio sam opasku na račun njegove zemlje koju
postepeno guta Tihi okean, rekavši kako sam čuo da je Novi Zeland ponudio da
ih sve primi kad dođe taj čas. Ipak, žali se on, za sada su još veoma tvrdi
kad je reč o imigraciji.
Tuvalu se ubraja u polinežanske nacije i nalazi se tako daleko od svih, da
izgleda kao da je sâm na svetu, i pritom polako tone u okean. Nema ni aviona
koji bi povezivali njegove atole, već se do najdaljeg atola putuje tri dana
brodom od onog glavnog i najvećeg, Funafutija.
Pre sletanja aviona pista se raščisti od dece koja tu igraju fudbal i žena
koje suše veš. Aerodromska zgrada je središno mesto zemaljskih zbivanja i
provoda, pogled u svet i u nebo, odakle taj svet retko dolazi. To su,
uglavnom, poneki lekar ili humanitarni radnik koji se žale da nikakva pomoć
ovde nije od velike koristi, jer se ne upotrebljava u prave svrhe. Tuvalci
su, kažu oni, veoma ljupki, ali i veoma lenji i neodgovorni. Lakoća njihovog
življenja ogleda se u stalnim osmesima koje vam upućuju, kao i veoma
jednostavan život koji im ispunjava duge dane i beskrajnu daljinu koja ih
čini kao da su zaboravljeni od sveta. Život na atolu ima samo lepotu
tirkiznog mora koje ga okružuje. Sve ostalo je siromašan život, u kome je
bezbrižnost jedini spas.
Tuvalci nisu toliko gojazni kao njihovi južni susedi sa Tonge ili Samoe, ali
je, ipak, čest prizor u kome dve pozamašne žene na malom motoru, jure
aerodromskom pistom. Ili kako, stojeći na nekom koralnom grebenu i skoro do
grla u toplom moru, zabacuju štap za pecanje i izvlače male tune. Poneka
oskudna bakalnica ili kineska radnja jedina su mesta  za šoping. Često se
ispred kuća nalaze grobovi ukrašeni veštačkim cvećem i sve je smešteno sa
obe strane puta koji preseca atol celom dužinom. U tom oskudnom tropskom
prostoru svi žive kao u jednoj zajednici, tu se odlaže otpad, gaje prasići,
čuvaju deca, popravljaju motori, farbaju čamci, ali se ipak odvija skladan
život u kome čak postoje jedno policijsko i jedno vatrogasno vozilo, koja
sačekuju avione. Najpre se upali sirena kao upozorenje za raščišćavanje
piste, mada ni to nije uvek sasvim sigurno da se neko ne bi zaboravio i u
poslednjem času umakao od aviona.
Proveo sam lepo veče sa mojim novim prijateljem i najstarijim članom
Parlamenta, uz pivo u lokalnoj krčmi, kineskom restoranu i, na kraju,
oskudnoj polinežanskoj zabavi u jedinom hotelu u zemlji. Samo da dobijemo
izbore za dve nedelje, kaže, i Srbija će biti naš veliki saveznik. Kao i u
vreme Tita, koji je podržavao nezavisnost malih zemalja, seća se on. Sada je
vreme da se to vrati, makar jednim glasom više u Ujedinjenim nacijama.
Nikad se ne zna, mada čujem da su taj glas dali pogrešnoj strani.

Avgust 2010.
______________________________________________________

Fiji is the only place from which you can fly to this remote group of atolls
that were until recently called Ellice Islands and now make the state of
Tuvalu. I am on my way to the only airport on the main atoll Funafuti; I
converse with my fellow passenger, the ex-Prime Minister of this country and
now the government spokesman, Rt. Hon Sir Kamuta Latasi. His esteemed titles
and advanced age still permit him to engage with curiosity in a conversation
with the only foreigner on the small plane and probably the only Serb that
he has ever met who was going to his atoll. He tells me that his home, the
Parliament building and the church are all in close proximity of the
airport; everything that needs to be seen is only 10 minutes’ walk away.
With a smile, he tells me that the largest atoll has 4,000 inhabitants and
all eight atolls put together have a population of  11,000 which is not
enough to fill a small stadium.
When I felt a bit more relaxed I made a comment about this country being
slowly swallowed up by the Pacific Ocean mentioning that I heard that New
Zealand had offered to take all their population in when that time comes.
Yet, he complained, saying that immigration rules were still very tough.
Tuvalu belongs to the group of Polynesian countries and is so remote from
eveywhere else that it appears alone in the world; on top of that, it is
gradually sinking into the Ocean. There are no flights between its atolls,
rather it takes three days on a ship to get from the main and largest atoll
of Funafuti to the most remote atoll.
Before landing, the runway is cleared of children playing football and women
drying their laundry. The airport building is the centre of all Earthly
events and entertainment, providing a look into the rest of the world and a
look into the sky – where this other world appears from infrequently. Mostly
the visitors are doctors and humanitarian workers who complain that no aid
is of help here because it is not used properly. Tuvaluans are  very
charming people, but also very lazy and irresponsible, they say. The ease
with which they live is reflected in their constant smiling at you, as well
as a very simple day to day life; it fills the long days and infinite
remoteness which can make them feel forgotten by the rest of the world. The
life on this atoll only has the beauty of the turquoise sea that surrounds
it. Everything else is a life of poverty in which being carefree is the only
saving grace.
Tuvaluans are not as obese as their southern neighbours in Tonga or Samoa,
yet it is common to spot two big women on a small motorcycle speeding down
the airplane runway. Or they could be standing on a coral reef, in warm sea
water up to their chins, casting a fishing rod and drawing out small tuna
fish. An occasional under-stocked grocery shop or a Chinese store are the
only places for shopping. Very often graves decorated with plastic flowers
are to be found in front of the houses on both sides of the road that cuts
across the atoll. In this small tropical space everyone lives together like
in a commune – this is where the rubbish is deposited, pigs are bread,
children are being tended to, motorbikes are being fixed, boats are being
painted. Yet a harmonious life carries on, and there is even one police car
and one fire engine that always announce the arrival of an airplane. First
of all they start the sirens as a warning that the runway must be cleared,
yet even this is not always foolproof as someone could get distracted and
then escape from the runway at the very last minute.
I spent a nice evening with my new friend, the oldest member of parliament,
first having a beer in a local tavern, then in a Chinese restaurant, and
finally at a modest Polynesian entertainment show in the only hotel in the
country. ‘If we can only win the elections in two weeks time’, says he,
‘then Serbia is going to be our big ally’. ‘Just like at the time of Tito
who supported the independence of small states’ he remembers. Now is the
time to return the favour, at least with one extra vote in the United
Nations.
You never know though, I hear that they casted the vote for the wrong side.

TURSKA – TURKEY – TÜRKIYE

Kula Galata-Galata Tower in Istanbul

Kula Galata-Galata Tower in Istanbul

Nacionalni park Goreme i stene Kapadokije- Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Nacionalni park Goreme i stene Kapadokije- Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia

Nacionalni restoran-National restaurant

Nacionalni restoran-National restaurant

Ples dervisa-Dervish dance

Ples dervisa-Dervish dance

Przena riba na Bosforu-Grilled fish at Bosphorus

Przena riba na Bosforu-Grilled fish at Bosphorus

Sarayburnu razdvaja Zlatni rog od Mramornog mora-Seraglio Point is a promontory separating the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul

Sarayburnu razdvaja Zlatni rog od Mramornog mora-Seraglio Point is a promontory separating the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul

Sultan Ahmedova ili Plava dzamija - Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmedova ili Plava dzamija – Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmedova ili Plava dzamija-Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque

Sultan Ahmedova ili Plava dzamija-Sultan Ahmed or Blue Mosque

Vojni muzej-The Military Museum at Harbiye in Istanbul

Vojni muzej-The Military Museum at Harbiye in Istanbul

Aja Sofija u Istanbulu-A view of Ayasofya, Istanbul

Aja Sofija u Istanbulu-A view of Ayasofya, Istanbul

Brodovi na Bosforu s pogledom na kulu Galata-Ships on the Bosphorus with the view of Galata Tower

Brodovi na Bosforu s pogledom na kulu Galata-Ships on the Bosphorus with the view of Galata Tower

Eski dzamija u Jedrenu-Eski Mosque Edirne

Eski dzamija u Jedrenu-Eski Mosque Edirne

Kapali carsija-Kapali-carsi- Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Kapali carsija-Kapali-carsi- Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

Kelsosova biblioteka u Efesu blizu Izmira-Library of Celsus in Ephesus near Izmir

Kelsosova biblioteka u Efesu blizu Izmira-Library of Celsus in Ephesus near Izmir

Prva, duhovita asocijacija na Tursku je noćna vožnja Istanbulom sa prijateljima, kada smo pomenuli jednog našeg bivšeg i nepopularnog predsednika neprevodivom rečju baksuz, na šta se taksista diskretno nasmejao, prepoznajući i reč i osobu o kojoj se govorilo. A zatim je sledio nastavak sličnim rečima, ali takođe neprevodivog karaktera - mufljuz, ugursuz - koje su se odnosile na istu osobu. Duboki koreni koji povezuju moj i turski narod uglavnom se tumače ogromnim periodom od približno pet stotina godina, koliko su Turci vladali ovim krajevima, što ipak više govori o osvajaču nego o porobljenom. Često se u šali kaže da smo mi Turke pokvarili. Ipak, veličina Otomanskog carstva, koja se ogleda u lepoti istanbulskih palata, nije samo u njima; ona je i u tom narodu koji je, pre svega, veoma blizak Srbima. Naravno, ne po vrednoći, jer Turci su uglavnom veoma radni i danas u mnogim oblastima predstavljaju velesilu.

Krstarenje Bosforom otkriva lepote tog grada, koje tako emotivno opisuje Orhan Pamuk u svojim knjigama. Na južnoj obali Turske nalaze se lokaliteti koji asociraju na grčku mitologiju, koja je upravo ovde nastajala, dok se dalje ka istoku prelazi na autentični Orijent. Turska zaista ima sve: prirodne, nekad nestvarne lepote kao što su Pamuk Kale ili Kapadokija; istoriju osvajanja “pola sveta” u vreme Otomanskog carstva, kao i današnji procvat u ekonomskom i naučnom smislu. To je velika nacija dobrih ljudi koja tihim jedinstvom svojih unutrašnjih snaga postepeno osvaja svet. Ponovo ga osvaja, ali ne geografske prostore kao nekada, već intelektualno i politički. U svetskim naučnim časopisima veliki broj radova dolazi iz Turske, a približavanje Evropskoj uniji je brzo i neumitno. Iako je samo malim delom svoje teritorije na evropskom tlu, ona je više Evropa od mnogih, ali i prava Azija u najboljem smislu te reči. Skoro idealna.

Sa kamene terase hotela Çiragan Palace posmatram brodove kako prolaze Bosforom i razmišljam o usponu i padu turske imperije, o njenim sultanima, od kojih su neki potekli i sa Balkana, kao Sulejman Veličanstveni, o neverovatnom bogatstvu koje se vekovima slivalo u  Konstantinopolj, o načinu razmišljanja i vladavine svetom. Nije lako vladati, veoma dugo održati tu vladavinu i, najvažnije, nametnuti svoj način mišljenja, tako da vekovima kasnije te nekada pokorene teritorije osećaju jednu vrstu iskonske povezanosti sa Turskom. To govori kakav treba da bude pravi vladar, a sultani su to zaista znali i umeli.

Pusto tursko.

 

Septembar 1998.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

The first funny episode that comes to mind is a night time taxi ride in Istanbul with my friends; once we mentioned our unpopular ex-President using the untranslatable word baksuz*, the taxi driver smiled discreetly recognising the word and the person in question. And then we continued in a similar fashion, but also with untranslatable words like mufljuz, ugursuz* – all referring to the same person. The deep roots that link Serbian and Turkish people are mostly due to the long period, of approximately 500 years, during which Turks ruled these regions; this speaks more of the conqueror then of the conquered. It is often said as a joke, that we have corrupted the Turks. Yet, the greatness of the Ottoman Empire, reflected in the beauty of Istanbul palaces, is not only in them; it is also in these people, who are first of all, really close to us. Of course, they differ from us in their diligence, because Turkish people are mostly hard working people and today in many domains their country is a superpower.

Cruising down the Bosphorus reveals the attractions of this city, described with such emotions in the books of Orhan Pamuk. The south coast of Turkey is graced with localities that are reminiscent of Greek mythology, which actually originated here, whereas the authentic Orient lies further in the east. Turkey really has it all: natural attractions, sometimes surreal in their beauty, such as Pamukkale or Cappadocia; the history of ruling ‘half the world’ at the heyday of the Ottoman Empire, as well as flourishing in economics and science today. This is a superpower of good people who are conquering the world again with the quiet unity of their inner strength. They are conquering the world again, but not its geographical space as before, but its intellectual and political space.  International scientific magazines feature many articles from Turkey while getting closer to the European Union is becoming faster and inevitable. Even though only a small part of Turkey’s territory is in Europe, in many ways this country is more European than some others; but it is also Asian in the best possible meaning of the word. Almost ideal.

I observe ships gliding down the Bosphorus from the stone terrace of the Çiragan Palace Hotel; I ponder the rise and fall of the Turkish Empire, its sultans, some of whom originated in the Balkans, such as Suleiman the Magnificent; about the incredible wealth that poured into Constantinople over the centuries, about their way of thinking and ruling the world. It is not easy to rule and even more importantly, to maintain this rule for centuries; and most importantly, to impose their way of thinking so that centuries later, those countries that were part of the empire still feel a deep, primal connection with Turkey. This shows what a true ruler should be like – and the Sultans really knew how to do it.

‘A lion sleeps in the heart of every brave man’ (A Turkish proverb).

*baksuz – person who brings misfortune to others, unlucky

*mufljuz, ugursuz –also words of Turkish origin in Serbian, denoting someone with negative qualities such as ungenerous; stubborn and morose

September 1998

TURKMENISTAN – TURKMENISTAN – TÜRKMENISTAN

Najveci tepih na svetu-The largest carpet in the world

Najveci tepih na svetu-The largest carpet in the world

Pijaca u Turkmenbasiju-A market in the city of Turkmenbasy

Pijaca u Turkmenbasiju-A market in the city of Turkmenbasy

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of the capital

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of the capital

Predsednik cita svoju knjigu-The President reading his book

Predsednik cita svoju knjigu-The President reading his book

Predsednik je voleo konje-The President loved horses

Predsednik je voleo konje-The President loved horses

Predsednik na vrhu rakete-The President on the top of the rocket

Predsednik na vrhu rakete-The President on the top of the rocket

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze - President's pictures are everywhere

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze – President’s pictures are everywhere

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze-President's pictures are everywhere

Predsednikove slike se svuda nalaze-President’s pictures are everywhere

Rezidencijalni apartmani u glavnom gradu-Residential apartment buildings in Ashgabat

Rezidencijalni apartmani u glavnom gradu-Residential apartment buildings in Ashgabat

Spomenik predsednikovoj knjizi-A monument to Ruhnama, the President`s book

Spomenik predsednikovoj knjizi-A monument to Ruhnama, the President`s book

Stambena zgrada u unutrasnjosti-A residential building in the countryside

Stambena zgrada u unutrasnjosti-A residential building in the countryside

Stanica u Turkmenbasiju-A railway station in Turkmenbasy

Stanica u Turkmenbasiju-A railway station in Turkmenbasy

Vrteska u Turkmenbasiju-A merry-go-round in Turkmenbasy

Vrteska u Turkmenbasiju-A merry-go-round in Turkmenbasy

Zlatna sreca u osmehu-Golden happiness in his smile

Zlatna sreca u osmehu-Golden happiness in his smile

Jedna od najlepsih dzamija na svetu-Kipchak Mosque

Jedna od najlepsih dzamija na svetu-Kipchak Mosque

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika - One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika – One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika-One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Jedna od pozlacenih statua predsednika-One of the gold-plated statues of the President

Mladenci ispred spomenika nezavisnosti i miru-Newly weds in front of the Independence and Peace monument

Mladenci ispred spomenika nezavisnosti i miru-Newly weds in front of the Independence and Peace monument

Molitva na svetom mestu-A prayer in a holy place

Molitva na svetom mestu-A prayer in a holy place

Turkmenistan je jedina zemlja čije vlasti su nekoliko puta odbijale da mi
izdaju ulaznu vizu, ali sam posle više od godinu dana upornosti ipak uspeo
da je dobijem, sve vreme se pitajući u čemu je razlog. Postalo mi je pomalo
jasno kada sam došao u nju, a što je izgledalo kao ulazak u futuristički
film iz šezdesetih godina XX veka: bele mermerne palate do kojih vode aleje
najlepšeg cveća. Međutim, nešto je odmah nedostajalo: ljudi, koji bi trebalo
da se pojave u belim togama kao u nekom od tih filmova. Ali njih nije bilo.
Ulice i trgovi bez ljudi i uobičajene gradske vreve delovali su sablasno.
Uglavnom je prisutna policija ili vojska koja čuva državne zgrade, a poneki
prolaznik koji se pojavi u potpunom je neskladu sa ambijentom. Umesto u
beloj togi, obučen je kao Rus iz vremena komunizma. Nepoverenje pojavom
retkog stranca sa kamerom na ogromnim trgovima svakako je veliko, kao i
stalna upozorenja da se ne sme fotografisati ništa što ima zastavu i državna
obeležja. A ona se nalaze svuda, kao i ogromne slike najvećeg i najdražeg
narodnog vođe, svevidećeg Velikog Brata: njegovi zlatni spomenici, portreti,
biste, sve do spomenika neslućenih razmera na centralnom gradskom trgu. Sa
njegovog vrha, raširenih ruku, pozdravlja svoj narod ogromna zlatna statua
oca nacije i prvog predsednika Turkmenbašija. Nikako nisam mogao da se
probudim iz sna i uverim se da tako nešto zaista još negde postoji, osim u
Severnoj Koreji. Jedino što pomalo ukazuje na Orijent jesu grupice žena u
tradicionalnoj odeći, koje stalno čiste ulice, predvođene zapovednicom grupe
odevenom u građanski komplet.
Na Orijent ukazuju i mnoge predsednikove slike sa tepihom u pozadini, jer je
Turkmenistan poznat kao proizvođač najboljih tepiha. U Muzeju tepiha može se
videti najveći primerak na svetu, koji je ušao u Ginisovu knjigu rekorda, a
predsednikovu sliku video sam u zlatnom ramu, pored ostalog, i u kabini
aviona.
Posetio sam Turkmenbaši, grad na obali Kaspijskog mora, koji se u sovjetsko
vreme zvao Krasnovodsk. Veoma je dosadan i beživotan grad, iako se duž obale
grade ogromni mermerni hoteli, kojima mnogo nedostaje da bi počeli da žive.
Inače, kompleks petrohemijske industrije najveći je koji se može zamisliti,
veći i od onih u zemljama Zaliva. Stanovnici ove zemlje, koji često imaju
zlatne prednje zube, ponosni su na to sterilno bogatstvo, pa bi i oni da
pokažu svoju malu, ličnu imovinu, makar i onu intraoralnu, iako im je veoma
teško izmamiti osmeh.
Glavni grad Ašhabad, što u prevodu sa persijskog znači Grad ljubavi, često
ostavlja bez daha, i to onda kad ne znate da li ste možda zalutali u novi
Stari Rim ili neki grad budućnosti. U njemu se ne vide tehnološka čuda,
električni vozovi iznad zemlje i gužva na ulicama, već je sve u belom
mermeru i čistim linijama, kojima su izvedene poslovne i stambene zgrade,
univerziteti, avenije, kolonade i gradski parkovi sa spomenicima u cvetnom
okruženju. Nigde nisam video tako čiste javne površine, a skoro da ne
postoji ništa što je bačeno na ulicu. Džamija pored koje je mauzolej
predsednika Turkmenbašija i njegove porodice, najveća je, kažu, u Aziji, a
onda verovatno i u svetu, a mogu slobodno reći i najlepša. Na njenim
minaretima nisu Alahove, već predsednikove reči. Ipak, najveći kuriozitet je
predsednikova knjiga Ruhnama, kojoj je, zbog njenog značaja, podignut veliki
spomenik u centru grada iz koga se uveče, uz prigodno osvetljenje, sa
zvučnika mogu slušati predsednikove poruke narodu.
U ovu zemlju se teško ulazi jer je vlast, ipak, u strahu da nekontrolisani
strani uticaji mogu negativno delovati na planirani razvoj koji rukovodstvo
zemlje čvrsto drži u svojim rukama. Zemlja je prebogata, a narod siromašan.
On i dalje odlazi na jedno malo sveto mesto izvan grada ili do ruševina
antičkog grada Nisa, gde izvodi skromni obred, a magija tog mesta mu, kažu,
pomaže da se želja ostvari.
Tu sam se, ipak, najbolje osećao.

Maj 2010.
___________________________________________________________

Turkmenistan is the only country whose officials refused me a visa several
times, but I managed to get it eventually after one year of persistence; I
kept asking myself along the way what the reason for the refusal could be. I
sort of guessed it once I entered the country – it was like I entered a
futuristic film from the 1960s: white marble palaces and paths with most
beautiful flower beds leading you to them. However, something was
immediately amiss: people, who were supposed to appear in white robes like
in one of those films, were nowhere to be seen. Streets and squares without
people and the usual city bustle appear spooky. It is mostly police or the
army guarding state buildings and a rare passer-by who is at odds with such
surroundings. Instead of a white robe, they were dressed like people from
the Soviet communist era. Mistrust toward a foreigner roaming  huge city
squares with a camera is certainly conspicuous, as are constant warnings
that photographing anything with a flag or state insignia is not allowed.
Yet, they are everywhere. So are the huge pictures of the greatest and most
beloved national leader, the all-seeing Big Brother: his golden monuments,
portraits, sculptures and even a monument of unthinkable dimensions on the
city’s central square. From the top of the monument a gigantic golden statue
of the father of the nation, the first President Turkmenbashi is greeting
the nation with widespread arms. I just could not wake up from this dream
and accept that something like this exists anywhere else apart from North
Korea. The only thing reminding me of the Orient here were small groups of
women in traditional clothes, constantly cleaning the streets, led by the
group commander clad in civilian clothes.
Reminiscent of the Orient are also the many President’s pictures with
carpets in the background, as Turkmenistan is famous for manufacturing the
best carpets. In the Carpet Museum you can see the world’s biggest carpet
which is in the Guinness Book of Records. Amongst other places, I saw the
President’s photo, in a golden frame, in the airplane cabin.
I visited Turkmenbashi, a city on the Caspian Sea, which used to be called
Krasnovodsk in the Soviet era. It is a very boring and lifeless city, even
though along the coast hotels are being built out of marble; they need a lot
more in order to come to life.
The petrochemical industry complex is as huge as you can imagine, bigger
than even those in the Gulf countries. Locals of this country, who often
have front golden teeth, are proud of this sterile wealth, so they feel
compelled to show off their own little fortune albeit it is in their mouths;
yet it is very difficult to get them to smile.
The capital Ashgabat, which in Persian means The City of Love, can often
leave you speechless, when you wonder if you have perhaps strayed into a new
Ancient Rome or a city from the future. Here you cannot see the wonders of
new technology, electrical trains above ground or crowds in the street, yet
everything is in white marble and clean lines, buildings both commercial and
residential, universities, avenues, colonnades, and city parks with
monuments surrounded by flowers. I have never seen public space so clean,
there is virtually nothing thrown on street pavements. Next to the President
Turkmenbashi’s Mausoleum is a mosque that is said to be the biggest in Asia
and then probably in the world; I can honestly say that it is the most
beautiful one as well. On its minarets, it is not Allah’s words that you can
see, they are the Presdient’s words.
Yet the biggest curiosity of all is the President’s book Ruhnama, which is
so significant that it has a monument of its own in the city centre, from
which, in the evening and with appropriate lighting, you can listen to the
President’s messages to his people.
It is difficult to get into this country because the officials are afraid
that uncontrolled foreign  influences can negatively affect the pre-planned
development; its reins are held tightly in the hands of government. The
country is only too rich, while the population is poor. People still go to
one small sacred place outside the city, or the ruins of the ancient city of
Nisa, where they perform a simple ritual; the magic of this place helps your
wishes come true, they say.
This is where I felt the best.

May 2010

TUNIS – TUNISIA – TUNISIE – تونس

Kapije u pastelnim bojama-Painted doors

Kapije u pastelnim bojama-Painted doors

Luka u Bizerti-The port of Bizerte

Luka u Bizerti-The port of Bizerte

Na jugu Tunisa-Tunisia's South

Na jugu Tunisa-Tunisia’s South

Naseobine od zemlje na jugu-Mud settlements in the South

Naseobine od zemlje na jugu-Mud settlements in the South

Pogled na Bizertu-A view of Bizerte

Pogled na Bizertu-A view of Bizerte

Politicki pozdrav-A political salute

Politicki pozdrav-A political salute

Salon za dame-A ladies' hairdresser

Salon za dame-A ladies’ hairdresser

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

Tipicni kavez za ptice-A typical birds cage

Tipicni kavez za ptice-A typical birds cage

Tuniske poslastice-Tunisian sweets

Tuniske poslastice-Tunisian sweets

Tunizanin-A Tunisian

Tunizanin-A Tunisian

Ulica u Keruanu - A street in Kairouan

Ulica u Keruanu – A street in Kairouan

Ulica u Keruanu-A street in Kairouan

Ulica u Keruanu-A street in Kairouan

Velika dzamija u Keruanu - The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Velika dzamija u Keruanu – The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Velika dzamija u Keruanu-The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Velika dzamija u Keruanu-The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba

Početkom devedesetih godina XX veka skoro svako drugo dete rođeno u Tunisu zvalo se Sadam. Euforija podrške iračkom vođi u vreme akcije Pustinjska oluja bila je tako snažna, da su čak i mirni i turistički nastrojeni Tunižani u to vreme umeli da kamenuju automobile sa evropskim posetiocima. Verovatno su svi oni za njih tada bili Amerikanci. Zbog toga smo morali da usmerimo automobil unatrag i prekinemo izlet po oazama južnog Tunisa. Vratili smo se u okrilje sigurnosti hotelskih kompleksa na severu, kojima su patrolirali naoružani čuvari. I tako je mirna i dobroćudna arapska nacija, koja je oduvek imala dobre odnose sa strancima, odjednom i, srećom, nakratko, postala njihov neprijatelj. Panarapski interesi su iznad turizma, bar privremeno.
Malo neuobičajene dinamike u mirnom turističkom obilasku ove zemlje, koja ima sve što je potrebno za prijatan boravak u njoj. To su stari gradovi sa utvrđenjima iz srednjeg veka, u kojima su sada smeštene medine i sukovi puni suvenira, zatim prostrane peščane plaže sa hotelskim kompleksima u orijentalnom stilu, kao i moderni gradovi kojima su Francuzi dali puno evropskog stila, tako da liče na mnoge mediteranske gradove. Takav je i glavni grad Tunis, na severu zemlje, koji odiše prijatnom mešavinom evroarapskih stilova, sa francuskim kafeima, dugim šetalištima i palmoredima, ali i starim džamijama i okolnim čajdžinicama u kojima se polako ispija gusti čaj od mente i raspravlja o lokalnoj politici boraca za arapsku stvar. Slični su i ostali gradovi u severnom delu Tunisa, kao što je Bizerta, u kojoj se nalaze saveznička groblja, pored ostalih i groblje srpskih vojnika koji su ovde lečeni i podlegli ranama posle proboja Solunskog fronta u Prvom svetskom ratu.
Posle Rimljana ovde je ostalo arheološko nalazište Duga, jedan od najočuvanijih rimskih gradova u ovom delu sveta, sa otvorenim teatrom za približno tri i pô hiljade ljudi i velikim Saturnovim hramom smeštenim na kamenoj uzvišici, sa pogledom na čitav kraj koji ovde iz pustinje postepeno prelazi u zeleni pojas.
Na sredini duge tuniske obale nalazi se stari grad lepog imena Monastir i veliko poluostrvo Đerba, sa divnim plažama i hotelima, trgovima i plantažama urmi. Ipak, najlepši i na svoj način drugačiji i manje posećeni Tunis smešten je na jugu, gde se ta mala zemlja useca u Saharu, kao da i ona želi da dobije jedan deo ove pustinje pored ogromnih suseda, Alžira i Libije. Na jugu počinju karavanski putevi koji vode kroz sela, u kojima je stotinama godina zaustavljeno vreme u prašnjavim saharskim stenama, iz kojih vire kolibe stopljene u prirodnoj pustinjskoj arhitekturi. Kao prave pastoralne scene deluju magarčići koji nose vodu i ponekog dečaka u beloj galabiji prolazeći pored razrušenih kamenih kuća sa velikim kružnim pećima u kojima se peče arapski hleb.
Oaze na tuniskom jugu skoro su najlepši deo te zemlje, u koji se manje odlazi, ali koji, lepotom i jednostavnošću života u njima, ima potpunu moć da opčini posetioca. Mali karavani kamila prolaze kroz neodoljivi hlad šuma palmi, pored pustinjskih izvora i zelenila koje pružaju oaze na ulasku u veliku i neumoljivu Saharu. Lepota ovog dela Tunisa veoma se razlikuje od ostalih delova zemlje, posebna je i autentična, pomalo divlja ali i romantična, mesto odakle ne želite da odete i gde ste tiho zarobljeni u prostoru i vremenu.
Zbog Sadama sam morao brzo da odem odatle, ali zbog svog snažnog unutrašnjeg doživljaja ovog mesta, znam da mu se moram vratiti jednog dana.

Januar 1991.
_________________________________________________________________________

In the early 1990s almost every second child in Tunisia was named Saddam. The euphoria of supporting the Iraqi leader during the operation ‘Desert Storm’ was so overpowering that even the peaceful Tunisians who were in favour of tourism could allow themselves to stone vehicles with Europeans in them. Possibly they saw all these foreigners as Americans. That is why we had to turn our car back and abandon our trip to the oases in Southern Tunisia. We returned to the safety of hotel resorts in the north patrolled by the armed guards. And so, a peaceful and good natured Arabic nation that has always had a good relationship with foreigners, all of a sudden, but fortunately only briefly, developed animosity towards them. The Pan-Arabic interests were above tourism, at least temporarily.
This was just a bit of unusual dynamics in the otherwise tranquil sightseeing of this country which offers everything to secure you a pleasant stay. There are old cities with medieval forts, now the home to medinas and souks full of souvenirs, vast sandy beaches with hotels built in Oriental style, as well as modern cities which, under the French influence, have got a certain European charm and resemble any Mediterranean city. Such is the capital city of Tunisia, in the north of the country, emanating a mixture of European and Arabic styles, with French cafes, long promenades with palm trees, but also ancient mosques with nearby tea houses where thick mint tea is drunk and local Arabic politics is discussed. Other cities in the north of the country are quite similar, such as Bizerte, where Allies’ armed forces cemeteries are located; the Serbian soldier cemetery from World War I is also there; during the battles at the Salonika front Serbian soldiers were treated for injuries here and many died.
The Roman Empire has left behind the archaeological site of Dougga, one of the best preserved Roman cities in this part of the world, with an open air theatre for approximately 3,500 people and the Temple of Saturn with a view that stretches across the region; here the desert gradually gives way to a green belt.
In the middle of the long coastline, there is an old city with a lovely sounding name – Monastir, and a big peninsula of Djerba, with beautiful beaches and hotels, squares and date plantations. Yet the nicest, quite different part of this country, which is infrequently visited is in the south; that is where this little country cuts into the Sahara, as though it also wants  part of the desert, alongside the mighty neighbours of Algeria and Libya. In the south, caravan routes cut through villages where time has stopped a couple of hundred years ago in the dusty rocks of the Sahara, huts protruding from behind them in a natural architectural blend. A true pastoral scene: small donkeys carrying water and occasionally a boy in a white jellabiya, pass by the ruined stone houses with large circular stoves in which pitta bread is being baked.
The oases in the south of Tunisia are probably the nicest part of the country and even though less visited, with their beauty and simplicity of living can totally captivate the visitor. Small camel caravans pass through the enticing shade of palm trees, next to desert streams and greenery – the last gift of an oasis before entering the vast and implacable desert. The beauty of this part of the country differs a lot from other parts of Tunisia, it is its own and authentic, a little bit wild, but also romantic; it is a place you don’t want to leave and where you become a quiet prisoner of space and time.
I had to leave quickly because of Saddam, yet because of my powerful inner experience of this place, I know I need to get back to it one day.

January 1991

TRINIDAD I TOBAGO – TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

A Caribbean Society Meeting of Aesthetic Surgery

A Caribbean Society Meeting of Aesthetic Surgery

Anglikanska crkva Svih svetih-All Saints Anglican Church

Anglikanska crkva Svih svetih-All Saints Anglican Church

Jedan od ekstravagantnih karnevalskih kostima - One of the extravagant carnival costumes

Jedan od ekstravagantnih karnevalskih kostima – One of the extravagant carnival costumes

Jedan od ekstravagantnih karnevalskih kostima-One of the extravagant carnival costumes

Jedan od ekstravagantnih karnevalskih kostima-One of the extravagant carnival costumes

Kancelarija premijera-Office of the Prime Minister

Kancelarija premijera-Office of the Prime Minister

Limeni kalipso orkestar-A brass calypso orchestra

Limeni kalipso orkestar-A brass calypso orchestra

Ministarstvo spoljnih poslova-Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Ministarstvo spoljnih poslova-Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Narodni muzej-The National Museum

Narodni muzej-The National Museum

Plaza na Tobagu - A beach in Tobago

Plaza na Tobagu – A beach in Tobago

Plaza na Tobagu-A beach in Tobago

Plaza na Tobagu-A beach in Tobago

Poligon za karnevale u glavnom gradu-A huge open space for carnivals in Port-of-Spain

Poligon za karnevale u glavnom gradu-A huge open space for carnivals in Port-of-Spain

Spomenik palim vojnicima u svetskim ratovima-A monument to soldiers fallen in World Wars

Spomenik palim vojnicima u svetskim ratovima-A monument to soldiers fallen in World Wars

Villas at Stonehaven in Tobago

Villas at Stonehaven in Tobago

Villas at Stonehaven, Tobago

Villas at Stonehaven, Tobago

Zgrada bolnice u glavnom gradu-The General Hospital Port-of-Spain

Zgrada bolnice u glavnom gradu-The General Hospital Port-of-Spain

Zgrada iz kolonijalnog perioda-A building from the colonial times

Zgrada iz kolonijalnog perioda-A building from the colonial times

Utvrdjenje na Tobagu-Tobago fortress

Utvrdjenje na Tobagu-Tobago fortress

Postoji nekoliko zemalja u svetu, obično sačinjenih od dva ostrva, čija oba
imena ulaze u zajedničko ime države. Većinu među njima čine zemlje Karipskih
ostrva, a možda će se i one jednog dana podeliti. Svako ostrvo – svoja
država. Za sada, Trinidad je glavni. To je veće ostrvo od dva ujedinjena, a
i jedno je od najvećih u Karipskom moru. Trinidad je komercijalni, a Tobago
turistički centar. Glavni grad Port of Spain (u prevodu španska luka), ne
pruža neku veliku sigurnost na svakom koraku i ljudi nisu tako nasmejani na
ulicama, kako bi se očekivalo na Karibima. On, ipak, ima jednu tradicionalnu
manifestaciju od nacionalnog značaja, a to je čuvenu karneval u Trinidadu,
kada se svi smeju, provode, igraju, dok ih na kraju ne obuzme trans. Mislim
da je to po značaju drugi karneval posle Rija; cela nacija se priprema za
njega tokom čitave godine, da bi na ogromnom travnatom terenu u centru
grada, veličine nekoliko fudbalskih stadiona, danima defilovale karnevalske
trupe u kostimima nezamislivih razmera, oblika i boja. Upravo je veličina
tih kostima specifičnost ovog karnevala, gde se čak veliki mehanizmi nalaze
ispod pojedinih kostima da bi ih pokrenuli i prošetali kroz masu, koja je
već u transu kalipso muzike, aromatičnog domaćeg ruma i ritma koji nameću
grupe limenih instrumenata.
Stare kuće iz kolonijalnog perioda sada su pretvorene u muzeje, ambasade i
ministarstva i odišu duhom prošlih vremena u kojima su Britanci gospodarili
ovim prostorima i nametnuli svoj stil gradnje. Stanovnici ove zemlje su
zanimljiva indoafrička mešavina, što im daje posebnu lepotu. Zanosne
mulatkinje iz spoja crne i bele rase ubrajaju se u najlepše žene sveta, ali
kada se još umeša i indijska krv, onda ta lepota dobija neku primesu
istočnjačke prefinjenosti i suptilnosti.
Tobago je mnogo manje ostrvo i posvećeno je samo turizmu. Kompleksi vila u
francuskom stilu – kao Villas at Stonehaven, u vrtovima tropskog rastinja,
sa oboda bazena u svakoj vili pružaju nezaboravan pogled na Karipsko more i
zelene pejzaže Tobaga. Vile koje su smeštene na plažama omogućavaju uživanje
u moru i vrhunskim restoranima sa francuskom i kreolskom kuhinjom, ali i u
zabavama na plaži, gde se uzdiže dim sa roštilja na kojima se priprema tek
ulovljena riba. Neobična laguna svetlotirkizne plitke vode, koja je okružena
morem sa svih strana, naziva se najlonski bazen i predstavlja pravu
atrakciju za posetioce.
Moj prijatelj Victor Blackburn, iako mu ime zvuči crno, jedini je je beli,
čak vrlo svetloputi plastični hirurg u regionu. To je prijatan i neformalni
Englez, koji je predsednik Karipskog društva za plastičnu hirurgiju i koji
se setio da u egzotičnom ambijentu Tobaga organizuje opuštene radionice
estetske hirurgije. Ima li bolje inspiracije od prijatnog čavrljanja na
peščanoj plaži ispod palme o kreiranju ženskih kontura?
Nauka o lepoti u samoj lepoti.

Oktobar 2007.
______________________________________________________

There are a few countries in the world, usually consisting of two islands,
whose both names are in the official country name. Most of these are
Caribbean islands; perhaps one day they will split into two states – one
island – one country. Yet for now, Trinidad is the main one. It is the
bigger one in this union and at the same time it is one of the largest
islands in the Caribbean Sea. Trinidad is a commercial centre while Tobago
is a tourist centre. The capital city Port of Spain does not actually exude
safety at every step and people are not as smiling as you would expect on a
Caribbean island. Yet there is one traditional event of national
proportions, the famous Carnival in Trinidad, when everyone is laughing,
having a good time, dancing, until they fall into a trance. I reckon that
after Rio’s this is the second most important carnival in the world; the
entire nation prepares for it throughout the year, culminating in a defilé
of carnival troupes in costumes of unimaginable dimensions, shapes and
colours who perform for days on a vast green surface in the centre of the
town, the size of a few football pitches. It is precisely the size of these
costumes that is peculiar where underneath them entire mechanisms are
concealed, helping the costume wearer to move and stoll through the masses
who are already in a trance from calypso music, local aromatic rum and
rhythms dictated by the brass instruments.
Old colonial houses have been turned into museums, embassies and ministries;
they emanate the spirit of olden times when the British ruled here, imposing
their architectural style. This country’s inhabitants are an interesting
Indo-African mixture which endows them with unusual beauty. Lovely mulatto
women of mixed black and white origin are amongst the most beautiful women
in the world, yet when Indian blood gets mixed with it, this beauty acquires
some Eastern refinement and subtlety.
Tobago is much smaller island and deals only with tourism. Villa complexes
built in French style, such as the Villas at Stonehaven, are surrounded by
tropical gardens and from the swimming pool’s edge provide every villa with
an unforgettable view of the Caribbean Sea and the green landscapes of
Tobago.  Villas situated on the beach would give you unlimited enjoyment of
the sea as well as the top class restaurants with French and Creole cuisine;
also beach parties where the smoke is rising from barbecues of freshly
caught fish. An unusual light turquise lagoon has shallow waters and is
surrounded by the sea on all sides; it is called the Nylon pool and is a
veritable attraction for visitors.
My friend Victor Blackburn, even though his name sounds quite black, is the
only white, actually really fair skinned plastic surgeon in this region. He
is a pleasant and informal English guy who is the President of the Caribbean
Association of Plastic Surgeons, and who had the idea to organise informal
aesthetic surgery workshops in the exotic ambiance of Tobago. Is there a
better inspiration for creating female contours than having a pleasant chat
under the palms, on a sandy beach?
The science of beauty surrounded by beauty itself.

October 2007

TONGA – TONGA

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi- Mapua'a Vaea Blowholes

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi- Mapua’a Vaea Blowholes

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi-Mapua'a Vaea Blowholes

Sudar okeana i koralnih hridi-Mapua’a Vaea Blowholes

Tradicionalni dugi slamnati pojas tupenu-The traditional long wrapped garment-tupenu

Tradicionalni dugi slamnati pojas tupenu-The traditional long wrapped garment-tupenu

Ulica u glavnom gradu-A street in the capital

Ulica u glavnom gradu-A street in the capital

Zalazak sunca na ostrvu Fafa-Sunset on Fafa island

Zalazak sunca na ostrvu Fafa-Sunset on Fafa island

Zalazak sunca na Tongi-Sunset in Tonga

Zalazak sunca na Tongi-Sunset in Tonga

Centennial Free Wesleyan Church

Centennial Free Wesleyan Church

Crkva u glavnom gradu-Free Church of Tonga, Nuku'Alofa

Crkva u glavnom gradu-Free Church of Tonga, Nuku’Alofa

Devojacki hor na nedeljnoj misi-Girls' choir during Sunday mass

Devojacki hor na nedeljnoj misi-Girls’ choir during Sunday mass

Grobovi starih kraljeva-Ancient kings' graves

Grobovi starih kraljeva-Ancient kings’ graves

Kancelarija Premijera-Prime Minister's Office

Kancelarija Premijera-Prime Minister’s Office

Kralj Dzorz V-King George Tupou V

Kralj Dzorz V-King George Tupou V

Kraljevska palata-The Royal Palace

Kraljevska palata-The Royal Palace

Lokalni Stounhendz-Local Stonehenge

Lokalni Stounhendz-Local Stonehenge

Luka u glavnom gradu-Capital's port

Luka u glavnom gradu-Capital’s port

Mormonski hram-A Mormon Temple

Mormonski hram-A Mormon Temple

Nedeljom pre podne ispred crkve-In ftont of the church on Sunday morning

Nedeljom pre podne ispred crkve-In ftont of the church on Sunday morning

Oda kralju-Ode to the King

Oda kralju-Ode to the King

Odlazak u crkvu-Going to the church

Odlazak u crkvu-Going to the church

Parlament Tonge-The Tongan Parliament

Parlament Tonge-The Tongan Parliament

Prirodni luk-Natural arch Li'angahuo 'a Maui, 'Eua

Prirodni luk-Natural arch Li’angahuo ‘a Maui, ‘Eua

Nekada davno beogradskom čaršijom kružila je priča o dvorskoj dami koja se između dva svetska rata školovala u Švajcarskoj i, kao u bajci, tamo upoznala princa iz neke daleke i nepoznate zemlje koja se zvala Tonga. U toj priči ona se, naravno, udala za princa i potom postala kraljica. I pored krajnje romantičnog prizvuka i očekivanja, to je, ipak, bilo nemoguće jer je Tongom u to vreme vladala nadaleko čuvena i voljena kraljica Sālote, i to punih pedeset godina, sve do svoje smrti 1967. godine. Ostala je upamćena u svetu po tome što je po jakoj kiši prošla u otvorenim kočijama ulicama Londona, na ceremoniji krunisanja engleske kraljice Elizabete. Želela je da kisne zajedno sa narodom koji je posmatrao povorku i tako postala popularna širom sveta. Dama bez kišobrana, Kraljica južnih mora, ušla je tako u srca hladnih Engleza, dok joj se kiša slivala niz lice i u baricama ispunjavala skute njene tradicionalne odore.
Tonga je jedina zvanična kraljevina Polinezije, nastala u vreme dolaska prvih misionara na njeno tle početkom XIX veka, mada su lokalni kraljevi brojnih ostrva postojali stotinama godina unazad, ali bez pisanih tragova. Jedino su ogromne kamene grobnice ukazivale na postojanje starog plemstva. Feudalno uređenje i danas je veoma na snazi u toj dalekoj polinežanskoj monarhiji. Kralj je neprikosnoveni vladar, a članovima njegove porodice pripada najviši rang. Posle njih dolaze plemići, a na kraju – obični smrtnici. Prethodni kralj, sin kraljice Salote, težio je trista kilograma, ali to je odlika nacije. Sledeći kralj Siaosi (George) Tupou V bio je manje korpulentan, čak je smršao sedamdeset kilograma i tako narodu dao primer zdravog života. Trebalo je samo da se oženi, iako je već bio u poznim godinama, ali je, nažalost, umro 19. marta 2012. godine, upravo u trenutku kada sam redigovao ovaj tekst. Na svečanoj nedeljnoj misi, u crkvi pored njega sedela bi kraljica majka. Hor devojčica u belom peva duhovne pesme, koje na trenutak podsećaju na operske arije.
Poseta nedeljnim misama pravi je doživljaj u zemljama Polinezije. Tada se žene, kao i muškarci, lepo obuku u belo, i skoro svi oko struka nose tradicionalni dugi pojas od slame (tupenu). Kao najkonzervativnijem društvu u regionu, narodu Tonge su način odevanja i norme ponašanja veoma važni. Odnosi među ljudima različitog ranga strogo su regulisani, a čak ni brak između pripadnika plemstva i običnih ljudi nije dozvoljen bez posebnog odobrenja kralja i saveta ministara. Neposlušnost se može kazniti oduzimanjem titule.
Jelo je takođe poseban ritual, a nedeljni ručak u tipičnoj porodici sadrži sve lokalne specijalitete: mahe-mahe ribu, tapioku, slatki krompir, dimljeno meso uvijeno u zelene listove, kao i obavezno prasence.
Glavni gradić na ostrvu Tongatapu naziva se Nuku`alofa i nije mnogo zanimljiv za obilazak, osim nekoliko crkvi, kraljevske palatice koja se renovira, i male, ali veoma stare, belo ofarbane, drvene kuće koja predstavlja Parlament, mada više liči na crkvu. Lepota Tonge je i u ostalim, udaljenim ostrvima koja joj pripadaju, sa belim peščanim plažama, koralnim grebenima idealnim za ronjenje, kao i putevima kitova koji vode pored tih ostrva, odakle se oni, u svojoj veseloj igri, mogu posmatrati sa paluba jedrenjaka koji prolaze kraj njih. Jedno od takvih je ostrvce Fafá, naš privatni raj.
Kralj Džordž me nije primio, iako je obećao, a nosio sam mu potpisanu sliku srpskog prestolonaslednika. U mentalitetu ovog naroda je da vam uvek kažu ono što želite da čujete, a da li će zaista tako i biti, veoma je neizvesno.
Možda bi nas malo zbližila dvorska dama sa početka priče. Ili sam ja samo verovao da ona postoji.

Septembar 2010.
_________________________________________________________________

Once upon a time a story went around Belgrade about a court lady who went for schooling to Switzerland between the two World Wars. Like in a fairytale, there she met a prince from a faraway, unknown land called Tonga. In this story, of course she gets married to this prince and becomes a queen. Despite the very romantic outlook of the story and the expectations it raised, that was still impossible because at the time Tonga was ruled by the well-known and beloved Queen Sālote. She ruled for the full 50 years until her death in 1967. She was well remembered around the world because, during the crowning ceremony of the British Queen Elizabeth II, she passed through the streets of London in an open carriage in heavy rain. She wanted to be rained on just like the people watching the procession and so gained popularity around the world. A lady without an umbrella, the Queen of the South Seas, thus entered the hearts of the reserved English people, while rain trickled down her face and puddles formed in the creases of her traditional gown.
Tonga is the only official kingdom in Polynesia; it came into existence during the visits of the first missionaries at the beginning of the 19th century, even though local kings existed for centuries on many islands, but without written records. Only vast stone tombs indicate the existence of the ancient nobility. A feudal system is still very much in power in this faraway Polynesian kingdom. The king is the supreme leader and his entire family hold the highest ranks. After them comes nobility and at the bottom of the hierarchy are the commoners.
The previous king, son of Queen Sālote, weighted 300 kilograms, but that is pretty much a national trait. The next king, Siaosi (George) Tupou V, was not as big, and he even lost 70 kilograms, thus leading by example with a healthy lifestyle. He just needed to get married, as he was already of an advanced age, but unfortunately he died on 19 March 2012, just as I was editing this text. Normally, during the official Sunday mass in the church, his mother would sit next to him. A girls choir, all dressed in white, would sing church songs, sometimes resembling opera arias.
Visiting a Sunday mass in Polynesian countries is a real treat. Women as well as men dress in white and they all wear around the waist tupenu – a traditional long belt made of straw. The people of Tonga are the most conservative in the region, and as such, dress code and rules of behaviour are very important to them. Relationships between people of different ranks are strictly regulated and marriage between nobility and commoners is not permitted without a special consent from the King and the Council of Ministers. Disobedience can be penalised by taking the title away.
Meals are also a special ritual, while a typical Sunday family lunch contains all the local delicacies: mahe-mahe fish, tapioca, sweet potato, smoked meat wrapped in green leaves, as well as the customary piglet.
The capital city on the island of Tongatapu is called Nuku`alofa and is not particularly interesting for sightseeing, apart from a few churches, the smallish Royal palace  that is being renovated, and a small and very old wooden house, painted in white, which is the Parliament, even though it resembles a church.
The beauty of Tonga is also in other faraway islands which belong to it; they boast white sandy beaches, coral reefs ideal for diving, as well as whale routes which are close to these islands; whales can be observed in a joyful play from the sailing boats passing by. One such island is Fafá, our private paradise.
King George did not recieve me, even though he promised to, and even though I had for him a signed picture of the Serbian Crown Prince. The mentality of these people is such that they always tell you what you want to hear, but whether it is really going to happen is a different matter.
Perhaps the lady from the beginning of this story would have brought us together. Or maybe I just liked to believe that she was there once upon a time.

September 2010

TOGO – TOGO

Prilaz aerodromu-Airport access

Prilaz aerodromu-Airport access

Prostrana plaza uz glavni grad Lome-A spacious beach in the capital Lome

Prostrana plaza uz glavni grad Lome-A spacious beach in the capital Lome

U lokalnom baru-At a local pub

U lokalnom baru-At a local pub

Ulazak u zemlju-Entering the country

Ulazak u zemlju-Entering the country

Usce reke u okean sa kod gradica Aneho-River estuary near the town of Aneho

Usce reke u okean sa kod gradica Aneho-River estuary near the town of Aneho

Vila iz kolonijalnog perioda-A colonial style villa

Vila iz kolonijalnog perioda-A colonial style villa

Evangelisticka crkva u glavnom gradu-An Evangelical church in the capital

Evangelisticka crkva u glavnom gradu-An Evangelical church in the capital

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu - Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu – Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu-Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Katedrala Sveto srce u gotskom stilu-Sacre Coeur Cathedral in gothic style

Mobilna telefonija je najvaznija - Cell phones are important

Mobilna telefonija je najvaznija – Cell phones are important

Motoristi-The motobikers of Togo

Motoristi-The motobikers of Togo

Opstinska kuca gradica Aneho-Aneho Town House

Opstinska kuca gradica Aneho-Aneho Town House

Seoski staresina-A village chief

Seoski staresina-A village chief

Vudu ceremonija - Voodoo ceremony

Vudu ceremonija – Voodoo ceremony

Vudu ceremonija-Voodoo ceremony

Vudu ceremonija-Voodoo ceremony

Vudu lutkice-The Voodoo dolls

Vudu lutkice-The Voodoo dolls

Ribarska mreza na obali-A fishing net on the shore

Ribarska mreza na obali-A fishing net on the shore

Togo je najmanja frankofonska afrička zemlja, sabijena kao tanušna glista izmedju Gane i Benina, na obali Beninskog zaliva u zapadnoj Africi. Na jeziku naroda Ewé, koji je najbrojniji, Togo znači obala. Za vreme nemačke okupacije, do kraja Prvog svetskog rata, nazivao se Togolend. Glavni grad Lome nalazi se na obali, uz dugačku gradsku plažu i autonomnu luku preko koje se uspostavlja najvažniji kontakt sa svetom. Ono što mi se najviše dopalo bila je katedrala Svetog srca (Sacré Cœur) u nemačkom gotskom stilu. Malo je poznato da je Oto fon Bizmark poslao svog generalnog konzula i izaslanika za Zapadnu Afriku, poznatog istraživača Gustava Nahtigala, da polovinom XIX veka pripoji Togo i Kamerun velikom nemačkom carstvu, pa otuda i gotska katedrala u tim krajevima. Pojednostavljenih linija, jer drugačije sigurno nije moglo u srcu Afrike, svojom crveno-belom bojom izdvaja se iz tipično pijačnog okruženja lokalnih prodavaca svega što vam ne treba. Ima tu i drugih objekata, u čiju ozbiljnost ne treba sumnjati, ali je svakako lepše uživati u lokalnom koloritu ovog naroda i njegovih običaja.
Velika pijaca u srcu grada pravi je festival boja, mirisa i buke, one gradske, ali i pomešane sa plemenskim ritmovima. Tu se sve kupuje i prodaje: crveni biber, zeleni limun, sušena riba, ali i tradicionalni lekovi afričke farmakopeje. Jedna čudna pijaca na severu grada, međutim, predstavlja pravu afričku tajnu. To je pijaca vradžbina, na čijim se skrovitim tezgama mogu naći razni fetiši, ptičje lobanje i koščice, životinjske kože, praškovi svih vrsta i porekla, lekovi nepoznatih sastava koji bi trebalo ili da vas izleče ili, prema potrebi, još više razbole, osiguraju pobedu nad neprijateljem ili bace u očaj.
Mnogi narodi smešteni su na maloj teritoriji ove zemlje, više od četrdeset, i skoro svi se dobro slažu. Možda je tajna u tome što je više od polovine stanovništva ostalo verno svojim plemenskim religijama i paganskim običajima, a samo manji deo je prihvatio islam ili hrišćanstvo. Možda je i tajna u najdužem stažu afričkog predsednika Gnassingbé Eyadéma, koji je samo trideset osam godina bio na vlasti, a zatim ga nasledio njegov sin. Da ga nije zadesila prerana smrt, sigurno bi dostigao Gadafija u dužini vladavine zemljom. Tajne u Africi su teško dokučive, slabo odgonetljive i nikada uhvatljive, a posebno tajne dugovečnih afričkih predsednika koji se pretvaraju u očeve nacije. Mnogi drugi predsednici sigurno bi sve dali da doznaju tu vradžbinu doživotnog ostajanja na vlasti.
A ona je danas teško prenosiva.

Jul 2008.
________________________________________________________________

Togo is the smallest Francophone African country, wedged between Ghana and Benin like a thin worm, on the shores of Benin Bay in West Africa. In the language of the Ewé people who are the most numeorus, Togo means ‘coast’. During the German occupation and until the end of the World War I it was called Togoland. The capital city Lomé is on the shore and it boasts a long city beach, an autonomous port through which contact is made with the outside world; and what appealed to me the most was the Sacré Cœur Cathedral in the German Gothic style.
It is not a well known fact that in the mid-19th century Otto von Bismarck sent his general consul and representative for West Africa, a famous explorer Gustav Nachtigal to annex Togo and Cameroon to the Great German Empire, hence a Gothic cathedral in these parts. The architecture of the cathedral is simple, as for sure it was not possible to build it differently in the heart of Africa, but it stands out with its red and white colours from a typical market environment where local vendors sell everything you don’t need. There are other buildings around that may be equally important, but it is certainly nicer to enjoy the local colours of this people and their customs.
The big market in the city centre is a true festival of colour, smell and noise, the urban noise which is also pervaded with tribal rhythms. Everything is sold and bought here: red peppercorn, lime, dried fish, but also traditional African medicines. However, there is one market in the north of the city which is a veritable African secret. This is a magic charms market and on its concealed stalls you can find various fetish objects, bird skulls and bones, animal hide, powders of all kinds of sources, medicines with unknown ingredients which should heal you, or if need be, make you even more sick, or help you prevail against the enemy, or throw you in despair.
More than forty different peoples co-habit this small territory and they mostly get along well with each other. Perhaps part of the secret is the fact that more than half the population has remained faithful to their pagan religions and pagan rites, while only a small proportion have adoped Christianity or Islam. Perhaps the secret is in the longest rule of any African president, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who was in power for ‘only’ 38 years and then was succeeded by his son. If he did not meet his premature death, he would probably catch up with Gaddafi’s record as a ruler.
The secrets of Africa are difficult to comprehend or decipher, they slip by like illusions – especially the secrets of long standing African presidents who become fathers of the nation. Many other presidents would give all that they have if they could divine this secret of magically staying in power your entire life.
And in today’s world, this secret is more and more difficult to pass on.

July 2008

TANZANIJA – TANZANIA

U luci-In the port of Dar es Salaam

U luci-In the port of Dar es Salaam

Ulaz u lokalnu pijacu-The entrance to the local market

Ulaz u lokalnu pijacu-The entrance to the local market

Ulicna pijaca u glavnom gradu - Dar es Salaam street market

Ulicna pijaca u glavnom gradu – Dar es Salaam street market

Ulicna pijaca u glavnom gradu-Dar es Salaam street market

Ulicna pijaca u glavnom gradu-Dar es Salaam street market

Dolina baobaba-Baobab Valey

Dolina baobaba-Baobab Valey

Masai ratnik na obodu kratera Ngorongoro-Maasai warrior at the Ngorongoro Crater rim

Masai ratnik na obodu kratera Ngorongoro-Maasai warrior at the Ngorongoro Crater rim

Masai u svom selu-Maasai warriors in their village

Masai u svom selu-Maasai warriors in their village

Masajac-A Maasai man

Masajac-A Maasai man

Nilski konji u vulkanskom blatu-Hyppos in the volcanic mud

Nilski konji u vulkanskom blatu-Hyppos in the volcanic mud

Pojilo u krateru Ngorongoro-Watering hole in Ngorongoro Crater

Pojilo u krateru Ngorongoro-Watering hole in Ngorongoro Crater

Slonica na putu u safari parku Serengeti- Female elephant on the road in the Sarengeti National Park

Slonica na putu u safari parku Serengeti- Female elephant on the road in the Sarengeti National Park

Slonica na putu u safari parku Serengeti-A female elephant on the road in the Sarengeti National Park

Slonica na putu u safari parku Serengeti-A female elephant on the road in the Sarengeti National Park

Snegovi Kilimandzara - The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Snegovi Kilimandzara – The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Snegovi Kilimandzara-The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Snegovi Kilimandzara-The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Stocna pijaca-A cattle market

Stocna pijaca-A cattle market

Vodjenje ljubavi na lavlji nacin-Making love the lion's way

Vodjenje ljubavi na lavlji nacin-Making love the lion’s way

Afrika je uvek bila moja velika ljubav, intriga, izazov. Iako svaki njen deo
ima svoje posebnosti, kulturološke i prirodne, iako u skoro svakoj od
afričkih zemalja jednako uživam, i tako se prema njima odnosim, Tanzanija
ipak čini srž simbolike koju povezujemo sa ovim kontinentom.
Zemlja je nastala sjedinjavanjem britanskih kolonija Tanganjike, kao
kontinentalnog dela, i Zanzibara kao ostrvskog dela, u vreme oca nacije koji
se zvao Džulijus Njerere. Većina afričkih zemalja, naravno, ima svog oca
nacije, koga smo kao deca revnosno dočekivali u Beogradu sa zastavicama, kad
bi, u otvorenom mercedesu, prolazio u društvu predsednika Tita i mahao nam.
Bili su to, iz perspektive moje generacije, dobri vladari, koji su svoje
zemlje tada izbavljivali iz kolonijalnog statusa, a one zatim ulazile u
Pokret nesvrstanih. Bilo je to romantično društvo malih naroda koje je tada
pokazivalo otpor velikim silama, pa donekle i određenu moć koju mu je
brojnost dozvoljavala. Osećali su se važnim na svetskoj političkoj sceni, a
njihovi lideri u svojim malim sredinama bili su bogovi “koji su pali na
teme”. Tanzanija je bila jedna od njih.
Jutro u kompleksu luksuznih hotelskih kolibica afričkog tipa, koji se naziva
lodge,  na obodu vulkanskog kratera Ngorongoro, predstavlja nezaboravan
doživljaj. U izmaglici koja se podiže nad velikim, davno ugašenim kraterom,
ukazuje se ogromna površina koja je sada dno kratera i savana, i po kojoj, u
najranijim jutarnjim časovima, krda afričkih životinja polaze u potragu za
hranom. One se ne obaziru na džipove koji se probijaju između njih, a koji
su puni turista naoružanih kamerama sa dugim objektivima, ne bi li svako od
njih ulovio poneki neobičan trenutak surove divljine: skok lava na antilopu,
ili, možda, na lavicu u trenutku strasti, stampedo bufala i divljih svinja,
ili ljubavnu igru nilskih konja.
U jednom drugom, po prostranstvu najvećem nacionalnom parku Serengeti,
doživljavamo duge trenutke neizvesnosi na prašnjavom putiću, okruženom
niskim zemljanim stenama, staništima termita. Nalazimo se oči u oči sa
velikom slonicom dugih izvijenih kljova, čije je mladunče prešlo na drugu
stranu putića, a naš džip se našao između njih. U trenutku straha za
mladunče, mogla bi u naletu da sa lakoćom prevrne džip u kome vlada muk
neizvesnosti i očekivanja, čak i za čuvara, koji je sa puškom u
pripravnosti. Posle dužeg čekanja u igri nerava, slonica se ipak odlučuje da
nas obiđe kroz nepristupačno šipražje i pridruži slončetu, uz naše uzdahe
olakšanja. Možda nas nikada ne bi napala jer slonovima to nije u prirodi,
ali onako moćna ispred malog vozila ulivala je strah, jer je i sama bila
uplašena.
Tanzanija predstavlja spoj safarija (na svahili jeziku safari znači
putovanje) u najlepšim nacionalnim parkovima i tropskog uživanja na
kontinentalnim plažama, kao i onim na ostrvu Zanzibar. Ako se ovim
doživljajima pridoda i lagano osvajanje najpoznatijeg afručkog vrha
Kilimandžara, onda ova zemlja zaista pruža mnogo više nego što se očekuje od
jednog putovanja po Africi.
Hakuna Matata.

Septembar 1997.
_______________________________________________________

Africa has always been my great love, a riddle, a challenge. Even though
every part of Africa has its own features, natural and cultural, and even
though I equally enjoy almost all the African countries and treat them
equally, Tanzania still represents the symbolical essence that we relate to
this continent.
The country came into existence by unification of the British colonies of
Tanganyika as its continental part, as well as Zanzibar as the insular part,
under the father of the nation, Julius Nyerere. Most African nations have
their father of the nation who we would greet fervently waving the flags
when we were children in Belgrade; they would usually drive past in an open
roof Mercedes accompanied by President Tito and wave back to us. From our
perspective they were good rulers who had saved their countries from
colonial status and they would then join the movement of Non-Aligned
countries. At the time, it was a romantic association of small nations
showing resistance towards the superpowers, and even a measure of power due
to the number of its members. They felt important on the world political
scene and their leaders, in their small environments felt like gods.
Tanzania was one of them.
Dawn break at a luxurious complex of huts in the African style, called a
‘lodge’, at the rim of the volcanic crater Ngorongoro is an unforgettable
experience. In the mist rising above the crater of the volcano, extinguished
long ago, a vast expanse which is now a savannah stretches into the
distance; in the early morning hours herds of African animals can be seen
there, roaming in search of food. They disregard the jeeps making their way
between them, loaded with tourists equipped with cameras with long lenses,
each of them trying to capture a scene of cruel wilderness – a lion jumping
on an antelope, or perhaps on a lioness in a moment of passion; a stampede
of buffaloes or wild boars, or a flirting game of hippos.
In another national park, Serengeti, which is the largest of all, we
experience long moments of uncertainty on a dusty road surrounded by low
laying  earthen rocks – termite mounds. We are directly facing a female
elephant with long curved tusks; her baby elephant has crossed the road and
our jeep has found itself between the two of them. In a moment of fear for
its young one she could easily overturn the jeep which is possessed by dead
silence of uncertainty and trepidation; even the guard with his rifle on the
ready is feeling uncomfortable. After a long nerve-wrecking wait, the female
elephant decides to pass by us through the inaccesible shrubbery and join
her baby. We let out sighs of relief. Perhaps she would never attack us
anyway as that is not in the elephant’s nature, but powerful as she was, in
front of a small vehicle, she instilled fear, because she was afraid
herself.
Tanzania is a mixture of safari (which means a ‘trip’ in Swahili) in the
most beautiful national parks and tropical pleasures on continental beaches
as well as those on the island of Zanzibar. If to these experiences you add
a gradual conquest of Kilimanjaro, the most famous mountain peak in Africa,
then this country offers much more than you would normally expect from a
travel to an African country.
Hakuna Matata.

September 1997

 

 

  ZANZIBAR – ZANZIBAR

Skupljanje algi dok traje oseka-Collecting algae during the low tide

Skupljanje algi dok traje oseka-Collecting algae during the low tide

Stara apoteka-The old Ithnasheri dispensary

Stara apoteka-The old Ithnasheri dispensary

Tipicna drvena kapija-A typical wooden gate

Tipicna drvena kapija-A typical wooden gate

U starom delu grada-In the Stone Town

U starom delu grada-In the Stone Town

Unutar zidina grada-Inside the city walls

Unutar zidina grada-Inside the city walls

Uske ulice starog grada-The narrow streets of the Stone Town

Uske ulice starog grada-The narrow streets of the Stone Town

Zgrada poste-The Post Office building

Zgrada poste-The Post Office building

Africki bioskop-An African cinema

Africki bioskop-An African cinema

Anglikanska katedrala-The Anglican cathedral Christ Church

Anglikanska katedrala-The Anglican cathedral Christ Church

Gradska pijaca - A city market

Gradska pijaca – A city market

Gradska pijaca-A city market

Gradska pijaca-A city market

Oblaci nad Zanzibarom-Clouds over Zanzibar

Oblaci nad Zanzibarom-Clouds over Zanzibar

Palata cuda - The Palace of Wonders

Palata cuda – The Palace of Wonders

Palata cuda -The Palace of Wonders

Palata cuda -The Palace of Wonders

Palata cuda-The Palace of Wonders

Palata cuda-The Palace of Wonders

Patinirana arhitektura Kamenog grada-Stone Town's old architecture

Patinirana arhitektura Kamenog grada-Stone Town’s old architecture

Pogled na Kameni grad-A view of Stone Town

Pogled na Kameni grad-A view of Stone Town

Skupljanje algi dok traje oseka-Collecting algae during low tide

Skupljanje algi dok traje oseka-Collecting algae during low tide

Skupljanje algi dok traje oseka-Collecting algae during low tide

Skupljanje algi dok traje oseka-Collecting algae during low tide

Iz glavnog grada Tanzanije Dar es Salama polazi pretovareni trajekt za
ostrvo Zanzibar. Čitavo ostrvo miriše na brojne začine, a posebno na vanilu
i karanfilić, čime odaje utisak jedne velike poslastičarnice. Začini su
vekovima činili ovo ostrvo poznatom morskom raskrsnicom istočne afričke
obale, odakle su arapski trgovci kretali ka Arabijskom poluostrvu natovareni
robovima, slonovačom, zlatom i začinima. Patina tih davnih dana oseća se u
oronuloj muslimanskoj arhitekturi ostrva i daje mu posebnu čar u popodnevnoj
šetnji ulicama starog grada. Zraci zalazećeg sunca delimično osvetljavaju
male džamije u slepim sokacima.
Zanzibar je grad, ostrvo i arhipelag u čijem se sastavu nalazi još ostrvo
Pemba, kao i oko pedeset manjih ostrva. Neobična mešavina Bantu nacije
afričkog kontinenta sa muslimanskim trgovcima iz Jemena, Omana, Indije i
Persije, stvorila je Svahili kulturu i narod koji naseljava ova ostrva.
Duge oseke na istočnoj obali ne čine ga pogodnim za kupanje u tim trenucima,
ali je zato zanimljivo posmatrati meštane sa korpama na leđima koji u
plićaku sakupljaju alge za daleke japanske trpeze. Karanfilić se suši na
suncu i odaje svoj čarobni miris ostrvskom vazduhu, čiji ga povetarac
raznosi po livadama i plažama, između minareta, katedrala i Hindu hramova.
Igre svetlosti i senki po zidovima starog Kamenog grada ispunjavaju njegove
uske aleje i prolaze i kao da pripovedaju o arabijskim kalifima i sultanima
koji su vladali ovim ostrvom. Mali prodavac papaja, manga i kolačića od
cimeta uporno privlači pažnju zvonom svog trošnog bicikla kojim zamiče iza
Ibadi džamije, ostavljajući opojni miris začina u vazduhu.
U smiraj dana afričke priče mešaju se sa onima iz Hiljadu i jedne noći i
pripovedaju deci. Različite kulture i religije čine ovaj deo istočne obale
Afrike veoma posebnim i jedinstvenim, kao i zavodljivi mirisi začina koji
lebde između kamenih stubova Palate čuda.
Kao kolači od vazduha na magičnom ostrvu.

Septembar 1997.
___________________________________________________

From Tanzania’s capital, Dar es Salaam, an overloaded ferryboat leaves for
the island of Zanzibar. The entire island smells of numerous spices,
especially of clove and vanilla, giving off the impression of a huge cake
shop. For centuries spices have given Zanzibar an important naval role as a
centre at the East African coast from which Arabian merchants would leave
for the Arabian Peninsula loaded with slaves, ivory, gold and spice. The
spirit of those long gone days is present in the decrepit Muslim
architecture of the island, giving it a special charm during an afternoon
stroll down the streets of the old town. The rays of setting sun partly shed
light on small mosques in dead end alleyways.
Zanzibar is a city, an island as well as an archipelago comprising the
island of Pemba and another 50 smaller islands. An unusual mix of Bantu
people from the African continent with Muslim merchants from Yemen, Oman,
India and Persia, engendered the Swahili culture and the people who inhabit
these islands.
Long periods of low tide on the East Coast do not make for enjoyable
swimming at that time, however it is interesting then to watch the locals
with baskets on their backs, collecting seaweed for faraway Japanese diners.
Clove is being dried in the sun emanating its magical scent into the
island’s air; it is then carried by the breeze to meadows and beaches,
between minarets, cathedrals and Hindu temples. The play of light and shadow
on the walls of the old Stone Town leads you through narrow alley ways and
passages telling a story of khalifas and sultans who ruled this island. A
small vendor of papaya, mango and cinnamon cakes persistently attracts
attention with the bell chime from his ancient bicycle, slowly disappearing
behind the walls of the Ibadhi Mosque; all that is left behind is a heady
scent of spice.
At day’s end African stories mingle with those from Arabian Nights and are
recounted to the children. Various cultures and religions make this part of
the East Coast of Africa unique and special, as much as the seductive scents
of spices hovering around the stone pillars of the Palace of Wonders.
Like cakes made of air, on a magical island.

September 1997

TAJVAN – TAIWAN – 臺灣

Memorijalni centar-The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Memorijalni centar-The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Neobicne stene na tajvanskoj obali - Yehliu Geopark

Neobicne stene na tajvanskoj obali – Yehliu Geopark

Neobicne stene na tajvanskoj obali-Yehliu Geopark

Neobicne stene na tajvanskoj obali-Yehliu Geopark

Pogled na Memorijalni centar-A view of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

Pogled na Memorijalni centar-A view of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

Predsednicki automobil u muzeju-The President's car in the museum

Predsednicki automobil u muzeju-The President’s car in the museum

Spomenik ocu nacije-The Monument to the Father of the Nation

Spomenik ocu nacije-The Monument to the Father of the Nation

Toranj u glavnom gradu-Taipei 101-a landmark skyscraper

Toranj u glavnom gradu-Taipei 101-a landmark skyscraper

Trg slobode sa Narodnim pozoristem-Liberty Square with the National Theatre

Trg slobode sa Narodnim pozoristem-Liberty Square with the National Theatre

Ulazak turista u Memorijalni centar-Tourists entering the Memorial Hall

Ulazak turista u Memorijalni centar-Tourists entering the Memorial Hall

Unutrasnjost hrama-Interior of a temple

Unutrasnjost hrama-Interior of a temple

Vostana figura Cang Kai-sek-a-A wax figure of Chiang Kai-shek

Vostana figura Cang Kai-sek-a-A wax figure of Chiang Kai-shek

Grand Hotel Taipei

Grand Hotel Taipei

Memorijalni centar Cang Kai-sek-The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Memorijalni centar Cang Kai-sek-The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Kada sam u detinjstvu savladavao prve geografske pojmove, sećam se da se uz naziv ove zemlje uvek dodavalo – Formoza. Tek kasnije saznao sam da Ilha Formosa na portugalskom znači lepo ostrvo, epitet koji su mu dali njegovi prvi istrazivači u XVI veku, obilazeći ga svojim galijama i diveći se njegovim prirodnim lepotama.
Ipak, japanski šogunati imali su dominaciju nad ostrvom, sve do kapitulacije Japana posle Drugog svetskog rata. Proterivanjem Japanaca sa svojih teritorija, nastao je raskol među samim Kinezima. U toku četvorogodišnjeg ratovanja, Mao Cedung sa svojim komunistima osvaja čitavu teritoriju matice Kine i proglašava Narodnu republiku Kinu, dok se antikomunističke trupe Čang Kai-šeka, koje predstavljaju Republiku Kinu, povlače na Tajvan i tu održavaju kontinuitet zemlje pod tim imenom. U doba hladnog rata, nekomunistički svet je uglavnom priznavao ovu Kinu, ali se od sedamdesetih godina XX veka situacija menja. Velika Kina svojim razvojem postaje nezaobilazni faktor u svetu, a Tajvan, iako znatno manji, ali uz japansko privredno nasleđe, postaje jedan od četiri azijska Tigra, koji simbolišu ekonomsku snagu ovog kontinenta.
Matica Kina i Tajvan sve su manje rivali u savremenom svetu, a sve više saradnici na zajedničkom poslu osvajanja svetskog tržišta. Ni komunizam kineskog tipa nije isti kao u  Maovo vreme, pa ni metode prisvajanja lepog ostrva Formoze preko blokada i vojnih pretnji. Svaka od ovih dveju zemalja danas ima svoj put kroz jedan narod koji će, možda, ako to odluči, u budućnosti živeti zajedno.
Glavni grad Taipei je moderna kineska metropola, ali koja ipak više podseća na Japan. Sve je veoma čisto i uređeno, a njihovi Kinezi izuzetno pristojni, bogati i ljubazni.
Iz velikog mauzoleja osnivača nacije, Čang Kai-šeka, pruža se pogled na grad, dok njegova voštana figura, u plavom generalskom odelu, sedi za pisaćim stolom i kao da, posmatrajući svoje sunarodnike dok ga obilaze, želi da ih upita za opredeljenje. Tajvan ili Kina? To pitanje je više pripadalo njegovom vremenu, mada i danas, na sastancima različitih svetskih asocijacija ili Olimpijskog komiteta, Tajvan često koristi svoje kompromisno ime – Kineski Taipei, da bi udovoljio velikom bratu. Pa čak ni u Međunarodno udruženje za estetsku plastičnu hirurgiju, čiji sam potpredsednik, Kina nije želela da uđe, dok Tajvan nije promenio svoje ime u gore pomenuto.
Ja, međutim, volim obe Kine.

Novembar 2002.
_______________________________________________________________

When during my childhood I tried to learn my first geographical terms, I remember that the word Formosa was always added to the name of this country. Only later did I find out that Ilha Formosa in Portuguese means ‘a beautiful island’ – the name given by its first explorers in the 16th century, while they observed it from their galleons and admired its splendour.
Yet the Japanese Shogunates had control over the island up until the capitulation of Japan at the end of the World War II. During the period of driving away the Japanese from the island, a divide was created between the Chinese themselves. During the 4 year long war, Mao Zedong and his Communists took control over the entire mainland China and declared the People’s Republic of China, whereas the anti-Communist troops of Chiang Kai-shek, representing the Republic of China, withdrew to Taiwan keeping the continuity of the country with this name. During the Cold War, the non-Communist world mostly recognised this China, however from the 1970s onwards the situation started to change. The great China, with its rapid development, became an unavoidable factor in the world, while Taiwan, even though much smaller, but with the Japanese economic tradition became one of the Four Asian Tigers symbolising the economic might of this continent.
Mainland China and Taiwan are less and less adversaries in the modern world and more and more they are business partners with the common goal of conquering the world market. The communism itself is not the same as it was in the time of Mao, so the methods of subjugation of the beautiful island of Formosa do not include any more blockades and military threats. Each of these two countries has its own way with its own people, who, if they decide one day, may live together again.
Taipei is a modern Chinese metropolis, yet it resembles Japan more. Everything is very clean and orderly, and the people are very polite, rich and kind.
The view across the city stretches from the Mausoleum of Chiang Kai-shek, the founder of the nation, while his wax figure in a general’s blue uniform is sitting at a desk; it seems almost like he is watching his compatriots that are visiting and asking them to choose. Taiwan or China? This question belonged really to his time, however, even these days at meetings of various international associations and the Olympic Committee, Taiwan often uses its compromise name – Chinese Taipei, so as to please the big brother. Even in the case of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery of which I am a Vice President – China refused to join until Taiwan changed its name to the above mentioned.
However, I love both Chinas.

November 2002

TAJLAND – THAILAND – ราชอาณาจักรไทย

Planinsko selo na severu Tajlanda-A mountainous village in the North of Thailand

Planinsko selo na severu Tajlanda-A mountainous village in the North of Thailand

Plemenska svecanost na severu zemlje-A tribal festival in the North

Plemenska svecanost na severu zemlje-A tribal festival in the North

Pogled na reku Cao Praja u Bangkoku-A view of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok

Pogled na reku Cao Praja u Bangkoku-A view of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok

Polje opijuma u Zlatnom trouglu-An opium poppy field in the Golden Triangle

Polje opijuma u Zlatnom trouglu-An opium poppy field in the Golden Triangle

Pravljenje tradicionalnih papirnih suncobrana-The making of traditional paper parasols

Pravljenje tradicionalnih papirnih suncobrana-The making of traditional paper parasols

Prodavci lokanih suvenira oko mesta Ciang Mai-Local souvenir vendors in Chiang Mai

Prodavci lokanih suvenira oko mesta Ciang Mai-Local souvenir vendors in Chiang Mai

Skakavci, crvi i ostali specijaliteti-Grasshoppers, worms and other specialities

Skakavci, crvi i ostali specijaliteti-Grasshoppers, worms and other specialities

Svestenik u setnji-A monk walking

Svestenik u setnji-A monk walking

Tradicionalni camac na jugu zemlje-A traditional boat of the South

Tradicionalni camac na jugu zemlje-A traditional boat of the South

Travestit u baru u cetvrti Patpong-A transsexual in a bar in Patpong district

Travestit u baru u cetvrti Patpong-A transsexual in a bar in Patpong district

U narodnim nosnjama na obali reke Mekong-In the traditional clothes on the shore of Mekong river

U narodnim nosnjama na obali reke Mekong-In the traditional clothes on the shore of Mekong river

Wat Pho Temple Prangs

Wat Pho Temple Prangs

Zena zirafa sa vratnim prstenovima iz naroda Kajan-A Kayan Lahwi woman with neck rings

Zena zirafa sa vratnim prstenovima iz naroda Kajan-A Kayan Lahwi woman with neck rings

Zlatna stupa u okviru Kraljevske palate-A golden stuppa inside the Royal Palace

Zlatna stupa u okviru Kraljevske palate-A golden stuppa inside the Royal Palace

Camac na Krabiju - A boat on Krabi beach

Camac na Krabiju – A boat on Krabi beach

Camac na Krabiju-Boat on Krabi

Camac na Krabiju-Boat on Krabi

Kompleks Kraljevske palate u Bangkoku - The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Kompleks Kraljevske palate u Bangkoku – The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Kompleks Kraljevske palate u Bangkoku -The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Kompleks Kraljevske palate u Bangkoku -The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Kompleks Kraljevske palate u Bangkoku-The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Kompleks Kraljevske palate u Bangkoku-The Grand Palace in Bangkok

Lezeci Buda u hramu Vat Po-The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho Temple

Lezeci Buda u hramu Vat Po-The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho Temple

Na Andamanskom moru-At the Andaman sea

Na Andamanskom moru-At the Andaman sea

Nisam posebno oduševljen nekom zemljom koja ima odrednicu: turistička destinacija, što Tajland definitivno jeste. Sve ono što se, međutim, ovde može doživeti van standardnog turizma, čini ovu zemlju posebnom. Obilazimo tako, delom peške, delom na slonu, džungle tajlandskog severa, prolazeći kroz polja opijuma, gde lokalni vodič posebnim zviždukom mora da naglasi da prolaze turisti, a ne policija ili vojska. Spavamo u brdima, u selima bez vode i struje, dok seljaci i vodiči, pošto pripreme hranu za goste, odmah legnu na stranu i predaju se čarima dugih opijumskih lula, što ubrzo prelazi u totalnu obamrlost i san. To im, ipak, ne smeta da sutradan ustanu odmorni i pripreme slonove za dalje putovanje ka čuvenom Zlatnom trouglu, tromeđi Tajlanda, Burme i Laosa na reci Mekong, gde je trgovina drogom najvažnije zanimanje.
Mala sela između gradova Čijang Maj i Čijang Raj na krajnjem severu Tajlanda često imaju svoje svetkovine, koje traju do kasno u noć, uz neobičnu muziku i akrobacije na ogromnim ljuljaškama od lijana. Kupanje slonova u reci ovde je posebna radost za obe strane, posebno za onoga ko je spreman da uđe u vodu i metalnom četkom donese neizmerno uživanje ovoj divnoj životinji, što će sigurno biti nagrađeno mlazom vode iz surle.
Jug ove zemlje, pored ostalog, čine i brojna ostrvca sa obe strane tajlandskog kraka, koja se ovde nazivaju koh. Koh Samui ima prostrane bele peščane plaže sa bungalovima za bezbrižan odmor, ali i za one koji žele robinzonski turizam. Koh Pee Pee ima čuvene visoke morske pećine, u čijim vrhovima se nalaze ptičja gnezda, koja su specijalna kineska poslastica. Rizikujući da padnu na oštre stene, vešti lokalci, pomoću dugih bambusovih štapova i verući se uz skoro vertikalne zidove pećina, sakupljaju ta gnezda, dok ih turisti radoznalo posmatraju. Taj deo Tajlanda bio je posebno zahvaćen cunamijem, a ja u tom tenutku samo zamišljam kako moj holandski prijatelj Theo van der Rijk, veoma krupan i visok čovek, beži od ogromnog talasa i završava na palmi.
Glavni grad Bankok ipak je nezaobilazna tačka svakog putovanja na Tajland. Taj megalopolis na reci Čao Praja pruža sva zadovoljstva koja se mogu zamisliti. Jedno od najvećih je rana jutarnja vožnja plovećom pijacom na severu grada, gde prodavci krstare dugim drvenim čamcima nudeći čitave koloritne samoposluge lokalnih tropskih proizvoda.
Prepodnevno lutanje po gradskim hramovima ostavlja zlato u zenicama koje teško odatle izlazi, toliko ga ima na palatama i pagodama centralnog gradskog kompleksa, po kome šetaju budistički sveštenici i njihovi učenici u jarkonarandžastim togama, sa suncobranom u ruci i osmehom na licu. Popodnevni šoping je novi izazov za ljubitelje svile, večernji se ostavlja za tajlandsku kuhinju, a noćni za poznatu četvrt Pat Pong. Ako se možda u ovom noćnom izazovu naizgled malo pomešaju polovi, treba razumeti da je tu ponekad relativno ko je muškarac, a ko žena. Transseksualna hirurgija je na Tajlandu veliki biznis, kao i njene posledice. Ipak, kad vas već obuzme luda tajlandska noć u ovom gradu, samo joj se prepustite i, kako bi se populano reklo, pustite da sva čula uživaju.
Uz sve mere opreza, naravno.

Septembar 1986.
_____________________________________________________________________

I am usually not delighted with a country that is a tourist destination per se and Thailand definitely is. Yet, everything that can be experienced here outside the standard tourism makes this country special. So we roam the jungles of Northern Thailand, partly on foot, partly on elephants, we pass through opium fields where a local guide has to announce by whistling a special tune that it is tourists passing, not the police or the army. We sleep in the hills, in villages with no water or electricity; the villagers and tourist guides, as soon as they have prepared food for the tourists, lie down on their side and abandon themselves to the delights of the long opium pipes which lead them rapidly to total stupor and sleep. Yet this does not seem to affect them and the following morning they get up rested and ready to prepare the elephants for the continued journey towards the famous Golden Triangle, the tripoint of Thailand, Burma and Laos, on the Mekong River, where drug trafikking is everyone’s main occupation.
Small villages between the towns of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the furthest North of the country often have festivals that last long into the night, with unusual music and acrobatics performed on huge swings made of vine. Elephant bathing in the river is a special treat for both parties, especially for those brave enough to enter the water and bring immense pleasure with a metal comb to this wonderful animal, which is certainly reciprocated with a jet of water from their trunks.
Among other things, the South of this country comprises of many small islands on both sides of the Thai peninsula and they are called koh. Koh Samui has vast white sandy beaches and bungalows for a carefree relaxation, but also for those who crave a Robinson Crusoe type of holiday. Koh Pee Pee boasts famous tall sea caves in which bird nests could be found; they are a special delicacy of the Chinese cuisine. Risking falling on sharp rocks, skilled locals climb almost vertical cave walls and with the help of long bamboo sticks harvest the nests, under the curious gaze of tourists. Sadly this part of Thailand was particularly badly damaged by the tsunami; yet at that moment I only imagine a comical situation in which my Dutch friend, Theo van der Rijk, as tall and stout as he is, finds himself running away from the huge wave and ends up on a palm tree.
The capital city, Bangkok, is still the unavoidable highlight of every travel to Thailand. This megalopolis on the Chao Phraya River offers all kinds of pleasures imaginable. One of the biggest pleasures is the early morning ride on a floating market in the Northern part of the city; the vendors ride their long wooden boats offering a full spectrum of colours of their grocery goods, the local tropical fruit and vegetable.
A morning stroll through the city temples leaves a golden reflection in the eye of the beholder, which stays there for a long time – as gold is omnipresent on palaces and pagodas of the central city complex; there buddhist monks and their disciples wander around wearing intense orange coloured robes, carrying parasols and with smiles on their faces. Afternoon shopping is a fresh challenge for silk lovers, evenings are reserved for Thai cuisine, while nights are to be spent in the famous Phat Pong quarter. If during this night challenge, sexes get mixed up a little, it should be understood that it is relative who is a man and who is a woman. Transsexual surgery is big business in Thailand, as well as its consequences. Yet, once you immerse yourself in a crazy Thai night, just let yourself go, and as they say, let all your senses enjoy.
Of course, with all the precautionary measures.

September 1986

TADŽIKISTAN – TAJIKISTAN – Тоҷикистон

Na ulici-In the street

Na ulici-In the street

Prodavnica suvenira-A souvenir shop

Prodavnica suvenira-A souvenir shop

Slepi pesnik Rudaki-Rudaki-the blind poet

Slepi pesnik Rudaki-Rudaki-the blind poet

Spoj ruskog stila i Orijenta-A mixture of Russian and Oriental styles

Spoj ruskog stila i Orijenta-A mixture of Russian and Oriental styles

Spomenik ocu nacije-The Monument of Amir Ismail Samani, the father of Tajik nation

Spomenik ocu nacije-The Monument of Amir Ismail Samani, the father of Tajik nation

Spomenik slepom pesniku Rudakiju-The Monument of Rudaki, the blind poet

Spomenik slepom pesniku Rudakiju-The Monument of Rudaki, the blind poet

Sporedna ulica-A back street

Sporedna ulica-A back street

Stara sinagoga u Dusanbeu-The old sinagogue in Dushanbe

Stara sinagoga u Dusanbeu-The old sinagogue in Dushanbe

Starac u basti-An old man in the garden

Starac u basti-An old man in the garden

Statua lezeceg Bude u Narodnom muzeju-A Reclining Buddha in the National Museum of Antiquities

Statua lezeceg Bude u Narodnom muzeju-A Reclining Buddha in the National Museum of Antiquities

Tradicionalni hleb na pijaci-Traditional bread on the market

Tradicionalni hleb na pijaci-Traditional bread on the market

Tvrdjava Hisar-Hissar Fortress

Tvrdjava Hisar-Hissar Fortress

U parku-In the park

U parku-In the park

U tradicionalnoj kuci-In a traditional house

U tradicionalnoj kuci-In a traditional house

Ulazak u glavni grad-Entering the capital city

Ulazak u glavni grad-Entering the capital city

Unutar dzamije-Inside the mosque

Unutar dzamije-Inside the mosque

Centralna dzamija u glavnom gradu-Central mosque in the capital

Centralna dzamija u glavnom gradu-Central mosque in the capital

Gradska pijaca-City market

Gradska pijaca-City market

Muzej u tvrdjavi Hisar - The museum in the Hissar Fortress

Muzej u tvrdjavi Hisar – The museum in the Hissar Fortress

Muzej u tvrdjavi Hisar-The museum in the Hissar Fortress

Muzej u tvrdjavi Hisar-The museum in the Hissar Fortress

Na tvrdjavi Hisar-On top of the Hissar Fortress

Na tvrdjavi Hisar-On top of the Hissar Fortress

Predsednici Putin i Rahmon-Presidents Putin and Rahmon

Predsednici Putin i Rahmon-Presidents Putin and Rahmon

Ovde se uzdižu najviše planine, sa kojih dolazi voda većini azijskih reka, usečeni su najlepši kanjoni i prostiru se vrele doline sa suptropskom klimom, gde pamučna polja smenjuju vinogradi, plantaže kajsija i pustinjski platoi. Planinski lanci Karakorum i Hindukuš sreću se na Pamiru, a tu je i najviši vrh koji se naziva Komunizam, najviše slano jezero i najduži glečer, koji je samo jedan od osam hiljada koliko ih ima u ovoj zemlji. To znači da je samo površina prekrivena ledom velika kao omanja evropska zemlja. Čitav Mendeljejev sistem koncentrisan je na Pamirskoj visoravni.
Tadžici su poznati centralnoazijski narod koga ima u skoro svim okolnim zemljama, posebno u Avganistanu, gde žive kao veliki konstitutivni narod. Imaju pomalo nezgodnu narav pо kojoj su poznati i uvek su bili umešani u sve ratove koji su se vodili u centralnoj Aziji.
Aleksandar Veliki je stigao čak do ovih krajeva u svom pohodu na Indiju, kao i Marko Polo na velikom Putu svile. Ova zemlja je bila i ostala zanimljiva za mnoge istraživače, pustolove, planinare, lovce i, posebno, ljubitelje netaknute prirode.
Glavni grad Dušanbe nekada se, u sovjetska vremena, nazivao Staljinabad. Ispunjava me atmosfera glavnih gradova ovih centralnoazijskih zemalja u kojima se govori ruski, a ipak se oseća samosvojnost i autentičnost njihovog porekla. Niko od njih neće negirati prisustvo majke Rusije u njihovim životima, uticaj na kulturni razvoj i veze koje su i dalje toliko jake da su slike lokalnih predsednika, u ovom slučaju Rahmonova, sa Vladimirom Putinom često na vidnim mestima.
Volim da posmatram stare ruske trolejbuse kako krstare ulicama, koje su skoro natkrivene drvećem, pa imate utisak da se uvek nalazite u jednom velikom parku. U njemu su spomenici slepom persijskom pesniku Rudakiju, koji je ovde rođen, najpoznatijem lekaru sa ovih prostora, koji se zvao Ibn Sina ili Avicena, kao i mnogim drugim značajnim ličnostima ne samo iz lokalne istorije, već uopšte. Tu su i obavezna kulturna zdanja pozorišta, opere ili baleta, što možda nije toliko blisko lokalnom stanovništvu, ali se poštuje kao deo ruske tradicije. Kad žele da kažu nešto lepo o nekoj osobi, Tadžici kažu da je lep kao pesnik ili mudar kao pesnik.
Bio sam u velikoj džamiji u Dušanbeu, u ruskoj pravoslavnoj crkvi, jevrejskoj sinagogi (u tužno skromnom prostoru koji je srušen prilikom urbanizacije grada, ali zamenjen novim), video ogromnu statuu ležećeg Bude i uverio se u visok stepen verske tolerancije naroda koji dele ovaj, za azijske prilike, relativno mali prostor.
Tadžikistan je ipak, pre svega, zemlja divlje planinske prirode koja svojom lepotom osvaja svakoga ko krene u istarživanje njenih vrleti. Visoki i mršavi tamnoputi gorštaci ovde sa osmehom dočekuju retke posetioce u svojim jurtama ili dok ih vode kroz jedinstvenu prirodu, koju treba videti i doživeti.
Reči zaista malo govore, jer kako kaže njihova stara poslovica: „Bolje je jednom videti, nego dva puta čuti“.

Maj 2007.
________________________________________________________________

Here are the highest mountains that supply most Asian rivers with water, here the most stunning canyons are carved in the rocks, and scorching valleys with subtropical climate stretch in the distance, cotton fields alternating with vineyards, apricot plantations with desert plateaus. The mountain ranges of Karakorum and Hindu Kush meet in Pamir and that is where the highest peak, called Communism Peak is situated; a salty lake with a highest altitude is located here as well as the longest glacier, one of the 8000 glaciers in this country. This means that the surface covered with ice is the size of a smaller European country. The entire Mendeleyev system could be found on the Pamir Highland.
Tajiks are a well-known Central Asian people represented in almost all the surrounding countries, especially in Afghanistan where they present a large minority. They have a slightly unpleasant temperament they are famous for and they have always been involved in all wars in Central Asia.
Alexander the Great reached as far as this land on his military campaign to India and so did Marco Polo on his great Silk Route. This country was and still is interesting for many explorers, adventurers, mountaineers, hunters and especially for lovers of unspoilt nature.
The capital, Dushanbe, used to be called Stalinabad in the Soviet era. I savour the atmosphere of these Central Asian capital cities, where even though Russian is spoken, you could still feel their peculiar, authentic roots. No one would negate the presence of Mother Russia in their lives, the influence it had on their cultural development and bonds that are so strong that often you can see pictures of the President, in this case Rahmonov, with Vladimir Putin, displayed in prominent places.
I like to watch ancient Russian trolley buses cruising the streets which are almost entirely covered with treetops, giving off the impression of being in a huge park. Here you can find the monument to the blind Persian poet Rudaki who was born here, as well as the most famous physician from this region called Ibn Sina or Avicenna and to other important persons who came not only from local history but much further afield. Here are also the regular ‘cultural’ buildings such as theatres, operas and ballets; they may not feel very close to the local people, but are respected as part of the Russian tradition. When Tajiks want to say something nice about a person, they say he or she is as beautiful as a poet, or as wise as a poet.
I visited the Great Mosque in Dushanbe, a Russian Orthodox church, the Jewish Synagogue (which was in a sadly small space that was torn down during the urbanisation, but was replaced with a new building); I also saw the big statue of the Reclining Buddha and I was convinced in the high degree of religious tolerance of the people who share, for Central Asian standards, a relatively small space.
Above all, Tajikistan is a country of wild natural beauty of mountains, captivating everyone who explores it with its beauty. Tall, slim, dark-skinned highlanders greet rare visitors with a smile, offering hospitality in their yurts, or guidance through the nature which is unique, and can only be seen and experienced, not described.
Words really can say little, as their old proverb claims: ‘Seeing once is better than hearing twice’.

May 2007

SVETI VINSENT I GRENADINI – SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

Plaza princeze Margarete-Princess Margareth beach

Plaza princeze Margarete-Princess Margareth beach

Pogled na luku u suton-A view of the port at sunset

Pogled na luku u suton-A view of the port at sunset

Policijska stanica u glavnom gradu-The police station in the capital

Policijska stanica u glavnom gradu-The police station in the capital

Ponuda svezih jastoga-Offering fresh lobsters

Ponuda svezih jastoga-Offering fresh lobsters

U tropskoj basti-In the tropical garden

U tropskoj basti-In the tropical garden

Ulica u Kingstaunu - A street in Kingstown

Ulica u Kingstaunu – A street in Kingstown

Drvena karipska gradnja-Caribbean Gingerbread-style

Drvena karipska gradnja-Caribbean Gingerbread-style

Izlazak iz luke - Exiting the port

Izlazak iz luke – Exiting the port

Izlazak iz luke-Exiting the port

Izlazak iz luke-Exiting the port

Limeni instrumenti su deo kalipso muzike-Brass instruments are part of calypso music

Limeni instrumenti su deo kalipso muzike-Brass instruments are part of calypso music

Na jedrenjaku po Grenadinima - Cruising the Grenadines on a sailing boat

Na jedrenjaku po Grenadinima – Cruising the Grenadines on a sailing boat

Na jedrenjaku po Grenadinima-Cruising the Grenadines on a sailing boat

Na jedrenjaku po Grenadinima-Cruising the Grenadines on a sailing boat

Na ostrvu Bekvej-Bequia Island

Na ostrvu Bekvej-Bequia Island

Ostrvo Bekvej u suton-Bequia sunset

Ostrvo Bekvej u suton-Bequia sunset

Arhipelag u Karipskom moru, država za koju nikome ne treba viza. I ako su
nekada pirati sa Kariba, sa čuvenim Crnobradim na čelu, krstarili ovim
pomorskim putevima i prepadali brodove, kaže se da su oni savremeni pirati
stacionirani u ovoj zemlji. Tu se, naime, može skloniti odmetnik od zakona
i, ako ima dovoljno para, a po pravilu ima, može ovde sebi kupiti bezbednost
i udoban život za sva vremena. Ova zemlja nema ugovor o izručivanju ni sa
jednom drugom zemljom, ne pita za poreklo para i tako svakome omogućava da
se ovde smesti, uz odgovarajuću nadoknadu i kupovinu novog identiteta.
A nije teško smestiti se u ovom tropskom raju, na nekom od ostrva koja se
nazivaju Grenadini. Najveće ostrvo je Sveti Vinsent, gde je smešten mali i
užurbani glavni grad Kingstown od nekoliko ulica, sa policijskom stanicom u
engleskom kolonijalnom stilu, lukom, pijacom i hotelčićima za putnike
namernike koji tu zalutaju. Oni se uglavnom nalaze u preuređenim starim
kamenim kućama u glavnoj ulici, pod čijim arkadama teče poslovni život
gradića, a to je ulična pijaca, kolonijalne radnjice sa mirisom đumbira i
mali obalski dokovi, omamljeni mirisom tek istovarene ribe.
Odlazak na neko od ostrvaca Grenadina pravo je bekstvo iz ovog, nakratko
probuđenog gradića, koji potom ubrzo ponovo tone u laganu pospanost, zvanu
celodnevna siesta. Prvo na putu naziva se Bekvej, sa malim hotelima među
bugenvilijama i hibiskusima, na peščanim plažama boje starog zlata, čije
nijanse postaju svetlije pri zalascima sunca, kao sa platna starih majstora.
Jedna od njih je i plaža princeze Margarete, prema čijem je imenu nazvana
posle njene posete pre mnogo godina.
Ipak, jedno od najpoznatijih ostrvaca je Mustik, sa najskupljim kućama
svetskih zvezda, kao što su Mik Džeger ili Dejvid Bouvi, ostrvo sa
istoimenom kompanijom koja ga vodi, brine o svemu što je njegovim poznatim
posetiocima i vlasnicima potrebno. Putevima droge u ovom arhipelagu ne
posvećuje se puno pažnje. Kako se kaže u bedekerima, za nedelju dana
provedenih na Mustiku možete platiti godišnju školarinu svom detetu, ali sve
ima svoju cenu i svoje kupce. Plovidba ka jugu vodi vas kroz ostale
Grenadine: Kanuan, Union, Tobago Kejs, Palm i druga ostrva tog arhipelaga
snova.
Vaše je da se samo ukrcate na pravi brod, može biti i piratski.

Oktobar 2007.
___________________________________________________________

This is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, a country that does not require
a visa for anyone. Once upon a time the notorious Pirates of the Caribbean,
headed by Blackbeard, cruised these seas and attacked boats; these days it
is said that contemporary pirates are stationed in this country. Namely, an
outlaw can hide here, and if he has enough money, and as a rule they do, he
can buy himself a comfortable life and security for all time. This country
has no extradition agreements with any other country, and does not question
the source of money, allowing anyone to settle here and buy a new identity
in exchange for monetary compensation.
And it is not difficult to settle in this tropical paradise, on one of the
Grenadines. The largest island is Saint Vincent where the small bustling
capital of Kingstown is located; it only has a few streets, a police station
in the English colonial style, a port, a market and a few small hotels for
those accidental tourists. The hotels are mostly located on the high street,
in the old  stone houses that have been renovated; the high street is the
centre of the town’s business activity, comprising of the street market, the
colonial shops emanating the scent of ginger and small piers enveloped in
the smell of freshly caught fish.
Going on a visit to some of the Grenadine islets is a veritable escape from
this temporarily awakened little town, which soon again starts falling into
mild stupor, called ‘an all day siesta’. The first one on  your way is
Bequia, with small hotels nestled among bouganvillea and hibiscus plants on
sandy beaches the colour of old unpolished gold, the nuances of which get
lighter as the day draws to its end, like in the paintings of the old
masters. One of these beaches is the Princess Margaret Beach, named after
her, following her visit many years ago.
Yet one of the most famous islands is Mustique, with the most expensive
mansions of world famous people like Mick Jagger or David Bowie; the island
is run by a company with the same name who is in charge of providing
everything that is necessary to the wealthy owners and their equally famous
visitors. Drug smuggling routes are not of interest to this archipelago. As
it says in the tourist guides, for a week spent in Mustique, you can cover
your child’s annual school fees, but everything has its price and its
buyers. Sailing South you reach the other Grenadines: Canouan, Union Island,
The Tobago Cays, Palm Island and other islands from this dream archipelago.
You only have to board the right boat, it can even be a pirate one.

October 2007

SVETI KRISTOFER I NEVIS – ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Popodne na plazi - An afternoon on the beach

Popodne na plazi – An afternoon on the beach

Popodne na plazi-An afternoon on the beach

Popodne na plazi-An afternoon on the beach

Turisticki vozic kroz ostrvo-St. Kitts scenic railway

Turisticki vozic kroz ostrvo-St. Kitts scenic railway

U suton na plazi-Sunset at the beach

U suton na plazi-Sunset at the beach

Usamljena palma u polju secerne trske-A lonely palm tree in a sugarcane field

Usamljena palma u polju secerne trske-A lonely palm tree in a sugarcane field

Limena kucica duginih boja na plazi-A tin house on the beach in rainbow colours

Limena kucica duginih boja na plazi-A tin house on the beach in rainbow colours

Mislilac-The Thinker

Mislilac-The Thinker

Napustena fabrika ruma - An abandoned rum factory

Napustena fabrika ruma – An abandoned rum factory

Napustena fabrika ruma-An abandoned rum factory

Napustena fabrika ruma-An abandoned rum factory

Pogled na vulkan na holandskom ostrvu Saba-A view of volcano Mt. Scenery on the Dutch island of Saba

Pogled na vulkan na holandskom ostrvu Saba-A view of volcano Mt. Scenery on the Dutch island of Saba

U svojim osvajanjima Nove zemlje Kolumbo je najpre prolazio pored karipskih
ostrva i svakom od njih, koje bi se našlo na njegovom putu, dao ono ime
kojim je trenutno bio inspirisan. Ovom ostrvu dao je svoje ime ili ime svog
sveca, a dok je posmatrao manje ostrvo, čiji su vrhovi bili u stalnoj
izmaglici iza koje kao da se krio sneg, izgovorio je nieve, što na španskom
znači sneg, i tako, u engleskom prevodu ostade Nevis. Kristofer su skratili
u Kitts. Ipak, Britanci su ta ostrva ujedinili u labavu zajednicu, s pravom
da se mogu odvojiti kada žele. A ne čini mi se baš da žele, jer ono drugo
uvek zovu sestrinkim ostrvom. Dve sestrice, dakle, u dalekom kutku Karipskog
arhipelaga žive zajedno i dočekuju turiste, jer svima je bavljenjem turizmom
najvažniji izvor prihoda. Što su severnije i bliže Americi, to su više pod
njenim uticajem: ova dva ostrva, zatim Tortola, Angila, Sveti Toma…
Beskrajno zelenilo i jedan vulkančić u središtu ostrva, za koji niko ne zna
kada je eruptirao i ostavio nekoliko plaža pod crnim peskom – to su motivi
koji prate jednu zanimljivu atrakciju zvanu “pejzažni voz”. Naime, u vreme
velike eksploatacije šećerne trske, u XIX veku, napravljena je uska kružna
pruga oko celog ostrva, koja je služila za prevoz šećera i šećerne trske sa
polja i mlinova. Ti stari kameni mlinovi za trsku, sa velikim kupastim
dimnjacima iz kojih viri drveće, služe kao romantično svedočanstvo “slatke”
prošlosti, od koje im i danas struji šećer u krvi – kako u šali kažu lokalni
stanovnici. Ipak, crna robovlasnička prošlost sigurno nije bila tako laka i
slatka. Uskim tračnicama sporo se kotrlja otvoreni vozić kroz pejzaže
svetlozelene šećerne trske, iz koje izviri po koja palma ili dimnjak, preko
trošnih mostića nad kanjonima i kroz seoca sa veselim crnim i kreolskim
dečjim glavama, koje vas pozdravljaju kraj puta. Voz je zaista idilična
turistička atrakcija jer i izgleda kao da je s početka XX veka, a male
horske grupe se trude da vas zabave, najčešće duhovnim pesmama.
Glavni gradić još nosi francusko ime Basseterre i, osim nekoliko
anglikanskih crkvica i kamenih kolonijalnih zgrada, nema mnogo toga da
ponudi osim trajekta za sestrinsko ostrvce Nevis. Tamo su lepše plaže i
glavni gradić Charlestown. On bar ima britansko ime, ako je to više uopšte
važno. Veliki brat iz severnog susedstva je sada glavni.
Ipak, ono najlepše je jastog na plaži, u malom, improvizovanom drvenom
restoranu zvučnog imena Shiggidy Shack, na zalasku sunca.
I jedrilica ispred užarene lopte, koja tone u more.

Novembar 2008.
________________________________________________________

In his conquests of the New World, Columbus first passed by the Caribbean
Islands and to each and every one on his way he gave a name that crossed his
mind at that moment. He named this island after himself, or rather after his
saint; while looking at the smaller island whose peaks are always shrouded
in mist, giving off the impression that snow is just hiding behind, he said:
‘nieve’ which means ‘snow’ in Spanish, and so it stayed as ‘Nevis’ in
English translation. Christopher was shortened into Kitts. Yet the British
brought the two islands into a loose union, with the right to independence
if they wished so. And I don’t think they do because they always call each
other – the sister island. Hence the two little sisters, in a faraway corner
of the Caribbean archipelago, live together and welcome tourists, because
tourism is the most important source of income for all. The more to the
North they are positioned, and closer to America, the more they are under
its influence – these two islands, Tortola, Anguilla, St. Thomas.
The Scenic Rail takes you around the island through endless greenery and
past a small volcano in the middle of the island; no one knows when the
volcano erupted and left a few beaches covered in black sand. Namely at the
time of the great exploitation of sugarcane in the 19th century a narrow
circular rail track was built around the periphery of the island; it served
to transport sugar and sugarcane from fields and mills. These old stone
sugar mills with conical chimney tops through which trees stick out these
days serve as a romantic memento from a ‘sweet’ past from which they still
have sugar coursing in their blood – as the locals like to say jokingly. Yet
the history of black slavery was neither sweet nor light.
The open roof scenic train rolls slowly along the narrow track, through
landscapes filled with light green sugar cane, occasionally interrupted by
an odd chimney or palm tree, across rickety bridges above canyons and
through villages where children’s happy black and Creole faces pop up along
the road, greeting you. The Scenic Rail is a truly idyllic tourist
attraction as it looks like it’s from the beginning of the 20th century,
while small choir troupes are entertaining you, most often with gospel
music.

The capital still has a French name, Basseterre, and apart from a couple of
Anglican churches and a few stone colonial buildings, there is not much on
offer, apart from, perhaps, the ferry to the sister island of Nevis. Beaches
are prettier there and the capital is called Charlestown. At least it has a
British name, if that is important at all anymore. Big brother from the
Northern neighbourhood is the important one now.
Yet the most splendid thing is the lobster at a beach restaurant which is a
wooden makeshift hut, with a resounding name Shiggidy Shack, at sunset.
And a sailing boat against a backdrop of a fiery ball sinking into the sea.

November 2008

SVETA LUCIJA – SAINT LUCIA

Dijamantski vodopadi-Diamond Falls

Dijamantski vodopadi-Diamond Falls

Drvena karipska kuca pastelnih boja-A wooden Carribean house in pastel colours

Drvena karipska kuca pastelnih boja-A wooden Carribean house in pastel colours

Drvena karipska kucica pastelnih boja - A wooden Carribean house in pastel colours

Drvena karipska kucica pastelnih boja – A wooden Carribean house in pastel colours

Drvena karipska kucica pastelnih boja-A wooden Carribean house in pastel colours

Drvena karipska kucica pastelnih boja-A wooden Carribean house in pastel colours

Drvene karipske kuce pastelnih boja-Wooden Carribean houses in pastel colours

Drvene karipske kuce pastelnih boja-Wooden Carribean houses in pastel colours

Jedrenjak u suton-A sailing boat at sunset

Jedrenjak u suton-A sailing boat at sunset

Katedrala u Kastrisu-The Cathedral in Castries

Katedrala u Kastrisu-The Cathedral in Castries

Katolicka crkva u Sufrijeu-Catholic Church in Soufriere

Katolicka crkva u Sufrijeu-Catholic Church in Soufriere

Ostrvski Nobelovac-Nobel Prize Lareate Derek Alton Walcott

Ostrvski Nobelovac-Nobel Prize Lareate Derek Alton Walcott

Ostrvski Nobelovac-Nobel Prize Laureate Sir William Arthur Lewis

Ostrvski Nobelovac-Nobel Prize Laureate Sir William Arthur Lewis

Parohija Svetog Josifa, zastitnika radnika-St Joseph the Worker Parish

Parohija Svetog Josifa, zastitnika radnika-St Joseph the Worker Parish

Plaza Jalousie izmedju dva Pitona-Jalousie Beach between two Pitons

Plaza Jalousie izmedju dva Pitona-Jalousie Beach between two Pitons

Pogled na Pitone, vulkan i gradic Sufrije-Pitons, drive-in volcano and Soufriere

Pogled na Pitone, vulkan i gradic Sufrije-Pitons, drive-in volcano and Soufriere

Pogled na selo i plazu-A view of Anse la Raye

Pogled na selo i plazu-A view of Anse la Raye

Trg kraljice Elizabete u Sufrijeu-Queen Elizabeth square in Soufriere

Trg kraljice Elizabete u Sufrijeu-Queen Elizabeth square in Soufriere

Ulicni zivot u Sufrijeu - Street life in Soufriere

Ulicni zivot u Sufrijeu – Street life in Soufriere

Ulicni zivot u Sufrijeu-Street life in Soufriere

Ulicni zivot u Sufrijeu-Street life in Soufriere

Na završetku obilaska svih karipskih državica, mogu s pravom reći da je ova najlepša. Možda ovo malo nepravedno zvuči jer su sve one skoro podjednako lepe i atraktivne, ali, ipak, svaka na svoj način.
Dva Pitona, Mali i Veliki Piton, jesu dva brda koja se, kao sa neba, spuštaju na obalu i tako čine jedinstvenu i prepoznatljivu atrakciju. Tu se nalaze najlepši hoteli, sa bungalovima koji gledaju na brda, iza kojih se nalazi more. U toj intimi, iz mreže za ljuljanje, posmatrate oblake oko vrhova Pitona sa jedinom brigom: da li će tog dana pasti nežni i kratkotrajni tropski pljusak. Između brda je jedna od najlepših plaža na kojima sam bio, sa veštačkim belim peskom, ali šta je, uostalom, danas pravo? Mesto na kome se nalazi plaža i gde se Pitoni ogledaju u svim nijansama tirkiznog mora tako je prirodno lepo, da je zaslužilo da mu se plaža nadoknadi. Idealan ambijent za intimne trenutke i karipsku kuhinju.
Od tolike lepote poželite da prošetate nekim gradićem kreolskog ukusa i mirisa; tu su odmah dva najznačajnija: glavni gradić Kastris na severu i Sufrier, njegova kopija na jugu, kao i brojna ribarska mestašca duž lošeg i vijugavog puta koji ih povezuje. Sve miriše na začine, dok lepe kreolke prolaze u širokim raznobojnim haljinama i uvijenim maramama na glavama, uz stalnu prijatnu muziku koja liči na mešavinu regea severnih Kariba i kalipsa južnih ostrva. Drvene kućice pastelnih boja upotpunjuju taj ambijent, u kome samo još treba da se pojavi i zapeva Hari Belafonte. Kako se ipak ne bi desilo da vam previše romantike pokvari uživanje, iznenada se u luci pojavljuje neman ogromnih razmera u vidu broda koji krstari Karibima i na svakom ostrvu izbacuje hiljade, uglavnom američkih turista, na poludnevni izlet. Mogu se Karibi obići i na ovaj način, ali mislim da ga nikada ne bih izabrao.
I, na kraju, kako ne bismo pomislili da iz ove zemlje stižu samo začini i prirodne lepote, u glavnom parku u Kastrisu ugledali smo dve biste. To su Nobelovci Derek Alton Walcott, za književnost 1992. i Ser William Arthur Lewis za ekonomiju 1979. godine, koji su potekli iz ove male zemlje.
Neke, mnogo veće i značajnije, nemaju ni jednog.

Novembar 2008.
____________________________________________________

Having visited all the little Caribbean states, I can justifiably say that this one is the most beautiful. Maybe this sounds a bit unfair as all of them are almost equally beautiful and attractive, and yet each one in its own way.
The two Pitons, the Gros Piton and the Petit Piton, are two volcanic plugs (hills made of lava), that appear as though they have been dropped from the sky straight into the sea, and they represent a unique and easily recognisable landmark. This is where the best hotels are nestled, with bungalows overlooking the hills, behind which is the sea. In this atmosphere, lying in a hammock, you observe the clouds gathering around the Pitons, with only one worry in the world – is today going to be graced by a gentle, short tropical shower? One of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen is hiding behind those hills; in truth the white sand on it is artificial, but what is not these days? The spot where the beach is located and where the Pitons reflect themselves in all the nuances of the turquoise sea, is so naturally beautiful, that it deserved for its beach to be improved. This is an ideal ambiance for intimate moments and Caribbean cuisine.
All this natural beauty inspires you to take a walk in a small town full of Creole scents and flavours: the two most important ones are nearby, the capital Castries in the North of the island and its copy, Soufrière, in the South, as well as many fishing villages along a bad, winding road which connects them all. Everything smells of spice, while beautiful Creole women pass by in wide colourful dresses and head scarfs; all is accompanied by constant, pleasant music which is a mixture of the North Caribbean reggae and the calypso of the Southern islands. This ambiance is completed by wooden huts in pastel colours; only Harry Belafonte is missing, it seems he can turn up at any moment and start singing.
Yet, for fear of too much romantics spoiling your pleasure, a huge monster in the shape of a cruiser appears in the port, spewing out thousands of mostly American tourists while cruising the Caribbean , who spend half a day on the island. You can see the Caribbean this way too, but I would never choose it.
And finally, as though we should be reminded that this country is famous not only for spices and natural beauties, in a park we spot two sculptures. They are the Nobel Prize winners, Derek Alton Walcott for literature in 1992 and Sir William Arthur Lewis, for economics in 1979; they both came from this tiny country.
Some bigger and more prominent countries cannot boast a single one.

November 2008

SVAZILEND – SWAZILAND – SWATINI

Izbor lokalnih lepotica-Selection of local beauties

Izbor lokalnih lepotica-Selection of local beauties

Kralj Svazilenda-The King of Swaziland

Kralj Svazilenda-The King of Swaziland

Kraljica majka-The Queen Mother

Kraljica majka-The Queen Mother

Lovci u savani-The Catchers in the Bush

Lovci u savani-The Catchers in the Bush

Narodna radinost-Typical handicrafts

Narodna radinost-Typical handicrafts

Svazi afrodizijaci-Swazi aphrodisiacs

Svazi afrodizijaci-Swazi aphrodisiacs

Svazilend safari lodz - Swaziland safari logde

Svazilend safari lodz – Swaziland safari logde

Svazilend safari lodz-Swaziland safari logde

Svazilend safari lodz-Swaziland safari logde

Swaziland bush lobge

Swaziland bush lobge

Tipicno Svazi selo-In the traditional Swazi village

Tipicno Svazi selo-In the traditional Swazi village

Ulaz u aerodromsku zgradu-The entrance to the airport building

Ulaz u aerodromsku zgradu-The entrance to the airport building

Urbani Svazilend-Urban countryside

Urbani Svazilend-Urban countryside

Vodopad pored gradica Manzini je najvisi u zemlji-The waterfall by Manzini is the highest one in the country

Vodopad pored gradica Manzini je najvisi u zemlji-The waterfall by Manzini is the highest one in the country

Zulu ratnici-Zulu warriors

Zulu ratnici-Zulu warriors

Svazilend je jedina zemlja iz koje sam deportovan zato što nisam imao vizu.
Desilo se to neočekivano, ali u moju korist. S obzirom na to da se avion već
vratio u Johanesburg, iz koga smo krenuli, uz malu novčanu nadoknadu
lokalnim aerodromskim vlastima, dogovorio sam se da noć provedemo u hotelu,
a deportacija izvrši taksijem na sasvim drugom kraju zemlje. Bilo je to
dovoljno da se prođe kroz čitavu zemlju, koja se sigurno ne može pohvaliti
veličinom. Prihvatio sam je više kao zanimljivu avanturu, nego kao
neprijatnost. I uopšte, mala rasprava sa afričkim policijama uvek mi je bila
zanimljiva jer postoji samo jedan način kako da se ona okonča. Malo zelenih
novčanica uvek rešava problem.
Svazilend ima svog, najblaže rečeno, zanimljivog mladog kralja koji se zove
Mswati III. On ima običaj da se stalno ženi, do sada samo četrnaest puta, pa
se onda supruga, kao relativan pojam u množini, ne nalazi na zvaničnim
slikama pored njega, već je tu, naravno, majka. Onako krupna deluje
zaštitnički pored njega i, svakako, jedina postojana, ali i veoma uticajna u
vlasti. Kralj je malo kritikovan u javnosti zbog stalnih svadbi koje ipak
dosta koštaju ovaj narod i stalno se ponavljaju, kao i zbog preskupih
automobila, ali je i dalje omiljen, iako je zabranio da se slika njegov
vozni park. Voli da ode u pleme i da izabere što mu srcu drago. Kralj je
ipak kralj i – ko bi ga odbio. Imao je i od koga da nasledi tu strast i
običaj, jer je njegov otac imao sedamdeset žena i oko hiljadu unuka. Ipak,
jedina kraljeva nemoć je u tome što ne može da odredi svog naslednika od
mnogobrojne dece, već je to ostavljeno posebnom Savetu, koji bira kraljicu
majku i njenog sina za budućeg kralja.
Zemlja deluje relativno bogato i razvijeno, uz uticajnog suseda Južnu Afriku
i još može da podnese taj luksuz. Organizovani lov ovde je jedan od boljih
poslova. Veliki deo zemlje je pretvoren u nacionalni park sa svim lovačkim
aktivnostima na visokom novou, ali svakako pogubnim za životinje kojima nije
ostavljen drugi izbor.
Poseta tipičnom selu bila je turistička atrakcija u kojoj sam, obučen kao
lokalni poglavica, u kolibi od pruća i sa afričkim štitom, mogao da poziram
i nakratko se unesem u ulogu. Mala zemlja, razvijen turizam, sigurnost kojom
se ne može pohvaliti veliki broj afričkih zemalja, kao i veseo i ljubazan
narod, suviše je dobro za jednu deportaciju.
Skoro da poželite da vam se ponovo dogodi.

Mart 2006.
________________________________________________________

Swaziland is the only country I was ever deported from because I did not
have a visa. It happened unexpectedly, but to my advantage. Given that my
plane had already returned to Johannesburg, with a small financial
compensation to the airport authorities, we agreed that I could spend the
night in a hotel and for the deportation to take place at the other side of
the country. That gave me enough time to go through the entire country which
definitely cannot boast with its size. I took all that more as an
interesting adventure than as an unpleasant incident. Also, a small argument
here and there I had with some of the African police was always interesting,
as there is usually only one way to resolve it. A few green banknotes always
save the day.
Swaziland has its own young king, who is, mildly put, unusual. His name is
Mswati III. He has the habit of getting married often, so far ‘only’
fourteen times; consequently the spouse(s) do not appear in official photos
next to him, it is his mother who does. Big as she is, she looks protective
next to him, and she is the only constant woman around him; she is also said
to be very powerful in the country’s affairs. The King is being criticised
publicly, to a degree,  for frequent wedding celebrations that cost a
fortune and are being paid from the state budget, as well as extravagant
cars; yet he is still popular, despite putting a photography ban on his car
collection. He likes to go to his original tribe and chose a girl that
appeals to him – after all, he is the King, and who could refuse him? He
takes after his father in terms of passion and behaviour – his father is
said to have had 70 wives and 1000 grandchildren. Yet, the King is devoid of
power when it comes to chosing his successor amongst the many children. This
is left to a special Council who chose the Queen Mother and her son as the
heir to the throne.
This country appears relatively rich and developed, no doubt thanks to the
mighty South African neighbour. Organised hunting trips are a good business
here. A big portion of the country has been turned into a national park with
all the amenities for high level hunting activities, yet deadly for the
animlas who have no choice.
Visiting a typical tribal village was one of the tourist attractions, where
dressed as a local chief with an African shield, standing in a twig hut, I
could pose for a photo and get into the swing of things. A small country
with developed tourism, safety that is unknown to most African countries, as
well as cheerful and kind people, all that is too good to be deported from.
You almost feel like you want to be deported once more.

March 2006

SURINAM – SURINAME

Blizu usca reke Surinam u Atlantik-Close to the confluence of the Suriname River and the Atlantic Ocean

Blizu usca reke Surinam u Atlantik-Close to the confluence of the Suriname River and the Atlantic Ocean

Dok na reci Surinam-A dock on the Suriname River

Dok na reci Surinam-A dock on the Suriname River

Dzamija i sinagoga jedna pored druge-The mosque and the synagogue next to each other

Dzamija i sinagoga jedna pored druge-The mosque and the synagogue next to each other

Hindu hram - Hindu temple

Hindu hram – Hindu temple

Hindu hram-Hindu temple

Hindu hram-Hindu temple

Holandska kolonijalna arhitektura-Dutch colonial architecture

Holandska kolonijalna arhitektura-Dutch colonial architecture

Kabinet Predsednika republike-The President's Office

Kabinet Predsednika republike-The President’s Office

Karipska gradnja-Caribbean wooden houses, Gingerbread style

Karipska gradnja-Caribbean wooden houses, Gingerbread style

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla - The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla – The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla-The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Katedrala Sv. Petra i Pavla-The St. Peter and Paul Cathedral

Malo utvrdjenje- Fort Zeelandia

Malo utvrdjenje- Fort Zeelandia

Ministrastvo pravde i policije-The Ministry of Justice and Police

Ministrastvo pravde i policije-The Ministry of Justice and Police

Narodna skupstina-The National Assembly

Narodna skupstina-The National Assembly

Paramaribo-istorijske zgrade-Historic buildings in Paramaribo

Paramaribo-istorijske zgrade-Historic buildings in Paramaribo

Paramaribo-scena iz parka-A scene from the park in Paramaribo

Paramaribo-scena iz parka-A scene from the park in Paramaribo

Predsednicka palata-The Presidential Palace

Predsednicka palata-The Presidential Palace

Takmicenje ptica na Trgu nezavisnosti-The Birds Song competition on the Independence Square

Takmicenje ptica na Trgu nezavisnosti-The Birds Song competition on the Independence Square

Unutrasnjost katedrale-The interior of the Cathedral

Unutrasnjost katedrale-The interior of the Cathedral

Velika stara vaga-An old and big beam scale

Velika stara vaga-An old and big beam scale

Vencanje na reci Surinam-The wedding on the Suriname River

Vencanje na reci Surinam-The wedding on the Suriname River

Veseli Surinamci-Cheerful Surinamese guys

Veseli Surinamci-Cheerful Surinamese guys

Zenska biznis grupa-A Women's Business Group

Zenska biznis grupa-A Women’s Business Group

Francuski pisac i filozof Volter, u svom poznatom delu Kandid ili optimizam,
u ironiji na francusko buržoasko društvo XVIII veka, odvodi glavnog junaka
koji se zove Kandid u daleku, obećanu zemlju El Dorado na severu
južnoameričkig kontinenta. Bio je to Surinam, i tada, ali i danas, pojam
veoma dalekog, nepoznatog dela nekog Novog Sveta koji je u delu predstavljen
kao utopija i kontrast tadašnjem evropskom društvu.
Današnji Surinam mogao bi da nosi onu drugu odrednicu – optimizam. On se
oseća još na ulasku u avion za glavni grad Paramaribo (skraćeno Parbo), gde
upoznajete prijatnu mešavinu naroda i rasa, koja spontano uveseljava čitav
aerodrom, pa i ozbiljne carinske službenike koji im ne mogu odoleti. Ipak,
njihova radost kulminira prilikom sletanja aviona i ravna je pobedničkom
golu na odlučujućoj utakmici.
Takvu radost iskazuju i na takmičenju ptica pevačica nedeljom u zoru ili dok
bučno razgovaraju na ulicama Paramariba jednim od mnogobrojnih jezika u ovoj
zemlji, bilo da je to holandski kao glavni, ili kreolski, engleski, hindu,
kineski, indioski, španski, portugalski ili čak surinamski, kao neverovatni
spoj holandskog, engleskog i portugalskog jezika. Ovakva začuđujuća mešavina
jezika i naroda prepliće se na ovom relativno malom prostoru u odnosu na
ostale južnoameričke, dajući mu posebnu čaroliju u kojoj svi podjednako
uživaju. Džamija i sinagoga ovde su jedna pored druge, kao nigde u svetu.
Na najvećem gradskom trgu, ispred predsedničke palate, odvijaju se sve
društvene aktivnosti: koncerti, sportske priredbe mladih, predizborne
kampanje, vašari, do natpevavanja ptica. Neretko mnogi ljudi nose svoju
ptičicu u malom kavezu svuda sa sobom, da bi, potom, spustili kavez na haubu
automobila ili ga okačili na štap u parku i pažljivo slušali glas svog
ljubimca.
Stara karakteristična holandska arhitektura, očuvana ili patinirana,
svrstala je istorijski centar ovog grada u kulturno nasleđe Uneska, čime on
lagano izlazi iz zaborava i postaje turistička destinacija. Stidljivo i
polako i najvećim delom za Holanđane kao njihova bivša kolonija, ali i za
ostali svet, iako me, na pomen ove zemlje, još uvek svi pitaju gde se ona
nalazi. Zgrade raznih ministarstava, kabinet i palata Predsednika, zgrada
Narodne skupštine predstavljaju posebne primerke ove holandsko-karipske
arhitekture, kao i jedna od najlepših katedrala u tom stilu, Svetog Petra i
Pavla. Napravljena je u drvetu i u krem boji sa plavim kitnjastim
ornamentima koji joj daju gotsku dimenziju. Oltar, zidovi, lukovi i strop
katedrale su u punom mahagoniju, što unutra daje osećaj božanske topline.
U centru Paramariba nalazi se park džinovskih palmi Palmentuin, koji je još
uvek duhovno prebivalište lokalnih šamana u kome oni komuniciraju sa svojim
precima. Na tom mestu nekada su se nalazila tri sela do kojih je bio nemoguć
prilaz osim rečnim putem, koji je bio pod kontrolom malog utvrđenja Fort
Zeelandia, ispred koga danas stoji statua holandske kraljice Vilhelmine.
Za razliku od susednih zemalja, Surinam i Gvajana nemaju plaže jer je čitava
njihova obala ogromna močvarna delta u koju se slivaju brojne reke na putu
za Atlantik. Zbog toga su vode najveće reke, koja se naziva takođe Surinam,
naizgled uvek muljevite, iako čiste i prepune ribe. Upravo su one povod zbog
koga delfini preko dana ulaze duboko u reku, gde se često mogu videti kako,
u veseloj igri, iskaču pored čamaca. Negde u daljini, s druge strane reke
koja neodoljivo podseća na Amazon, nalazi se Nju Amsterdam, prva odbrana
teritorije od gusara i osvajača, Engleza i Holanđana koji su se stalno
smenjivali, dok konačno ovi drugi nisu zauvek preovladali.
Današnji Surinamci su potomci tadašnjih vlasnika plantaža šećerne trske i
kafe iz njihovih, kako to pažljivo kažu, drugih porodica afričkog porekla.
Johan i Margarita su dvoje takve dece čije ime nosi plantaža kafe, sa koje
posmatram zalazak sunca nad ogromnom rekom na ulazu u okean.
Oko mene radosni Surinamci ispijaju aromatični rum.

Decembar 2011.
_________________________________________________

In his famous work Candide or Optimism, French writer and philosopher
Voltaire, in an ironic take on the French bourgeois society of the 18th
century, takes his main protagonist Candide, to El Dorado, a faraway,
promised land in the North of the South American continent. That was
Suriname, then, as well as today being a synonym for a very far unknown part
of the New World, depicted in his work as utopia and a contrast to the
European society of the time.
Today’s Suriname carries the other meaning of Voltaire’s work – the
optimism. You could feel it already as you enter the airplane on a flight to
the capital Paramaribo (shortened to Parbo), where you meet a pleasant
mixture of peoples and races who all have spontaneous fun, entertaining the
whole airport, including the serious customs officials who cannot resist
them. Yet their joy culminates during the airplane landing and equals that
of a winning goal at a crucial football match.
They display similar joy during the birdsong competition on early Sunday
mornings, or while they talk loudly on Paramaribo streets in one of the many
languages spoken here: whether it is Dutch, as the official language, or
Creole, English, Hindu, Chinese, Amerindian languages, Spanish, Portuguese,
or even Surinamese as an incredible combination of Dutch, English and
Portuguese. This fascinating mixture of peoples and languages in a
relatively small space, compared to other South American countries, creates
a magical atmosphere equally enjoyed by all. Mosque and synagogue stand next
to each other like nowhere else in the world.
In front of the Presidential Palace on the main city square all kinds of
social activities take place: concerts, youth sporting events, election
campaigns, fairs, right through to birdsong competitions. Often people carry
their bird in a small cage wherever they go; then you could see them placing
the cage on a car’s bonnet, or hanging it on a pole in the park, attentively
listening to the singing voice of their pet.
The typical old Dutch architecture, whether restored or neglected, has
helped to classify the historical centre of the capital as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site; that is why it is slowly coming out of oblivion and becoming
a tourist destination. It is becoming a tourist spot slowly and shyly,
mostly for the Dutch for whom this is an ex-colony, but also for the rest of
the world.yet, when I mention Suriname most people still ask me where that
country is. The buildings of various ministries, the Presidential Cabinet
and Palace, the National Assembly, are all examples of the unique
Dutch-Caribbean architecture, and so is one of the most beautiful cathedrals
in that style – Roman Catholic St. Peter and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is
made of wood in cream colours with picturesque blue ornaments which give it
a gothic feel. The altar, the walls as well as the arches and the ceiling
are all made in full mahogany wood, which gives a feeling of godly warmth
inside the Cathedral.
In the centre of Paramaribo you can find Palmentuin Park with gigantic palm
trees; it is still the spiritual home of the local shamans where they
communicate with their ancestors. In the past this was a location of the
three villages that were accessible only via a river route which was under
the control of a small fort called Fort Zeelandia; today in front of it is a
statue of the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina.
In contrast to the other countries in the region, Suriname and Guyana do not
have beaches, as their entire coastline is a huge marshy delta where many
rivers come together on their route to the Atlantic Ocean. That is why the
waters of the largest river, also called Suriname, always appear muddy, even
though they are clean and abundant with fish. Because of the fish, dolphins
swim deep into the river during the day, where they can be spotted often,
jumping between boats, in and out of the water in frolicking play. Somewhere
in the distance, on the other bank of this river which reminds me so much of
the Amazon, there is New Amsterdam, the country’s first defence against
pirates and invaders, the English and the Dutch, who used to take turns for
a long time, until finally the latter prevailed.
Today’s Surinamese are descendants of the sugar cane and coffee plantation
owners from that period, who belonged to their second, African families, as
they like to say considerately. Johan and Margarita are two such children
whose names were given to a coffee plantation where I sit watching the
sunset above a huge river which flows into the Ocean.
All around me the cheerful Surinamese drink aromatic rum.

December 2011

SRI LANKA – SRI LANKA – இலங்கை

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta - Packaging local cigarettes

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta – Packaging local cigarettes

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta-Packaging local cigarettes

Pakovanje lokalnih cigareta-Packaging local cigarettes

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija - Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija – Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija-Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Plantaze caja u brdima oko Kandija-Tea plantations in the hills surrounding Kandy

Prevozno sredstvo-Local transport

Prevozno sredstvo-Local transport

Raza kao ulov-Capturing manta ray

Raza kao ulov-Capturing manta ray

Ribarenje na stapovima-A local way of fishing

Ribarenje na stapovima-A local way of fishing

Sirotiste za slonove - An elephant orphanage

Sirotiste za slonove – An elephant orphanage

Sirotiste za slonove-An elephant orphanage

Sirotiste za slonove-An elephant orphanage

Sri Muthumari Amman Devasthanam Hindu temple in Colombo

Sri Muthumari Amman Devasthanam Hindu temple in Colombo

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena - The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion's rock

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena – The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion’s rock

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena-The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion's rock

Staro utvrdjenje Sigirija ili Lavlja stena-The ancient fortress Sigiriya or Lion’s rock

Statua Bude u parku-A statue of Buddha in the Viharamahadevi Park

Statua Bude u parku-A statue of Buddha in the Viharamahadevi Park

Stupa u Kolombu-A Buddhist stupa in Colombo

Stupa u Kolombu-A Buddhist stupa in Colombo

Tropska pijaca-A tropical market

Tropska pijaca-A tropical market

Uobicajeno prevozno sredstvo u gradu-A local transport

Uobicajeno prevozno sredstvo u gradu-A local transport

Uzivanje u blatu-Enjoying the mud

Uzivanje u blatu-Enjoying the mud

Uzivanje u zalasku sunca-Enjoying the sunset at Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo

Uzivanje u zalasku sunca-Enjoying the sunset at Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo

Zene se vracaju iz berbe caja-Returning from tea plantation

Zene se vracaju iz berbe caja-Returning from tea plantation

Buda se odmara na jezeru-Lord Buddha resting on the lake

Buda se odmara na jezeru-Lord Buddha resting on the lake

Gradska vecnica u Kolombu-Colombo Town Hall

Gradska vecnica u Kolombu-Colombo Town Hall

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju - The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju – The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju-The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Hram Budinog zuba u Kandiju-The Temple of the Sacred Tooth in Kandy

Kapelica svetog Pavla u Kolombu-St. Paul's oratory in the busy part of Colombo

Kapelica svetog Pavla u Kolombu-St. Paul’s oratory in the busy part of Colombo

Mala dzamija u glavnom gradu-A small mosque in the capital

Mala dzamija u glavnom gradu-A small mosque in the capital

Osnovna kola u unutrasnjosti-A primary school in the countryside

Osnovna kola u unutrasnjosti-A primary school in the countryside

Šri Lanku sam nazvao idealizovanom Indijom, jer veoma liči na nju, a ipak je znatno drugačija. Pisac i lutalica po ovom delu sveta, Stevan Pešić, ostrvo je nazvao rajskim, jer ovde pejzaži zaista tako izgledaju. Idilični prizori beskrajno zelenih pirinčanih polja, po kojima se lenjo provlače ogromni bikovi sa malim belim ždralovima na leđima, smenjuju se sa prostranim peščanim plažama na jugu ili plantažama čuvenog cejlonskog čaja na planinama u središtu ostrva. Sve je ovde čudesno lepo, skoro zadivljujuće. Nije me obeshrabrio ni kamen koji je poleteo ka meni, kad sam slikao decu koja štrajkuju ispred škole – bio je to bezazleni dečji kamen. Drugu, manju decu slikao sam u njihovom razredu kako, na svom sinhaleskom jeziku, bezuspešno uče da broje, dok ih učiteljica u plavom sariju sa prutom, prekorno gleda, a ona zbunjena recituju brojke pred mojom kamerom. Takav prizor i ostale pastoralne scene dešavaju se upravo u tom, za mene najlepšem, planinskom delu ostrva, u kome vlada prijatna klima na preko dve hiljade metara nadmorske visine. Žene sa ogromnim korpama na leđima, samo se delimično vide iznad žbunova čaja, sa kojih kidaju svetlozelene listiće, a zatim tako napunjene korpe nose na preradu u male lokalne fabrike čaja. U mestu Nuvara Elija očuvana je stara britanska kolonijalna arhitektura i, zajedno sa terenom za golf i hipodromom, čini je sličnom nekoj engleskoj provinciji.
Sirotište za slonove je prihvatni centar u kome se mali slonovi bez majčine nege svakodnevno hrane sa po pedesetak litara mleka, što je katkada propraćeno čežnjivim pogledima dece koja se tu okupljaju. Mali slonovi su takođe deca i lepo je što se cejlonska vlada o njima stara na taj način.
Ipak, Hram Budinog zuba (Dalada Maligava) u planinskom mestu Kandi u unutrašnjosti ostrva, ostavio je na mene najdublji utisak. Veruje sa da tu počiva pravi Budin zub iz VI veka pre nove ere, koji je posle hiljadu godina prenesen u ovaj hram, u kome se čuva kao relikvija. U večernjoj ceremoniji monasi prolaze kroz hram i u blagom ritualnom zanosu izgovaraju svoje molitve, dok ih mi, bosonogi turisti, pratimo po laticama prosutog cveća i opojnom dimu incensa. I svi smo opijeni lepotom doživljaja i lepotom ove zemlje, koja je među najznačajnijim na velikom Budinom putu.
Jer Buda je u tom trenutku deo nas, a taj trenutak još dugo traje; možda nikada i ne prestaje.

Jun 1989.
_________________________________________________________________________

I called Sri Lanka ‘an idealised India’ straight away, as that’s what it really is. After visiting India, Sri Lanka appears tame, resembling India in some ways and yet being rather different from it. Stevan Pešić, an author and traveller wandering through this part of the world, called it a ‘paradise island’, and landscapes here are indeed heavenly. Idyllic scenes of infinite green rice fields on which huge oxen lazily drag themselves carrying small white cranes on the back, along alternate with vast sandy beaches in the South, or the famous Ceylon Tea plantations in the mountains, in the centre of the island. Everything here is magically beautiful, almost breathtaking. I was not discouraged even when a stone was thrown at me while photographing children on strike in front of the school. It was an innocent child’s stone. I took pictures of other smaller children in class trying unsuccessfully to learn to count in Sinhalese while the teacher in a blue sari holding a stick in her hand looked at them reproachfully; the children, a bit confused, recited the numbers in front of my camera. This sight and other pastoral scenes unfold in this, for me the prettiest, mountainous part of the island, which has a pleasant climate at around 2000m altitude. Women with baskets on their backs are barely visible above tea shrubs, picking light green leaves from them; then they carry fully loaded baskets to small local factories which process tea leaves. Nuwara Eliya has preserved the old British colonial architecture which, together with a golf course and a hippodrome, makes it look like somewhere in the English countryside.
The elephant orphanage is a small rescue centre where baby elephants without mother’s care are fed daily with around 50 litres of milk; sometimes local children who gather around cast longing looks at the scene. Little elephants are also children and it is nice that they are taken care of so well.
Yet the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa) which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha, in the mountainous Kandy in the island’s hinterland, has left the most profound impression on me. It is believed that Buddha’s real tooth is treasured here, dating back to the 6th century B.C. and was brought to this temple some thousand years later and kept as a relic. During the evening ceremony, the monks carrying umbrellas pass through the temple chanting, engrossed in the ritual, while we, barefoot tourists, follow them across petals strewn on the floor, enveloped in the heady incense smell. And we are all enchanted by the beauty of this experience and the beauty of this country which is one of the most important ones on Buddha’s great pilgrimage.
At the moment, Buddha is part of us, and that moment lasts for a long time; maybe it has never stopped.

June 1989

SRBIJA – SERBIA – СРБИЈА

Crkva na Oplencu, mauzolej kraljevske porodice-The Church of St. George on the top of Hill Oplenac, the Mausoleum of the Royal Family

Crkva na Oplencu, mauzolej kraljevske porodice-The Church of St. George on the top of Hill Oplenac, the Mausoleum of the Royal Family

Etno kuca na istoku zemlje-An Ethno house in the East of the country

Etno kuca na istoku zemlje-An Ethno house in the East of the country

Gardos kula u Zemunu-Gardos Tower in Zemun

Gardos kula u Zemunu-Gardos Tower in Zemun

Grob Kralja Aleksandra I-The tomb of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia

Grob Kralja Aleksandra I-The tomb of King Alexander I of Yugoslavia

Grobnica Karadjordja-The tomb of Black George

Grobnica Karadjordja-The tomb of Black George

Hram Svetog Save, najveca pravoslavna crkva na svetu, i spomenik Karadjordju-Saint Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox church in the world and the monument of Black George

Hram Svetog Save, najveca pravoslavna crkva na svetu, i spomenik Karadjordju-Saint Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox church in the world and the monument of Black George

Manastir Poganovo-Poganovo Monastery

Manastir Poganovo-Poganovo Monastery

Manastir Sukovo-Sukovo Monastery

Manastir Sukovo-Sukovo Monastery

Monaliza iz Perleza-Mona Lisa from the village of Perlez

Monaliza iz Perleza-Mona Lisa from the village of Perlez

Ridjica na severu Vojvodine-Ridjica village in the northern province of Vojvodina

Ridjica na severu Vojvodine-Ridjica village in the northern province of Vojvodina

Pogled na Beograd sa reke Save-A view of Belgrade over Sava River

Pogled na Beograd sa reke Save-A view of Belgrade over Sava River

Sa NJKV Aleksandrom II Karadjordjevicem-With Alexander II, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia

Sa NJKV Aleksandrom II Karadjordjevicem-With Alexander II, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia

Skupstina grada Beograda-The Belgrade Assembly

Skupstina grada Beograda-The Belgrade Assembly

Spomenik zrtvama 1941. u Kragujevcu-Broken wing monument in Sumarice Memorial Park in Kragujevac

Spomenik zrtvama 1941. u Kragujevcu-Broken wing monument in Sumarice Memorial Park in Kragujevac

Stari platan ispred Milosevog konaka u Beogradu-An old planetree in front of the Miloaev Konak Museum in Belgrade

Stari platan ispred Milosevog konaka u Beogradu-An old planetree in front of the Miloaev Konak Museum in Belgrade

Tipicna etno soba istocne Srbije-A typical Ethno house of the Eastern Serbia

Tipicna etno soba istocne Srbije-A typical Ethno house of the Eastern Serbia

Tvrdjava Momcilov grad u Pirotu-Momcilo's Town Fort in Pirot

Tvrdjava Momcilov grad u Pirotu-Momcilo’s Town Fort in Pirot

Zgrada Narodne skupstine u Beogradu-Federal Assembly building in Belgrade

Zgrada Narodne skupstine u Beogradu-Federal Assembly building in Belgrade

„Bila je to zemlja seljaka na brdovitom Balkanu“, pevala je tako o Srbiji poznata pesnikinja Desanka Maksimović. Mislim da se nije mnogo promenilo u njoj od vremena nastanka ovih stihova.
Ostavio sam je za kraj jer mi je vrlo teško da pišem o sopstvenoj zemlji, a da, pritom, ne upadnem u zamku predrasuda o njoj, njenim žiteljima a svojim sunarodnicima, stvarnošću sa kojom se svakog dana susrećem. Takođe sam malo putovao po Srbiji, sledeći onu poznatu misao da se svoja zemlja uvek najmanje poznaje.
Glavni grad Beograd ima nešto kosmopolitsko u sebi, zbog čega ga mnogi vole i često u njega odlaze. Koliko ima duh svetskog grada, toliko i provincijsko raspoloženje preti da taj duh uništi ili mu bar umanji značaj. Izuzetna geografska lokacija na ušću dveju velikih reka, Save u Dunav, daje mu posebnu energiju koju takve reke nose sa sobom. Veliki broj splavova na vodi i restorana sa ludim noćnim provodom čine Beograd sasvim posebnom odredištem za takvu vrstu zabave, zbog koje dolaze mladi iz cele Evrope.
Iz susednih država, nekada republika bivše Jugoslavije, danas, osim u provod, dolaze i u takozvanu Kuću cveća, grob predsednika Tita ili, kako su ga zvali, najvećeg sina naših naroda i narodnosti. To je lepo uređen prostor koji su do nedavno čuvali vojnici Garde, a danas samo čuvari. Moji prijatelji iz Japana, profesor Hosaka sa suprugom, uživali su u njemu, kao i brojni drugi posetioci iz inostranstva.
U Beogradu se nalazi Hram svetog Save, najveća pravoslavna crkva na svetu, u belom mermeru i sa spomenikom Karađorđu ispred nje, čoveku koji je poveo srpski narod u borbu protiv Turaka i njihove vekovne okupacije ovih prostora. Međutim, u Srbiji se nalaze i mnogi manastiri i crkve sa starim freskama od kojih neke predstavljaju remek-dela sakralne umetnosti. Oni se nalaze po čitavoj zemlji, na Fruškoj gori u severnoj pokrajini Vojvodini, ali isto tako značajni u centralnoj i južnoj Srbiji i na Kosovu. Moj rodni istok Srbije može se ponositi čuvenim manastirom Poganovo iz XIV veka, na levoj obali reke Jerme, koji, nažalost, danas više posećuju Bugari nego Srbi. Freske u obližnjim crkvama na kojima je predstavljen Isus bez kose i brade, Bogorodica sa krilima ili Sveti Kristofer sa konjskom glavom, predstavljaju neobične primerke pravoslavne umetnosti. To samo potvrđuje činjenicu pesnikinje sa početka teksta da je “Srbija velika tajna“.
Plovidba Dunavom otkriva nam na svom putu vredna arheološka nalazišta kao što su Vinča i Lepenski vir koja ukazuju na život u ovim krajevima još u praistoriji. Njegovi rukavci na pojedinim mestima otkrivaju ambijent sličan onom u delti Amazona.
Planine Tara, Zlatibor ili Kopaonik predstavljaju turističke centre izuzetne prirodne lepote, posebno zimi kada se zabele njihovi vrhovi.
Srbija je ovih dana veoma ponosna. Na njenom tlu, u gradu Nišu koji se tada zvao Naisus, pre više od sedamnaest vekova rođen je rimski car Konstantin, prvi vladar koji je primio hrišćanstvo i potom doneo Milanski edikt kojim se promovisala verska tolerancija u Carstvu.
Srbija može biti ponosna na mnoge značajne ličnosti koje su obeležile njenu noviju istoriju, od Nikole Tesle, Ive Andrića do Novaka Đokovića. Mnoge od njih su deo svetske istorije danas.

Oktobar 2013.
____________________________________________________________

’It was in a land of peasants in the mountainous Balkans…’ wrote the famous poetess Desanka Maksimović about Serbia. It seems to me that nothing much has changed in Serbia since the time this verse was written.
I left Serbia till the end, as I found it difficult to write about my own country without falling into prejudice traps about the country itself, its people and my fellow countrymen, as well as the everyday reality of living. Also I travelled around Serbia only a little, in accordance with the popular belief that we know our own country the least.
The capital, Belgrade, has a cosmopolitan feel about it, which is why it is liked and visited by many people. Even though it has an air of a metropolis, a provincial mentality is threatening to destroy it, or at least diminish it. Belgrade has a distinct geographical position on the confluence of two large rivers, the Sava and the Danube, which lend their special charm to the city. A large number of boat restaurants and floating bars with crazy night life make Belgrade a one of a kind destination for this sort of entertainment, drawing young people from all over Europe.
Apart from the night life, people from neighbouring countries that used to be part of Yugoslavia also come to visit the House of Flowers, The Mausoleum of President Tito, the greatest son of all the nationalities and minorities – as he used to be called. It is a pleasant space, in the past kept by the Guards, and today only by ordinary security guards. My friends from Japan, Porfessor Hosaka and his wife, as well as many other visitors, really enjoyed its interior.
In Belgrade you will find the Church of Saint Sava, the largest Orthodox church in the world, built out of white marble; in front of it is the monument to Karađorđe, the man who lead the Serbian nation against the Turks’ occupation of Serbia that had lasted for five centuries. However, there are many more monasteries and churches scattered around Serbia, housing old frescoes, some of which are considered masterpieces of sacral art. They are found all around the country, at Fruška Gora and the northern province of Vojvodina, but also, importantly, in southern and central Serbia and in Kosovo. I was born in the East of Serbia, where the famous Poganovo Monastery from the 14th century lies on the left bank of river Jerma; sadly today it is visited more by the Bulgarian people than the Serbs. Frescoes in nearby churches where Jesus was depicted without hair or a beard, the Virgin Mary with wings, and St. Cristopher with a horse’s head, represent unusual aspects of Orthodox art form. They only confirm the fact stated by the poetess from the beginning of this text, that ’Serbia is a great secret’.
Sailing down the Danube, we discover important archaeological sites such as Vinča and Lepenski Vir (Lepen Whirl), which showcase prehistoric life in this area. The Danube branches out and in some places its ambiance is reminiscent of the Amazon delta.
Mountains – Tara, Zlatibor and Kopaonik – are all tourist spots of outstanding beauty; in winter they stand in full glory when their peaks are white with snow.
These days Serbia is very proud. More than seventeen cenutries ago, Constantin, the Roman Emperor who first adopted Christianity and passed the Edict of Milan promoting religious tolerance in the Empire, was born in Naisus, today the City of Niš.
Serbia can be proud of many individuals who marked its recent history, from Nikola Tesla, famous scientis and inventor, Ivo Andrić, Nobel Laureate in literature, to Novak Đoković, number one tennis player. Many of them are now part of world history.

October 2013

SOMALIA – SOMALILAND – SOOMAALILAND

Centar grada-City centre

Centar grada-City centre

Dzamija u Hargeisi-A mosque in Hargeisa

Dzamija u Hargeisi-A mosque in Hargeisa

Mala dzamija-A small mosque

Mala dzamija-A small mosque

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves 1

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves 1

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves 2

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves 2

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves 3

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves 3

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves

Pecinski crtezi-Rock paintings in Les Gaal caves

Pijaca zlata i novca-Gold and money market

Pijaca zlata i novca-Gold and money market

Pogled iz pecina na dolinu-A view of valley from the caves

Pogled iz pecina na dolinu-A view of valley from the caves

Sa cuvarem u pecini sa crtezima-With the body guard in Les Gaal caves

Sa cuvarem u pecini sa crtezima-With the body guard in Les Gaal caves

Simpatija-Affection

Simpatija-Affection

Sudbina u svojim rukama-Destiny in her own hands

Sudbina u svojim rukama-Destiny in her own hands

U aerodromskoj zgradi

U aerodromskoj zgradi

Vojnici-Somali soldiers

Vojnici-Somali soldiers

Aerodromska zgrada-The airport building

Aerodromska zgrada-The airport building

U centru glavnog grada-In the centre of the capital

U centru glavnog grada-In the centre of the capital

Ulicna pijaca-A street market

Ulicna pijaca-A street market

Zaigrani-Playful

Zaigrani-Playful

Stigao sam u ovu odvojenu somalijsku teritoriju iz obližnjeg Džibutija,
avionom sovjetske proizvodnje i mojih godina; ruski pilot u papučama i preko
merdevina ulazi u pilotsku kabinu, a desetine izuvenih somalijskih izbeglica
već leži po podu jer nema dovoljno mesta. Ipak, uspešno smo sleteli na
visoravan na kojoj leži glavni grad Hargeisa, s prijatnom klimom i još
prijatnijim ljudima.
Neposredno pored aerodroma, za slučaj prinudnog bekstva, nalazi se jedan od
retkih hotela koji pruža kakvu-takvu sigurnost. Tu se nalaze samo pripadnici
Ujedinjenih nacija i razni svetski pregovarači, koji pokušavaju da zemlju
vode ka relativnom i često neuspešnom miru.
Somalilend je ponosan na to što je odvojen i drugačiji od Somalije, koja je
već dugo zahvaćena opštom nestabilnošću, velikim siromaštvom i poznata po
organizovanim piratima koji napadaju brodove na izlazu iz Crvenog mora.
Život u Hargeisi je drugačiji, a Somalilend počinje da dobija obrise
organizovane države. Bio sam oduševljen pećinskim crtežima iz neolita, koji
u punom koloritu predstavljaju ljude, životinje i običaje tog vremena.
Otkrili su ih francuski arheolozi tek 2002. godine; do njih se teško dolazi,
a same pećine su prirodno uklesane u brdu i na visini koja je njihovim
stnovnicima pružala veličanstven pogled i kontrolu nad jednom velikom
dolinom. Zovu se Les Gaal, i, da se nalaze u Evropi, poput pećine Altamira
na severu Španije, bile bi prava turistička atrakcija.
U sveopštem šarenilu i haosu Hargeise izdvaja se pijaca zlata, para, kao i
svega ostalog što vam nije potrebno. Stotine miliona somalilendskih šilinga
u prljavim novčanicama leži u prašini i metalnim kavezima na ulici. Tu se
nalazi i zlatni nakit primitivne izrade, koji čuvaju i prodaju žene koje ne
žele da se slikaju čak po cenu da ništa ne kupite. Uopšte, svako slikanje
izaziva reakcije negodovanja, ali mi prividnu sigurnost pružaju dva moja
čuvara naoružani kalašnjikovima. Njih su mi dodelili u Ministarstvu turizma,
uz dozvolu za kretanje, što je ovde neophodno zbog mogućnih terorističkih
napada. Poslednji je bio nekoliko meseci pre mog dolaska, kada su dva
automobila-bombe ostavili kratere u centru grada. Ako izuzmemo takvu
neugodnost, ovde vas očekuju samo prijatna osećanja.
Manja neizvesnost daje svemu tome neodoljivu čar putovanja po ovakvim
predelima.

Februar 2009.
_________________________________________________________

I arrived in this separated Somali territory from neighbouring Djibouti, in
an airplane made in the Soviet Union and as old as myself. A Russian pilot
in flip-flops climbs into the cockpit up the ladder, while dozens of
barefoot Somali refugees are already lying on the floor as there is no space
left. Yet, we successfully land on a highland where the capital, Hargeisa,
is located; a city with a pleasant climate and even more pleasant people.
Close to the airport, in case of emergency, there is one of the very few
hotels which provides some safety if you have to get away quickly. Usually
it is only the UN envoys and various international negotiators that stay
there, most often taking this country towards relative and often
unsuccessful peace.
Somaliland is proud to be separated from Somalia and different from it;
Somalia proper has been unstable for a long time, enveloped in terrible
poverty and is famous for organised pirates who attack ships leaving the Red
Sea.
Life in Hargeisa is different and Somaliland is starting to look like an
organised state. I was delighted to see the cave drawings from the Neolithic
period, depicting in a full spectrum of colours, people, animals and customs
from that period. They were discovered only in 2002 by French
archaeologists; the caves are difficult to access and are naturally carved
into hills, at an altitude that must have provided their inhabitants with
magnificent views as well as the control over a large valley. They are
called Les Gaal, and were they based in Europe, like Altamira in the North
of Spain, they would become a famous tourist attraction.
In the all encompassing chaos and colourfulness of Hargeisa, one thing that
stands out is the market selling gold, money and everything else that you
don’t need. Dirty banknotes of hundreds of millions of Somaliland schillings
are scattered in the dust, or in metal cages on the street. Here you can
also find gold jewelery crafted in a primitive way, guarded and sold by
women who would not let their picture be taken, no matter what; even if it
meant that you would not buy anything from them. Generally any photo taking
is met with a lot of opposition, but my two bodyguards with kalashnikovs
give me a false sense of security. I was allocated them at the Ministry of
Tourism, together with a permit to move around, which is required because of
possible terrorist attacks. The last attack happened a few months before my
arrival when two car bombs left huge craters in the city centre. If you put
aside that sort of trouble, everything else awaiting you here is pleasant.
A degree of uncertainty only contributes to an irresistible charm linked to
travelling in regions like this one.

February 2009

SOLOMONOVA OSTRVA – SOLOMON ISLANDS

Groblje americkih vojnika-Guadalcanal American Memorial

Groblje americkih vojnika-Guadalcanal American Memorial

Hotel Kralj Solomon je najbolje prenociste u gradu-The best place in town

Hotel Kralj Solomon je najbolje prenociste u gradu-The best place in town

Jedini pristojan klub u glavnom gradu-The only decent club in the capital

Jedini pristojan klub u glavnom gradu-The only decent club in the capital

Mastovite skulpture u drvetu-Imaginative wooden sculptures

Mastovite skulpture u drvetu-Imaginative wooden sculptures

Narodni muzej na otvorenom sa trznim centrom u pozadini-Open-air museum and shopping centre

Narodni muzej na otvorenom sa trznim centrom u pozadini-Open-air museum and shopping centre

Ples uz zvuke Panovih frula ukazuje na poreklo naroda-Pan flute rhythms indicate the origins of these people

Ples uz zvuke Panovih frula ukazuje na poreklo naroda-Pan flute rhythms indicate the origins of these people

Pogled na luku-Harbour view in Honiara

Pogled na luku-Harbour view in Honiara

Crkva u Honijari-Honiara church

Crkva u Honijari-Honiara church

Glavna pijaca-The central market

Glavna pijaca-The central market

To je grupa ostrva u onom delu sveta u koji se ređe ide, u južnom Pacifiku,
između Novih Hebrida, danas Vanuatu, i Papue Nove Gvineje. Te tri zemlje
zajedno čine jedan poluluk, lanac ostrva između severoistočne Australije i
repa Azije, jednu ostrvsku grupaciju u južnom Pacifiku, koja se naziva
Melanezija. Ljudi su tamo neuobičajeno crni za taj deo sveta, toliko crni
kao da su iz središta Afrike, a i prilično su drugačiji od ostalih
stanovnika u zemljama Tihog okeana. Zbog toga vas ipak obuzima tiha strepnja
pri prolasku u sumrak kroz neke delove Honijare, glavnog grada Solomonovih
ostrva, koji je smešten na ostrvu Gvadalkanal. Bez obzira na to što ne
deluju tako prijatno i sa širokim osmehom kao stanovnici susednog Vanuatua,
Solomonci su takođe veseo narod. To se vidi iz njihovog folklora, čiji
elementi neodoljivo podsećaju na muziku Anda sa Panovim frulama, ali znatno
bržim ritmom.
Zemlja je svakako dobila naziv po kralju Solomonu, ali to je ime ostalo iz
vremena lutanja španskih osvajača po tim prostranstvima, koji su mislili da
se ovde krije njegovo blago. Ime, dakle, zvuči impozantno, ali to ipak nije
dovoljno da bi privuklo veća strana ulaganja u ovu zemlju sa predivnim
plažama, koje i dalje ostaju teško dostupne. Kada jednom dođete u
Melaneziju, ipak teško napuštate ovaj zabačeni, zaboravljeni i zapostavljeni
krajičak južnog Pacifika, koji je tako odvojen od ostatka sveta, kao da mu
nikada nije ni pripadao.
Solomonci prave neobične figure od drveta, obojene u crno i optočene sedefom
od školjki, tako da predstavljaju kombinacije raznih čudnovatih bića.
Poseban je i nakit od brojnih vrsta školjki, puževa, ribljih i životinjskih
zuba, koji su spojeni u duge nizove koji obavijaju skoro celo telo. Modni
kreatori bi ga sigurno smatrali ekskluzivnim dodatkom na glamuroznim
modelima.
Odsudne pomorske bitke u Drugom svetskom ratu vodile su se upravo u ovim
vodama južnog Pacifika. Ostaci japanskih i američkih flota iz tog perioda
mogu se svuda videti, negde čak golim okom, neposredno ispod površine mora.
Delovi aviona i njihovi motori razbacani su ne samo duboko u džunglama, već
i u gradskom parku. Turisti iz tada zaraćenih strana danas obilaze ova
mesta, a Japanci prikupljaju kosti svojih palih pilota, nudeći nagrade
lokalom stanovništvu za otkrivanje mesta na kojima leže ostaci oborenih
aviona. Odlučne bitke vodile su se upravo za ostrvo Gvadalkanal, a na brdu
iznad Honijare nalazi se veliki memorijalni centar koji su Amerikanci
napravili u znak sećanja na svoje poginule vojnike. Značajni datumi kojima
se obeležavaju teške i slavne pobede predstavljaju retku priliku da se
podsete da postoji i ovaj deo sveta.
I to je bolje od oblaka potpunog zaborava, koji se nadvio nad ova lepa
ostrva sa još lepšim nazivom, dok kralj Solomon nastavlja svoj biblijski
život na sasvim drugom kraju planete, odakle je potekao.

Februar 2008.
_____________________________________________________

This archipelago belongs to a part of the world which is seldom visited,
located in the South Pacific, between the New Hebrides, today called Vanuatu
and Papua New Guinea. These three countries form a semi-circular group of
islands, an archipelago between North East Australia and the tail of Asia;
it is called Melanesia. People here are unusually dark for this part of the
world, like they came from Central Africa, and they are quite different from
the rest of the inhabitants of the Pacific states. Passing at sunset through
some parts of the capital Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal I
felt a bit uncomfortable. Even though they do not seem as pleasant and with
a broad smile as their neighbours from Vanuatu, Solomon Islanders are also
cheerful people. This is obvious from their folklore which irresistibly
reminds me of music from the Andes, with Pan flutes, but with much quicker
rhythms.
The country definitely got its name after King Solomon, but that is from the
time of Spanish explorers roaming the Pacific, thinking that King Solomon’s
treasure was hidden there. Even though the name sounds imposing, it is not
enough in order to attract considerable foreign investment in this country
with amazing beaches, which are still quite inaccessible. Yet once you are
in Melanesia, you find it hard to leave this forsaken and forgotten corner
of the South Pacific, which seems so far apart from the rest of the world
that it looks like it never belonged to it.
Solomon Islanders make unusual figures carved out of wood, encased in
mother-of-pearl, so that they resemble various combinations of imaginary
beings. Quite special too is jewellery made of numerous kinds of seashells,
snails, animal and fish teeth, all linked into long strings that can wrap
the whole body. Fashion designers would for sure snap it up as an exclusive
accessory on glamorous models.
Crucial naval battles of World War II were fought precisely in these waters
of the South Pacific. The remnants of Japanese and American fleets from
those times can be seen everywhere, sometimes with your bare eyes, just
below the water’s surface. Aircraft parts and engines are scattered not only
deep in the jungle, but also in the city park. Tourists from both countries
that were then at war visit these places nowadays and the Japanese collect
bones of their pilots who died here offering rewards to the locals for
pinpointing the locations of fallen planes. Decisive battles were fought for
Guadalcanal Island itself; while atop a hill above Honiara Americans have
built a large memorial centre in remembrance of their soldiers. Important
dates of the famous, hard won battles, also serve as a rare occasion to
remind themselves that this part of the world exists.
Even that is better than the cloud of total oblivion which is hanging over
these beautiful islands with an even more beautiful name, while King Solomon
continues his biblical existence on the other end of the planet where he
originally came from.

February 2008

SLOVENIJA – SLOVENIA

Celjski dom u centru grada-Celje City Hall in the town centre

Celjski dom u centru grada-Celje City Hall in the town centre

Crkva Svetog Urha u Bovcu-St. Ulrich's Church in Bovec

Crkva Svetog Urha u Bovcu-St. Ulrich’s Church in Bovec

Franjevacka crkva i spmenik pesniku Francu Presernu u Ljubljani-The Franciscan Church and the monument of the poet Franc Presern, Ljubljana

Franjevacka crkva i spmenik pesniku Francu Presernu u Ljubljani-The Franciscan Church and the monument of the poet Franc Presern, Ljubljana

Krizanke, Ljubljana

Krizanke, Ljubljana

Kuzno znamenje na Glavnom trgu u Mariboru-The Plague Memorial in the Main Square, Maribor

Kuzno znamenje na Glavnom trgu u Mariboru-The Plague Memorial in the Main Square, Maribor

Most na Soci

Most na Soci

Ostrvce na Bledskom jezeru sa crkvom Presvete Bogorodice-Bled Lake islet with the Church of the Assumption of Mary (3)

Ostrvce na Bledskom jezeru sa crkvom Presvete Bogorodice-Bled Lake islet with the Church of the Assumption of Mary (3)

Pogled na Franjevacku crkvu i Tromostovje-A view of the Franciscan Church and the Triple Bridge in Ljubljana

Pogled na Franjevacku crkvu i Tromostovje-A view of the Franciscan Church and the Triple Bridge in Ljubljana

Reka Soca kraj Bovca-The Soca near Bovec

Reka Soca kraj Bovca-The Soca near Bovec

Reka Soca-prirodni dragulj-The Soca River-natural jewel

Reka Soca-prirodni dragulj-The Soca River-natural jewel

Ruska kapelica-The Russian Chapel

Ruska kapelica-The Russian Chapel

Stari deo Maribora na reci Dravi-Maribor's Old Town on the Drava river

Stari deo Maribora na reci Dravi-Maribor’s Old Town on the Drava river

Stari zamak u Celju-Celje Old Castle

Stari zamak u Celju-Celje Old Castle

Tromostovje u Ljubljani-The Triple Bridge in Ljubljana

Tromostovje u Ljubljani-The Triple Bridge in Ljubljana

Univerzitet u Ljubljani-University of Ljubljana

Univerzitet u Ljubljani-University of Ljubljana

Zamak na Bledu-Bled Castle

Zamak na Bledu-Bled Castle

Ambasador je zamisljen-The Ambssador is thoughtful

Ambasador je zamisljen-The Ambssador is thoughtful

Bledski zamak, pogled sa jezera - Bled Castle, a view from the lake

Bledski zamak, pogled sa jezera – Bled Castle, a view from the lake

Bledski zamak, pogled sa jezera- Bled Castle, a view from the lake

Bledski zamak, pogled sa jezera- Bled Castle, a view from the lake

Bledski zamak, pogled sa jezera-Bled Castle, a view from the lake

Bledski zamak, pogled sa jezera-Bled Castle, a view from the lake

Bovec-centar-The centre of Bovec

Bovec-centar-The centre of Bovec

Crkva Presvete Bogorodice na ostrvcu na Bledskom jezeru-Church of the Assumption of Mary on the Bled Lake islet

Crkva Presvete Bogorodice na ostrvcu na Bledskom jezeru-Church of the Assumption of Mary on the Bled Lake islet

Mala država na obroncima Alpa prva se miroljubivo odvojila od Jugoslavije,
što je oduvek želela, i tako nastavila sopstvenim putem vešto izbegavši
ratne potrese koji su potom usledili. Slovenci su miran i radan narod i
nikada nisu smatrali da bi trebalo ravnopravno da dele ono što ostvare sa
onima koji u bivšoj domovini nisu bili toliko radni. I to je u redu. Izašli
su mirno i hladne glave, odlučno i samouvereno. I niko im nije ništa mogao
jer je proces raspada Jugoslavije pokrenuo točak istorije, bez povratka.
Slovenija ima sve prirodne lepote koje se mogu poželeti na tako malom
prostoru, od planinskih obronaka Alpa do Jadranskog mora. Postojnska jama,
stari primorski gradovi severnog Jadrana, Piran i Kopar, čuveno Bledsko
jezero sa malim romantičnim ostrvom i crkvom na njemu, zamak na Brdu kod
Kranja, kao i brojne termalne banje samo su deo lepota ove male planinske
zemlje. Brz ekonomski razvoj koji je započeo u prethodnoj državi kojoj su
pripadali, nastavio se još brže u novoj Sloveniji, koja je, od svih država
nastalih na prostoru bivše Jugoslavije, prva ušla u Evropsku zajednicu.
Posle pauze od dvadeset godina ponovo dolazim u glavni grad Ljubljanu, u
kome nema velikih promena, osim što su stare zgrade u centru dobile novi
sjaj; ne preteran već diskretan. I dalje je to mali grad sa vrednim ljudima,
ali ne mnogo više od toga. Kao da je vekovna obamrlost zavladala ovom
sredinom, oduzimajući radost življenja, moć kreacije, snagu preokreta i
ostavila Slovence u pasivnom konzumiranju života, onako kako bi to trebalo
da bude ili kako Evropa kaže. Zbog toga Slovenci vole da sebi daju oduška
tako što će vikendom načiniti iskorak u pristojnom ponašanju, ali samo mali,
ili otići na provod u Srbiju, gde će se ispoljiti njihova balkanska priroda.
Sloveniju i Srbiju oduvek su povezivale neke druge, dublje veze, a svakako i
zbližavao interes za korišćenjem prirodnih bogatstava manje razvijene, ali
velike i prijateljske Srbije.
Zanimljivo je da danas mnogi ljudi, pa čak i Amerikanci, kupuju kuće i
dolaze da žive u Sloveniju. Sigurnost koju im ona pruža svakako je
nezamenljiva, a jednostavnost i prijatnost življenja i blizina evropskih
centara, kao sto su Beč ili Milano, čine da se u istom trenutku osete kako u
mirnoj provinciji, tako i u živahnoj Evropi. Kako bi sami Slovenci rekli
svojim jezikom Europa zdaj (Evropa sada). I ona je zaista tu i sada, pomaže
ih i prihvata, proglašava Maribor svojom kulturnom prestonicom 2012. godine,
daje im skoro sve što žele, ali ipak uzima ono čega se balkanski narodi
teško odriču. Identitet. Nekima je teže, a nekima lakše oduzeti ga.
Slovenci najbolje znaju gde se nalaze i da li uopšte žele da budu
“Balkanci”.

Januar 2006.
_______________________________________________________

A small country at the foot of the Alps, it was the first to break away from
Yugoslavia, but peacefully, and that was something it had always wanted;
thus it followed its own path, deftly avoiding the traumas of war that
ensued. Slovenians are a peaceful and hardworking people and they never
maintained that they should share evenly the fruits of their work with
others in their ex-homeland who were not as diligent. And that is OK. They
left peacefully and with a cool head, decisively and with confidence. And no
one could do anything about it because the process of breaking up Yugoslavia
set in motion the wheel of history, beyond the point of no return.
Slovenia has all the natural beauties you can imagine and in such a small
space, from the hillsides of the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. Postojna Cave,
the old cities of Piran and Kopar on the North Adriatic coast, the famous
Bled Lake with a small picturesque island and a church on it, Kieselstein
Castle on a hill above Kranj, as well as numerous thermal spas, are only
part of many natural attractions of this small mountainous land. Rapid
economic development which started in the old country they used to belong
to, continued even faster in the new Slovenian state, which was the first
one of the ex-Yugoslav countries to enter the European Union.
After a 20 year break, I visit Ljubljana, the capital, again; there are no
big changes, just the old buildings in the city centre have a fresh lustre
about them; not conspicuous, but discreet. It is still a small city with
diligent people, but not much more than that. It seems like a century old
torpor has gained rule in this environment, taking away the joy of life, the
power to create, and change things, leaving Slovenians to passively consume
life, just ‘the way it should be’, or the way Europe wants. That is why
Slovenians like to indulge themselves at weekends, letting go of their
polite behaviour, but in a small way, or they would go on a fun trip to
Serbia where they let their Balkan mentality show its face. Slovenia and
Serbia were always linked by other, deeper connections, among others, the
common interest in exploiting the natural resources of the less developed,
but bigger, friendly Serbia.
It is interesting to note that many people these days, including Americans,
buy property here and settle down in Slovenia. The safety they have here is
irreplaceable, while the simple and pleasant way of life, as well as the
proximity of European hubs such as Vienna and Milan, make them experience in
tandem a quiet provincial life as well as the liveliness of Europe. As
Slovenians would say in their language: Europa zdaj (Europe now). Indeed,
Europe is here and now, helping them and accepting them, proclaiming Maribor
the European cultural capital of 2012.it is giving them almost everything
they want, and yet it is taking away something that the Balkans people find
hard to give away. Their identity. For some of them it is easier and for
some harder to give it away.
Slovenians know very well where exactly they are at and whether they want to
be one of the Balkans peoples or not.

January 2006

SLOVAČKA – SLOVAKIA – SLOVENSKO

Moderna poslovna zgrada na obali Dunava-A modern office building on the Danube

Moderna poslovna zgrada na obali Dunava-A modern office building on the Danube

Mihalska ulica sa istoimenom kulom i prolazom ispod nje-Michalska Street with Michael's Tower and Gatehouse

Mihalska ulica sa istoimenom kulom i prolazom ispod nje-Michalska Street with Michael’s Tower and Gatehouse

Mladenci ispred zgrade Slovackog narodnog pozorista-Newlyweds in front of the Slovak National Theatre

Mladenci ispred zgrade Slovackog narodnog pozorista-Newlyweds in front of the Slovak National Theatre

Glavni trg u Bratislavi sa starom gradskom vecnicom i Rolandovom fontanom-The main square in Bratislava with the Old Town Hall and Roland Fountain

Glavni trg u Bratislavi sa starom gradskom vecnicom i Rolandovom fontanom-The main square in Bratislava with the Old Town Hall and Roland Fountain

Crkva Svete Trojice-Holy Trinity Church

Crkva Svete Trojice-Holy Trinity Church

Bratislavska tvrdjava-Bratislava Castle

Bratislavska tvrdjava-Bratislava Castle

Bratislavska tvrdjava - Bratislava Castle

Bratislavska tvrdjava – Bratislava Castle

Apolo most i setaliste kraj Dunava-Apollo Bridge and the promenade by the Danube

Apolo most i setaliste kraj Dunava-Apollo Bridge and the promenade by the Danube

Zamak u Bojnicama-Bojnice Castle

Zamak u Bojnicama-Bojnice Castle

Zgrada skole s pocetka XX veka u Bratislavi-School building in  the capital

Zgrada skole s pocetka XX veka u Bratislavi-School building in the capital

Turisticki brod plovi ka Becu ispod Novog mosta-A tourist boat heading to Vienna

Turisticki brod plovi ka Becu ispod Novog mosta-A tourist boat heading to Vienna

Turisticki brod plovi ka Becu-Tourist boat heading to Vienna

Turisticki brod plovi ka Becu-Tourist boat heading to Vienna

Turisticki brod plovi ka Becu - A tourist boat heading to Vienna

Turisticki brod plovi ka Becu – A tourist boat heading to Vienna

Posmatrac-The Watcher

Posmatrac-The Watcher

Moj brat Milan i Danko Prokic, tada ambasador u Bratislavi-My brother Milan and Ambassador Danko Prokic

Moj brat Milan i Danko Prokic, tada ambasador u Bratislavi-My brother Milan and Ambassador Danko Prokic

Nova zgrada Slovackog narodnog pozorista-A new building of the Slovak National Theatre

Nova zgrada Slovackog narodnog pozorista-A new building of the Slovak National Theatre

U bivšoj zajedničkoj državi koja se tada nazivala Čehoslovačka, kada bi vam
neko uradio nešto dobro ili samo bio ljubazan prema vama, često bi se
reklo:”On je Slovak”. I u današnjoj Evropskoj uniji Slovaci su ostali u
istoj meri dobri i ljubazni, fini i tolerantni prema svima, pored ostalih i
prema Romima, koje nikada nisam video da tako opušteno žive i uživaju visoki
standard kao u ovoj zemlji.
Glavni grad Bratislava je prijatno centralnoevropsko mesto, u koje sam došao
sa mojim bratom Milanom na kongres plastične hirurgije. Danko Prokić je
ambasador Srbije u Slovačkoj i prijatelj iz detinjstva, koga često
posećujemo tokom njegovih diplomatskih službovanja. Prva i nezaboravna bila
je poseta Indiji pre dvadeset pet godina, potom Španiji i Bugarskoj, i uvek
je sa njim doživljaj neke zemlje poseban i drugačiji. Ne umem da objasnim na
koji način on upoznaje i nama tako lepo, slikovito i jednostavno predstavlja
zemlju u kojoj boravi, a ipak suštinski prodire u mentalitet naroda koji
prihvata kao svoj. Možda je to svojstvo proniknuća i prisvajanja najboljih
svojstava naroda način ličnog i iskustvenog obogaćivanja iz koga proizlazi
ljubav prema zemlji u kojoj trenutno živi.
Ulice Bratislave često su prazne, za razliku od Beograda ili nekih drugih
gradova u kojima uvek vrvi od života. I za tu pojavu Danko uvek ima neko
opravdanje: ili su na poslu, ili se odmaraju posle posla, ili su, ako je
vikend, otišli u šoping u susednu Austriju.
Uglavnom, Slovaka nema na ulicama, ili bar ne u onoj meri u kojoj to
očekujete u jednom glavnom gradu. Nova vremena, nakon dugog perioda
socijalizma, pružila su im najsavremeniju arhitekturu tržnih centara i dugog
šetališta na obali Dunava, odakle se, iz brojnih restorana, posmatraju
turistički brodovi na putu ka Beču. Sedimo jedne večeri u nekom od njih i
posmatramo hiljade crvenih kineskih lampiona koji, nošeni toplotom sveća u
njima, lete iznad naših glava kao šarene meduze.
Na brdu iza nas, u izmaglici sutona, nadvio se iznad grada beli bratislavski
zamak, ili jednostavno, Hrad. Nastao je još u X veku kao centar Velike
Moravske, postao renesansni zamak u srednjem veku, a potom kraljevsko
sedište Marije Terezije. Sa njega se pruža pogled na Dunav, koji nam se
nekako čini malim u odnosu na naš, beogradski.
Ipak, najatraktivniji u skoro čitavoj srednjoj Evropi je zamak Bojnice, koji
je njegov tadašnji vlasnik na prelasku u XX vek restaurirao tako da liči na
romantične zamkove u dolini Loare u Francuskoj. Ako u cipelama čuvene firme
Bata prošetate ovim zamkom, ostavljate poseban trag s obzirom na to da je ta
porodica bila poslednji vlasnik ovog zamka do Drugog svetskog rata, da bi ga
posle toga komunisti, naravno, konfiskovali. Brojni drugi zamkovi i
srednjevekovne građevine širom Slovačke svedoče o burnoj prošlosti ovog
naroda, na prekretnici evropskih istorijskih zbivanja.
Duh starog grada Bratislave oseća se u uskim i često strmim uličicama u
kojima, u laganoj šetnji, upijamo centralnoevropsko poimanje lakoće
postojanja.
U tranziciji ka boljem životu u novoj Evropi Slovačka se veoma lepo snalazi,
ali i čuva svoj identitet.

Septembar 2010.
___________________________________________________________

In the old common country that was called Czechoslovakia, if someone did
something nice for you or was just simply kind to you, people would say: ‘He
is Slovakian.’ In today’s European Union, the Slovaks are still equally good
and kind, polite and amiable, tolerant to everyone, including the Roma
people, who live in a relaxed way enjoying the high standard in this country
that I have not seen them enjoy anywhere else.
The capital, Bratislava, is a pleasant Central European town which I visited
together with my brother Milan in order to attend a plastic surgeons’
congress. Danko Prokić is Serbia’s Ambassador in Slovakia and a childhood
friend and we visit him often at his various diplomatic stations. The first,
unforgettable visit was to India, 25 years ago, then Spain and Bulgaria, and
experiencing a new country with him is always a special and unique
experience. I cannot even explain the way in which he gets to know the
country and then presents it to us in a nice, simple and picturesque way,
and yet he gets deep into the people’s mentality and accepts it as his own.
Maybe this trait of discovering and then accepting the best from each nation
is his personal way of enriching himself, which results in his love for the
country he is in at that moment.
The streets of Bratislava are often empty, unlike the streets of Belgrade or
some other cities which are always lively with hustle and bustle. Danko has
an explanation for this phenomenon too: people are either at work, or they
are having a rest after work, or, if it is a weekend, they may have gone to
neighbouring Austria for shopping. Anyhow, Slovakians are not to be seen on
the streets much, or not at least as much as you would expect in a capital
city. After a long period of socialism, recent times have provided them with
the most up to date architectural solutions in shopping centres and a long
promenade alongside the Danube; there you can observe tourist boats on their
way to Vienna from numerous restaurants on the river. One evening we are
sitting in just one of those restaurants, looking at the thousands of
Chinese paper lanterns flying above us with the aid of hot air from the
candles in them; they look to me like multi-coloured jellyfish in the sky.
On a hill behind us, in the sunset mist, a white castle sprawls above the
city; it is the Bratislava castle, or simply, Hrad. It was built in the 10th
century as the centre of Great Moravia, it became a Renaissance castle in
the Middle Ages, and then the Royal palace of Maria Theresa. A view across
the Danube stretches from the castle, but somehow it does not strike me to
be as wide as the one in Belgrade.
Yet the most attractive castle in the whole of Central Europe is the Bojnice
Castle restored by its owner at the turn of the 20th century to resemble the
romantic castles of the Loire Valley in France. If you walk around the
castle wearing famous Bata shoes, you will leave a special mark on the
floor; the Bata family was the owner of the castle until the Second World
War, when it was, of course,  confiscated by the communists. Many other
castles and medieval buildings bear witness to the turbulent past of this
people, at the turning points of European history.
The spirit of the old Bratislava is felt in narrow and often steep
alleyways, which we stroll through leisurely, soaking up the Central
European feeling of the lightness of being.
In the transition period to a better life inside new Europe, Slovakia is
accommodating itself really well, but at the same time it is keeping its
identity.

September 2010

SJEDINJENE AMERIČKE DRŽAVE – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Prepoznatljivi ulaz u Las Vegas-Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas

Prepoznatljivi ulaz u Las Vegas-Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas

Stara crkva u Bostonu-Old South Church in Boston

Stara crkva u Bostonu-Old South Church in Boston

Tajms skver u Njujorku-The Times Square in New York

Tajms skver u Njujorku-The Times Square in New York

Tramvaj oldtajmer u San Francisku-Old timer tramway in San Francisco

Tramvaj oldtajmer u San Francisku-Old timer tramway in San Francisco

Tramvaj oldtajmer u San Francisku-Tramway old timer in San Francisco

Tramvaj oldtajmer u San Francisku-Tramway old timer in San Francisco

Union skver u San Francisku-Union Square in San Francisco

Union skver u San Francisku-Union Square in San Francisco

Avion Dornije na reci Hadson-Dornier plane on Hudson River

Avion Dornije na reci Hadson-Dornier plane on Hudson River

Bord direktora ISAPS-a na nosacu aviona Midvej-ISAPS Board of Directors on the Midway aircraft carrier

Bord direktora ISAPS-a na nosacu aviona Midvej-ISAPS Board of Directors on the Midway aircraft carrier

Crkva Svete trojice u Bostonu-Trinity Church in Boston

Crkva Svete trojice u Bostonu-Trinity Church in Boston

Cuveni granicni prelaz sa Meksikom-A famous border crossing with Mexico

Cuveni granicni prelaz sa Meksikom-A famous border crossing with Mexico

Dzez festival u Nju Orleansu-New Orleans Jazz Festival

Dzez festival u Nju Orleansu-New Orleans Jazz Festival

Foke na dokovima San Franciska-The seals on the docks of San Francisco

Foke na dokovima San Franciska-The seals on the docks of San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Kip slobode u Njujorku-The Statue of Liberty in New York

Kip slobode u Njujorku-The Statue of Liberty in New York

Kongres Sjedinjenih Drzava-Capitol Hill, Washington DC

Kongres Sjedinjenih Drzava-Capitol Hill, Washington DC

Oldtajmer sa zastavom-An oldtimer with the flag

Oldtajmer sa zastavom-An oldtimer with the flag

Oluja nad Grand Kanjonom-A storm over Grand Canyon

Oluja nad Grand Kanjonom-A storm over Grand Canyon

Parobrod na reci Misisipi-Steamboat on the Mississippi River

Parobrod na reci Misisipi-Steamboat on the Mississippi River

Pogled na istorijski deo San Dijega-Entrance to historic part of San Diego

Pogled na istorijski deo San Dijega-Entrance to historic part of San Diego

Toranj Svemirska igla i Cihulijeva staklena skulptura u Sijetlu-The Space Needle Tower and Chihuly's glass sculpture in Seattle

Toranj Svemirska igla i Cihulijeva staklena skulptura u Sijetlu-The Space Needle Tower and Chihuly’s glass sculpture in Seattle

Viva Las Vegas odjekuju zvuci savremene balade legendarnog Elvisa Prislija, na ulazu u grad zabave i kiča. Ovde kič toliko prevazilazi sam sebe, da je odavno prešao u umetnost. Šou programi u Las Vegasu su spektakli visokog umetničkog nivoa, a celokupan ambijent grada podseća na veliki vašar kome se deca najviše raduju, ali u kome i odrasli postaju deca.
Nisu, naravno, svi gradovi takvi. Mnogi zaista odišu kosmopolitskom kulturom, kao Njujork, Boston ili Čikago, ili specifičnim lokalnim kulturnim nasleđem kao što su Nju Orleans ili San Francisko. Nemogućno je, svakako, opisati ovu zemlju na malom prostoru jer ona je čitav Novi svet za sebe, kao i za svoje stanovnike iz Starog i ostalih svetova na zemaljskoj kugli. Amerika je svima pružila utočište i dala istu priliku da u njoj najpre prežive, a zatim uspeju i, možda, ostvare svoj prvi milion. Oni danas stvaraju ovu zemlju, oni su njeni preci i njeni potomci. Oni su odlučili da, posle mnogih kriza, pokušaju da uzmu situaciju u svoje ruke i revolucionarno izabrali prvog crnog predsednika. On je bio njihova nada, kao i nada čitavog sveta, koji je želeo promene u toj zemlji, promene koje je trebalo da promene svet. To su, bar u tom trenutku, bile nade i svih nas.
Aqui se habla inglès, Ovde se govori engleski, piše u jednom baru na Floridi. Od svih stranaca, Latinoamerikanci su ovde najbrojniji. Kažu da bi čitava Amerika bila u kolapsu kada bi oni štrajkovali samo jedan dan. Zanimljivo je da u ovoj zemlji i ja više volim da govorim španski, lakše se razumemo. Bliži su mi po mentalitetu, mada oni Amerikanci koji su mi zaista prijatelji, često su mi bliži od prijatelja iz sopstvene zemlje. Jednostavno, takvi su. Dopada mi se njihova naivnost i činjenica da svemu veruju dok se ne uvere u suprotno. Kod nas je, nažalost, obrnuto. Tamo, međutim, i dalje odlazim uglavnom poslovno. Priznajem da me zamara previše civilizacije.
”Džo, i to je Amerika”.

Avgust 2004.
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The sounds of a contemporary ballad by the legendary Elvis Presley, Viva Las Vegas, resonate from the entrance to the town of kitsch and entertainment. Here kitsch has so surpassed itself that it actually becomes art. Shows in Las Vegas are spectacles of a high artistic level, while the city’s entire atmosphere resembles one of a fun fair, which children enjoy the most, but where adults become children too.
Of course, not all the cities are like that. Many of them exude true cosmopolitan spirit, such as New York, Boston or Chicago, or they have a unique cultural heritage like New Orleans or San Francisco. Of course it is impossible to describe this country in such a limited space, because it is a whole New World to itself, and it is also new to all the people in the Old World or any other world on Earth. This country offered a refuge to anyone, giving them a chance to survive, at first, and then to succeed and maybe even reach that first million dollars. These people have made this country into what it is, they are the ancestors as well as its children. They decided that after many crises, they needed to take matters into their hands, and did something quite revolutionary – they elected the first black President. He was their hope, he was the hope of everyone who wanted to see change in this country, the sort of change that would in turn make change in the entire world. At the time, that was a hope for all of us.
Aqui se habla inglès, ‘English is spoken here’, is an inscription in a bar in Florida. Amongst all foreigners, Latin Americans are the most numerous here. It is said that entire America would collapse if they all went on strike just for one day. It is interesting that in this country I also prefer to use Spanish, we understand each other better. I find Spanish speakers closer to my mentality, even though my true American friends are often closer to me than the friends from my own country. They are just as they are. I like their naivety and the fact that they trust everything until they have the proof of the opposite. In my country, unfortunately, it is the other way round.
Yet, most my trips to the US are on business. I have to admit that too much civilisation makes me tired.
„Joe, this is America!“.

August 2004

 

 

HAVAJI – HAWAII

Havajski pejzaz-A Hawaiian landscape

Havajski pejzaz-A Hawaiian landscape

Plantaza ananasa- Pineapple plantation

Plantaza ananasa- Pineapple plantation

Plantaza ananasa-A pineapple plantation

Plantaza ananasa-A pineapple plantation

Plaza na ostrvu Oahu-A beach on the O'ahu Island

Plaza na ostrvu Oahu-A beach on the O’ahu Island

Pticji aranzman-Posing with birds

Pticji aranzman-Posing with birds

Ratni brod Arizona koji je stradao u napadu na Perl Harbur - USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Ratni brod Arizona koji je stradao u napadu na Perl Harbur – USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Ratni brod Arizona koji je stradao u napadu na Perl Harbur-USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Ratni brod Arizona koji je stradao u napadu na Perl Harbur-USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Spomenik havajskom kralju-The statue of King Kalakaua

Spomenik havajskom kralju-The statue of King Kalakaua

Turisticki autobus u Honolulu-A tourist bus in Honolulu

Turisticki autobus u Honolulu-A tourist bus in Honolulu

Centar glavnog grada-The centre of Honolulu

Centar glavnog grada-The centre of Honolulu

Magične reči naziva ovih ostrva kao da tope ledena srca celog sveta unoseći toplinu i lepotu samo svojim imenom i značenjem, bez obzira da li otišli na njih ili ne. Ipak, kada se tamo nađete, sva njihova magija se otvara pred vama, a ovaj tropski raj, pomešan sa blagodetima američke civilizacije, pruža sva zadovoljstva koja od njega očekujete.

Havaji su najsevernija polinežanska ostrva, vulkanski lanac od osam glavnih i još nekoliko stotina ostrvaca sa tropskom klimom i obiljem velikih plaža, što ih čini popularnim odredištem turista, surfera, ali i istraživača morskih dubina i vulkana.

Najveći deo stanovništva Havajskih ostrva čine Japanci i drugi azijski narodi, dok su Amerikanci uglavnom – turisti.
Veliki istraživač Pacifika i čuveni moreplovac svog vremena, kapetan Džejms Kuk, tri puta je obilazio ova ostrva dok na kraju nije nastradao u sukobu sa lokalnim plemenima, koja su najpre otela njegov brod, a on zatim oteo njihovog kralja za otkup broda. Kraljevina Havaji postojala je stotinak godina, ali je vremenom potpuno pala pod uticaj američkih misionara, postala republika, teritorija, a zatim i zvanična država SAD-a 1959. godine. Poslednji havajski kralj David Kalakaua ima svoj spomenik u centru glavnog grada, koji se naziva Honolulu i nalazi se na ostrvu Oahu.
Sto godina po nestanku monarhije vlada SAD se javno izvinila havajskoj naciji zbog učestvovanja u svrgavanju kraljice Liliuokalani, koju su američki marinci, u sprezi sa vlasnicima plantaža šećerne trske, primorali da abdicira.Tako je još jedna polinežanska kraljevina pala u zaborav.

April 2004.

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Whether you have visited the islands or not, just the magic sound of the name itself – Hawaii – seems to melt away the frost from hearts throughout the world, invoking the warmth and beauty associated with the place and the meaning carries. Yet, when you find yourself there, the entire magic of these islands unfolds before you and this tropical paradise mixed with the blessings of American civilisation fulfils all your expectations of pleasure.

Hawaii is the northernmost island of this Polynesian archipelago. A volcanic chain consisting of eight major islands and several hundred smaller ones, all with a tropical climate and an abundance of vast beaches, which make them an ever popular destination for tourists and surfers, as well as explorers of marine depths and volcanoes.

A large majority of the population are Japanese and nationals of other Asian countries: Americans are mostly tourists.

A great explorer of the Pacific and a famous seafarer of his time, Captain James Cook, came to these islands three times until he eventually perished in battle against the local tribes after they had hijacked his ship and he had consequently kidnapped their King as ransom for his ship. The Kingdom of Hawaii existed for some hundred years, gradually falling under the complete influence of the American missionaries, becoming a republic, a territory and finally an official state of the United States of America in 1959. A monument of the last Hawaiian King, David Kalakaua, can be found in central Honolulu, the capital, on the island of Oahu.

One hundred years after the abolition of the monarchy, the US Government publicly apologised to the nation of Hawaii for their part in overthrowing Queen Lili’uokalani; American marine forces aided by sugarcane plantation owners had forced her to abdicate. Thus one more Polynesian kingdom fell into oblivion.

April 2004

 

 

ALJASKA – ALASCA

Hariman fjord i istoimeni glecer-Harriman fjord and glacier

Hariman fjord i istoimeni glecer-Harriman fjord and glacier

Hariman fjord i istoimeni glecer-Harriman fjord and glacier

Hariman fjord i istoimeni glecer-Harriman fjord and glacier

Harriman fjord

Harriman fjord

Harriman fjord

Harriman fjord

Losovi se odmaraju-The moose resting

Losovi se odmaraju-The moose resting

Na gleceru Koloni sa Konstantinom-With Konstantin on the Colony Glacier

Na gleceru Koloni sa Konstantinom-With Konstantin on the Colony Glacier

Planina zvana Zena koja spava-A view of Mount Susitna (Sleeping Lady)

Planina zvana Zena koja spava-A view of Mount Susitna (Sleeping Lady)

Planinski lanac-Chugach Mountains of Alaska

Planinski lanac-Chugach Mountains of Alaska

Spomenik predsedniku Ajzenhaueru-A monument of the President Eisenhower

Spomenik predsedniku Ajzenhaueru-A monument of the President Eisenhower

Centar Enkoridza-A city centre of Anchorage

Centar Enkoridza-A city centre of Anchorage

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Glecer Koloni-Colony Glacier

Koliko puta sam čuo pretpostavku šta bi se dogodilo da Rusi nisu ovu teritoriju prodali Amerikancima 1867. godine, od toga da ne bi bilo hladnog rata, do, možda, ubrzanog kraja sveta. U svakom slučaju, ova nepregledna teritorija mi izgleda kao most zbližavanja ljudi koji na njoj ravnopravno žive, uz starosedeoce Eskime, ili, kako se ovde nazivaju, narod Jupik i narod Aleutskih ostrva. Ova ostrva i uzak Beringov prolaz spajaju najsevernija kopna Amerike i Rusije, koja ovde kao da čine jednu celinu.

Aljaska je zemlja sa sa sto hiljada glečera. Deo njih, moj mlađi sin Konstantin i ja, videli smo u nacionalnom parku Denali do koga smo stigli najpre helikopterom, a zatim hidroavionom, što je bio poseban doživljaj. Spustili smo se na glečer Koloni i po sunčanom danu uživali iz blizine u lepoti plavičastih ledenih formacija, prekrivenih tankim slojem snega. Leteli smo iznad tamnotirkiznih fjordova, zaobilazili planinske vrhove koji su nam bili skoro na dohvat ruke, preletali beskrajna polja sa losovima, irvasima i medvedima, koji se se upravo budili iz zimskog sna, prolazili pored orlova u letu. Iz daljine nas je kao orijentir pratila planina Mekinli, najviša u ovom planinskom lancu.

Glavni grad Enkoridž je relativno mali u odnosu na ove beskrajne prostore, ali su u njemu posebno zanimljive stare eskimske radionice u kojima se prave skulpture i umetnički predmeti od kljova morževa nalik najfinijoj slonovači, kao i od peraja kita ili raskošnih rogova losa. Jedino starosedeoci, Eskimi i Aleuti, imaju prava da ih love, kao što su to činili stotinama godina. Divlji losos iz lokalnih reka jedna je od najukusnijih riba na Aljasci, ona koju medvedi love dok pliva uzvodno, kao i kraba sa ogromnim kracima. Sve je ovde prirodno, divlje, nesputano i neobuzdano. Čak su i prirodne pojave neprirodne, kao polarna svetlost koja obasja noćno nebo i oboji ga mističnim bojama koje se prelivaju jedna u drugu i daju utisak da ste na drugojplaneti.
Aljaska upravo i jeste druga planeta.

April 2013.

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How many times have I heard speculations about what would have happened, had the Russians not sold this territory to the Americans in 1867? The suggestions ranged from “there would have been no Cold War” to, possibly, a “rapidly approaching end of the world as we know it”. Yet it seems to me that this vast territory serves as a bridge between peoples who live shoulder to shoulder as equals, alongside the native Eskimos, also called the Yup’ik people, and the people of Aleutian Islands. These islands and the Bering Strait link together the northernmost points of mainland America and Russia, which appear to come together in this place.

Alaska is a land with one hundred thousand glaciers. My younger son Konstantin and I saw some of them in the Denali National Park which we reached by helicopter and then by a hydroplane, which was a special experience. We landed on Colony glacier on a sunny day and enjoyed a close-up view of the beautiful bluish icy formations, covered in a thin layer of snow. We flew above the deep turquoise fjords, avoiding mountain tops that we could almost touch with our hands; we flew over endless fields where we saw moose, reindeer and polar bears just waking up from winter hibernation; we passed right next to flying eagles. At all times we could see from afar Mount McKinley as our point of reference, the tallest peak in this mountain chain.

The capital Anchorage is relatively small compared to the vastness of this territory; yet it boasts particularly interesting traditional Eskimo art and craft workshops where sculptures and art objects are carved from walrus tusks, resembling finest ivory, from whale fins, or from magnificent moose antlers. Only the native Eskimos and Aleutians are allowed to hunt and fish them, just as they have been doing for hundreds of years. Wild salmon from local rivers are among the tastiest fish in Alaska; they swim upstream and are caught by bears. Crabs with long pincers are another delicacy. Everything here is natural, wild, free and uninhibited. Even the natural phenomena are extreme, such as the Northern lights illuminating the night sky with mystical colours that blend into each other, creating the impression of being on another planet.

Alaska is another planet.

April 2013

 

SIRIJA – SYRIA – سوريا‎

Kupola Orla u okviru Omejadske dzamije-The Dome of the Eagle inside Umayyad Mosque

Kupola Orla u okviru Omejadske dzamije-The Dome of the Eagle inside Umayyad Mosque

Lokalni prevoz-Local transport

Lokalni prevoz-Local transport

Oldtajmer u centru Damaska - Oldtimer in the centre of Damascus

Oldtajmer u centru Damaska – Oldtimer in the centre of Damascus

Oldtajmer u centru Damaska-An oldtimer in the centre of Damascus

Oldtajmer u centru Damaska-An oldtimer in the centre of Damascus

Oldtajmer u centru Damaska-Oldtimer in the city centre

Oldtajmer u centru Damaska-Oldtimer in the city centre

Pravoslavni manastir u Ma'louli-An Orthodox monastery in Ma'loula

Pravoslavni manastir u Ma’louli-An Orthodox monastery in Ma’loula

U opustenoj igri - Relaxed game

U opustenoj igri – Relaxed game

U opustenoj igri-Relaxed game

U opustenoj igri-Relaxed game

Velika Omejadska dzamija u Damasku-Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

Velika Omejadska dzamija u Damasku-Great Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

Hriscansko mesto Ma'loula u kome se govori jezik Hrista-Aramejski-The Christian village of Ma'loula where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is spoken

Hriscansko mesto Ma’loula u kome se govori jezik Hrista-Aramejski-The Christian village of Ma’loula where Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is spoken

Krstasko utvrdjenje-Crusaders' fortress Crac de Chevaliers

Krstasko utvrdjenje-Crusaders’ fortress Crac de Chevaliers

Kupola Orla i kupola Riznice u okviru Omejadske dzamije-The Dome of the Eagle and the Dome of the Treasury inside Umayyad Mosque

Kupola Orla i kupola Riznice u okviru Omejadske dzamije-The Dome of the Eagle and the Dome of the Treasury inside Umayyad Mosque

Ostaci antickog grada Palmire - Remains of the ancient city of Palmyra

Ostaci antickog grada Palmire – Remains of the ancient city of Palmyra

Ostaci antickog grada Palmire-Remains of the ancient city of Palmyra

Ostaci antickog grada Palmire-Remains of the ancient city of Palmyra

Popodnevno uzivanje-Afternoon relax

Popodnevno uzivanje-Afternoon relax

Sirijac-A Syrian guy

Sirijac-A Syrian guy

Susret civilizacija-Where the civilizations meet

Susret civilizacija-Where the civilizations meet

Tradicionalni arapski rostilj savarma-Traditional arab barbecue Shawarma

Tradicionalni arapski rostilj savarma-Traditional arab barbecue Shawarma

Vladajuca predsednicka dinastija-Rulling dynasty

Vladajuca predsednicka dinastija-Rulling dynasty

Sirija je jedna od najprijatnijih zemalja koje sam posetio. Ona odiše pravom arapskom kulturom, za koju sami Arapi kažu da je izvorna, a ne afrička, misleći pri tom na severnoafričke muslimanske zemlje ili one koje odišu novostvorenim bogatstvom kao na arabijskom poluostrvu. Sirijci su iskreni u svojoj ljubaznosti, ali i u svojim uverenjima, posebno kad se osete ugroženim od susednog Izraela. “Mi smo veoma dobar i miroljubiv narod, ali kod nas svaka porodica ima bar jedan kalašnjikov sakriven u kući”, otvoreno mi vozač priča o stalnom strahu svoje nacije od izraelskog napada.
Izlet je bio nezaboravan. Počeo je od malog mesta Malula, severno od glavnog grada Damaska, gde se izvorno još govori jezikom kojim je govorio i molio se Isus Hrist. To je aramejski, koji je, pored hebrejskog, bio jedan od glavnih jezika na Bliskom istoku. Tu se nalaze manastir Svetog Sergija i crkva čudotvorke Svete Tekle, sledbenice apostola Pavla, po kojoj je mesto poznato. Nastavili smo do starog templarskog utvrđenja Crac de Chevalier, u kome su vitezovi, branioci hrišćanstva, mogli da provedu i po nekoliko godina tokom dugih opsada. U Siriji postoji veliki broj takvih tvrđava.
Pred zalazak sunca pustinjska odiseja dovela me je do Palmire (grad palmi), ostataka antičkog grada-oaze, koji je bio simbol nezavisnosti jedne zemlje između dva carstva: rimskog i persijskog. Tu je smeštena istorijska priča o mudroj i lepoj kraljici Zenobiji, koja se nije priklonila ni jednom carstvu, a njena zemlja živela je u blagostanju od ubiranja poreza pri prolasku karavana svile, začina i parfema, koji su išli od Dalekog istoka ka Evropi. U jednom periodu je njena moć toliko narasla da je osvojila velike teritorije, čak do Male Azije i Egipta, preuzela titulu avgusta i kovala novac sa svojim likom. Car Aurelijan je zbog toga pokorio i porušio Palmiru, a zarobljena kraljica Zenobija je u zlatnim okovima hodala sve do Rima, u kome se kasnije otrovala. Japanska vlada podigla je srušene stubove i kapitole, tako da se u Palmiri danas naslućuje sjaj nekadašnje lepote i slave, a posebno dok se posmatra sa obližnje tvrđave na brdu pri zalasku sunca.
I, konačno, Damask, grad koji odiše hiljadugodišnjom kulturnom baštinom koja izbija iz svakog trga, džamije, pogleda i osmeha njegovih stanovnika. Dugo sam boravio u džamiji Umajad, jednoj od najvećih i najstarijih na svetu i četvrtom najsvetijem muslimanskom mestu, posmatrajući njene brojne lukove na vizantijskim stubovima. Još u bronzano doba na tom mestu se nalazio hram boga Hadada, potom Jupiterov hram u doba Rimljana i zatim bazilika Svetog Jovana Krstitelja, koja je u VIII veku pretvorena u džamiju. Iza nje se nalazi mauzolej sultana Saladina.
Posle obilaska grada, ušao sam u najstariji hamam u ovom delu sveta, jedva nazirući obrise u vlažnoj izmaglici, kroz koju se teško probijao samo jedan zrak svetlosti sa vrha visoke kamene kupe. Topli kamen je prijao posle celodnevnog umora, kada mi je, bez reči, prišao obrijani gorostas i počeo da me masira. Nije bio preterano nežan, ali je to bila prijatna masaža, posle koje je usledilo polivanje vrelom vodom, i čaj od mente.
Veče sam proveo na brdu iznad Damaska, odakle zaljubljeni parovi posmatraju svetlosti velegrada, maštajući, možda, o Njujorku.
Nisu ni svesni u kojoj su prednosti što se ipak nalaze na ovom mestu, u kolevci civilizacije.

April 2001.
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Syria is one of the most pleasant countries I have visited. It embodies the true Arabic culture, that Arabs themselves say is authentic and not African, meaning not from North African Muslim countries or those who display their new riches, like those on the Arabian Peninsula. Syrians are sincere in their kindness, but also in their beliefs, especially when they feel threatened by the neighbouring Israel. ‘We are a very good and peaceful people, but each family has at least one Kalashnikov hidden at home’ the taxi driver tells me candidly about its nation’s fear of Israeli attacks.
The trip was unforgettable. It started at a small place called Ma’loula, north of the capital Damascus, where the original language, still spoken there, is the language that Jesus Christ used himself to speak and pray. The language is Aramaic, which apart from Hebrew, used to be one of the dominant languages in the Middle East. This is where the monastery of Saint Sergius is located, as well as the Convent of Saint Thecla, who was one of Saint Paul’s followers and a woman protomartyr, and for whom this place is known. We continued to the old Templar’s fortress called Crac de Chevalier, where knights, defenders of the Christian faith, could spend even a few years during long periods of seige. Syria abounds in fortresses like this one.
Just before sunset, the desert odyssey took me to Palmyra (the city of palms), the remnants of an oasis town from the Greco-Roman period; it was the symbol of independence of the country between the eras of two big empires: Roman and Persian. The story of the wise and beautiful queen Zenobia originated here; she did not bow to either empire and her country lived well from the road tax collected from caravans transporting silk, spice and perfume, on their way from the Far East to Europe. At one time her power grew so much that she conquered vast territories stretching all the way to Asia Minor and Egypt, she took the title of August and started minting coins with her countenance on them. Because of that Emperor Aurelian conquered and destroyed Palmyra, and the captured queen Zenobia had to walk in golden chains all the way to Rome, where she later poisoned herself to death. The Japanese government restored the fallen pillars and capitols, so that today you can get a glimpse of its brilliant former glory and beauty, especially if you look at it at sunset from the nearby fortress perched on a hill.
And finally Damascus, a city with a thousand year old cultural heritage which shines through from every square, every mosque, as well as through the looks and smiles of its citizens. I spent a long time in the Umayyad Mosque, one of the biggest and oldest mosques in the world, and the fourth most important Muslim place; I observed its many arches resting on Byzantine pillars. The history of this place goes back to the Bronze Age when the temple of God Hadad was located here; then the temple of Jupiter in Roman times; then the Basilica of St. John the Baptist which was turned into a mosque in the 8th century. Behind it is Sultan Saladin’s Mausoleum.
After the city tour I entered the most ancient hammam in this part of the world, barely being able to make out the contours of the shapes in the heavy steam which was penetrated with difficulty by a single ray of sunshine coming from the skylight on the dome. The warm slabs of stone were very pleasant after a day’s fatigue from sightseeing; without a word a shaved giant came around and started to give me a massage. He was not really gentle, yet it was a pleasant massage, followed by being washed with hot water and drinking mint tea.
I spent the evening on a hill above Damascus where couples in love watch the lights of the metropolis, maybe dreaming about New York.
They are probably not aware of how blessed they are to live right in the cradle of civilisation.

April 2001

SINGAPUR – SINGAPORE

Hram i muzej Budinog zuba - The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Hram i muzej Budinog zuba – The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Hram i muzej Budinog zuba-The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Hram i muzej Budinog zuba-The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum

Kineski hram na juznom ostrvu Kusu ili Kornjacinom ostrvu - A Chinese temple on Kusu or Tortoise Island

Kineski hram na juznom ostrvu Kusu ili Kornjacinom ostrvu – A Chinese temple on Kusu or Tortoise Island

Kineski hram na juznom ostrvu Kusu ili Kornjacinom ostrvu-A Chinese temple on Kusu or Tortoise Island

Kineski hram na juznom ostrvu Kusu ili Kornjacinom ostrvu-A Chinese temple on Kusu or Tortoise Island

Kineski hram u kontrastu sa modernom arhitekturom-An ancient temple and modern architecture

Kineski hram u kontrastu sa modernom arhitekturom-An ancient temple and modern architecture

Kolonijalne kuce pastelnih boja - Colourful colonial houses in Chinatown

Kolonijalne kuce pastelnih boja – Colourful colonial houses in Chinatown

Kolonijalne kuce pastelnih boja-Colourful colonial houses in Chinatown

Kolonijalne kuce pastelnih boja-Colourful colonial houses in Chinatown

Kulturni centar u obliku durijana-A durian-shaped performing arts centre Esplanade

Kulturni centar u obliku durijana-A durian-shaped performing arts centre Esplanade

Pogled na grad - A view of the city

Pogled na grad – A view of the city

Pogled na grad-A view of the city

Pogled na grad-A view of the city

Pogled na Singapur s broda-A view of Singapore from the boat

Pogled na Singapur s broda-A view of Singapore from the boat

Slikanje mandale-The sacred art of creating mandala

Slikanje mandale-The sacred art of creating mandala

Centralni poslovni kvart na juznoj obali Singapurske reke-The Central Business District on the Singapore River's south bank

Centralni poslovni kvart na juznoj obali Singapurske reke-The Central Business District on the Singapore River’s south bank

Dekorisan turisticki brod-A decorated tourist boat

Dekorisan turisticki brod-A decorated tourist boat

Detalji na zidu Hindu hrama - Picturesque details of the Sri Mariamman Temple exterior

Detalji na zidu Hindu hrama – Picturesque details of the Sri Mariamman Temple exterior

Detalji na zidu Hindu hrama- Picturesque details of the Sri Mariamman temple exterior

Detalji na zidu Hindu hrama- Picturesque details of the Sri Mariamman temple exterior

Detalji na zidu Hindu hrama-Picturesque details of the Sri Mariamman Temple exterior

Detalji na zidu Hindu hrama-Picturesque details of the Sri Mariamman Temple exterior

Singapur, u prevodu Lavlji grad, jedna je od najmanjih država na svetu,
ostrvo na krajnjem jugu Malajskog poluostrva. Geografski, to su tri termina
u jednom: grad, država i ostrvo, a kulturološki nekoliko nacija: kineska,
malajska, indijska, objedinjene britanskom rukom više od sto godina u oazu
mira, lepote i prosperiteta. Nikome ovde nije potrebna viza i svako je
dobrodošao, naravno bez pomisli da može nelegalno ostati. Tropska lepota i
urbanizacija ovde su u idealnom spoju: sve je savršeno regulisano, uredno,
civilizovano, a ipak sa primesama Dalekog istoka, što Singapuru daje
neodoljivi šarm.
Indijski hram nalazi se u starom delu grada, sa skulpturama božanstava, kao
i krava obojenih u plavo na zidovima hrama. Po toplom mermeru u hramu su
posute latice različitog cveća, dok opojni dim mirisnih štapića obavija
oltar iza koga sveštenik obavlja svoju službu. U neposrednoj blizini nalazi
se kineski hram u obliku velike pagode, prepoznatljiv po crvenim papirnim
balonima i skulpturama Bude. Kinezi čine oko osamdeset procenata stanovnika,
mada svi oni, intimno i zvanično, vole da se nazivaju Singapurcima i ponosni
su na taj status.
Noćni safari u veoma uređenom ambijentu tropske džungle nadomak grada
predstavlja posebno iskustvo. Živa aktivnost mnogih egzotičnih vrsta tokom
noći odvija se nadomak otvorenog vozića, koji prolazi kroz  jedinstveni
ambijent. Tom doživljaju mrak daje notu tajanstvenosti, pa i straha, dok
posmatrate svetlucave oči iz raznih delova šume i zvuke koji dolaze neznano
odkud.
Moj susret sa ovim gradom obeležilo je poznanstvo sa jednim znamenitim
pijanistom našeg doba, koji tamo živi i radi. Zove se Ted Joselson i on je
savremenik, nerazdvojni prijatelj i sledbenik čuvenog svetskog pijaniste
Vladimira Horovica, koga je nasledio posle njegove smrti. Povukao se u ovaj
urbani tropski ambijent, gde uživa u svom umetničkom egu, okružen vrednim
slikama i predmetima iz doba raznih kineskih dinastija u svom domu u
poznatoj ulici Orčard. Zadovoljstvo mu je da obučava mlade talente, a svaki
njegov master class predstavlja pedagoško-umetničku simfoniju i virtuoznost
igre s klavirskim dirkama. Talentovani mali Kinezi, pošto besprekorno
odsviraju ono što im se dâ kao zadatak, žmirkajući poluzatvorenim očima i
bez daha ponovo odslušaju maestra. Tako smo ga i mi slušali.
Ted je maestro svog vremena. Veoma je uticajan u Singapuru; čak je i svoje
prijateljstvo sa predsednikom koristio da bi me ubedio da dođem, živim i
radim u ovom gradu, idealnom za moj posao. Oduševljeno me je vozio kroz novu
četvrt ostrva Sentosa, sa preskupim vilama i stanovima uz obalu, kao jednim
od najlepših ambijenata za život, ali -  bez uspeha. Mada sam neko vreme bio
vođen tom mišlju, jer Singapur je zaista idealno mesto za život, moji lični
i profesionalni putevi vratili su me tamo odakle potičem. Nikada mi nije
bilo žao zbog toga, iako je Tedova ponuda ostala otvorena.
Singapur ima tu magičnu moć da ostavi duboki pečat i želju da mu se ponovo
vratite, možda i zauvek.

Mart 2008.
_________________________________________________________

Singapore, in translation ‘a lions’ city’ is one of the smallest countries
in the world, an island at the very Southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.
Geographically speaking, there are three landmarks in one: a city, a country
and an island, while culturally there are several nations: Chinese, Malay,
Indian, all unified under British rule for over 100 years into an oasis of
peace, beauty and prosperity. No one needs a visa to visit here and everyone
is welcome; there isn’t even an afterthought that someone may decide to stay
illegally. Tropical beauty and urbanisation are ideally reconciled here:
everything is perfectly regulated, tidy, civilised, yet with a touch of the
Far East which endows Singapore with a special charm.
The Indian temple is in the old part of town, decorated with sculptures of
deities and with sculptures of blue cows sitting on the walls. Warm marble
slabs on the floor are covered in petals of various flowers, while the heady
scent of incense envelopes the altar behind which the priest is performing
the service. In the immediate vicinity there is a Chinese temple in the
shape of a huge pagoda, recognisable by the red paper lanterns and statues
of Buddha. The Chinese make up 80% of the population, even though they all
prefer, officially and personally, to be called Singaporeans and they are
proud of their status.
A night safari in a beautifully kept tropical jungle close to the city is an
unparalleled experience. Lively activities of many exotic species carry on
close to the tourist train which passes through a unique environment. The
experience is enhanced by the darkness which brings on a whiff of mystery,
even fear, while you observe animals’ sparkling eyes from various corners of
the forest, or  hear the sounds not knowing where they are coming from.
My stay in Singapore was marked by meeting a famous pianist who lives and
works there. His name is Tedd Joselson and he is a contemporary of Vladimir
Horovitz, the world famous pianist, whose close friend and follower he was
until his death, when he inherited his legacy. He retired into this urban
tropical environment where he is revelling in his artistic ego, surrounded
by precious paintings and objects from various Chinese dynasties, in his
home on the famous Orchard Road. He enjoys teaching young talents and his
every master class is a symphony of teaching and art, and a virtuoso play
with piano keys. Young talented Chinese pupils, having faultlessly performed
the required piece, sit and listen breathlessly to the maestro perform the
same, with their eyes half closed. That’s how we listened to him too.
Tedd is a maestro of his era. He is very influential in Singapore; he even
used his friendship with the President to try to persuade me to come and
live and work in Singapore – a location ideal for my profession. He drove me
around the new quarters of Sentosa Island with passion, showing me the
extremely expensive villas and apartments on the seafront, the best places
for living that you can imagine, but to no avail. Even though I was tempted
for a while, because Singapore really is an ideal place for living, my
personal and professional attachments took me back to where I am from. I
never regretted it, even though Tedd’s offer is always open.
Singapore has that magical power to leave a deep impression on you and a
desire to return to it, and stay, maybe forever.

March 2008

SIJERA LEONE – SIERRA LEONE

Jutarnji ulov-Morning catch

Jutarnji ulov-Morning catch

Orijentir u glavnom gradu-A landmark in the capital

Orijentir u glavnom gradu-A landmark in the capital

Pogled iz hotela-A view from the Mammy Yoko Hotel

Pogled iz hotela-A view from the Mammy Yoko Hotel

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of Freetown

Pogled na glavni grad-A view of Freetown

Siroce-A Chimpanzee orphan

Siroce-A Chimpanzee orphan

Sud u glavnom gradu-The Law Courts in central Freetown

Sud u glavnom gradu-The Law Courts in central Freetown

Ulica u Fritaunu-A street in Freetown

Ulica u Fritaunu-A street in Freetown

Vojnici Ujedinjenih nacija ulaze u avion-UN soldiers boarding the plane

Vojnici Ujedinjenih nacija ulaze u avion-UN soldiers boarding the plane

Jedna od najlepsih plaza na svetu - The beautiful Beach River No. 2

Jedna od najlepsih plaza na svetu – The beautiful Beach River No. 2

Jedna od najlepsih plaza na svetu-The beautiful Beach River No. 2

Jedna od najlepsih plaza na svetu-The beautiful Beach River No. 2

Oduvek sam se pitao odakle potiče ime koje nosi ova zemlja iz engleske
kolonijalne sfere, zaboravljajući da su Portugalci uvek bili oni koji bi
prvi otkrili i osvojili neku teritoriju kao svoju novu koloniju. Ime u
prevodu sa portugalskog znači planina lavova, jer po velikom nevremenu
gromovi snažno udaraju u zaleđe obale gde se nalaze visoke planine, tako da
taj zvuk podseća na riku lavova.
Nesrećna istorija zemlje povezana je sa njenim dijamantima, koje je priroda
učinila lako dostupnim, a korumpirani vladari sredstvom za lično bogaćenje.
Sve to je odvelo zemlju u strahote građanskog ratovanja u kome su i deci
davane puške u ruke.
U vreme posete Sijera Leoneu moja prijateljica Marina Džunić radila je u tom
gradu kao arhitekta Ujedinjenih nacija u obnovi infrastrukture zemlje koja
je upravo izlazila iz građanskog rata.
Već samo prebacivanje iz Konakrija u susednoj Gvineji u glavni grad Fritaun,
u poluraspadnutom ruskom avionu sa nekoliko stotina pilića u tesno sabijenim
kavezima u repu aviona, obećavalo je dobru avanturu. Po dolasku na aerodrom,
morao sam da se ukrcam u helikopter Ujedinjenih nacija, takođe ruske
proizvodnje i u sličnom stanju kao avion. On me je konačno prevezao do
njihove baze, uz koju se nalazio u gradu jedini pristojan hotel čudnog imena
Mammy Yoko, po imenu vođe naroda Mende u XIX veku. Bilo je to retko sigurno
mesto u kome se moglo odsesti u ovoj nesrećnoj zemlji, ali ja sam bio srećan
što sam u njoj.
Fritaun ima lepe velike peščane plaže, kao i cela zemlja, i jednu od
najlepših na svetu koja se naziva Beach River No. 2. Na njoj je, nekada
davno, u mirna i dobra post kolonijalna vremena, sniman čuveni film Pobuna
na brodu Baunti sa Marlon Brandom u glavnoj ulozi. Danas sam, nažalost, na
toj plaži i u toj nestvarnoj lepoti potpuno sâm, ako ne računam vozača i
lokalnog čuvara koji mi donosi ostrige sa ušća reke, koja ovde ulazi u more
na velikom tirkiznom prostranstvu. A da bih došao do ove plaže, bilo je
potrebno proći nekoliko punktova različitih vojski Ujedinjenih nacija, koje
ovde održavaju prividni red i mir. Ta jedinstvena lepota, međutim, vredela
je svakog trenutka strahovanja kako će se do nje stići, a isto tako i
vratiti po veoma lošem putu. Posle svega, najbolji riblji karpaćo probao sam
u jednom libanskom restoranu u gradu, što je bilo dovoljna nagrada za
učinjeni napor.
Zapadna Afrika ipak ima i nekih svojih malih čari.

Januar 2003.
________________________________________________________

I always asked myself where the name of this country came from, given that
it belonged to the English colonial sphere, whilst forgetting that the
Portuguese were always the first to discover a new territory and turn it
into their colony. In translation from Portuguese, the name means ‘The Lion
Mountain’, because during big storms, when thunder hits the inland area
behind the coast and its huge mountains, the resulting sound reminds of a
lion’s roar.
The unfortunate history of this country is connected with the diamonds which
nature has made easily accessible and which the corrupted rulers turned into
a means of their own enrichment. All this led the country into the horrors
of civil war in which even the children were given arms to fight.
At the time of my visit to Sierra Leone, my friend, Marina Džunić, worked
there as an architect for the United Nations, on the project of renewing the
country’s infrastructure as it has just come out of the war. Just the trip
from Conakry in the neighbouring Guinea to the capital Freetown, in a half
decayed Russian aircraft with a couple hundred chickens squashed in cages at
the back of the aircraft’s tail, promised a great adventure. Upon arrival at
the airport I had to board the UN helicopter, also of Russian make, and in a
similar state. It finally took me to the UN base next to which the only
decent hotel was located. It had a strange name – Mammy Yoko, but later I
learned that she was a leader of the Mende people in the 19th century. This
was a rarely safe place in which you could stay in this unfortunate country
but I was happy that I was in Sierra Leone.
Freetown has lovely vast sandy beaches, just like the rest of the country,
including one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – which is called
the Beach River No. 2. A long time ago, in those peaceful post colonial
times the famous Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando was shot there.
Today, sadly, I am all alone on this surreally beautiful beach with the
exception of my driver and the beach guard who brings me oysters from the
delta where the river joins the sea in a vast turquoise expanse. And to
reach the beach I had to pass several checkpoints belonging to various UN
troops who supposedly keep peace and order. Yet this unique beauty was worth
every moment of fear about how I would get there, as well as the return on a
very bad road back to the city. Yet, I had the best fish carpaccio in a
Lebanese restaurant in the city, which was a sufficient reward for my
efforts.
West Africa still has its own charms to offer.

January 2003

SEVERNA KOREJA – NORTH KOREA – 조선민주주의인민공화국

Fizickoj kulturi pridaje se veliki znacaj-Physical culture is given a lot of importance

Fizickoj kulturi pridaje se veliki znacaj-Physical culture is given a lot of importance

Grobnica kralja Kongmina i kraljice-The twin tomb of King Kongmin and his queen

Grobnica kralja Kongmina i kraljice-The twin tomb of King Kongmin and his queen

Jedan od mnogobrojnih mozaika-One of numerous mosaics

Jedan od mnogobrojnih mozaika-One of numerous mosaics

Mesto mirovnih pregovora u demilitarizovanoj zoni, Panmundzom-The venue of peace talks in the Demilitarized Zone of Panmunjom

Mesto mirovnih pregovora u demilitarizovanoj zoni, Panmundzom-The venue of peace talks in the Demilitarized Zone of Panmunjom

Metro u Pjongjangu-The Pyongyang metro

Metro u Pjongjangu-The Pyongyang metro

Mladenci ispred Koryo muzeja-Newly weds in front of the Koryo museum

Mladenci ispred Koryo muzeja-Newly weds in front of the Koryo museum

Mladenci na Trgu fontana-Newly weds on Fountain Square

Mladenci na Trgu fontana-Newly weds on Fountain Square

Muzej dinastije Koryo u Kesongu-The Koryo Folk Museum in Kaesong City

Muzej dinastije Koryo u Kesongu-The Koryo Folk Museum in Kaesong City

Poslednji potpis Velikog vodje-The last signature of the Great Leader

Poslednji potpis Velikog vodje-The last signature of the Great Leader

Pothong Gate

Pothong Gate

Pyongyang Circus

Pyongyang Circus

Spomenik osnivanju Radnicke partije-The Party Foundation Memorial

Spomenik osnivanju Radnicke partije-The Party Foundation Memorial

Spomenik ponovnom ujedinjenju dve Koreje-The Arch of Reunification

Spomenik ponovnom ujedinjenju dve Koreje-The Arch of Reunification

Spomenik Velikom vodji u Narodnoj biblioteci-The Monument of the Great Leader in Grand People's Study House

Spomenik Velikom vodji u Narodnoj biblioteci-The Monument of the Great Leader in Grand People’s Study House

Trijumfalna kapija-veca od pariske - The Triumphal Arch-bigger than the one in Paris

Trijumfalna kapija-veca od pariske – The Triumphal Arch-bigger than the one in Paris

Trijumfalna kapija-veca od pariske-The Triumphal Arch-bigger than the one in Paris

Trijumfalna kapija-veca od pariske-The Triumphal Arch-bigger than the one in Paris

Bronzani spomenik Kim Il Sungu u Kesongu-The bronze monument of Kim Il Sung in Kaesong City

Bronzani spomenik Kim Il Sungu u Kesongu-The bronze monument of Kim Il Sung in Kaesong City

Fizickoj kulturi pridaje se veliki znacaj - Physical culture is given a lot of importance

Fizickoj kulturi pridaje se veliki znacaj – Physical culture is given a lot of importance

Izgleda da svi svi svetski diktatori imaju svoj kraj, ali ovi severnokorejski, čini se, najduže traju i prenose se nasledno, kao kraljevi. Ipak, dok slušam o “američkom imperijalizmu” i herojskoj borbi ovog naroda da tome stane na put, razmišljam o tome kako ni mnogo većim igračima na svetskoj političkoj sceni to nije pošlo za rukom.
Ideologija, tehnologija i kultura, objašnjava mi lepa vodičkinja, tri su osnovna stuba socijalističkog napretka ove zemlje, koje je davno zacrtao najveći i najvoljeniji vođa Kim Il Sung, nepogrešivo ga sledio njegov sin, mladi veliki vođa Kim Džong Il, a potom njegov sin i najmlađi vođa Kim Džong Un.
Ovakav scenario deluje veoma tužno u situaciji opšteg siromaštva, pa i gladi, sa kojima se suočava ova zemlja. Ipak, ne mogu a da se ne prisetim čuvenih scena na malim ekranima sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka, koje su se odvijale tokom posete maršala Tita Severnoj Koreji. Na prepunom stadionu u glavnom gradu Pjongjangu dešavao se slet nesagledivih razmera, u kome su se na ogromnim tribinama smenjivale zastave, likovi, scene iz života, sastavljeni od hiljada učesnika sa raznobojnim maramama, čije su se boje smenjivale u zavisnosti od motiva. Bili smo fascinirani. Danas, posle četrdeset godina, kao da mi se vraćaju te scene dok radoznalo posmatram pionire koji masovno i organizovano vežbaju na otvorenim prostorima ovog grada, ili ostajem zadivljen veštinama Pjongjang cikrusa.
Vodili u me u demilitarizovanu zonu, poznati Panmundžon, koja razdvaja dve Koreje već šezdeset godina. Bili su iznenađeni činjenicom da sam tu već boravio, samo sa južne strane. Ja sam, s druge strane, bio iznenađen koliko su znali o meni i čak indiskretno me ispitivali o svemu što su još morali da saznaju i posle da prijave nadležnom komitetu.
“Kimilsungija je besmrtni cvet koji raste u srcima čovečanstva u eri nezavisnosti” naslov je samo jednog od hiljada propagandnih panfleta kojima ova zemlja obiluje i koji su skoro dovedeni do apsurda, a odnosi se na jednu vrstu orhideje koja je nazvana imenom Velikog vođe. Saznao sam i da novo računanje vremena ovde počinje godinom njegovog rođenja koja se naziva Juche, da je to preraslo u filozofski sistem novog čoveka ovih prostora u kome su Partija i vojska neprikosnoveni. Uskoro se slavi stogodišnjica njegovog rođenja ili Juche 100 i već je sve u tom znaku. O toj filozofiji govorio je, pošto je nasledio svog oca, mladi i perspektivni Kim Džong Il teoretskim propagandistima Partije 2. aprila 1974. godine (Juche 63).
U potpunom mraku gradskih ulica tiho promiču ljudske siluete. Automobila skoro da i nema na mnogim gradskim ulicama, već samo prastari bicikli i kamioni pretovareni poljoprivrednim plodovima na kojima su i ljudi ugrabili poneko mesto. Ponosno mi se priča da svako preduzeće ima svoju farmu iz koje se zaposleni prehranjuju. Podseća me na priče sa mojih prostora iz perioda posle Drugog svetskog rata.
Ogromni bronzani spomenici, mozaici i slike dvojice besmrtnih vođa, mamutske građevine, stadioni, pozorišta, cirkusi i prostori za rekreaciju radničke klase, omladine i pionira samo su deo apsurdnog idolopoklonstva kome je sve podređeno. Tu je i poneka palata, hram ili grobnica nekog od kraljeva velike Koryo dinastije, ali od manjeg društvenog značaja od Trijumfalne kapije u centru Pjongjanga, koja je morala biti veća od one pariske i koju je Dragi veliki vođa izgradio svom ocu posle njegove smrti za svega godinu i pô dana.
Iako neodoljivo podseća na Sovjetski Savez početkom sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka, osmesi ovih ljudi kao da uverljivo govore o tome da veruju u svoju zabludu, u kojoj su poslali čak dve rakete u kosmos i prete američkom imperijalizmu nuklearnom bombom. Ostavljam ih sa nežnim azijskim osmehom i verom u ponovno ujedinjenje dve Koreje, što je njihov zacrtani cilj.
I diktature, kažu, imaju dušu.

Oktobar 2011.
____________________________________________________________________

It looks like all the dictators in the world have their end, but it seems that the North Korean ones last the longest and pass their right to dictatorship from father to son, like kings. Yet while I listen to the story about ‘American imperialism’ and the struggle of these people to prevent it, I cannot help but think that even the bigger players on the world’s political stage did not succeed much in opposing it. Ideology, technology and culture, I am told by my pretty guide, are the three main pillars of the socialist progress of this country which has been charted a long time ago by the greatest, most beloved leader Kim Il-sung, then unmistakably followed by the great young leader, Kim Jong-il and now by his son, the youngest leader Kim Jong-un.
This scenario is very sad in the atmosphere of widespread poverty and even famine facing this country. Yet I cannot help but remember the famous scenes from the TV screens in the 1970s, which happened during Marshall Tito’s visit to North Korea. At a packed stadium in Pyongyang, the capital, a phenomenal spectacle was taking place on a grandstand, depicting flags, characters, and various life scenes made up of thousands of performers with multi-coloured scarves, their colours alternating depending on the motif. We were fascinated by it all. Now, forty years on, these scenes come back to me while I observe with curiosity the uniformed children who exercise en masse in the open spaces of this city in a superbly organised way; in the same way I remain under the spell of the artistry and skill of the Pyongyang circus.
I was taken to the demilitarised zone, the famous Panmunjom, which has been dividing the two Koreas for the past 60 years. They were very surprised that I had already been there, only on the South side of the divide. On the other hand I was surprised by how much they already knew about me and how bluntly they questioned me about everything else they had yet to find out in order to report to the committee in charge.
‘Kimilsungia is an immortal flower blooming in the hearts of humankind in the era of independence’ is the title of one of the thousands of propaganda leaflets that this country so abounds in, and which are almost completely absurd; it refers to a variety of orchid that has been named after the Great Leader. I also found out that the new era starts with the year of his birth, called Juche, and that the new system of time keeping has been developed into an entire philosophy suitable for the man from this region, for whom the Party and the Army hold absolute authority. Soon a centenary of his birth is going to be celebrated, Juche 100, and everything is already stamped with it. The promising young leader, Kim Jong-il, spoke about this philosophy to the Party propaganda ideologues, once he took over from his father, on the 2nd of April 1974 (Juche 63).
People’s silhouettes move quietly along the city streets which are in total darkness. Cars can rarely be seen on a multitude of roads, it is mostly ancient bicycles and pickup trucks overloaded with agricultural produce and a few people who managed to squeeze in for a ride. They proudly tell me that each enterprise has its own farm which feeds the workers. It reminds me of stories from my own country immediately after the Second World War.
Gigantic bronze monuments, mosaics and pictures of the two leaders, mammoth size buildings, stadiums, theatres, circuses, recreational spaces for the workers, youth and children, are just but a part of the absurd idolatry that supercedes everything else. Here and there you can find a palace, a temple or a tomb belonging to a king of the great Koryo dynasty; but they are all less important than the Triumphal Arch in the centre of Pyongyang, which had to be bigger than the Paris one and which was built by the Dear Leader in memory of his father in only one and a half years following his death.
Even though this place irresistibly reminds me of the Soviet Union from the early 1970s, these people’s smiles aspire to convince me that they firmly believe in their delusion, which made them launch two rockets into space and threaten American imperialism with a nuclear bomb. I leave them with their gentle Asian smiles and a belief in the unification of the two Koreas, which is a goal that was set for them.
Even dictatorships, it is said, have a soul.

October 2011

SENEGAL – SENEGAL

Drvece baobaba-Baobab trees

Drvece baobaba-Baobab trees

Dzamija u unutrasnjosti-A mosque in the countryside

Dzamija u unutrasnjosti-A mosque in the countryside

Istorijski hotel-The historic Hotel de la Poste

Istorijski hotel-The historic Hotel de la Poste

Istorijsko ostrvo Gore kao muzej ropstva-The historic Goree Island-Museum of Slavery

Istorijsko ostrvo Gore kao muzej ropstva-The historic Goree Island-Museum of Slavery

Katedrala u centru Sen Luja-The Cathedral in the centre of St. Louis

Katedrala u centru Sen Luja-The Cathedral in the centre of St. Louis

Kolonijlna zgrada poreske uprave St. Louis-a-A colonial building

Kolonijlna zgrada poreske uprave St. Louis-a-A colonial building

Kuca robova-The House of slaves

Kuca robova-The House of slaves

Memorijalni muzej-ostrvo Gore-Goree Island Memorial Museum

Memorijalni muzej-ostrvo Gore-Goree Island Memorial Museum

Minareti kao strele-Minarets like arrows in the sky

Minareti kao strele-Minarets like arrows in the sky

Most po Ajfelovim nacrtima spaja Sen Luj sa kopnom-Faidherbe bridge connecting St. Louis to the mainland

Most po Ajfelovim nacrtima spaja Sen Luj sa kopnom-Faidherbe bridge connecting St. Louis to the mainland

Obilazak grada fijakerom-A horse carriage tour of St. Louis

Obilazak grada fijakerom-A horse carriage tour of St. Louis

Ostaci francuske kolonijalne arhitekture-The remains of French colonial architecture

Ostaci francuske kolonijalne arhitekture-The remains of French colonial architecture

Saint-Charles-Borromee church on Goree Island

Saint-Charles-Borromee church on Goree Island

Sen Luj je senegalska Venecija-St. Louis-The Venice of Senegal

Sen Luj je senegalska Venecija-St. Louis-The Venice of Senegal

Spomenik palim u Prvom svetskom ratu-The World War I Memorial

Spomenik palim u Prvom svetskom ratu-The World War I Memorial

Spomenik robovima-The statue of the slaves

Spomenik robovima-The statue of the slaves

Stare kolonijalne kuce - Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce – Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce- Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce- Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce-Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Stare kolonijalne kuce-Old colonial houses of St. Louis

Hôtel de la Poste nalazi se preko puta pošte, naravno. Pun je starih postera
o prvim preletima francuskih pilota od Pariza do ovog mesta, i odavde ka
Južnoj Americi, Karibima i drugim mestima frankofonske Afrike. To je Sen
Luj, stari kolonijalni gradić iz vremena procvata francuske nadmoći u
zapadnoj Africi i glavni grad velike teritorije Senegala i Mauritanije, koji
su bili jedna zemlja sve do sticanja nezavisnosti i razdvajanja 1960.
godine. Ime je dobio po francuskom kralju Luju XIV i nalazi se na ostrvu
Ndar, na ušću reke Senegal u Atlantski okean.
Kada sam, nekada veoma davno, dolazio vozom u svoj rodni Pirot, čekao me je
fijaker na železničkoj stanici. Prisećam se sada tih trenutaka, dok
osluškujem poznati zvuk laganog kasa, vozeći se u sličnom fijakeru uskim
uličicama Sen Luja. Pored mene promiču tužni ostaci davne kolonijalne ere,
koja je imala sve atribute jake vlasti: Palatu pravde, zgrade žandarmerije,
guvernerovu palatu, škole, katedralu i koje se danas nalaze na listi
Uneskove kulturne baštine. Preko zaliva se proteže pola kilometra dug
železnički most, koji je trebalo da negde prekorači Dunav, pa kako je došlo
do greške u proračunima, Senegalci su imali tu sreću da ga dobiju. Mislim da
bi i Dunavu sigurno negde bio potreban.
Senegalci su veoma dosadan i nametljiv narod i u svemu što navodno urade za
vas oni vide, traže, izvlače svoj interes do poslednjeg trenutka, a
posredovaće nasrtljivo i u najmanjoj kupovini. Ni u mnogo siromašnijim
sredinama nisam nailazio na tu osobinu, posebno izraženu u Sen Luju, a koja
je prisutna kod skoro svih afričkih naroda.
Moj veseli prijatelj Madžama Mbaje vozi me ponosno u svom novom američkom
automobilu kroz glavni grad Dakar, srećan jer je jedan od onih koji je
svojim radom uspeo u ovoj sredini. Dakar je pravi kosmopolitski grad, sa
delimično evropskom arhitekturom, modernim bulevarima i šetalištima uz obalu
koja se nazivaju Corniche, sa uređenim plažama i skupim hotelima. Periferija
je odraz beskrajnog siromaštva grada, koje se takođe oseća, a najgore što se
može poželeti jeste napuštanje grada ili dolazak u grad, koji traju satima.
Jedino je avion prihvatljivo rešenje. Slaže se s tim Madžama, koji obožava
ovaj grad u kome je uspeo i kome želi uvek da se vrati iz bilo kog kraja
sveta. Proslavljeni senegalski kantautor Jusu N’Dur takođe peva o povratku
svojoj zemlji i o svojim afričkim korenima.
Sasvim drugačiji ambijent je na istorijskom ostrvu Gore, koje se nalazi
preko puta Dakara. Ono je vekovima služilo kao sabirni centar i polazna
stanica robova ka Novom svetu. U ambijentu afričke umetnosti i bugenvilija,
stare kolonijalne kućice tužno skrivaju prošlost kojom se niko ne ponosi.
Lepota ambijenta, međutim, privlači sve koji traže mir od nesnosne dakarske
gužve. Kao da je najlepše mediteransko ostrvo, ali koje ima svoju ružičastu
Kuću robova, sa čijih se dvostrukih polukružnih stepenica vekovima odlazilo
na dug put u jednom smeru.
Afrika to negde, duboko u sebi, još proživljava, pamti i teško zaboravlja.

Februar 2010.
__________________________________________________

Hôtel de la Poste is located, of course, opposite the post office. It is
full of old posters depicting the first flights of French pilots from Paris
to this place, and from here to Latin America, the Caribbean and to other
places of the Francophone Africa. This is in Saint-Louis, the old colonial
town from the top power of French supremacy in Western Africa and the former
capital of a vast territory comprising Senegal and Mauritania. They used to
be one country until 1960 when they won independence and separated. The city
got its name after the French King Louis XIV and is situated on the island
of Ndar, at the mouth of the Senegal River where it flows into the Atlantic
Ocean.
As a very little boy I would travel by train to my birthplace of Pirot and
was greeted by a horse drawn carriage at the station. I reminisce about
those times now when I listen to the sound of light trotting, driving around
in a similar carriage through the narrow streets of Saint-Louis. Sad
remnants of a long gone colonial era pass me by, all representing a strong
colonial rule: The Palace of Justice, the Gendarmerie building, The
Governor’s Palace, schools, the cathedral, today UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A 500 metre long railway bridge is stretching across the bay; it was
supposed to be a bridge over the Danube, but as there were some
miscalculations in its construction, the Senegalese were lucky enough to get
it. I think the Danube certainly needs it too.
Senegalese can be quite a nuisance and they are in your face; for every
little thing they seemingly do for you, they see their own interest which
they pursue and coerce to achieve until the last moment; they will push to
assert themselves as intermediaries even for the smallest purchase. I did
not happen to see this even in environments with much more deprivation, even
though it is present in almost all the African countries, and is especially
pronounced in Saint-Louis.
My cheerful friend Madiama Mbaye drives me proudly around Dakar, the
capital, in his new American car; he is happy because he is one of the few
who succeeded with their hard work in this environment. Dakar is a truly
cosmopolitan city with a partially European architecture, modern boulevards,
and a promenade along the sea shore, which is called the Corniche, with well
tended beaches and expensive hotels. However the outskirts are a reflection
of the city’s endless poverty which can be felt everywhere, and the worst
thing you would want to do is to get into the city or get out of it, because
that takes many painful hours. The only solution is an airplane. My friend
Madiama agrees with that even though he adores this city in which he made
his fortune and to which he always wants to return from anywhere else in the
world. The famous Senegalese musician, Youssou N’Dour, also sings about the
return to his country and his African roots.
A totally different atmosphere awaits on the historic island of Gorée,
opposite Dakar. For centuries it served as a collection point for slave
trade and as a starting point of the jourey to the New World. In the
ambiance of African art and buganvillea, the small old colonial houses sadly
conceal the past that no one is proud of. Yet the beauty of the amibance
attracts all those seeking a respite from the unbearable hustle and bustle
of Dakar. It looks like the most gorgeous Mediterranean island; yet the pink
building called the House of Slaves reminds us that, for centuries, all the
journeys that commenced at its double semi-circular staircase, were always
only one way.
Africa is still living with this memory, somewhere deep in its heart,
remembering and not forgetting easily.

February 2010

SEJŠELI – SEYCHELLES

Devojcice u pesku-Girls playing in the sand

Devojcice u pesku-Girls playing in the sand

Emanuelina kuca-Union Estate Park

Emanuelina kuca-Union Estate Park

Igra s morskom kornjacom u tirkiznoj vodi-Playing with a sea turtle in turquoise water

Igra s morskom kornjacom u tirkiznoj vodi-Playing with a sea turtle in turquoise water

Mala dzamija u glavnom gradu Viktoriji-A small mosque in the capital Victoria

Mala dzamija u glavnom gradu Viktoriji-A small mosque in the capital Victoria

Mali Big Ben u centru glavnog grada Viktorije-A small Big Ben in the capital Victoria

Mali Big Ben u centru glavnog grada Viktorije-A small Big Ben in the capital Victoria

Najpoznatija plaza na Sejelima- Anse Source d'Argent-the most famous beach

Najpoznatija plaza na Sejelima- Anse Source d’Argent-the most famous beach

Najpoznatija plaza na Sejselima - Anse Source d'Argent-the most famous beach

Najpoznatija plaza na Sejselima – Anse Source d’Argent-the most famous beach

Najpoznatija plaza na Sejselima-Anse Source d'Argent-the most famous beach

Najpoznatija plaza na Sejselima-Anse Source d’Argent-the most famous beach

Pogled na plazu Bo Valon-A view of Beau Vallon beach

Pogled na plazu Bo Valon-A view of Beau Vallon beach

Riblja pijaca u gradu-The fish market in the town

Riblja pijaca u gradu-The fish market in the town

Stare dzinovske kornjace-Old giant turtles

Stare dzinovske kornjace-Old giant turtles

Unutrasnjost ostrva-Island countryside

Unutrasnjost ostrva-Island countryside

Vocna simfonija-A fruit symphony

Vocna simfonija-A fruit symphony

Volujska zaprega kao prevozno sredstvo na La Digu-An oxcart in La Digue

Volujska zaprega kao prevozno sredstvo na La Digu-An oxcart in La Digue

Aranzman za vencanje na plazi Bo Valon-The wedding setting on the Beau Vallon beach

Aranzman za vencanje na plazi Bo Valon-The wedding setting on the Beau Vallon beach

Buket u cajniku-A bouquet in a teapot

Buket u cajniku-A bouquet in a teapot

Coco de Mer - zenski i muski plod-A female and a male nut

Coco de Mer – zenski i muski plod-A female and a male nut

Crkva na ostrvu La Dig-A church on La Digue Island

Crkva na ostrvu La Dig-A church on La Digue Island

Crkva na ostrvu Mahe-A church on Mahe Island

Crkva na ostrvu Mahe-A church on Mahe Island

Crkva u brdima-A church in the hills

Crkva u brdima-A church in the hills

Ovaj čudesni arhipelag u Indijskom okeanu prvi put sam video u kultnom filmu
Emanuela sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka. Nisam mogao poverovati da ću
mnogo godina kasnije posetiti veliku drvenu kreolsku kuću na ostrvu La Dig,
u kojoj je snimljen film. Tada  je već odavno bila napuštena i u lošem
stanju, ali su mi meštani s ponosom rekli da je u njoj, nekoliko godina
ranije, odseo britanski premijer Toni Bler.  Priznajem da je i dalje odisala
onom senzualnošću iz filma, koja se ne zaboravlja.
I moj kum, doktor Miša Todorović, koji me je venčao na sejšelskoj plaži,
dobro se seća i filma i te posete, kao i mnogih poseta poznatih svetskih
ličnosti koje su ovde dolazile, uglavnom nezvanično. Privatnim jahtama i
tajnim čarter letovima dolazio je politički i umetnički džet set iz celog
sveta, a Miša je često bio u njihovom društvu sa svojim velikim prijateljem
i legendarnim prvim predsednikom Republike Sejšeli, ser Džejmsom Mankamom.
Sedimo u relativno skromnoj predsednikovoj kući, koja je takođe drvena i u
kreolskom stilu, i uživamo u njegovim pričama o susretima sa znamenitim
ljudima ovog sveta i sticanju nezavisnosti zemlje polovinom sedamdesetih
godina XX veka. Miša ovde živi više od dvadeset godina i imao je skoro sve
zdravstvene funkcije: od hirurga i direktora svih sejšelskih bolnica, do
osnivača Univerziteta Sejšela i zamenika ministra zdravlja. Njegov prijatelj
Džimi, kako tepa predsdniku, na tome mu je zahvalan i sada su zajedno u
nekim višim sferama, svetskim pokretima za mir i razvoj, stalno na putu, ali
i u ovoj kući s pogledom na pučinu i među raskošnom tropskom vegetacijom.
Volujska zaprega sa islikanim kolima skoro da je jedini prevoz na La Digu,
malom i najlepšem ostrvu arhipelaga. Prolaskom kraj lokalne crkve i
Emanueline kuće, stiže se do ogromnih stoletnih kornjača koje deca vole da
jašu, a zatim i do plaža koje su veoma posebne, poznate iz filmskih
ljubavnih scena. Ogromne oble vulkanske stene, sa izvijenim kokosovim
palmama između njih, čine pravi praistorijski pejzaž, koji se spušta do
belih peščanih plaža i plitke tirkizne vode u koju uranjaju stene, što čini
ovo mesto posebnim i nezaboravnim.
Najveće ostrvo Pralen jedinstveni je lokalitet posebne vrste morskog kokosa,
Coco de Mer, koji samo ovde postoji i liči na ženski torzo. To je ženski
plod, dok muški ima izrazito muško obličje, u vidu ogromne banane.
Glavno ostrvo Mahe ima sva obeležja koja bi trebalo da čine državu, ali isto
tako lepe plaže i veoma luksuzne hotele. Neki od njih su nezamislivo skupi,
a oni na manjim okolnim privatnim ostrvima još skuplji. Zanimljivo je da se
mnoga od tih ostrva mogu kupiti, samo za vaš lični raj. Džimi će rado
posredovati u toj trgovini, a nema baš svako tu privilegiju.
Kreolska kuhinja je samo jedan u nizu rajskih doživljaja u ovom ambijentu, a
posebno velike krabe u sosu od đumbira. Kao počasni konzul Srbije na
Sejšelima, Miša i njegova supruga Nataša znaju sve najbolje restorane na
ostrvu, pa čak i one skrivene u brdima, među tropskom vegetacijom i s
pogledom na glavni grad, koji se naziva Viktorija. U gradu je centralni trg
s minijaturnom kopijom londonskog Big Bena, kreolska pijaca sa raznobojnim
ribama, začinima i cvećem, kao i male kolonijalne zgrade i crkve. I sve je
tako malo i ljupko da budi želju da sve to ponesete sa sobom.
Naravno u srcu, jer Sejšeli su mesto koje ulazi pravo u srce i tu zauvek
ostaje.

Decembar 2007.
_________________________________________________________

I heard about this wonderful archipelago in the Indian Ocean for the first
time in the cult film Emmanuelle in the 1970s. I did not believe that many
years later, on La Digue island, I would visit the big wooden Creole house
in which this film was made. It was already abandoned and in a bad condition
at the time, but the locals proudly pointed out that a few years previously
Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, had stayed there. I have to admit
that the house still emanated the unforgettable sensuality that was apparent
in the film.
My friend, Dr Miša Todorović, who was best man at my wedding on a Seychelles
beach, remembers well both the film and that particular visit, as well as
many other visits of famous people who usually tavelled incognito. The
world’s political and artistic jet set arrived on private yachts and secret
charter flights, and Miša would often accompany them together with his great
friend, the legendary first President of the Republic of Seychelles, Sir
James Mancham.
We are sitting in the relatively modest  President’s house which is also
made of wood in the Creole style, enjoying his stories about meeting various
famous people from all over the world as well as the country gaining its
independence in the mid-1970s. Miša has been living here for more than 20
years and has held almost all functions in this country’s healthcare system:
from a surgeon and director of all Seychellois hospitals, to the founder of
the University of Seychelles and deputy of the Minister of Health. His
friend Jimmy (his term of endearment for the President) is grateful to him
for all that work; now they work together in a higher sphere of world peace
and development movement, travelling all the time and spending rare free
moments in this house amid lush vegetation with views of the open sea.
Ox carriages, decorated with paintings, are almost the exclusive mode of
transport at La Digue, the small and most beautiful island of the
archipelago. Passing by the local church and Emmanuelle’s house, you reach a
group of several centuries old tortoises that children like to climb on, and
then the beaches which are truly special and well known from the film’s love
scenes. Huge rounded volcanic cliffs with coconut palms slanting between
them make up for a genuine pre-historic landscape; it further descends  to
the white sandy beaches and  their shallow turquoise water which embraces
the plunging steep cliffs, making this scenery unique and unforgettable.
The largest island Praslin is a uniqe location as it is home to a special
species – Coco de Mer – a type of sea coconut which grows only here and
looks like a female torso. That is a female fruit, while the male fruit has
visibly masculine features and is shaped like a huge banana.
The main island of Mahe has all the state institutions, but also beautiful
beaches and very luxurious hotels. Some of them are unthinkably expensive
and those on surrounding pirvate islands are even more expensive. It is
interesting that many of those islands can be bought, for your own private
paradise. Jimmy would gladly mediate in that trade, but not everyone has the
privilege to make use of it.
Creole cuisine is only one of the many heavenly experiences in this
ambiance, especially giant crabs in ginger sauce. As a Serbian honorary
consul in the Seychelles, Miša and his wife Nataša know all the best
restaurants on the island, even those hidden in the hills amid tropical
vegetation and with views of the capital city, Victoria. The city boasts a
central square with a miniature copy of Big Ben, a Creole market with
multi-coloured fish, flowers and spices, and small colonial buildings and
churches. And everything is so small and quaint that you feel like taking it
all home with you.
Of course, only in the heart, as the heart is the place where the Seychelles
reaches straight away and stays there forever.

December 2007

SAUDIJSKA ARABIJA – SAUDI ARABIA – المملكة العربية السعودية

Pustinjske kamile-Desert camels

Pustinjske kamile-Desert camels

Severna kapija grada u Dzedi-The North City Gate of Jeddah

Severna kapija grada u Dzedi-The North City Gate of Jeddah

Tipicne kuce u centralnom delu zemlje-Typical houses in central Saudi Arabia

Tipicne kuce u centralnom delu zemlje-Typical houses in central Saudi Arabia

Tradicionalna arhitektura zapadne obale-The traditional architecture of the Western Coast-Mashrabiya

Tradicionalna arhitektura zapadne obale-The traditional architecture of the Western Coast-Mashrabiya

Trg u staroj Dzedi-A square in Old Jeddah

Trg u staroj Dzedi-A square in Old Jeddah

Tri dame u glavnom gradu-Three ladies in the capital

Tri dame u glavnom gradu-Three ladies in the capital

Druga najvisa zgrada u Rijadu-The second tallest building in Riyadh Al Faisaliyah Centre

Druga najvisa zgrada u Rijadu-The second tallest building in Riyadh Al Faisaliyah Centre

Moj prijatelj Djordje Dinic iza saudijskog kralja Abdulaha-My friend Djordje Dinic behind the Saudi King Abdullah

Moj prijatelj Djordje Dinic iza saudijskog kralja Abdulaha-My friend Djordje Dinic behind the Saudi King Abdullah

Najvisa zgrada u Rijadu - Riyadh's tallest building The Kingdom Tower

Najvisa zgrada u Rijadu – Riyadh’s tallest building The Kingdom Tower

Najvisa zgrada u Rijadu-Riyadh's tallest building The Kingdom Tower

Najvisa zgrada u Rijadu-Riyadh’s tallest building The Kingdom Tower

Obrisi glavnog grada-Contours of the capital city

Obrisi glavnog grada-Contours of the capital city

Sedeći na terasi zapuštenog hotela u Masavi, na obali Crvenog mora, razmišljam o velikoj zemlji koja se nalazi u daljini, na suprotnoj obali. Konzervativna monarhija zelene zastave, sa tekstom iz Kurana i dva ukrštena mača za odbranu vere, skoro je potpuno u vlasništvu kraljevske porodice Al Saud.  Čak i u zvaničnom nazivu saudijskog kralja stoji: Njegovo kraljevsko veličanstvo Čuvar svetih mesta, Meke i Medine.
Kad sam krenuo na kongres plastičnih hirurga zemalja Zaliva u Džedi, radovao sam se mogućnosti da vidim ta dva sveta mesta koja se nalaze u neposrednoj blizini grada. Sam pomen te ideje izazivao je čudne izraze na licu mojih sagovornika, dok nisam ustanovio da čak i na natpisima na putu jasno stoji da je zabranjeno za “nevernike”. Ne znam, doduše, kako se to proverava, ali su mi rekli da i ne pomišljam da krenem u posetu svetim mestima. Jedino je veliki istraživač svog vremena, Ričard Barton, uspeo da, 1853. godine, sa hodočasnicima, uđe u Meku, rizikujući život ako bude otkriven. Trebalo mu je sedam godina života među muslimanima u Indiji da bi se dobro pripremio za hadžiluk.
Zatim pomislim na Lorensa od Arabije kako krstari nepreglednim pustinjskim prostranstvima ove zemlje u vreme oslobađanja od otomanske vlasti, kao i na karavane kamila koje su oduvek bile ponos nomada. Saudijci vole da se u sumrak odvezu džipovima do pustinje, da udahnu miris predaka, oslušnu sokolove i potapšu kamile. Osete se tada nekako svojim, poneko i prenoći u šatoru, ali ih ipak obližnja naftna polja opomenu u kojem vremenu žive.
Oni mlađi, ipak, odu u restoran; muškarci u jedan deo, porodice u drugi. Deo za žene ne postoji, kao ni pravo žene da vozi automobil ili sama izađe sa prijateljicama. Nema ni bioskopa ni pozorišta, niti bilo koje vrste javne zabave, a u luksuznom hotelu u centru Džede, kada sam od pool pomislio da je swimming pool, dobro sam se prevario. Ne bih otvoreno rekao da žena nema nikakva prava u toj zemlji, iako se nameće takav zaključak. Jedan zvaničnik je nedavno izjavio kako bi žene mogle da voze automobil u toj zemlji, ali da ipak ne bi trebalo žuriti sa donošenjem odluke. Možda su, ipak, mnogo veća tajna prava i uticaji njihovih žena, koje se kriju iza najskupljih crnih velova što ih često poznate svetske firme kreiraju samo za njih.
Možda misle da su im ta prava sasvim dovoljna.

Oktobar 1999.
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Sitting on the terrace of a neglected hotel in Massawa, on the Red Sea, I think about the huge country in the distance on the opposite shore. This conservative monarchy with a green flag decorated with words from the Koran and two crossed swords to protect the faith, is almost entirely owned by the Royal Al Saud family. Even in the official title of the Saudi King it says: His Royal Highness, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (Mecca and Medina).
When I left for the Congress of Plastic Surgeons of the Gulf countries, in Jeddah, I was looking forward to seeing these two holy places in the immediate vicinity of this city. Even the mention of this idea made my listeners pull strange faces, until I found out that even the road signs said ‘access forbidden to infidels.’ In all honesty I do not know how they can check, but I was told not to even think about going to visit the holy places. Only one big explorer of his era, Richard Burton, managed in 1853 to enter Mecca with the pilgrims, risking his life if he were discovered. It took him 7 years in the Muslim community in India to get ready for the pilgrimage.
Next I think of Lawrence of Arabia cruising around the infinite expanses of the desert during this country’s liberation from the Ottoman rule, as well as the camel caravans that were always the pride of the nomadic tribes. The Saudis like to drive in their jeeps to the desert at sunset, to inhale the scent of ancestors, to listen to hawks and stroke their camels. Then they feel a sense of belonging, some of them even spend a night in a tent, but then the nearby oil fields remind them of the time they live in.
Yet, the younger ones go to a restaurant instead; men in one section, families in another. There is no section for women only, neither do they have the right to drive a car or go out with their girlfriends. There are no cinemas or theatres, nor any other kind of public entertainment; in a luxurious hotel in the centre of Jeddah, I was gravely mistaken when I saw a sign saying pool, thinking it was a swimming pool. I would not openly say that women in this country have no rights at all, even though this sort of conclusion comes up. One official recently mentioned that women could drive a car, but that this decision should not be made hastily. Perhaps the secret rights and hidden influence of these women may be much bigger than we think; they are perhaps concealed like the women themselves behind the most expensive black veils that are often designed for them alone by famous fashion brands.
Perhaps they think that those rights are quite enough for them.

October 1999

SAO TOME I PRINCIPE – SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE – SÃO TOMÉ E PRÍNCIPE

Pogled na crkvu u unutrasnjosti-A coutryside church

Pogled na crkvu u unutrasnjosti-A coutryside church

Predsednicka palata-The Presidential Palace

Predsednicka palata-The Presidential Palace

Vodopad kao Nijagarin-As important as the Niagara Falls

Vodopad kao Nijagarin-As important as the Niagara Falls

Cvetni docek-A floral welcome

Cvetni docek-A floral welcome

Glavna aktivnost je uvek ispod najveceg drveta-The main activity is always under the biggest tree

Glavna aktivnost je uvek ispod najveceg drveta-The main activity is always under the biggest tree

Iskren i nezgrapan natpis-A sincere but misspelt message

Iskren i nezgrapan natpis-A sincere but misspelt message

Javno kupatilo-A public bath

Javno kupatilo-A public bath

Lokalna crkva-A local church

Lokalna crkva-A local church

Plaza na ostrvu Sao Tome-Beach scenery on Sao Tome

Plaza na ostrvu Sao Tome-Beach scenery on Sao Tome

Katedrala u glavnom gradu-Se Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Graca de Sao Tome

Katedrala u glavnom gradu-Se Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Graca de Sao Tome

“Dobrodošli na Sao Tome, ne zaboravite Principe”, pisalo je na nepravilnom engleskom jeziku na aerodromu Sao Tome, onom većem od dva ostrva koja čine ovu zemlju pored zapadne obale Afrike. Doputovao sam avionom u nju iz Ekvatorijalne Gvineje u kojoj, blago rečeno, nisam osetio veliku naklonosti prema strancima. Očekujući sličnu sutaciju i na ovim udaljenim ostrvima, gde još dolazim bez vize, prijatno me je iznenadio široki osmeh dobrodošlice na aerodromu, koji su mi uputili predstavnici lokalnih vlasti. Odmah sam osetio ljubaznost, koja me je pratila sve vreme mog boravka, kao i portugalski kolonijalni duh u ovom delu sveta. Činilo mi se da ovaj narod razume da su osmeh i prijateljska otvorenost u ovom dalekom i relativno izolovanom prostoru najbolji način opstanka. Iako je siromaštvo znatno, čini mi se da su u njemu svi solidarni i srećni, sa željom da, svakako, usreće i retke posetioce.
Iako je žuti izlupani taksi bio moje jedino prevozno sredstvo po ostrvu Sao Tome  (vratiću se jednog dana i na Principe), zadovoljno sam evocirao uspomene na slične situacije uličnog sipanja benzina u rezervoar iz prljavih flaša, i nije mi to ni najmanje smetalo. Dopao mi se entuzijazam kojim su želeli da mi pokažu nešto od svog ostrva, jer ko zna kada će im to neko ponovo zatražiti. Bili su ponosni i na neki manji mlaz vode, koji je padao sa stene negde u unutrašnjosti ostrva, nazvavši ga vodopadom. Ali taj vodopad je tada za mene imao veći značaj od onih sa Nijagare, jer su mi ga pokazivali sa neskrivenim žarom i nestvarno lepim buketima tropskog cveća u rukama.
Na gradskoj pijaci nalazi se lokalna ambulanta, gde je čitav zid islikan simptomima raznih tropskih bolesti, koje bi možda mogle da vas zadese i kako da se od njih sačuvate, koristeći se, na primer, mrežom za komarce u borbi protiv malarije. Nekome to mora i na ovakav način da se objašnjava da bi imalo efekta, ali se pri tom i u vama začne crv zabrinutosti. Centralno drvo na trgu uvek ima ključnu ulogu u nalaženju spasa od vrućine, a stara portugalska crkva pruža i duboki hlad.
Osim nekoliko ostataka kolonijalne aritekture, ovaj gradić ne pruža nikakve druge znamenitisti, ali ostavlja utisak nesvakidašnje prijatnosti. Ovde vas niko neće primoravati na kupovinu nepotrebnih suvenira, jer skoro da ih i nema. A nema ni dovoljno turista da bi to postala navika. Ova lepa izolacija učinila je zato ta dva ostrva jedinstvenom oazom mira i spokoja.
Prisećam se delova putopisa Mladena Šuteja, koji je šezdesetih godina prošlog veka pristajao uz ove obale svojom jedrilicom. Pričao mi je da su mu tada za jednu konzervu mesnog nareska vadili pet ogromnih jastoga iz dubina. Danas ih sigurno malo više cene. I pored svega, ostali su dobar i naivan narod, pun poverenja i neiskvarenosti vredne poštovanja.
Vratiću se na Principe kad-tad. Možda… ali se ipak nadam. I zaista bih voleo.

Jun 2003.
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‘Welcome to São Tomé, d’ont forget Prínicipe’ was an inscription in incorrect English at the São Tomé airport, based on the larger of the two islands that make this country near the West coast of Africa. I flew here from Equatorial Guinea where, mildly put, I did not experience kindness towards foreigners. Expecting a similar situation on these remote islands, to which I came without a visa, I was pleasantly surprised by a broad welcoming smile from the officials at the airport. I straight away sensed their affability which accompanied me throughout my stay here, as well as the Portuguese colonial spirit present in this part of the world. It seemed to me that people here have understood that smiles and friendly openness in this remote and relatively isolated place, are the best way to survive. Even though deprivation is noticeable, it seems to me that people cultivate solidarity towards each other and are happy; they want to make infrequent foreign visitors happy too.
An old battered yellow cab was my only means of transport around São Tomé island (and I will come back to see Príncipe), and I was happy it evoked for me the old memories of a similar situation – pouring petrol into car tanks from dirty bottles in the street; and I did not mind it in the least. I liked the enthusiasm with which they showed me around their island, after all who knows when they will be asked again. They were even proud of a small jet of water falling from a rock somewhere in the hinterland, calling it a waterfall. But that waterfall had more importance for me than the Niagara Falls, because they showed it to me with sincere ardour while holding bunches of incredibly beautiful tropical flowers in their hands.
The city market is also a place where a local clinic is situated. One of its walls is entirely covered with drawings of various tropical diseases you could contract and their symptoms; it also depicts how you can prevent them – for example using a mosquito net against malaria. For some people this way of explaining is still the best so that they can understand fully; yet a niggling worry starts to form in your mind…Then you look for some respite from the heat under the central tree on the main square or you seek the deep shadow provided by the old Portuguese church.
Apart from a few remnants of colonial architecture this little town has little else to offer, yet it leaves an impression of unusual affability. No one is going to force you to buy unwanted souvenirs here, as there are hardly any. And there aren’t enough tourists either for this trade to take off. This beautiful isolation has made these two islands a unique oasis of peace and quiet.
I remember some passages from Mladen Šutej’s travel essays, who sailed around and moored at these islands in the 1960s. He recounted to me how for a tin of canned meat they would fish out 5 huge lobsters from the depths of the sea. Today they probably value them more. Despite everything people here have remained good and naive, full of trust and innocence which is admirable.
I will go back to see Príncipe, sooner or later. Maybe…but I hope so. I would really love to.

June 2003

SAN MARINO – SAN MARINO

Retki policajac-Rare policeman

Retki policajac-Rare policeman

Trg slobode-Piazza della liberta San Marino

Trg slobode-Piazza della liberta San Marino

Tvrdjava na brdu Monte Titano - The Guaita fortress on Monte Titano

Tvrdjava na brdu Monte Titano – The Guaita fortress on Monte Titano

Tvrdjava na brdu Monte Titano-The Guaita fortress on Monte Titano

Tvrdjava na brdu Monte Titano-The Guaita fortress on Monte Titano

Zgrada Vlade-The Government House

Zgrada Vlade-The Government House

Belo-svetloplava zastava San Marina-White and lightblue flag of San Marino

Belo-svetloplava zastava San Marina-White and lightblue flag of San Marino

Katolicka crkva-The Basilica del Santo

Katolicka crkva-The Basilica del Santo

Pogled na San Marino preko zgrade Vlade-A view of San Marino over the Government House

Pogled na San Marino preko zgrade Vlade-A view of San Marino over the Government House

Pogled sa visine na Borgo Madjore-Aerial view of Borgo Maggiore

Pogled sa visine na Borgo Madjore-Aerial view of Borgo Maggiore

Republika San Marino je najstarija i najmanja nezavisna država na svetu.
Davno, u IV veku, osnovao je dalmatinski kamenorezac koji se zvao Marino.
Došao je u Rimini da bi učestvovao u izgradnji luke. Ubrzo je, bežeći od
rimskog imperatora Dioklecijana koji je u to vreme progonio hrišćane,
pronašao utočište na obližnjem brdu Titan i tu, zajedno sa braćom iste vere,
osnovao prvu komunu. Teško stečena sloboda bila je njihov najveći ideal za
koji su se stalno borili, a Marino, koji je posle smrti postao svetac,
ostavio ih je rečima:”Relinquo vos liberos ab utroque homine” ili “Ostavljam
vas slobodne od bilo kog čoveka”. U vekovima koji su sledili oni su gradili
zidine koje su utvrđivale njihovu slobodu, za koju su nastavili da se bore
protiv uticajnih porodica i njihovih vojski koje su tada vladale Italijom.
Ustav San Marina je najstariji važeći ustav na svetu, koji datira iz 1600.
godine.
Šetnja srednjevekovnim zidinama San Marina podseća na orlov let, na boravak
na čardaku “ni na nebu, ni na zemlji”. Pogledom sa Titana koji tako
gorostasno zvuči, a visok je svega 750 metara, može se obuhvatiti skoro cela
teritorija zemlje u kojoj živi tridesetak hiljada stanovnika. Sa njegovih
kula osmatračnica vitezovi su nekada branili teško stečenu slobodu, dok
turisti danas samo zamišljaju kako je to izgledalo, posmatrajući zelene
doline u izmaglici.
U govoru koji sam pripremio na italijanskom jeziku, na velikom i svečanom
skupu u Kongresnoj palati Kursal, pokušavam da objasnim koliko mi je važno
što se u tom trenutku nalazim u njihovoj zemlji koju sam, sticajem
okolnosti, odabrao da bude poslednja destinacija na mom velikom putu
obilaska svih zemalja sveta. Zahvaljujući svom dobrom prijatelju Vasi
Vitanoviću, čiji su mi uticaj i prijateljstvo sa prethodnim Predsednikom
omogućili da im se obratim, bio sam srećan jer sam svoje misli o okolnostima
dolaska na to mesto mogao da podelim sa tako značajnim, ali i meni veoma
bliskim skupom najuticajnijih ljudi San Marina i njihovih odabranih gostiju.
Usledila je kratka neverica, a potom dug spontani aplauz, čestitke na
završetku poduhvata i svečana večera u salonima palate Kursal.
Bio sam veoma ponosan i srećan.

April 2012.
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The Republic of San Marino is the oldest and smallest independent state in
the world. A long time ago, in the 4th century it was founded by a Dalmatian
stonecutter named Marino. He came to Rimini to take part in the building of
the port. However, he soon had to escape from the persecution of the Roman
Emperor Diocletian, who at the time persecuted all Christians, and he found
sanctuary at nearby Monte Titano. There he founded the first commune
together with his brothers and sisters in faith. Hard won freedom, that they
continued to fight for, was his most cherished ideal and his last words,
before dying and being proclaimed a saint, were: “Relinquo vos liberos ab
utroque homine” or “I leave you free from any man.” In the ensuing
centuries, they built walls to fortify their freedom and they kept fighting
for it against the influential families and their armies who ruled Italy at
the time. The Constitution of San Marino is the oldest constitution still in
use and it dates back to 1600.
Walking around the medieval ramparts of San Marino makes you feel like you
are doing an eagle’s flight, that you are neither on Earth nor in the sky,
but somewhere in between. A view from Mount Titan, which sounds grand but is
only 750m high, stretches across almost the entire territory of this country
which has only around 30,000 inhabitants. Once upon a time knights fought
for their hard won freedom from these military observatories in the
fortress, whereas tourists today roam about only imagining how it all
happened, gazing at the green valleys in the mist.
At the Palazzo dei Congressi Kursaal, at a large official gathering, in a
speech I delivered in Italian, I tried to explain why being in their country
at that very moment was so important to me – due to circumstances I have
chosen San Marino to be my final destination on my great journey around the
world. I felt grateful to my dear friend Vasa Vitanović whose influence and
friendship with the former President of the country made it possible for me
to address this gathering; I felt really happy that I was able to share my
thoughts about my visit to San Marino, with its most influential people and
their guests, who were at the same time close to me. A short pause full of
incredulity ensued and then a long spontaneous applause broke out, followed
by congratulations on completion of my project and the gala dinner in the
salons of the Kursaal Palace.
I felt very happy and proud.

April 2012

SAMOA – SAMOA

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Katolicka katedrala bezgresnog zaceca device Marije-Roman Catholic cathedral Immaculate Conception of Mary

Katolicka katedrala bezgresnog zaceca device Marije-Roman Catholic cathedral Immaculate Conception of Mary

Natpis koji odgovara mestu-The very right title

Natpis koji odgovara mestu-The very right title

Nedeljna misa-A Sunday mass

Nedeljna misa-A Sunday mass

Plava zvezda-A blue starfish

Plava zvezda-A blue starfish

Pristaniste na ostrvu Savai'i-A dock on Sava'i island

Pristaniste na ostrvu Savai’i-A dock on Sava’i island

Rezervat za morske kornjace-Sea turtles reservation

Rezervat za morske kornjace-Sea turtles reservation

Riblja pijaca - The fish market

Riblja pijaca – The fish market

Riblja pijaca-The fish market

Riblja pijaca-The fish market

Stari autobus izmedju dve crkve u suton-An old bus between two churches at the sunset

Stari autobus izmedju dve crkve u suton-An old bus between two churches at the sunset

Tragovi davne erupcije vulkana-The remains of eruption long ago

Tragovi davne erupcije vulkana-The remains of eruption long ago

Tri palme na otoku srece-Three palm trees on the island of happiness

Tri palme na otoku srece-Three palm trees on the island of happiness

U Stivensovovoj kuci-Inside Stivenson's house

U Stivensovovoj kuci-Inside Stivenson’s house

Umetnost u oblacima-Arts and clouds

Umetnost u oblacima-Arts and clouds

Aggie and Marina Grey

Aggie and Marina Grey

Apia u suton-Sunset over Apia

Apia u suton-Sunset over Apia

Bahai crkva-Baha'i church

Bahai crkva-Baha’i church

Crkva na mestu gde se iskrcao prvi misionar-The church where the first missionary disembarked

Crkva na mestu gde se iskrcao prvi misionar-The church where the first missionary disembarked

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Imanje Vailima na kome je ziveo Robert Luis Stivenson-Vailima Estate where R. L. Stevenson lived

Imanje Vailima na kome je ziveo Robert Luis Stivenson-Vailima Estate where R. L. Stevenson lived

Agnes (Aggie) Geneviève Swann je bila ćerka engleskog apotekara, koji je došao na Samou krajem XIX veka, i lokalne devojke iz sela Toamua. Sa prvim mužem Gordonom, koji je radio za parobrodsku kompaniju, imala je četvoro dece, a posle njegove smrti osam godina kasnije, udala se za se Čarlija Greja, koji je bio nepopravljivi kockar i, kao takav, izgubio sve što su imali. Godine 1942. američki vojnici došli su u Apiju, glavni grad Samoe i ona je u tome videla priliku da napravi posao i prehrani decu. Od pozajmljenih para otvorila je lokal, koji je vremenom postao stecište svih važnijih događaja u regionu. Bila je toliko upečatljiva ličnost da je po njoj pisac James Michener  izgradio svoj lik Bloody Mary u Pričama sa južnog Pacifika. Na tom mestu je kasnije nastao hotel sa njenim imenom, čiji je danas vlasnik njena snaha Marina, koja je srećna kad kaže da je dobro u tom liku samo ono što je inspirisano životom njene svekrve. U hotelskom holu punom egzotičnog cveća slikam se sa Marinom pored fotografije Aggie Grey, sa cvetom hibiskusa iza uha, kao i pored velike fotografije na kojoj ona prati iz hotela englesku kraljicu Elizabetu. Pre više od trideset godina kraljica je došla na Samou da bi tu proslavila svoju srebrnu svadbu. Aggie maše kraljici ispred hotela, dok ona i princ Filip odlaze u velikom kabrioletu.
Samoa je jedna od najlepših i najsrećnijih zemalja u Tihom okeanu, gde je sve jednostavno i lišeno svake agresije, kako je Margaret Mid opisivala te ljude dvadesetih godina prošlog veka, vršeći antropološka istraživanja. Doduše, erotika i slobodna ljubav iz tog vremena, zastupljeni na starim fotografijama prvih kolonizatora Nemaca, mnogo su se promenili pod pritiskom brojnih misionara koji su gradili svoje crkve na svakom koraku Samoe. Zbog toga je u toj zemlji društvo danas mnogo konzervativnije nego što se može zamisliti, a mise u crkvama nedeljom pre podne najvažniji su društveni događaj. Svečano obučene u belo i sa velikim šeširima, žene pevaju u horu, a lokalne melodije, često praćene igrom, dopiru iz svih crkvenih prozora duž šetališta pored mora. Deca veselo poziraju na prozorima.
Društveni život ove zemlje bogat je samo njihovim međusobnim druženjem i komunikacijom, jer drugih sadržaja nema. Svoje bogatstvo oni daju crkvama kojih, samo na ostrvu Upolu, ima oko tri stotine, što znači jedna crkva na približno pedeset stanovnika! Uz vožnju pored obale u zalazak sunca, zadovoljstvo je gledati ih kako se druže ispred svojih kućica u cveću, šetaju, igraju društvene igre, kupaju se u toplom moru u kome nestaju poslednji sunčevi zraci.
Ako se bilo šta na svetu može nazvati „Ostrvo s blagom“, to je onda Samoa, a blago su ljudi i njihovi međusobni odnosi, jednostavnost življenja i neverovatne prirodne lepote. Škotski pisac Robert Luis Stivenson to je dobro znao kad je odlučio da ovde provede poslednje godine svog života, u velikoj drvenoj kući iznad Apije, koja se naziva Vailima i koja je danas njegov muzej. Bio je omiljen među lokalnim stanovništvom, za čija se prava borio kod kolonijalnih vlasti tog vremena, a koje su zbog toga tražile da on bude prognan iz zemlje. Dobro i zlo u nama.
Doktor Džekil i mister Hajd takođe je  njegovo poznato delo.

Avgust 2010.
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Agnes (Aggie) Geneviève Swann was the daughter of an English pharmacist who arrived in Samoa at the end of the 19th century and a local girl from the village of Toamua. With her first husband, Gordon, who worked for a steamboat company, she had four children, and after his death  8 years later, she married Charlie Grey, who was a notorious gambler and as such lost everything they had.  In 1942 American soldiers arrived in Apia, the capital of Samoa, and she saw here the opportunity to make money so that she could raise her children.  From borrowed money she opened a bar, which in time became a hot spot where all major events in the region happened.  She was such a charismatic person that writer James Michener modelled his character of  Bloody Mary, in the Tales of the South Seas, after her. On the spot where the bar used to be, there is now a hotel bearing her name, and its owner is Aggie’s daughter in law, Marina. She happily notes that the only good traits in the character of Bloody Mary were inspired by the personality and life of her mother in law. I am having a photo taken with Marina in the hotel lobby full of exotic flowers and next to a photo of Aggie Grey, with a hibiscus flower behind her ear; also next to a large photo in which she is seeing off  Queen Elizabeth from the hotel. More than 30 years ago the Queen visited Samoa to celebrate her silver marriage anniversary. Aggie is standing in front of the hotel waving to the Queen, while she is leaving with Prince Philip in a large convertible.
Samoa is one of the prettiest and happiest countries in the Pacific Ocean, where everything is simple and devoid of any aggression – this is how Maragret Mead described the people of Samoa during the years of her anthropological research in the 1920s. However the spontaneous eroticism and free love from that period, as shown on the photographs of the first colonisers – the Germans, have been suppressed by numerous missionaries who built churches at every corner in Samoa. That is the reason why this society is much more conservative than you could imagine and going to Mass on a Sunday morning is the most important social event.  Dressed in white for the occasion and wearing big hats, women sing in choirs, and local tunes often accompanied by dance, come from all church windows along the promenade. Children look happy and pose in church windows.
This country’s social life is rich only through its people’s communication and friendship, as there is nothing else going on. They give their wealth to churches of which there are around 300 on the Upolu island alone, meaning there is a church for every 50 inhabitants! Driving along the sea shore at sunset, it is a pleasure to watch them gathering in front of their little houses set in flowers, walking, playing games, swimming in the warm sea which is absorbing the last rays of sunshine.
If anything in the world could be called Treasure Island that would be Samoa; people themselves and their relationships are this treasure, the simplicity of living and incredible natural beauties. Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson knew this all too well when he decided to spend the last years of his life here, in a large wooden house above Apia, called Vailima. This house is today his museum. He was adored by the locals as he fought for their rights against the colonial powers at the time, who wanted to exile him because of that. The good and the bad within us.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is also a famous novel of his.

August 2010

SALVADOR – EL SALVADOR

Iglesia de los Naranjitos, Ahuachapan

Iglesia de los Naranjitos, Ahuachapan

Jahac - A horseman

Jahac – A horseman

Jahac-A horseman

Jahac-A horseman

Jezero Ilopango u krateru vulkana-Crater Lake Ilopango

Jezero Ilopango u krateru vulkana-Crater Lake Ilopango

Narodno pozoriste-The National Theatre

Narodno pozoriste-The National Theatre

Plaza Sunzal na Pacifiku-The El Sunzal beach on the Pacific

Plaza Sunzal na Pacifiku-The El Sunzal beach on the Pacific

Sahrana u unutrasnjosti zemlje-A procession in the interior

Sahrana u unutrasnjosti zemlje-A procession in the interior

Sonsonate, El Salvador

Sonsonate, El Salvador

Spomenik drzavniku u San Salvaroru-The monument of Gerardo Barrios in the capital

Spomenik drzavniku u San Salvaroru-The monument of Gerardo Barrios in the capital

Spomenik Hristu Spasiocu sveta-Monument to the Divine Savior of the World

Spomenik Hristu Spasiocu sveta-Monument to the Divine Savior of the World

Trg slobode u San Salvadoru-Plaza Libertad in San Salvador

Trg slobode u San Salvadoru-Plaza Libertad in San Salvador

U gradu-In a city

U gradu-In a city

Vulkan Bokeron-El Boqueron volcano

Vulkan Bokeron-El Boqueron volcano

Vulkan Isalko u daljini-A panoramic view of Izalco volcano

Vulkan Isalko u daljini-A panoramic view of Izalco volcano

Arheolosko nalaziste San Andres-A pre-Colombian site San Andres

Arheolosko nalaziste San Andres-A pre-Colombian site San Andres

Crkva Golgota u centru glavnog grada-The Calvary Church in the centre of the capital

Crkva Golgota u centru glavnog grada-The Calvary Church in the centre of the capital

Drvo kao nacionalni simbol-Maquilishuat tree-a national symbol

Drvo kao nacionalni simbol-Maquilishuat tree-a national symbol

Bienvenido hermàno salvadoreño, El Salvador es tu país – “Dobro došao salvadorski brate, Salvador je tvoja zemlja”. To je natpis koji je visoko postavljen na ulazu u park sa velikim jezerom u glavnom gradu i koji mi se zauvek urezao u sećanje. Tom rečenicom se, posle dugog građanskog rata, pozivaju svi izbegli stanovnici da se vrate u domovinu. Očajnički zvuči i sam poziv i ambijent u koji se pozivaju izbeglice, kao da ni jedna strana nije sigurna da li to stvarno želi i da li je sve što je sprečavalo njihov povratak zaista i završeno. Izvesna količina agresije na ulicama i dalje lebdi u teškom i opojnom vazduhu, sazdanom od vlage i izduvnih gasova.
I pored dugo čekane i teško stečene vize u konzulatu u Meksiku, na granici traže još pedeset dolara da bi dopustili ulazak u zemlju, i tu nema rasprave – ili plati ili se vraćaj. Tako je izgledalo početkom devedesetih godina prošlog veka.
Oko velike i stare kolonijalne katedrale u centru grada smeštena je ogromna buvlja pijaca, na kojoj se čuju gromoglasni latino ritmovi Centralne Amerike. Oni lebde nad tim delom grada i spajaju se u salsu, koja im znači život, uz koju se voli i umire od ljubavi. Dopiru njeni brzi i promenljivi ritmovi do sveštenika u katedrali, mešajući se sa zvucima mise, u sazvučju različitih tonova u kome niko nije siguran šta zapravo čuje.
A možda i ne želimo da bilo šta slušamo, osim da uđemo u ogromni autobus metalne boje kompanije Tica Bus, koji vozi transameričkom magistralom od Gvatemale do Paname i skuplja ili ostavlja putnike po svojoj uhodanoj centralnoameričkoj putanji.

Februar 1992.
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Bienvenido hermàno salvadoreño, El Salvador es tu país – ‘Welcome – Salvadoran brother, Salvador is your country’. I saw this inscription high above the entrance to a park with a big lake, in the capital, and it stayed indelibly in my memory. After the long civil war all refugees were called back home with this sentence. Both the call to the refugees and the environment to which they were called to return seemed a little desperate, as though neither side was sure that that was what they really wanted; they were not sure that whatever has prevented their return was truly over. The streets do not appear very friendly; a considerable amount of aggressiveness can be detected in the air, heavy with humidity and exhaust fumes.
Even though I had to wait for a long time and put a lot of effort into getting the visa at the Consulate of El Salvador in Mexico, at the border they requested an additional 50 dollars to let me into the country, and there was no discussion about it, you either pay or you go back. That’s what it looked like in the early 1990s.
Around the big old colonial cathedral in the city centre, there is a huge flea market from which Latin rhythms of Central America are booming. The sounds hover above this part of the city, merging into salsa, which means life to them – it accompanies both the joy of love and the sadness of a broken heart. Its rapid rhythms reach even the priest in the cathedral, mixing with the sounds of the mass, into a cacophony which leaves you confused about what exactly you are hearing.
Yet, we may not want to listen to anything really, we just want to board a huge metallic bus belonging to the Tica Bus company which travels down the trans-American highway from Guatemala to Panama, shedding passengers along its well-trodden Central American route.

February 1992

RUSIJA – RUSSIA – РОССИЯ

Crkva i zvonik u Kuskovu, letnjoj palati porodice Seremetjevih-Church and Bell Tower in the summer palace of Sheremetev family

Crkva i zvonik u Kuskovu, letnjoj palati porodice Seremetjevih-Church and Bell Tower in the summer palace of Sheremetev family

Crkva Svetog Isaka u Sankt Peterburgu-St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg (3)

Crkva Svetog Isaka u Sankt Peterburgu-St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg (3)

Drvena arhitektura pored Irkucka-Wooden architecture near Irkutsk

Drvena arhitektura pored Irkucka-Wooden architecture near Irkutsk

Fontane u Carskom selu-Fountains in Tsarskoye Selo

Fontane u Carskom selu-Fountains in Tsarskoye Selo

Hram Hristovog vaskrsa u Sankt Peterburgu-Cathedral of the Resurrection in St. Petersburg

Hram Hristovog vaskrsa u Sankt Peterburgu-Cathedral of the Resurrection in St. Petersburg

Hram Vasilija Blazenog-Saint Basil's Cathedral

Hram Vasilija Blazenog-Saint Basil’s Cathedral

Ispred Lenjinovog mauzoleja-In front of the Lenin's mausoleum

Ispred Lenjinovog mauzoleja-In front of the Lenin’s mausoleum

Lepa moskovska arhitektura-Moscow architecture

Lepa moskovska arhitektura-Moscow architecture

Letnja palata Kuskovo porodice Sheremetjevih-Facade of Kuskovo Palace, summer residence of Sheremetev family

Letnja palata Kuskovo porodice Sheremetjevih-Facade of Kuskovo Palace, summer residence of Sheremetev family

Mihajlovski teatar u Sankt Peterburgu-Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg

Mihajlovski teatar u Sankt Peterburgu-Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg

Muzej Ermitaz-Hermitage Museum

Muzej Ermitaz-Hermitage Museum

Na Bajkalskom jezeru-On the Lake Baikal

Na Bajkalskom jezeru-On the Lake Baikal

Na peterburskim kanalima, Crkva Hristovog vaskrsenja -St. Petersburg's canals and the Church of the Savior on Blood

Na peterburskim kanalima, Crkva Hristovog vaskrsenja -St. Petersburg’s canals and the Church of the Savior on Blood

Panorama Kremlja pored reke Moskve-A view of Kremlin by the Moskva River

Panorama Kremlja pored reke Moskve-A view of Kremlin by the Moskva River

Prvi ruski muzej koji je osnovao Petar Veliki-The first Russian museum Kunstkammer founded by Peter the Great

Prvi ruski muzej koji je osnovao Petar Veliki-The first Russian museum Kunstkammer founded by Peter the Great

Razgovor s Puskinom-A friendly talk with Pushkin

Razgovor s Puskinom-A friendly talk with Pushkin

Saborna crkva Svetog Petra i Pavla u Petropavlovskoj tvrdjavi u Sankt Peterburgu-Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul at Petropavlovskiy fortress, St. Petersburg

Saborna crkva Svetog Petra i Pavla u Petropavlovskoj tvrdjavi u Sankt Peterburgu-Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul at Petropavlovskiy fortress, St. Petersburg

Spomenik Cehovu u Moskvi-The monument to Anton Chekhov in Moscow

Spomenik Cehovu u Moskvi-The monument to Anton Chekhov in Moscow

Spomenik osnivacu Moskve Juriju Dolgorukovu-Yuri Dolgorukiy founder of Moscow

Spomenik osnivacu Moskve Juriju Dolgorukovu-Yuri Dolgorukiy founder of Moscow

Zaledjena reka Moskva-Frozen Moskva River

Zaledjena reka Moskva-Frozen Moskva River

Breze, breze i samo breze. Kao kod Čehova. Možda je te breze danima posmatrao doktor Živago na putu za daleki Sibir. Sa istim mislima posmatram ih i ja, doktor Colić, u jednoličnom pejzažu na petodnevnom putu transsibirskom železnicom ka Bajkalu. Smenjuju se gradovi i stanice sa promrzlim babuškama koje na staničnim peronima nude domaću hranu i kefir. Priznajem da mi više prija Советское Шампанское sa crvenim kavijarom na crnom hlebu, dok razmišljam hoće li se ikada taj pejzaž promeniti. Na staničnom peronu fotografišem se ispred vagona na kome piše Moskva – Irkutsk, sa šubarom na glavi. Bajkalsko jezero je zaleđeno, sa ponekim idiličnim otvorom u ledu u kome se lovi riba, a sibirska zima sa temperaturom nižom od minus trideset stepeni ledi obraze i dah. Ipak, sunce je visoko na nebu i bez daška vetra, pa se tako ova klima bolje podnosi nego kad duva beogradska košava na znatno višoj temperaturi.
Ovo je ona izvorna Rusija, u kojoj uživam. Kao i u lenjingradskim belim noćima, krstarenju tihim Donom, kafeu Puškin…
Glavni grad Moskva ipak nije prava Rusija. Brzim ekonomskim razvojem i sa trideset hiljada milionera to je danas savremeni megalopolis, ali sa dušom koja je ostala ista kao kad sam prvi put ovde došao kao student, pre trideset godina. Ljudi su i tada čitali knjige u metrou, kao i danas. Kultura ovde znači nešto posebno, to je druga, viša vrsta bogatstva, na koje svi imaju pravo. I tada su odlazili u Boljšoj teatar da, pored ostalog, dobro jedu u pauzama; to i danas rade. Pozorišna umetnost ovde je deo života koji se danas, ipak, veoma skupo plaća, ali obavezno uživa u njoj.
Današnja Rusija više nije sovjetska Rusija, mada taj duh u njoj nikada neće prestati da živi. Veliki Lenjin može mirno da spava u svom mauzoleju na Crvenom trgu. Neko drugi će, nadam se, toj naciji vratiti osmeh na lice. Možda Putin, mada se ni on mnogo ne smeje. Ali važnije je da mu se veruje da će naciji povratiti snagu, ponos, bogatstvo, a onda osmeh dolazi sam.
Ovi ljudi to zaslužuju, kao i široka, besmrtna Русская душа.

Februar 2000.
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Birch trees, birch trees, birch trees…Just like in a Chekov play. Perhaps Doctor Zhivago was looking at all those trees for days on his long journey to Siberia. With similar thoughts in my head I, Doctor Colić, gaze at them too, passing through a monotonous landscape on my 5 day long journey to Baikal on the Trans-Siberian railway. Cities and train stations come one after another; frostbitten babushkas sell homemade food and kefir on train platforms. I have to admit that I prefer Советское Шампанское  (Soviet champagne) with red caviar on brown bread, while I contemplate whether this landscape will ever change. I have a picture taken of myself, standing on a train platform, in front of the carriage with the inscription Moscow-Irkutsk; I am wearing a fur cap on my head. Baikal Lake is frozen with an occasional idyllic opening in the ice through which you can catch a fish; the Siberian winter with a temperature below -30C freezes my cheeks and my breath. Yet the sun is high in the sky and there is no trace of wind, so in a way it is easier to tolerate this climate than when košava starts blowing around Belgrade even with higher temperatures.
This is true, authentic Russia and I enjoy it. I enjoy the white nights of St. Petersburg, cruising the Don River and the Pushkin cafe…
Yet Moscow is not true Russia. With rapid economic development and with 30,000 millionaires, today it is a modern megalopolis, but with a soul that remained the same as it was thirty years ago when I visited here as a student. People were reading books in the metro then, like they are today. Culture has a special meaning here, it is wealth of a higher order, that everyone is entitled to. People used to go to the Bolshoi, to eat really well during the breaks, amongst other reasons; they do the same today. The art of theatre is just part of life here, which even though expensive today, still provides the same pleasure.
Today’s Russia is not a Soviet Russia, even though the Soviet spirit will never disappear from Russia. The great Lenin can peacefully sleep in his big mausoleum on the Red Square. Someone else is, I hope, going to bring the smile back to Russian faces. Maybe Putin, but having said that, he does not smile much either. However, it is more important that he is being trusted to bring back to his nation its power, pride and wealth and then the smile will come back naturally.
People here deserve it, as much as their large, eternal Русская душа (Russian soul).

February 2000

 

 

KALINJINGRAD – KALININGRAD – КАЛИНИНГРАД

Gradska katedrala i Kantova grobnica-Koenigsberg Cathedral with Kant' s Tomb

Gradska katedrala i Kantova grobnica-Koenigsberg Cathedral with Kant’ s Tomb

Gradska katedrala-Koenigsberg Cathedral

Gradska katedrala-Koenigsberg Cathedral

Jedna od vrata grada-Rossgarten Gate, now a restaurant

Jedna od vrata grada-Rossgarten Gate, now a restaurant

Kantov univerzitet i spomenik-Kant University and his monument

Kantov univerzitet i spomenik-Kant University and his monument

Kantova grobnica-Kant's tomb

Kantova grobnica-Kant’s tomb

Korolevska vrata koja su vodila u grad-The King's Gate at the edge of the city

Korolevska vrata koja su vodila u grad-The King’s Gate at the edge of the city

Mladenci ispred katedrale-Newlyweds in front of the Koenigsberg Cathedral

Mladenci ispred katedrale-Newlyweds in front of the Koenigsberg Cathedral

Odsjaj Don kule u Gornjem jezeru-The reflection of Dohna Tower in the Upper Lake

Odsjaj Don kule u Gornjem jezeru-The reflection of Dohna Tower in the Upper Lake

Razoreni grad u Drugom svetskom ratu-Destroyed city in WWII

Razoreni grad u Drugom svetskom ratu-Destroyed city in WWII

Restorani na jezeru-Restaurants on the lake shore

Restorani na jezeru-Restaurants on the lake shore

Saborna crkva Hrista Spasitelja-Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Saborna crkva Hrista Spasitelja-Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Saborna crkva Hrista Spasitelja-Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Saborna crkva Hrista Spasitelja-Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Statua Kanta-The statue of Immanuel Kant

Statua Kanta-The statue of Immanuel Kant

Trg pobede u centru grada-Victory Square in the city centre

Trg pobede u centru grada-Victory Square in the city centre

Smešten u Gdanjskom zalivu na Baltičkom moru, ovaj bivši nemački grad koji se zvao Königsberg dobio je svoje novo ime nakon sovjetskog osvajanja 1945. godine po Mihailu Kalinjinu, pravom boljševiku svog vremena. Tada je bio skoro do temelja razoren. Danas stanovnici žele da mu vrate staro ime, po uzoru na mnoge ruske gradove.

To je prijatno primorsko mesto i glavni grad Kalinjingradske oblasti, teritorije koja je ostala odvojena od Sovjetskog Saveza nakon što su njeni prvi susedi, Baltičke zemlje, ušle u Evropsku zajednicu. To je ujedno i sedište ruske baltičke flote, neka vrsta kontrole ove severne oblasti.

Osnovan je sredinom XIII veka od strane reda Tevtonskih vitezova, a u slavu češkog kralja Otokara II, koga je još Dante opevao u Božanskoj komediji kao jednu od najvećih ličnosti svog vremena. U velikom krstaškom pohodu tada je osnovana tvrđava Kenigzberg, u prevodu Kraljevska planina, čije ime danas želi da povrati ovaj grad. Bila je to Istočna Pruska koja je izgubila svoje slovo P. Postala je ruska oblast, ali su ostali arhitektonski podsetnici grada sa evropskom istorijom: urvrđenja, kapije, bastioni, kule, zamkovi i crkve. Ostala je i nostalgija za starim identitetom.

Grad je veoma ponosan na činjenicu da je u njemu rođen i živeo čuveni filozof Imanuel Kant čije ime nosi univerzitet u ovom gradu, kao mnoga značajna mesta. Zvezdano nebo nada mnom i moralni zakon u meni – njegova je misao i vodič za sva vremena.
I nije slučajno zašto je nastala upravo u ovom gradu, planini kraljeva.

Mart 2014.

______________________

Situated in the Gdańsk Bay on the Baltic Sea, formerly known as a German city of Königsberg,Kaliningrad got its current name in 1945 after Soviet invasion. It was named after Mikhail Kalinin, a famous Bolshevik revolutionary of the time. Then it was virtually raised to the ground. Today, its citizens want the old city name to be restored; this has been a trend with lots of other Russian cities too.

Kaliningrad is a pleasant seaside town and also the capital of Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian territory that got physically separated from Russia proper when their first neighbours, the Baltic countries, joined the EU. This is also the seat of the Russian Baltic fleet which provides control over this Northern territory.

The city was founded around the mid-13th century by the Teutonic Knights in honour of Czech King Ottokar II, who was commended in Dante’s Divine Comedy as one of the most important figures of the time. The fortress of Königsberg, or ‘King’s Mountain’ was established at the time of the Great Crusade. Nowadays the city wants this old name back. Interestingly, this was part of East Prussia, which lost its ‘P’ and became a Russian region. Yet the city has kept many architectural traits of the European history: forts, gates, bastions, towers, castles and churches. The nostalgia about the old identity remains.

The city is very proud that Immanuel Kant, the famous philosopher, was born and lived in it. The University bears his name and so do other important places. ‘Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me’ – is one of his thoughts and a timeless guideline for humanity.

It is not an accident that it was engendered here, in this city, in ‘King’s Mountain’.

March 2014

RUMUNIJA – ROMANIA – ROMÂNIA

Trg pobede u Temisvaru sa Narodnim pozoristem-Victory square and National Theatrel in Timisoara

Trg pobede u Temisvaru sa Narodnim pozoristem-Victory square and National Theatrel in Timisoara

Trg pobede u Temisvaru sa pravoslavnom crkvom-Victory square and Orthodox Cathedral in Timisoara

Trg pobede u Temisvaru sa pravoslavnom crkvom-Victory square and Orthodox Cathedral in Timisoara

Veliki Varadin, centar grada-Oradea, city centre

Veliki Varadin, centar grada-Oradea, city centre

Zamak Bran ili Drakulin zamak-Bran Castle commonly known as Dracula's Castle

Zamak Bran ili Drakulin zamak-Bran Castle commonly known as Dracula’s Castle

Zgrada kasina u Konstanci u art nouveau stilu izmedju dva rata-Casino in Constanca in art nouveau style

Zgrada kasina u Konstanci u art nouveau stilu izmedju dva rata-Casino in Constanca in art nouveau style

Zgrada rumunskog Parlamenta u Bukurestu-Romanian Parliament House in Bucharest

Zgrada rumunskog Parlamenta u Bukurestu-Romanian Parliament House in Bucharest

Glavni trg u Brasovu-Brasov Council Square

Glavni trg u Brasovu-Brasov Council Square

Koncertna dvorana u Bukurestu-The Romanian Athenaeum concert hall

Koncertna dvorana u Bukurestu-The Romanian Athenaeum concert hall

Palata kulture u Jasiju-Palace of Culture in Iasi

Palata kulture u Jasiju-Palace of Culture in Iasi

Reka Keres i Gradska vecnica u Velikom Varadinu-River Crisul Repede and City Hall in Oradea

Reka Keres i Gradska vecnica u Velikom Varadinu-River Crisul Repede and City Hall in Oradea

Saborna crkva u Jasiju-Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi

Saborna crkva u Jasiju-Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi

Sahat kula i kuca u kojoj je rodjen grof Drakula-Clock Tower and supposed birthplace of Vlad Dracula

Sahat kula i kuca u kojoj je rodjen grof Drakula-Clock Tower and supposed birthplace of Vlad Dracula

Spomenik nacionalnom preporodu u Bukurestu-The Memorial of Rebirth in Revolution Square in Bucharest

Spomenik nacionalnom preporodu u Bukurestu-The Memorial of Rebirth in Revolution Square in Bucharest

Srecan put-Have a nice trip-Drum bun

Srecan put-Have a nice trip-Drum bun

Srednjevekovni grad Segesvar-Medieval town of Sighisoara

Srednjevekovni grad Segesvar-Medieval town of Sighisoara

Od trenutka kad se uđe u ovu prijatnu susednu zemlju, na putevima se odmah
uočava natpis Drum Bun, u prevodu – srećan put. Već tada se pomisli na nešto
poznato i razumljivo: drum je drum i na srpskom, a bun je naravno bon, bene,
bueno, dakle dobro. I sama zemlja je takva: pripada po svemu i nama iz
neposrednog okruženja, a i onim Latinima. Pravoslavna je po uverenju i
mentalitetu kao balkanska država, a latinska, čini se, samo po jeziku koji
pripada romanskoj grupi. Volimo se i razumemo sa Rumunima; možda čak mnogo
više Rumuni nas Srbe nego mi njih. Mi, na svoju nesreću, još gajimo
davnašnju aroganciju prema narodima sa istoka Evrope.
Kad se kaže zemlja grofa Drakule, pomisli se, naravno, na Transilvaniju. To
je ogromna oblast u severnoj Rumuniji, koja je razvijenija od juga zemlje
ili Vlaške oblasti, zbog čega u Srbiji Rumune često nazivaju Vlasima.
Neveliki broj ljudi poznaje lepota starih gradova na severu zemlje kao sto
su Oradea, Kluž Napoka, Sibiu, Brašov…pa sve do krajnjeg severoistoka, gde
se krije Jaši, miran gradić u moldavskoj oblasti, u kome se nalazi crkva sa
moštima Svete Petke.
Rumunija se pamti po jedinstvenom događaju iz njene bliske prošlosti, a to
je zbacivanje sa vlasti, progon i smaknuće diktatorskog para Čaušesku. Bio
je to događaj koji je tekao kao filmska serija i sa nestrpljenjem se
očekivao i pratio u direktnom prenosu. Zanimljiva je činjenica da smo mi u
Srbiji znatiželjno pratili odlazak takvog para u susednoj državi, dok se u
isto vreme sličan par rađao na političkoj pozornici  naše zemlje, a da nismo
mogli, znali ili želeli da to vidimo.
Rumuni su dobar narod koji živi u svojoj lepoj i velikoj zemlji, punoj
prirodnih lepota, starih gradova i dobrih vina. Gradovi u Transilvaniji se
odlikuju primerima austrougarske arhitekture, patinirane lepote sa
tradicijom. Zamak legendarnog grofa Vlada Cepeša, poznatijeg kao Drakula,
nalazi se pored jednog od najlepših i naromantičnijih starih gradova ove
oblasti, koji se naziva Sigišoara. Kao da se, sa svakim udarom crkvenog
zvona, očekuje pojava te istorijske ličnosti, koja će kao duh prolebdeti u
svojoj kočiji kroz uske kaldrmisane uličice tog gradića u maglovitom sutonu,
ostavljajući krvavi vampirski trag.
Delta Dunava, sa jatima kormorana koji lutaju po bezbrojnim rukavcima, pruža
neizmernu lepotu ogromnog eko-sistema i prirodni završetak najduže evropske
reke. Ispod delte se proteže kratka crnomorska obala dužine manje od sto
kilometara, ali sa peščanim plažama od kojih neke ambijentom skoro da
podsećaju na karipske plaže. Samo im nedostaju palme i neka druga boja mora.
Muzika rumunskih Cigana, prirodne lepote, ali i ogromna kultura i tradicija
ovog dobrog i prijateljskog naroda kao da me stalno podstiču da im se
vratim.
I zato zaista želim da me novi putevi srećno povedu kroz Rumuniju. Drum Bun!

Maj 2003.

From the moment I enter this pleasant neighbouring country, I immediately
spot a sign Drum Bun on the roadside, – meaning ‘Have a good trip’. I then
think of something familiar and easy to understand: drum means ‘road’ in
Serbian too, and bun, of course, is bon, bene, bueno, meaning ‘good’. And
the country itself is like that, belonging to a similar environment we
share, but also having its Latin roots. It is a Christian Orthodox country
based on its beliefs and mentality, a Balkan country; it is Latin only by
way of its language which belongs to the Roman family of languages. We like
Romanians and we understand each other; perhaps Romanians understand Serbs
more than the other way round. Unfortunately, we still cherish some
arrogance from the past towards the peoples of Eastern Europe.
When we say ‘the country of Count Dracula’ we of course mean Transilvania.
It is a huge region in the North of Romania which is considerably more
developed than the South or the region of Wallachia, which is why Romanians
are sometimes called in Serbia – Wallachians. Not many people are aware of
the beauty of the old towns in the North, such as Oradea, Cluj-Napoca,
Sibiu, Braşov…all the way to the extreme North East, where a tranquil town
of Jassi is hidden in the region of Moldavia, boasting the church with the
holy bones of Sveta Petka.
Romania is remembered by an event from its recent history, and that was the
overthrowing, exile and execution of the dictatorial Ceauşescu couple. It
was an event unfolding like a TV series, anticipated with impatience and
watched live. It is an interesting fact that we in Serbia followed with
curiosity the disappearance of such a couple in a neighbouring country,
while at the same time a similar couple has been emerging on our own
political scene, and we couldn’t or wouldn’t see it.
The Romanians are good people who live in their spacious and beautiful
country full of natural attractions, old towns and great wines. The cities
of Transilvania are characterised by examples of Austro-Hungarian
architecture with old-fashioned charm and tradition. The castle of the
legendary Vlad III Prince of Wallachia, better known as Dracula, is situated
near one of the prettiest and most romantic towns in the region, called
Sighişoara. It seems like that with every strike of the church bell the
appearance of this historical figure is anticipated; like a ghost he is
expected to fly past in his carriage through the narrow cobbled streets of
this town enveloped in mist, leaving in his wake a bloody vampire’s trail.
The Danube Delta, with flocks of cormorants roaming countless estuaries, is
a sight of infinite beauty with its huge eco-system, and is a natural end of
Europe’s longest river. The short stretch of the Black Sea shore lies below
the Delta, and is only less than 100 kilometres long; but its sandy beaches
almost resemble Caribbean ones in their ambiance. They only miss palms and a
different colour of the sea.
Romanian Gypsy music, natural attractions, as well as the enormous cultural
heritage and tradition of this good and friendly people, always seem to draw
me back to this country. And I really want the new roads to take me happily
through Romania again. Drum Bun!

May 2003

RUANDA – RWANDA

Spokojan-Cool

Spokojan-Cool

Srebrna ledja-Master Silverback

Srebrna ledja-Master Silverback

Uputstva pre polaska-Instructions before leaving

Uputstva pre polaska-Instructions before leaving

Vulkan sa "cudnim zubima"-Volcano Sabyinyo (3700 m)  meaning something that has odd teeth

Vulkan sa “cudnim zubima”-Volcano Sabyinyo (3700 m) meaning something that has odd teeth

Vulkan cije ime znaci vodic-Volcano Muhabura (4127 m) meaning something that can show you the way

Vulkan cije ime znaci vodic-Volcano Muhabura (4127 m) meaning something that can show you the way

Zaigran-Playful

Zaigran-Playful

Iza resetaka-Behind the bars

Iza resetaka-Behind the bars

Nepoverljivi-Doubtful

Nepoverljivi-Doubtful

Slatki dremez-Sweet dream

Slatki dremez-Sweet dream

Zemlja sa stotinu brda i hiljadu osmeha. Slojeviti pejzaž u izmaglici pruža
se preko talasastih brda sve do planinskog venca Virunga prema Ugandi i
Kongu, dok vas u prolazu dočekuju i prate nasmejana lica stanovnika ove
zemlje. Žene su veoma lepe, vitke i gracilne, sa bisernim osmehom na
sićušnom licu. Toliko su lepe da Relja Mirković, moj prijatelj i urednik
fotografija u ovoj knjizi, nije odoleo jednoj od njih i doveo je u Beograd
kao svoju devojku.
Zla sreća, koja je pratila istoriju Ruande, kao da se ne odražava na licima
njenih stanovnika, koji žele da je potisnu svojim osmehom. Belgijanci su
vladali ovom zemljom i susednim Burundijem, oslobodili se njihovog
poslednjeg i zajedničkog kralja pre više od pola veka, a zatim favorizovali
manjinski narod Tutsi u odnosu na većinski Hutu. Sve je to dovelo do
četvorogodišnjeg građanskog rata, koji je kulminirao 1994. godine, jednim od
najbrutalnijih genocida u novijoj svetskoj istoriji, u kome je za sto dana
ubijeno milion ljudi. Kao tužno podsećanje na te događaje ostao je Muzej
genocida u glavnom gradu Kigaliju.
Pre svitanja prolazim kroz šumu eukaliptusa na putu ka mestu koje sam oduvek
želeo da posetim i koje je glavni razlog mog dolaska u Ruandu. Nacionalni
park vulkana ukazuje se u svitanje, sa tri prepoznatljiva vulkanska oboda,
od kojih je jedan karakterističnog oblika – podseća na zube gorile. U svom
prirodnom habitatu u kome konačno mogu bezbrižno da žive, brojne porodice
tih divnih stvorenja uživaju u slobodi u kojoj ih više niko ne progoni.
Američka istraživateljka Dajen Fosi provela je osamnaest godina sa gorilama,
želeći da ih odbrani od spoljnog sveta i bezobzirnih lovaca, a o životu te
neobične žene, posvećenom proučavanju i zaštiti gorila, snimljen je, prema
njenoj knjizi, poznati film Gorile u magli. U teškim i zlim vremenima po ovu
zemlju, život su joj oduzeli protivnici njenog rada i borbe za očuvanje te
životinjske vrste. Imala je samo pedeset tri godine. U teško pristupačnoj
dubini nacionalnog parka nalazi se Dajenin grob, u kome se sahranjuju i
njeni ljubimci za koje je žrtvovala život.
Ne dolazi se tako lako do gorila i, priznajem, to mi je bio najteži treking
u životu. Višečasovno teško probijanje, najpre kroz šumu bambusa, a potom,
kada se dođe na visinu veću od dve hiljade metara gde bambus više ne raste,
nastavlja se put kroz jedva prohodno rastinje, koje vodiči seku mačetama.
Nekoliko puta sam propadao kroz vence lijana i vlažnu paprat, izgreban
bodljama i opečen koprivom, proklinjao trenutak kad sam krenuo, ali se ipak
s ponosom osećao kao Indijana Džons.
Najveća porodica gorila, koja je bila cilj ovog pohoda, nazvana je imenom
Susa. Nekoliko ogromnih mužjaka sa dlakom srebrne boje na leđima, koji se i
nazivaju Silverback, ponosno su demonstrirali nadmoć ili bezbrižno brstili
bambusove grane u sedećem položaju i, sa ogromnim trbusima, podsećajući na
Budu. Ženke su se igrale sa mladuncima, mlade gorile pokušavale da se
takmiče sa starijim, dok smo im mi, oslobođeni svakog straha, prilazili sve
bliže. Na rastojanju od samo nekoliko metara bili smo umorni i srećni, kao
da smo deo te porodice, čiji bi nam članovi tek ponekad uputili
ljubopitljivi pogled. Upozoreni smo da ne uzvraćamo dugo taj pogled, niti da
koristimo fleš fotoaparata. Te trenutke neću nikada zaboraviti; zbog njih i
za Dajen je vredelo žrtvovati sve, pa i sopstveni život. Dok sam posmatrao
srećne gorile, pomislio sam da je i ona srećna u nekom drugom svetu u kome
nastavlja da razgovara sa njima.
Današnji Hutu i Tutsi izgledaju isto tako srećno u svojoj lepoj brdovitoj
zemlji, želeći da takva sreća, ovoga puta, dugo potraje.

Februar 2011.
______________________________________________________

A country with hundreds of hills and thousands of smiles. A multi-layered
landscape enveloped in mist, stretches across undulating hills to the
Virunga Mountains, towards Uganda and Congo, while in passing you encounter
the smiling faces of this country’s inhabitants. The women are very
beautiful, slim and gracious, with a pearly smile on their small faces. They
are so beautiful that my friend and a photo editor for this book, Relja
Mirković, could not resist one of them and brought her over to Belgrade as
his girlfriend.
The bad luck that has permeated the history of Rwanda does not seem to be
reflected on the faces of its people; it is as though they want to drive it
away with their smiles. The Belgians ruled this country and the neighbouring
Burundi, they got rid of their last, common king more than 50 years ago and
then they favoured the minority Tutsi people over the majority of Hutu
people. All that led to a four year civil war culminating in 1994 with one
of the most brutal genocides in the recent history of the world. One million
people were killed during 100 days. The Museum of Genocide in the capital
Kigali stands as a sad reminder of those events.
Before dawn breaks out I pass through the eucalyptus forest on my way to the
place I have always wanted to visit; it is the main reason of my travel to
Rwanda. Volcanoes National Park emerges at dawn, with three peculiar volcano
crater tops, one of which is shaped unusually, like gorilla’s teeth. In
their natural habitat where they can finally live carefree, numerous
families of these lovely creatures enjoy the freedom as no one is
persecuting them anymore. An American explorer, Dian Fossey, spent 18 years
with gorillas, in her quest to protect them from the outside world and
ruthless hunters; a film was made about her unusual life, entirely devoted
to the research and preservation of gorillas, based on her book Gorillas in
the Mist. During difficult and evil times in Rwanda, her life was taken by
the adversaries of her work and her fight to preserve this animal species.
She was only 53 years old. Deep in the Park’s forest, at an almost
inaccessible place you can find Dian’s grave; her beloved gorillas, for whom
she sacrificed her life, are also buried here.
It is not easy to reach the gorillas, and I admit, this was the most
demanding trekking I have ever done. First of all, many hours pushing
forward  with difficulty through the bamboo forest until you reach the
altitude of 2000 metres after which bamboo does not grow anymore; this is
followed by struggling through such thick vegetation that the guides have to
cut through it with machettes. Several times I fell through the wreaths of
vine and damp fern, scratched by thorns and stung by nettles, I cursed the
moment I decided to go on this trip, yet I felt with pride like Indiana
Jones.
The largest gorilla family by name of Susa, was my final destination. A few
huge males with silver coloured fur on their backs, the so-called
Silverbacks, proudly demonstrated their might or else grazed on bamboo
leaves in a relaxed seated position. With their huge bellies they reminded
me of Buddha. Females were playing with their baby gorillas, young gorillas
were trying to compete with the older ones, while we were getting closer and
closer to them, free of any fear. When we reached the distance of only a few
metres away, we felt tired and happy, like we were part of that family who
would look at us only occasionally with curiosity. We were warned not to
return the gaze for too long, nor to use camera flash. I will never forget
these moments; for Dian they were worth every sacrifice, even her own life.
While observing these happy gorillas, I thought that perhaps she was happy
too, in another world, where she continues to talk to them.
Today, Hutu and Tutsi peoples look equally happy in their beautiful hilly
country, hoping that this happiness will last for a long time, this time
round.

February 2011

PORTUGALIJA – PORTUGAL

Kapucinski samostan-Convent of the Capuchos

Kapucinski samostan-Convent of the Capuchos

Krovovi Lisabona i reka Tezo-Roofs of Lisbon and Tejo River

Krovovi Lisabona i reka Tezo-Roofs of Lisbon and Tejo River

Lift i vidikovac po Ajfelovom nacrtu-The Santa Justa Lift

Lift i vidikovac po Ajfelovom nacrtu-The Santa Justa Lift

Palata Keluz-Queluz National Palace

Palata Keluz-Queluz National Palace

Palata u Sintri- Quinta da Regaleira Palace in Sintra

Palata u Sintri- Quinta da Regaleira Palace in Sintra

Plaza u Lagosu na jugu zemlje-Lagos beach in the South

Plaza u Lagosu na jugu zemlje-Lagos beach in the South

Ajfelov most preko reke Douro u Portu-Eiffel bridge over river Douro in Porto

Ajfelov most preko reke Douro u Portu-Eiffel bridge over river Douro in Porto

Crkva u Portu-Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina, Porto

Crkva u Portu-Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina, Porto

Dvorac Pena u Sintri-Pena National Palace in Sintra

Dvorac Pena u Sintri-Pena National Palace in Sintra

Fado je portugalski duh-Fado is the spirit of Portugal

Fado je portugalski duh-Fado is the spirit of Portugal

Grob Vaska da Game-Vasco da Gama's grave

Grob Vaska da Game-Vasco da Gama’s grave

Jeronimitski samostan-Jeronimos Monastery

Jeronimitski samostan-Jeronimos Monastery

Kapija jedne kuce-A port of a house

Kapija jedne kuce-A port of a house

Toranj Belem kao simbol pomorske moci-Belem Tower as a symbol of maritime power

Toranj Belem kao simbol pomorske moci-Belem Tower as a symbol of maritime power

Spomenik pomorskim otkricima-Monument of the maritime discoveries Padrao dos Descobrimentos

Spomenik pomorskim otkricima-Monument of the maritime discoveries Padrao dos Descobrimentos

Zalazak sunca na tvrdjavi Sao Zorge-Sunset on the Castle of Sao Jorge

Zalazak sunca na tvrdjavi Sao Zorge-Sunset on the Castle of Sao Jorge

Trg Pedra IV-Pedro IV Square

Trg Pedra IV-Pedro IV Square

Vrt palate u Sintri-Garden of Quinta da Regaleira Palace in Sintra

Vrt palate u Sintri-Garden of Quinta da Regaleira Palace in Sintra

Zidovi od kostiju crkve u Evori-Chapel of bones of St. Francis Church in Evora

Zidovi od kostiju crkve u Evori-Chapel of bones of St. Francis Church in Evora

Pogled na Lisabon-A view of Lisbon

Pogled na Lisabon-A view of Lisbon

Pozoriste i opera- Teatro da Trindade in Lisbon

Pozoriste i opera- Teatro da Trindade in Lisbon

Spomenik najpoznatijem piscu-Fernando Pessoa-monument in bronze

Spomenik najpoznatijem piscu-Fernando Pessoa-monument in bronze

Svetionik najzapadnije tacke Evrope-The Cabo da Roca lighthouse, westernmost extent of Europe

Svetionik najzapadnije tacke Evrope-The Cabo da Roca lighthouse, westernmost extent of Europe

Tramvaji Lisabona-Lisbon cablecars

Tramvaji Lisabona-Lisbon cablecars

Rimski hram i katedrala u Evori-Roman temple and cathedral in Evora

Rimski hram i katedrala u Evori-Roman temple and cathedral in Evora

Ova najzapadnija evropska zemlja uvek je u meni budila posebno osećanje, koje se veoma razlikovalo od bilo kog drugog. Možda je uzrok tome fado. Taj čudesan i tipičan zvuk za ovu zemlju mešavina je muzike latinskih trubadura i mističnih rituala crne Afrike. On odaje ono što Portugalci i svi njihovi kolonijalni narodi objedinjuju u jednoj reči, saudáde: tuga, nedostajanje, žudnja, strast, radost i bol istovremeno, žal za izgubljenim i prošlim, za ljubavlju, mladošću, emocijama… I sve se to sluša u lokalnim kafanama po celu noć, dok se turisti ne raziđu, dok lokalni moreplovac ne zavede svoju devojku, ili ostavljeni omami od pića. Ni miris neizbežnog sušenog bakalara, koji je nacionalni specijalitet, pomešan sa mirisom užeglog maslinovog ulja i ruzmarina neće ga izbaviti od pijanstva.
Tako živi Lisabon uz reku Težo, kojom su moreplovci vekovima ulazili u grad preko lučke kapetanije u vidu bele kule Torre de Belém i donosili svojim kraljevima blago iz prekookeanskih kolonija. Od tog blaga je kralj Emanuel sagradio samostan i katedralu São Jerónimo, gde se nalazi grob najpoznatijeg svetskog moreplovca Vaska da Game, ali koji je sahranjen u gradu Kočinu, na jugu Indije.
Lepote ove zemlje su beskrajne, a njena prednost je u tome što je relativno mala. Brzo možete stići iz jednog mesta u drugo, ali ih je teško napustiti, omamljeni lepotom starih manastira i trgova, malih ribarskih luka, kao i burnom istorijom koja progovara iz svakog kamena.
Porto ili Oporto, kako grad nazivaju Portugalci, posebne je lepote. Tu sam prvi put video most na dva nivoa, ispod koga su smeštene stare vinarije portnih vina u malim, kamenom popločanim ulicama. Tu je degustacija tih vina praćena posebnim zadovoljstvom i neizbežnom blagom opijenošću. Koimbra, najstariji evropski univerzitetski grad posle Bolonje, smešten je unutrašnjosti zemlje, Evora ima crkvenu grobnicu jedinstvenu u svetu, čiji su zidovi potpuno optočeni kostima i lobanjam monaha koji su tu vekovima živeli i umirali u slavu Hrista. Sintru, blizu Lisabona, davno je pohodio mlađahni Bajron u potrazi za inspiracijom, koju je našao u zamku koji kao da lebdi na visoravni s pogledom u beskraj, a naziva se Palácio da Pena. Mistični povratak u daleku prošlost doživljava se u starom kapucinskom manastiru Monasterio dos Capuchos, skrivenom u dubokim šumama eukaliptusa, sa minijaturnim monaškim ćelijama, obraslim vekovnom mahovinom i s prozorskim oknima od kore drveta. Iz takvih samostana kretale su misije koje su širile veru po Brazilu, kao najvećoj koloniji, i brojnim drugim portugalskim kolonijama širom sveta, asketski, ali odlučno i često surovo, što je verno prikazano u filmu Misija. Činjenica je da su u najveći broj kolonija u svetu najpre došli Portugalci, a zatim neki drugi, treći… Odlučnost, radoznalost, neumoljivo širenje vere i, naravno, dobijanje naklonosti kraljeva i princeza pribavljanjem bogatstva, bili su im najvažniji motivi. Ostaci tog bogatstva danas se nalaze u muzejima, ali i u patiniranoj arhitekturi kitnjastih građevina skrivenih u stoletnim šumama, koje kriju tajne portugalskih moreplovaca.
Vaskov duh i dalje svuda lebdi.

Decembar 1987.
_________________________________________________________________________

This Westernmost European country always instilled in me special feelings, completely different from any other. Perhaps the reason for this was fado. This mysterious sound, typical of this country, is a mixture of music of the Latin troubadours and mystical rituals of black Africa. The sound represents something that all the Portuguese and all their colonies summarise in one word: saudáde – sorrow, longing, desire, passion, joy and suffering at the same time, mourning over things lost and gone, yearning for love, youth, emotions…And all this can be heard in local bars throughout the night, until tourists disperse, until the local sailor seduces his girl, or the abandoned one gets totally drunk. Not even the unavoidable smell of smoked codfish, a national dish, mixed with the smells of rosemary and rancid olive oil, can sober him up.
Lisbon lives on the river Tagus (Tejo), which, for centuries, has led sailors through the port authority house, shaped like a white tower – Torre de Belém, to their kings, to whom they presented gifts and treasures from their overseas colonies. From this treasure King Emanuel built both the monastery and the cathedral of São Jerónimo, which is home to the grave of the world’s most famous seaman, Vasco da Gama, even though he was buried in Kochin in the South India. Natural beauties of this country are endless and it goes in its favour that it is relatively small. You can move from one place to another quickly, but it is difficult to leave as you get enchanted by the splendour of old monasteries and squares, small fishing ports, and their turbulent history which seems to speak from every stone.
Porto, or Oporto, as the Portuguese call it, is a city of exceptional beauty. This is where I saw, for the first time, a bridge with two levels, below which are old port wineries along small streets paved with stone. Here, winetasting brings on special pleasure and unavoidable tipsiness. Coimbra, with the world’s oldest university after Bologna, is in the country’s hinterland, while Évora has a unique tomb chapel whose walls are covered entirely in bones and skulls of the monks who, for centuries, lived and died there, celebrating Christ. Sintra, not far away from Lisbon, was visited by the young Byron, who came here in search of inspiration. He found it in a castle which appears to be almost hovering on a highland with a view stretching to infinity, called Palácio da Pena. A mystical journey back to the remote past starts at the old monastery of the Capuchin order, Monasterio dos Capuchos, hidden deep in the eucalyptus forest; miniature monk cells covered in centuries old moss, have windows made of tree bark. It is from the monasteries like this one that missionaries went to Brazil, the largest colony as well as to the other Portuguese colonies around the world, to spread the faith; they carried out their tasks in an ascetic and decisive way, but also often ruthlessly, as depicted in the film The Mission. It is a fact that the Portuguese acquired the largest number of colonies first, and then came the second and the third colonisers…Decisiveness, curiosity, ruthless spreading of their faith and, of course, winning the favour of kings and princesses by amassing wealth, were their main motives. The remainders of this wealth are to be found in museums nowadays, but also in the old architecture of garish buildings hidden in centuries old forests; they also hide the secrets of Portuguese seamen.
The spirit of Vasco da Gama is still hovering around.

December 1987

 

Madeira – Madeira

Gradsko pozoriste-Municipality theatre

Gradsko pozoriste-Municipality theatre

Katedrala u glavnom gradu-The Cathedral of Funchal

Katedrala u glavnom gradu-The Cathedral of Funchal

Lokalna riba-Local fish black scabbard

Lokalna riba-Local fish black scabbard

Lokalni hleb-A local bread

Lokalni hleb-A local bread

Novo naselje na obodu Funsala-New settlement in the outskirts of Funchal

Novo naselje na obodu Funsala-New settlement in the outskirts of Funchal

Okicena crkva-Decorated parish church Our Lady of Monte

Okicena crkva-Decorated parish church Our Lady of Monte

Palata u centru grada-Sao Lourenco Palace

Palata u centru grada-Sao Lourenco Palace

Pogled na Funsal sa vrha ostrva-A view of Funchal from the island's top

Pogled na Funsal sa vrha ostrva-A view of Funchal from the island’s top

Sanke na asfaltu u gradicu Monte-Sledge drivers of Monte

Sanke na asfaltu u gradicu Monte-Sledge drivers of Monte

Tipicne ostrvske kuce u Santani - Typical island houses of Santana village

Tipicne ostrvske kuce u Santani – Typical island houses of Santana village

Tipicne ostrvske kuce u Santani-Typical island houses of Santana village

Tipicne ostrvske kuce u Santani-Typical island houses of Santana village

U centru glavnog grada-In the centre of Funchal

U centru glavnog grada-In the centre of Funchal

Kontrast je samo jedna od karakteristika ove grupe ostrva duboko u Atlantiku, na oko hiljadu kilometara daleko od Lisabona. Najveća i jedina naseljena ostrva Madeira i Porto Santo veoma se razlikuju; Madeira je sva u brdima i šumama eukaliptusa, dok je Porto Santo ravan i sa dugim peščanim plažama.

Mali broj odabranih posetilaca zna da je ovde utočište nalazio Vinston Čerčil koji je voleo da slika Madeiru i ovde napisao jednu od svojih prvih priča, u predahu između važnih državničkih odluka. Ali i Bernard Šo, Fidel Kastro, Habsburško plemstvo, svi su voleli ovo ostrvo sa prolećnom klimom preko cele godine, u koje, kaže se, dolazi proleće da provede zimu, najlepšim vrtovima sa egzotičnim biljkama, čuvenim vinima i vidikovcima od kojih zastaje dah.

Glavni grad Funšal pruža takve poglede na Atlantik kao iz prirodnog amfiteatra koji presecaju dve duge žičare koje skraćuju distancu vijugavih puteva do vrhova Madeire ili do živopisnog sela Monte sa kolonijalnom arhitekturom. Posebne drvene sanke carrinhos spuštaju turiste po uglačanom betonu, vođene veštim rukama vodiča u tradicionalnim kostimima koji trče pored njih. U staroj crkvi Nossa Senhora do Monte nalazi se grobnica austrougarskog cara Karla I koga su saveznici ovde proterali nakon što je izgubio Prvi svetski rat.

Madeiru, ili kako je još nazivaju “Rajskim ostrvom“, otkrio je davne 1418. godine princ Henrik Moreplovac, a i sam Kolumbo ga je posećivao nekoliko puta dok se nije oženio ćerkom guvernera Porto Santa. Kažu da su ga Henrikove pomorske karte uverile u postojanje Novog sveta. Više kao san nego kao stvarnost, ovo ostrvo retke lepote pruža planine obrasle zelenilom i cvetne doline sa svim vrstama voća i cveća koje se može zamisliti, zahvaljujući svojoj suptropskoj klimi. Botaničke bašte ovde su prava umetnička dela sa kolonijalnim posedima koji se nazivaju quinta. Religiozni festivali i proslave koji se organizuju više puta u toku godine povod su za zajedničko okupljanje meštana i turista u nepreglednom slavlju sa pevanjem i pucanjem koje traje čitavu noć.

Daleko od gradova punih napetosti savremenog tempa na kontinentu, Madeira je prava oaza mira, radosti, lepote i povratka ravnoteži života.

Avgust 2013.

_____________________________________________________________

Contrast is just one of the characteristics of this archipelago situated deep in the Atlantic, around a thousand kilometres away from Lisbon. Madeira and Porto Santo, the largest and the only populated islands, could not be more different from each other. Madeira is hilly and covered in eucalyptus greenery whereas Porto Santo is flat with long sandy beaches.

A few select visitors know that Winston Churchill sought refuge here; he liked to paint Madeira and here he wrote one of the his first stories while on a break from important state affairs. But he was not the only one – George Bernard Shaw, Fidel Castro, the Habsburgs – they all loved this island with its spring-like climate throughout the year. It is said that ‘spring escapes winter by coming to Madeira’  – an island with exotic gardens, famous wines and vistas that take your breath away.

The capital Funchal abounds in such views over the Atlantic – it feels as though you are watching from atop a natural amphitheatre criss-crossed by two long cable car routes. They take you to the top of Madeira cutting short the long winding roads or to the picturesque village of Monte which boasts colonial architecture. Peculiar sledges called carrinhos are deftly manouvered by traditonally clad guides who run alongside them, taking tourists down the hill on the polished concrete. In the old church of Our Lady of Monte you can find the tomb of the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles I, who was exiled here by the Allies at the end of World War I.

Madeira, or the ‘Paradise Island’ as it has been called, was discovered in 1418 by Prince Henry the Navigator; Columbus himself visited the island many times until he got married to the daughter of the Governor of Porto Santo. It is claimed that Prince Henry’s naval maps convinced Columbus of the existence of the New World. This island of exquisite beauty has a dreamlike quality about it – the mountains are covered in vegetation, the valleys are bursting with all kinds of flowers and fruits you can imagine, thanks to its subtropical climate. The botanical gardens are true works of art, and are located in colonial manors called quinta. The religious festivals and celebrations that happen throughout the year bring together the locals and the tourists in a never-ending fête with singing and shooting until late hours.

Far away from the continental cities that carry the everyday tensions of modern living, Madeira is a real oasis of peace, joy, beauty and life balance.

August 2013               

 

 

Azorska ostrva – Azores – Açores

Crkva Nase Gospe od mira-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace

Crkva Nase Gospe od mira-Sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace

Crkva Nase Gospe od radosti iz botanickog vrta-The Church of Our Lady of Joy, from the botanical garden in Furnas

Crkva Nase Gospe od radosti iz botanickog vrta-The Church of Our Lady of Joy, from the botanical garden in Furnas

Crkva Nase Gospe od radosti-The Church of Our Lady of Joy in Furnas

Crkva Nase Gospe od radosti-The Church of Our Lady of Joy in Furnas

Crkva pripremljena za proslavu - A church prepared for celebration

Crkva pripremljena za proslavu – A church prepared for celebration

Crkva pripremljena za proslavu-A church prepared for celebration

Crkva pripremljena za proslavu-A church prepared for celebration

Crkva u parku-A church in the park

Crkva u parku-A church in the park

Gde li je kopno-Where is that land

Gde li je kopno-Where is that land

Jezero na ostrvu Sao Migel-A lake on Sao Miguel Island

Jezero na ostrvu Sao Migel-A lake on Sao Miguel Island

Karakteristicna arhitektura Azorskih ostrva-The characteristic architecture of the Azores

Karakteristicna arhitektura Azorskih ostrva-The characteristic architecture of the Azores

Kitolovac-A whaleboat

Kitolovac-A whaleboat

Manastir Svetog Fransisa - The Convent of Sao Francisco

Manastir Svetog Fransisa – The Convent of Sao Francisco

Manastir Svetog Fransisa -The Convent of Sao Francisco

Manastir Svetog Fransisa -The Convent of Sao Francisco

Manastir Svetog Fransisa-The Convent of Sao Francisco

Manastir Svetog Fransisa-The Convent of Sao Francisco

Nacionalni park - The National park Sete Cidades on Sao Miguel Island

Nacionalni park – The National park Sete Cidades on Sao Miguel Island

Nacionalni park-The National park Sete Cidades on Sao Miguel Island

Nacionalni park-The National park Sete Cidades on Sao Miguel Island

Ostrvce Princezin prsten-The Princess' Ring Islet

Ostrvce Princezin prsten-The Princess’ Ring Islet

Pogled na gradic-A view of Vila Franca do Campo

Pogled na gradic-A view of Vila Franca do Campo

Pogled na Vila Franku i Princezin prsten-A view of Vila Franca do Campo and Princess' Ring islet

Pogled na Vila Franku i Princezin prsten-A view of Vila Franca do Campo and Princess’ Ring islet

Ponta Delgada je glavni grad ostrva Sao Migel-Ponta Delgada-the capital of Sao Miguel Island

Ponta Delgada je glavni grad ostrva Sao Migel-Ponta Delgada-the capital of Sao Miguel Island

Pripremanje hrane u vulkanskoj zemlji-Preparing food in the volcanic soil

Pripremanje hrane u vulkanskoj zemlji-Preparing food in the volcanic soil

Sumporno kupaliste u botanickoj ba+íti-Sulphuric bath in the botanical garden in Furnas

Sumporno kupaliste u botanickoj ba+íti-Sulphuric bath in the botanical garden in Furnas

U botanickoj basti-In the botanical garden

U botanickoj basti-In the botanical garden

Ukrasena crkva-A decorated church in Vila Franca do Campo

Ukrasena crkva-A decorated church in Vila Franca do Campo

Vila Franca do Campo

Vila Franca do Campo

Ovaj arhipelag od devet ostrva usred Atlantika pravi je raj za ljubitelje prirode i, možda, ostatak legendarne Atlantide, kako neki naučnici veruju. Ukrašena planinskim lancima i bogatom vegetacijom u kojoj prednjače slapovi hortenzija na svakom koraku, ova ostrva predstavljaju spoj mora i kopna u kome krateri starih vulkana kriju lagune i jezera.

Nalaze se skoro na polovini puta između Evrope i Amerike, tako da danas veliki broj stanovnika živi u Bostonu, ali im se i polako vraća. Niko ne može odoleti ovoj lepoti i miru, uprkos snažnom osećaju usamljenosti i izolovanosti od ostatka sveta.

Kažu da je ovo magično mesto na zemlji najbliže raju. Rođena iz nepreglednog Atlantika Azorska ostrva spajaju američko i evropsko tle kao pupčanom vrpcom. Veličina i dobrota njihovih ljudi kao i neobična istorija ispisani su u crnom, vulkanskom kamenu koji čini obode svih crkava i manastira na ostrvima. Teška ali plodna zemlja okružena vulkanima i beskrajnim morem pruža ovom narodu sve, od prirodnih lepota i jezera Sete Cidades na severu ostrva São Miguel, preko sumpornih kupališta u mestašcu Furnas, do botaničkih vrtova sa svim vrstama egzotičnih biljaka i cveća, lokalnih sireva i vina, vulkana Piko na istoimenom ostrvu i sakralnih objekata od kojih se neki pretvaraju  hotele.

Boravaku takvom manastiru São Francisco uz duhovnu muziku davnih vremena bio je kao povratak u prošlost, susret sa moreplovcima koji su otkrivali ova ostrva početkom XV veka ili duhovima kaluđerica koje su živele u ćelijama manastira i gledale u pučinu koja jedina stalna.

Azorska ostrva su poslednja granica na Atlantiku.

Avgust 2013.                   

___________________________________________________________________

This archipelago of nine islands in the middle of the Atlantic is a true paradise for nature lovers and, as some scientists believe, could be the remnant of the legendary Atlantis. These islands are endowed with mountain chains and lush vegetation, mostly bushes of hydrangea at every turn; they are a blend of land and sea, with ancient volcanoes nestling hidden lagoons and lakes.

The islands are located almost half way between Europe and the US; a large number of their original inhabitants are to be found in Boston nowadays, but they are gradually going back to the Azores. No one can resist this beauty and tranquility, despite an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and being cut off from the rest of the world.

It is said that this magical place is as close to heaven as you can get on Earth. Born out of the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores connect American and European soils as if by an umbilical cord. The stature and kindness of the Azoreans, as well as their unusual history, are all documented in black volcanic slates that enclose all the churches and monasteries on the islands. Heavy yet fertile soil, surrounded by volcanoes and infinite sea, gives its people everything they need. The list is endless: the natural beauty of the lakes Sete Cidades in the north of São Miguel island, the sulphur baths in the small town of Furnas, the botanical gardens with all sorts of exotic plants and flowers, the local cheese and wine, the volcanic Mount Pico on Pico island, the sacral monuments, some of which have been turned into hotels…

Staying at the Monastery of São Francisco while listening to the sacral music of times gone by, transported me to a distant past – I felt as though I had met the sea explorers who discovered these islands at the start of the 15th century, or the ghosts of the nuns who occupied these monastic cells, gazing at the sea, the only unchanging element around here.

The Azores are the last frontier in the Atlantic.

August 2013

 

POLJSKA – POLAND – POLSKA

Spoljne zidine Varsavskog zamka-Warsaw Barbican

Spoljne zidine Varsavskog zamka-Warsaw Barbican

Spomenik Frederiku Sopenu-Frederic Chopin's monument

Spomenik Frederiku Sopenu-Frederic Chopin’s monument

Spomenik pesniku Adamu Mickievicu i crkva Svete Marije Vaznesenske-Monument of the poet Adam Mickiewicz and St. Mary Ascension Church

Spomenik pesniku Adamu Mickievicu i crkva Svete Marije Vaznesenske-Monument of the poet Adam Mickiewicz and St. Mary Ascension Church

Trg Starog mesta u Varsavi-Old Town Market Place in Warsaw

Trg Starog mesta u Varsavi-Old Town Market Place in Warsaw

Varsavska sirena-The Warsaw Mermaid

Varsavska sirena-The Warsaw Mermaid

Crkva Svete Marije Vaznesenske-St. Mary Ascension Church

Crkva Svete Marije Vaznesenske-St. Mary Ascension Church

Krakovska kapija u starom gradu u Lublinu-Cracow Gate in the Old Town in Lublin

Krakovska kapija u starom gradu u Lublinu-Cracow Gate in the Old Town in Lublin

Kraljevski zamak-Royal Castle Kr+¦lewski

Kraljevski zamak-Royal Castle Kr+¦lewski

Mladenci ispred zamka u Lublinu-Newlyweds in front of the Lublin Castle

Mladenci ispred zamka u Lublinu-Newlyweds in front of the Lublin Castle

Palata kulture i nauke-Palace of Culture and Science

Palata kulture i nauke-Palace of Culture and Science

Pokret Solidarnost 30 godina kasnije-Trade Union Solidarity 30 years later

Pokret Solidarnost 30 godina kasnije-Trade Union Solidarity 30 years later

Predsednicka palata-Presidential Palace

Predsednicka palata-Presidential Palace

Uz zvuke jedne od Šopenovih etida počinju moja razmišljanja o ovoj zemlji i
njenom najvećem kompozitoru. U centru Varšave, glavnog grada Poljske, nalazi
se Lazienki Park, letnja rezidencija poslednjeg poljskog kralja iz XVIII
veka, i u njemu, u vrtu ruža, spomenik Frederiku Šopenu. Uvek sam, kao
opsednut, dugo stajao ispred njega i posmatrao stilizovanu Šopenovu ruku u
laganom padu preko klavirskih dirki. Mladalačka glava sa romantičnom
frizurom iz tog vremena, zatvorene oči u potrazi za izgubljenom notom i
plašt koji treperi kao preludijum, oblikuju njegov lik u jednu vanvremensku
sonatu, kako života tako i prerane smrti. Njegov spomenik je u parku, srce u
katedrali, telo na groblju u Parizu, a njegova muzika u svima onima koji je
vole. Poljaci to dobro znaju i poštuju tradiciju nedeljnih koncerata na ovom
mestu.
Varšava je jedan od gradova koji su bili skoro potpuno razoreni u Drugom
svetskom ratu,  a poljski narod mnogo propatio u periodu novije istorije.
Bila je to prva zemlja koju je okupirala nacistička Nemačka 1939. godine,
kada je Evropa konačno razumela poruku novog poretka, koji je godinama
narastao tu pred njenim očima. Šest miliona ljudi izgubila je ova zemlja u
Drugom svetskom ratu, najviše u zloglasnim koncentracionim logorima, da bi
zatim, posle oslobođenja, pripala sovjetskoj zoni uticaja. Upravo na dan mog
rođendana, ali dve godine pre mog dolaska na svet, nastao je Varšavski pakt,
kojim je obeležen period takozvane gvozdene zavese u Istočnoj Evropi.
Poljske muke tako su se nastavile još pola veka.
U tom razdoblju moja generacija, koja je unekoliko bila sa druge strane
zavese, ali ipak u njenoj senci, volela je da odlazi na skijanje u zimske
centre u Poljskoj, posebno Zakopane. Sa ono malo para koje smo tada imali,
osećali smo se kao pravi kapitalisti a toj zemlji, a često i kao donžuani
koji to kod kuće nikako nismo mogli biti. Poljska je tada za nas bio
Eldorado, zemlja u kojoj se sve moglo i sve bilo dostupno, bar ono malo
stvari koje čine ranu mladost srećnijom.
Ubrzo zatim pojavio se Leh Valensa i pokret Solidarnost, koji je
simbolizovao bunt Istočne Evrope protiv totalitarizma, ali i naš bunt protiv
svih društvenih pojava koje nam se nisu dopadale, a koje nismo umeli da
objasnimo. Šezdeset osma nam je možda promakla, ali je brodogradilište u
Gdanjsku počelo da nam otvara vidike. Talas promena krenuo je svojim
nezaustavljivim tokom. I kao što je nekada davno najpoznatiji poljski
astronom, Nikola Kopernik, izveo galaktičku revoluciju i skrenuo centar
sveta sa Zemlje na Sunce, tako je i budući poljski predsednik pokrenuo
revoluciju, koja je kasnije srušila gvozdenu zavesu.
Tih dana Poljska je ušla u centar sveta.

Mart 1994.
_________________________________________________________

I start thinking about this country and its greatest composer while I listen
to the sounds of one of Chopin’s etudes. In the capital city Warsaw’s centre
you can find Lazienki Park, a summer residence of the last Polish king from
the 18th century. In its rose garden there is a statue of Frederic Chopin. I
would always stand, as though mesmerised, in front of the statue gazing at
Chopin’s hand hovering above the piano keys. His youthful face with a
romantic hairstyle from that period, eyes closed while searching for that
missing note, his cape billowing like a prelude to a new tune – all this
shapes Chopin into a timeless sonata, the sonata of his life and his
untimely death. His statue is in the park, his heart is in the cathedral,
his body in a Paris cemetery while his music lives on in all those who
appreciate it. Polish people know this very well as they observe a tradition
of  Sunday Chopin concerts at this place.
Warsaw was one of those cities that was almost completely devastated during
the Second World War and Polish people have suffered a lot, especially in
their recent history. This was the first country occupied by Nazi Germany in
1939 when Europe finally grasped the meaning of the New World Order, despite
it growing for years in front of Europe’s very eyes. This country lost six
million people during the Second Wolrd War, mainly in the notorious
concentration camps, only to fall into the Soviet interest zone following
the liberation. Exactly on my birthday, but two years before I came into
this world, the Warsaw Pact was signed, thus marking the beginning of the
Iron Curtain period in Eastern Europe. So Polish suffering continued for
another fifty years.                      During that period, my
generation, which was in a way outside the Iron Curtain, yet still in its
shadow, used to like to go skiing to Polish winter resorts, especially
Zakopane. With the little money we had, we felt like proper capitalists in
this country, and we also felt like Don Juans, which we could not be at home
at all. For us at that time, Poland was like Eldorado, a country where
everything was possible and everything was within reach, at least those few
things that make early youth happier.
Soon after, Lech Walesa and his Solidarity movement appeared, symbolising
the resistance of Eastern Europe towards totalitarianism, but also a
resistance towards all those social issues that we did not like but could
not explain. Maybe we missed 1968, but the events at the Gdansk Shipyard
started to open our eyes. A wave of change started to roll, unstoppable in
its force. And just like the most famous Polish astronomer, Nicolaus
Copernicus, carried out a galactic revolution by moving the centre of the
world from the Earth to the Sun, long ago, so did the future Polish
president start a revolution, which later brought the Iron Curtain down.
And that is when Poland became the centre of the world.

March 1994

PERU – PERU – PERÚ

Jedna lama sama-A lonely llama

Jedna lama sama-A lonely llama

Jezero na Kordiljerima-A lake in the Cordilleras

Jezero na Kordiljerima-A lake in the Cordilleras

Karavan lama-Llamas in the caravan

Karavan lama-Llamas in the caravan

Katedrala Santo Domingo u Kusku-Santo Domingo Cathedral in Cusco

Katedrala Santo Domingo u Kusku-Santo Domingo Cathedral in Cusco

Lame-The llamas

Lame-The llamas

Macu Pikcu-sveti grad Inka-Machu Picchu-Inca sanctuary

Macu Pikcu-sveti grad Inka-Machu Picchu-Inca sanctuary

Male lame-Small llamas

Male lame-Small llamas

Na visoravni Altiplano-On the Peruvian Altiplano

Na visoravni Altiplano-On the Peruvian Altiplano

Plutajuca ostrva na jezeru Titikaka-Floating islands on the Lake Titicaca

Plutajuca ostrva na jezeru Titikaka-Floating islands on the Lake Titicaca

Trg San Martin u Limi-Plaza San Martin in Lima

Trg San Martin u Limi-Plaza San Martin in Lima

Ulicna scena-A street scene

Ulicna scena-A street scene

Amazonski lenjivac-The Amzon sloth

Amazonski lenjivac-The Amzon sloth

Are-Macaws in Tambopata National Reserve of Peruvian Amazon

Are-Macaws in Tambopata National Reserve of Peruvian Amazon

Arheolosko nalazi+íte Sipan-Sipan archaeological site

Arheolosko nalazi+íte Sipan-Sipan archaeological site

Camci od trske na jezeru Titikaka-Boats made of reeds on Titikaka lake

Camci od trske na jezeru Titikaka-Boats made of reeds on Titikaka lake

Crvene are u peruanskoj Amazoniji-Red macaws in the Peruvian Amazon

Crvene are u peruanskoj Amazoniji-Red macaws in the Peruvian Amazon

Geolinije Naska civilizacije-Geoglyphs of Nazca Civilization

Geolinije Naska civilizacije-Geoglyphs of Nazca Civilization

Indijanke na plutajucem ostrvu jezera Titikaka-Indian women on the floating island of the Lake Titicaca

Indijanke na plutajucem ostrvu jezera Titikaka-Indian women on the floating island of the Lake Titicaca

Indioski ritual na jezeru Titikaka-An Indian ritual by the Lake Titicaca

Indioski ritual na jezeru Titikaka-An Indian ritual by the Lake Titicaca

Viva el Peru

Viva el Peru

Usamljana Indijanka-A lonely Indian woman on Titikaka Lake

Usamljana Indijanka-A lonely Indian woman on Titikaka Lake

Svi putevi vode u Kusko, drevnu prestonicu Inka. Mene su putevi novih
Peruanaca doveli do njih samih, kada su me, kao počasnog konzula, imenovali
da predstavljam njihovu zemlju u svojoj zemlji.
Odlazak u Kusko je kao odlazak u središte sveta, jednu od najzagonetnijih
civilizacija koje su ikada postojale, u “pupak sveta” na kečua jeziku, za
kojim je, prema predanju, tragao prvi Inka, Manko Kapak. Sve ostalo je čudna
mešavina istorijskih činjenica, tajanstvenih arheoloških otkrića i beskrajne
fikcije, koji prave zaplet oko nastanka, veličanstvenog uspona i potpunog
kraja naroda Inka. Inke su, ipak, samo jedan od naroda koji su živeli na
ovim prostorima pre i posle njih i koji su stvarali svoje civilizacije, a od
kojih se neke tek u novije vreme otkrivaju. Skoro svako brdo duž pacifičke
obale krije ispod sebe po neku piramidu nekog naroda koji je prethodio
Inkama. Lutajući između tih brda, zamišljao sam nestvarnu scenu: da sva ona
budu otkopana i hramovi obnovljeni, bio bi to prizor na kome bi i stari Rim
zavideo.
Dudoko u carstvu Inka, Kusko ili Ciudad Puma kako ga nazivaju zato što ima
obris te svete životinje, ponovo doživljava svoj duhovni vrhunac
zahvaljujući velikom interesovanju spoljnog sveta za ovaj grad i njegovu
istoriju. Ni surovi konkvistadori nisu uspeli toliko da razruše svete
hramove oko Kuska, ni da odnesu tolike tone blaga koliko je ostalo njihovog
duhovnog nasleđa da lebdi oko stena, tako misteriozno pravilno uklopljenih u
savršenu arhitekturu hramova.
Pravi duhovni centar je ipak Maču Pikču, pred čijim obrisima svaka priča
gubi smisao i jer sve što znamo o njemu svedoči da je to tek mali deo onoga
što ćemo možda saznati jednog dana. To su stari narodi sa ovih prostora
uveliko znali i možda razumeli univerzalnost tog znanja. Dok promiču
usamljene lame, te divne životinje – stanovnici Anda, i ponekad zastanu i
dopuste mi da ih zagrlim, razmišljam o nekoj drugoj istoriji i budućnosti
sveta koju su stvarali narodi Inka, a potom nestali. Ostavili su nam
nedoumice koje nećemo i ne možemo razrešiti, pre nego što, možda, i sami
nestanemo.
Jezero Titikaka i njegova ploveća ostrva, amazonski deo Perua sa teško
prohodnim džunglama, neotkrivene civilizacije i skrivene piramide, španska
kolonijalna arhitektura, glavni grad Lima sa najviše oblačnih dana, na
liticama koje se nadvijaju iznad Pacifika -  sve je to Peru i još mnogo
više.
Sa neskrivenim entuzijazmom priča nam o svojoj zemlji peruanski ambasador
Elard Eskala tokom posete srpskom prestolonasledniku u Belom dvoru u
Beogradu. I otkriva neke tajne indioske medicine, koja leči najteže bolesti;
otkriva da Peru ima fakultete za kulinarstvo, da je zemlja koja mnogo pruža,
a o kojoj, možda, veoma malo znamo.
Deo misije približavanja ove zemlje sada je na meni, i ja se nadam da ću u
tome uspeti.

Novembar 1998.
__________________________________________________________

All the roads lead to Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca people. The
ways of contemporary Peruvians led me to themselves, when they appointed me
an Honorary Consul, to represent their country in my own.
Visiting Cusco is like going to the centre of the Earth; like visiting one
of the most mysterious civilisations of all times; it is like going to the
‘navel of the world’ in Kechua language, a place sought by Manco Cápac, the
first Inca, according to legend. Everything else is a strange mixture of
historical facts, mysterious archaelogical discoveries and endless fiction,
weaving a story around the origins, phenomenal rise and final demise of the
Inca people. Yet, the Incas were only one of the peoples who lived here
before and after others, who also developed their civilisations, some of
which are being discovered only recently. Almost every hill along the
Pacific shore conceals a pyramid of one of the predecessors to Incas.
Wandering around amongst these hills I imagined a surreal scene: all the
pyramids and temples are unearthed and restored; that would be a sight that
would put even ancient Rome to shame.
Deep in the Inca Empire, Cusco or Ciudad Puma, as it is also called because
it is shaped like this sacred animal, is yet again going through a spiritual
revival thanks to the renewed interest of the outside world in this city and
its history. Despite destroying the sacred temples around Cusco and
rampaging tonnes of treasure, the cruel conquistadors did not manage to
anihilate the spiritual heritage which appears to be hovering around the
rocks which mysteriously and symmetrically fit into the perfect architecture
of the temples.
Yet, the true spiritual center is Machu Picchu, the sight of which defies
any comprehension, because all we know about it only points to the much
larger unknown, which we may find out about one day. Perhaps the ancient
peoples from this area had all this knowledge and understood the universal
value of it. While lonely llamas pass by, these beautiful animals that
inhabit the Andes, sometimes stopping in their tracks and letting me hug
them, I keep thinking about a different history and a different future
created by the Incas that could have happened, had they not disappeared.
They left us with dilemmas which we cannot and probably will not solve,
before we disappear ourselves.
Lake Titicaca and its floating islands, the impenetrable Amazonian jungles
of Peru, undiscovered civilisations and hidden pyramids, the Spanish
colonial architecture, the capital Lima on the cliffs hanging over the
Pacific, boasting the highest number of cloudy days – all this is Peru, and
much more.
Elard Escala, the Peruvian Ambassador, talks with obvious enthusiasm about
his country, during his visit to the Serbian Crown Prince at Beli Dvor
(White Court). He reveals some secrets of the Indios traditional medicine
which are said to cure the gravest illnesses; he reveals to us that Peru has
culinary universities, that Peru is a country offering a lot, about which we
probably know very little.
Getting closer to knowing Peru is partly my mission now, and I hope I will
succeed in it.

November 1998

PARAGVAJ – PARAGUAY

Nacionalna palata-National Pantheon of the Heroes

Nacionalna palata-National Pantheon of the Heroes

Predsednicka palata u glavnom gradu-The Lopez Presidential Palace at Asuncion

Predsednicka palata u glavnom gradu-The Lopez Presidential Palace at Asuncion

Reka Parana i grad  Ciudad del Este-Parana River and Ciudad del Este

Reka Parana i grad Ciudad del Este-Parana River and Ciudad del Este

Ulaz u Panteon-Entrance in Pantheon

Ulaz u Panteon-Entrance in Pantheon

Ulaz u Paragvaj-Entering the country

Ulaz u Paragvaj-Entering the country

Ulicni suveniri-Street souvenirs

Ulicni suveniri-Street souvenirs

Zeleznicka stanica u Asunsionu-Asuncion train station

Zeleznicka stanica u Asunsionu-Asuncion train station

Autobus za glavni grad-A bus heading to the capital

Autobus za glavni grad-A bus heading to the capital

Drvo zakaranda u cvetu kraj predsednicke palate-Jacaranda in bloom by the Presidental Palace

Drvo zakaranda u cvetu kraj predsednicke palate-Jacaranda in bloom by the Presidental Palace

Hotel Guarani

Hotel Guarani

Katedrala u glavnom gradu-Cathedral of Asuncion

Katedrala u glavnom gradu-Cathedral of Asuncion

Kolonijalne zgrade u Asunsionu-Colonial buildings in Asuncion

Kolonijalne zgrade u Asunsionu-Colonial buildings in Asuncion

Lep kolonijalni stil-Beautiful colonial style

Lep kolonijalni stil-Beautiful colonial style

Zarobljene u sredini kontinenta, između ostalih latinoameričkih zemalja, Paragvaj i Bolivija su jedine zemlje u ovom regionu koje nemaju izlaz na more. Paragvaj zato nazivaju i srcem Amerike. Dugo je ležao zatočen u svojoj konzervativnoj prošlosti, vojnoj diktaturi, strahu od komunizma, skrivanju nacističkih zločinaca. Bila je to zemlja o kojoj se veoma malo znalo, pored ostalog i o tome da se neko vreme u njoj krio zloglasni doktor Mengele, zvani Anđeo smrti. Tadašnji diktator Alfredo Stresner bio je poreklom Nemac i pod njegovom zaštitom mnogi nacisti našli su utočište u Paragvaju.
Prelazim preko ogromnog mosta na reci Parana, koja mirno teče ispod njega. Kao da ne očekuje da će se, nedaleko od tog mesta, ispod nje otvoriti zemlja i pretvoriti u džinovsku pukotinu. Tu nastaju Iguasu vodopadi, jedni od najimpresivnijih na svetu, koji se nalaze na tromeđi Argentine, Brazila i Paragvaja.  Na mostu, kao da niko toga nije svestan, kao da to nikoga ne zanima. Svi su krenuli u potragu za nekim malim biznisom na paragvajskoj strani, u gradić lepog imena – Istočni grad, Ciudad del Este. Reka ljudi prelazi most, na kome se na jednom kraju nalazi brazilska, a na drugom paragvajska pogranična policija, koje kao da ne zanima ko sve tuda prolazi. Ne bi ni mogli da obave kontrolu nad tom beskonačnom rekom ljudi i vozila, koja skoro nikada ne prestaje da protiče. Svako je krenuo na svoju stranu, ali svi putevi pre toga vode u Istočni grad, u tu veliku bescarinsku zonu, u kojoj preovladava kineska roba. I svako tu ima neki, samo njemu znani, interes koji ga primorava da prenosi robu sa jedne strane na drugu stranu, u potrazi za neznatnom zaradom.
Brojni autobusi sa natpisom Asunción dolaze ovde iz glavnog grada Paragvaja, koji se veoma razlikuje od ovde viđenog. To je tiha prestonica iz kolonijalnog perioda, koja je prerasla u moderan grad. Inače, njegovo potpuno ime skoro sigurno je najduže na svetu: La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción. Jedan je od najstarijih gradova u Južnoj Americi još iz davne 1537. godine, mesto polaska kolonijalnih ekspedicija u osvajanje ovih teritorija, ali i među prvim gradovima u kojima je narod ustao protiv španske kolonijalne vlasti u Južnoj Americi.  Smešten je na obali reke Paragvaj, nasuprot Argentine, gde uživa u svojoj tropskoj klimi tokom cele godine, kao i u prostranim zelenim parkovima, kontrastima moderne i kolonijalne arhitekture, ali i u fudbalu, kao glavnoj nacionalnoj opsesiji.

Avgust 2006.
______________________________________________________________________

Landlocked in the centre of this continent, between other Latin American countries, Paraguay and Bolivia are the only countries in the region without access to the sea. That is why Paraguay has been called the ‘heart of America.’ Paraguay has been confined for a long time in its conservative past, its military dictatorship and a fear of communism, while providing refuge to Nazi war criminals. It used to be a country that no one knew much about, including the fact that the notorious Dr Mengele, called the Angel of Death, was hiding there for a while. The dictator at the time was Alfredo Stroessner, who was of German descent, hence many Nazis found a sanctuary in Paraguay under his protection.
I cross the huge bridge over the Paraná River which flows peacefully below. There is nothing to suggest that, not far from here, the Earth opens into a gigantic chasm beneath the river’s flow. This is where one of the most impressive waterfalls in the world, the Iguaçu Waterfalls come into existence, at the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. People crossing the bridge seem unaware of this, as though this is of no concern to them whatsoever. They have all come in search of business opportunities to the Paraguayan side, to the beautifully named Eastern City, Ciudad del Este. The river of people cross the bridge which is manned by the Brazilian border police at one end and with the Paraguayan one at the other; they do not seem to be interested in who is crossing over. Had they even wanted, they would not have been able to control the endless river of people and vehicles that never stops flowing. Everyone is going their own way, but all the routes lead to Eastern City first, this big duty free zone where Chinese goods are prevalent. And so everyone pursues their own interest, known only to them, while moving the goods from one side to the other, in search of a meagre profit.
Many buses come from Asunción, Paraguay’s capital city, which is very different from this place. It is a quiet capital from the colonial period which has grown into a modern city. The city’s full name is most likely one of the longest in the world – La Muy Noble y Leal Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción. One of the oldest cities in Latin America, dating back to 1537, it used to be a starting point for the colonial expeditions leading to the conquest of new territories, but it was also the city that, among the first, stood up against the Spanish colonial rule in Latin America. It is situated on the bank of the Paraguay River, opposite Argentina, enjoying its tropical climate all year round, as well as its vast green parks, contrasting modern and colonial architecture, but also football – a major national obsession.

August 2006

PAPUA NOVA GVINEJA – PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Majka, deca i prase-Mother, children and the piglet

Majka, deca i prase-Mother, children and the piglet

Mali avion na travnatoj pisti kraj aerodromske zgrade-A small plane on the grass runway by the airport building

Mali avion na travnatoj pisti kraj aerodromske zgrade-A small plane on the grass runway by the airport building

 

Pripadnici naroda Huli ili naroda perika - Huli or wig people

Pripadnici naroda Huli ili naroda perika – Huli or wig people

Pripadnici naroda Huli ili naroda perika- Huli or wig people

Pripadnici naroda Huli ili naroda perika- Huli or wig people

Pripadnici naroda Huli ili naroda perika-Huli or wig people

Pripadnici naroda Huli ili naroda perika-Huli or wig people

Punjenje gorivom-Refueling the plane

Punjenje gorivom-Refueling the plane

Radovi u polju-Field work

Radovi u polju-Field work

Seoski poglavica ukrasen perima rajske ptice-The village chief decorated with the paradise bird's feathers

Seoski poglavica ukrasen perima rajske ptice-The village chief decorated with the paradise bird’s feathers

Spremanje hrane na obali reke Sepik-Preparing food on the shore of Sepik River

Spremanje hrane na obali reke Sepik-Preparing food on the shore of Sepik River

Stariji razred peva himnu-Singing the national anthem

Stariji razred peva himnu-Singing the national anthem

Donji kapci-Lower eyelids

Donji kapci-Lower eyelids

Dve zene seoskog staresine-Two wives of the village chief

Dve zene seoskog staresine-Two wives of the village chief

Kanuom po reci Karavari-Kanoe ride along the Karawari river

Kanuom po reci Karavari-Kanoe ride along the Karawari river

Ovako spava da ne pokvari frizuru-The way he sleeps not to spoil haircut

Ovako spava da ne pokvari frizuru-The way he sleeps not to spoil haircut

Divlja lepota. To je pravi izraz za ovu zemlju u kojoj je sve divlje:
neobuzdana priroda koja sledi samo svoje zakone i ne prilagođava se nikome,
divlji narodi koji tu žive i koji se prilagođavaju samo prirodi, ali ne i
jedni drugima. Ovde nema zakonitosti na koje smo navikli u takozvanom
civilizovanom svetu. Ovde svaki narod, svako pleme i svaki klan imaju svoje
zakone i pravila. Jer oni su saznali da postoji neki drugi svet tek
tridesetih godina XX veka. U pojedinim delovima zemlje kanibalizam je još
uvek normalna, ritualna pojava. Na taj način se, između stalog,  kažnjava
neprijatelj ako je ušao na tuđu teritoriju i ukrao prase, koje je, inače,
najvažnije sredstvo plaćanja. Njima se, između ostalog, kupuju i žene, prema
kojima papuanska kultura nema nikakvog poštovanja. Kad je već kupljena i
plaćena brojnim prasićima, žena postaje objekat kojim se u potpunosti
raspolaže, a veoma često tuče i ponižava. U suštini takvog odnosa leži
iskonski strah od žene i njenih magija. Zbog toga se muškarci od malih nogu
uče kletvama kojima će se odbraniti od njih i zato žive odvojeno od žena. U
njihovim selima kuće za muškarce nalaze se u prvom redu, a smeštaj za žene,
decu i prasići na začelju sela.
Vijugava reka Karavari preseca ogromnu neprohodnu džunglu, koja, saznanjem
koliko ste izolovani od bilo kog dela sveta, samo podseća na zelenu smrt.
Aviončić dvosed, koji je s teškom mukom sleteo na improvizovanu travnatu
stazu, jedina je veza sa svetom, a ponovo će doći verovatno za nekoliko
dana. Gromovi koji udaraju nad rekom kao da su na dohvat ruke. Malarija je
normalna pojava. Ipak, kad svane dan, krstarenje rekom daruje svu lepotu
netaknute prirode i plemena koja žive svojim izvornim životom duž reka
Karavari i Sepik.  Tu je čak i škola u kojioj deca pevaju papuansku himnu
gostima. Sve deluje idilično, a ipak nestvarno, zbog saznanja da možda samo
par kilometara odatle živi neki drugi narod, sa drugačijim jezikom i drugim
običajima od ovog među kojim se nalazite, možda čak neprijateljski. I tako
oko osam stotina plemenskih grupa ili klanova i isto toliko jezika. Neki su
do pre sedamdeset godina živeli u totalnoj izolaciji od sveta, u
nepristupačnim dolinama koje su danas antropološki raj.
Kroz guste oblake s teškom mukom slećemo na teritoriju jednog od
najkoloritnijih naroda koji se zove Huli. Ljudi su okićeni perima rajske
ptice i sa neobično oblikovanom kosom. To su perike čudnog oblika, od kose
koja raste tokom pola godine usamljeničkog života mladića u džungli. Nakon
što dovoljno izraste, od kose se napravi perika, koja se na poseban način
oblikuje pomoću dugih drvenih igala, često boji u crveno i kasnije koristi u
ceremonijama. Lica se premazuju svim bojama, a zajedno sa maskama, kljovama,
perjem i školjkama provučenim kroz uši i nozdrve, kao i mnogim životinjskim
detaljima na sebi, veoma često deluju zastrašujuće. To verovatno i jeste
svrha: uplašiti protivnika.
Plemenski sukobi ni danas nisu retkost, pa se poneki neprijatelj katkada
ritualno pojede. Brojni misionari kroz svoje crkve neprestano propovedaju da
se to više ne radi, pa ako pritom i neko od njih bude pojeden, tako je,
valjda, moralo biti.
Svaki posao nosi svoj rizik.

Mart 2008.
__________________________________________________________

Wild beauty. That is the correct description of a country in which
everything is wild: the untamed nature obeying only its own laws and not
adapting to anything or anyone, wild peoples who live here and adapt only to
nature, but not to one another. There are no rules that we are used to in
the so-called civilised society. All the peoples, tribes and clans here have
their separate rules and laws. They actually found out that another,
different world exists outside their own, only in the 1930s. In certain
parts of the country cannibalism is still a regular ritual occurrence. This
is also a means of taking revenge on an enemy, amongst other ways, if found
trespassing and stealing a piglet which is the most important payment
instrument. Pigs are also used to buy women for whom the Papuan culture has
no respect whatsoever. When a woman is bought and paid for by numerous
piglets, she becomes an object at her master’s total disposal and very often
she is beaten and humiliated. At the core of such a relationship is a
rudimentary fear of women and their magic devices. That is why men are
taught, from a very early age, to curse women in order to repel their magic,
and they live separately from them. In their villages, men’s huts are in the
front row whereas the accommodation housing women, children and pigs is at
the very back.
The winding Karawari River cuts through a vast, impenetrable jungle, which
reminds me of green death especially after I find out how isolated you are
here from the rest of the world. A small, two seater airplane, landing on an
improvised grass path with great difficulty, is the only connection with the
outside world and it is going to return, probably, in a few days’ time. A
clap of thunder and lightning above the river seem to be so near that you
could reach them with your hand. Malaria is a regular occurrence. Yet, when
the day breaks and you cruise down the river, you receive a gift of beauty
of the untouched nature and the tribes who live their primordial lives along
the rivers Karawari and Sepik. There is even a primary school where children
sing the Papuan national anthem to the foreign visitors. Everything seems
idyllic, yet surreal because of the knowledge that, maybe, only a few
kilometres away another tribe with a different language is to be found,
their customs completely different from those of the people you are with;
they could even be hostile. And there are around 800 various tribes and as
many languages. Some of them have lived in total isolation until some
seventy years ago, in inaccessible valleys which are now an exploratory
anthropologist’s heaven.
Through heavy clouds and with great difficulty we land on the territory of
one of the most colourful tribes, the Huli. Their people are decorated with
Bird of paradise feathers and their hair is styled unusually. They wear
unusual wigs which are crafted from human hair – young men’s – who spend
half a year in isolation in the jungle. Once enough hair has grown, it is
made into a wig shaped by special long wooden sticks, it is dyed in red and
then worn at various ceremonies. The faces are painted in all colours, and
together with masks, tusks, feathers and shells fixed through pierced
earlobes and nostrils, and many animal details on their bodies, they present
a very scary picture. That is probably the purpose of it all: to scare the
enemy away.
Tribal clashes are not uncommon even today, and sometimes the enemy is eaten
up as part of the ritual. Numerous missionaries preach, through their
various churches, that this is not acceptable any more, and then when some
of them get cannibalised, it was, perhaps, God’s will.
Every occupation carries its own risks.

March 2008

PANAMA – PANAMA – PANAMÁ

Novi deo Panama Sitija-Cinta Costera-the new part of Panama City

Novi deo Panama Sitija-Cinta Costera-the new part of Panama City

Predsednicka palata-Palacio de las Garzas

Predsednicka palata-Palacio de las Garzas

Prolazak kroz kanal-Passing through the Canal

Prolazak kroz kanal-Passing through the Canal

Staro spansko utvrdjenje-Old Spanish fortress on Isla Grande

Staro spansko utvrdjenje-Old Spanish fortress on Isla Grande

Trg Bolivar u starom gradu-Bolivar Square in old city Casco Viejo

Trg Bolivar u starom gradu-Bolivar Square in old city Casco Viejo

Ulica luckog gradica Kolon - A street in the port town of Colon

Ulica luckog gradica Kolon – A street in the port town of Colon

Ulica luckog gradica Kolon-A street in the port town of Colon

Ulica luckog gradica Kolon-A street in the port town of Colon

Ulicni poslovi-The street bussines

Ulicni poslovi-The street bussines

Autobus koji je vozio kroz Centralnu Ameriku-Tica Bus which used to drive through Central America

Autobus koji je vozio kroz Centralnu Ameriku-Tica Bus which used to drive through Central America

Crkva u kvartu Bela Vista-Iglesia del Carmen

Crkva u kvartu Bela Vista-Iglesia del Carmen

Glavna gradska katedrala-Metropolitan Cathedral

Glavna gradska katedrala-Metropolitan Cathedral

Isla Grande

Isla Grande

Kuna indijanka-The Kuna Indian woman

Kuna indijanka-The Kuna Indian woman

Lenjivac na doku-The sloth on the dock

Lenjivac na doku-The sloth on the dock

Narodno pozoriste i crkva San Francisko-National Theatre and the San Francisco Church

Narodno pozoriste i crkva San Francisko-National Theatre and the San Francisco Church

Narodno pozoriste i crkva San Francisko-The National Theatre and the San Francisco Church

Narodno pozoriste i crkva San Francisko-The National Theatre and the San Francisco Church

Narodno pozoriste i zvonik crkve San Francisko-National Theatre and the belltower of the San Francisco Church

Narodno pozoriste i zvonik crkve San Francisko-National Theatre and the belltower of the San Francisco Church

Narodno pozoriste Paname-Panama's National Theatre

Narodno pozoriste Paname-Panama’s National Theatre

Novi deo Panama Sitija - Cinta Costera-the new part of Panama City

Novi deo Panama Sitija – Cinta Costera-the new part of Panama City

Na dugom putovanju kroz Centralnu Ameriku, konačno odredište velikog limenog
autobusa kompanije Tica Bus bio je grad Panama, Panama City, ili još
pravilnije Ciudad de Panamá, glavni grad te zemlje. Bio je to i naporan put
kroz sve zemlje ovog regiona -  od Gvatemale do Paname. Ujedno i put
zadovoljstva obilaskom ovih malih zemalja na tako neobičan način.
Iako sam mnogo putovao po tropskim predelima, u jednom trenutku sam pomislio
da je oval grad najtoplije mesto na svetu. Posebno je bilo vrelo među
zidinama stare Paname, Panamá Vieja, koja je davno stradala, i to nekoliko
puta, u požarima ili pljačkaškim napadima čuvenog karipskog gusara Henrija
Morgana. Ostaci utvrđenja, kao u katedrale u Starom gradu, nemo svedoče o
nekadašnjoj slavi, a ona se danas vraća ovom gradu u vidu oblakodera,
kockarnica i svih drugih obličja savremenog sveta. Stari kolonijani deo
grada, San Felipe, a posebno Francuski trg, katedrala i crkve San Hose i
Santo Domingo, ili pozorište koje pomalo podseća na milansku Skalu, ipak su
mnogo lepši i značajniji.
Ova zemlja je svakako najpoznatija po čuvenom Panamskom kanalu, izgrađenom
pre skoro sto godina, uz ogroman broj žrtava. Težilo se, ipak, da se
opravdaju žrtve koje svakako nisu bili Francuzi koji su otpočeli gradnju,
niti Amerikanci koji su je završili, već lokalna radna snaga. Veoma je
impresivan utisak koji ostavlja prolazak gigantskih brodova kroz tesne
kanale i ustave, dok ih sa bokova vuku male lokomotive. Sam pojam da se kroz
taj tesnac spajaju dve najveće vode na svetu, Atlantik i Pacifik, čini ovo
mesto čudesnim, ili bar drugačijim od ostalih. Spajanje velikih vodenih
celina čini bilo koje mesto energetski jakim.
Na drugom, atlantskom kraju ovog prolaza, nalazi se poznati arhipelag San
Blas, sa više stotina ostrvaca, od kojih je pedesetak naseljeno Kuna
indijancima. Oni su ovde od davnina živeli na svoj tradicionalan način i
znatno drugačije od španskih doseljenika. Daleko od civilizacije, na svojim
rajskim ostrvima, oni stotinama godina žive isti život, prave svoje nadaleko
čuvene mola tkanine i zaista izgledaju srećno. Samo poglavica komunicira sa
strancima, koji ih posećuju, i pregovara o prodaji tih tkanina jarkih boja i
specifičnih dezena, kao i ostalih rukotvorina. Snimanje na nekom obližnjem
pustom ostrvu serijala Surviver njih verovatno mnogo ne dotiče.
Oni veoma dobro znaju kako da prežive u svom ambijentu.

Mart 1992.
________________________________________________________

On my long journey through Central America, the final destination of a large
tin bus belonging to the Tica Bus company, was Panama City, or more
precisely, Ciudad de Panamá, the capital city of this country. It was an
exhausting trip through all the countries of this region, from Guatemala to
Panama. At the same time, it was a satisfying trip because I managed to
visit these small countries in such an unusual way.
Even though I have travelled through many places with tropical climates, I
thought in an instant that this place was possibly the hottest in the world.
It was especially hot between the walls of the old city, Panamá Vieja, which
has been devastated many times, in fires and robberies by the famous
Caribbean pirate, Henry Morgan. The remains of the fort, as well as the
cathedrals in the Old city, stand silently as witnesses of the former glory;
nowadays, this glory is reclaimed in the shape of skyscrapers, casinos and
all other shapes of modern life. Yet more beautiful and more significant
are: the old colonial part of the city – San Felipe, especially the French
Square, the cathedral and the churches of San José and Santo Domingo, or the
theatre which reminds somewhat of La Scala in Milan.
This country is certainly most known for the Panama Canal, built almost a
hundred years ago, whose construction brought on a huge number of victims.
There was a drive to justify this, but the victims were certainly not the
French who started the construction nor the Americans who finished it, but
the local workforce. The passing of gigantic ships through narrow canals and
locks, while small locomotives pull them from the sides, looks really
impressive. The very fact that the Earth’s two biggest waters, the Atlantic
and the Pacific, come together here, makes this place magical, or at least
different. The fusion of two huge water entities would make any place
powerful energy-wise.
At the other, Atlantic end of the Canal is the famous San Blas archipelago
with several hundred small islands out of which around 50 are inhabited by
the Kuna Indians. They have lived here since the olden days, according to
their own traditions and quite differently from the Spanish settlers. Far
away from civilisation, on their paradise islands, they have been living in
the same way for hundreds of years, producing their world famous mola
textiles but they look genuinely happy. Only the chieftain communicates with
visiting foreigners and negotiates the sale of these brightly coloured
fabrics with peculiar designs, as well as other handicraft. The shooting of
the Survivor series at one of the nearby deserted islands probably did not
touch them in the least.
They know very well how to survive in their own environment.

March 1992

PALESTINA – PALESTINE – فلسطين‎

Manastir Iskusenja iznad Jerihona-The Monastery of the Temptation overlooking Jericho

Manastir Iskusenja iznad Jerihona-The Monastery of the Temptation overlooking Jericho

Omarova dzamija u Vitlejemu-The Mosque of Omar in Bethlehem

Omarova dzamija u Vitlejemu-The Mosque of Omar in Bethlehem

Pecina Patrijarha ili Ibrahimova dzamija u Hebronu-The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron

Pecina Patrijarha ili Ibrahimova dzamija u Hebronu-The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron

Ruska pravoslavna crkva u Hebronu-The Russian Orthodox Church in Hebron (2)

Ruska pravoslavna crkva u Hebronu-The Russian Orthodox Church in Hebron (2)

Ruska pravoslavna crkva u Hebronu-The Russian Orthodox Church in Hebron

Ruska pravoslavna crkva u Hebronu-The Russian Orthodox Church in Hebron

Srebrna zvezda je mesto Hristovog rodjenja u crkvi u Vitlejemu-Star of the Nativity in Bethlehem

Srebrna zvezda je mesto Hristovog rodjenja u crkvi u Vitlejemu-Star of the Nativity in Bethlehem

U Arafatovoj kuci u Dzerihonu-In Arafat's house in Jericho

U Arafatovoj kuci u Dzerihonu-In Arafat’s house in Jericho

Ulica u Hebronu-A street in Hebron

Ulica u Hebronu-A street in Hebron

Arafatova soba u Jerihonu-Arafat's room in Jericho

Arafatova soba u Jerihonu-Arafat’s room in Jericho

Centar Jerihona-The centre of Jericho

Centar Jerihona-The centre of Jericho

Crkva Rodjenja Hristovog - The Church of the Nativity

Crkva Rodjenja Hristovog – The Church of the Nativity

Crkva Rodjenja Hristovog-The Church of the Nativity

Crkva Rodjenja Hristovog-The Church of the Nativity

Dzamija u centru Jerihona-A mosque in the centre of Jericho

Dzamija u centru Jerihona-A mosque in the centre of Jericho

Grobnica Jasera Arafata u Ramali-The Tomb of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah

Grobnica Jasera Arafata u Ramali-The Tomb of Yasser Arafat in Ramallah

Jerihon-Grad Meseca i dzamija sa plavim kupolama-Jericho-The City of the Moon and the Blue Domed Mosque

Jerihon-Grad Meseca i dzamija sa plavim kupolama-Jericho-The City of the Moon and the Blue Domed Mosque

Biblijsku teritoriju između Sredozemnog mora i reke Jordan veoma je teško podeliti. Država Izrael i država Palestina, koje se danas tu nalaze, kao i njihovi narodi, ne mogu vekovima da nađu pravo rešenje kojim bi bili zadovoljni i Palestinci i Jevreji.  Zapadna obala reke Jordan i Pojas Gaze najveće su palestinske teritorije ove zemlje koja, za sada, ima status posmatrača u Ujedinjenima nacijama. U tom statusu nalaze se samo Palestina i Vatikan.
O dugoj istoriji borbe za nezavisnost zemlje priča mi u zgradi ambasade palestinski ambasador u Srbiji, gospodin Mohammed Nabhan, dok mi pokazuje veoma staru monografiju te zemlje, sa crtežima od pre nekoliko stotina godina. Govori tečno srpski jer se ovde obrazovao, kao i veliki broj njegovih sunarodnika u vreme Titove Jugoslavije.
Prijateljstvo legendarnog predsednika Palestinske oslobodilačke organizacije (PLO) Jasera Arafata i Josipa Broza Tita toliko je decenijama jačalo, da nije bilo deteta iz moje generacije koje nije znalo za Arafata ili ga bar jednom dočekalo mašući zastavicom prilikom njegove posete Beogradu ili nekom drugom mestu u kome su se dvojica državnika sretali  i pokušavali da kroje svetsku politiku uz tompuse, kojima ih je snabdevao Fidel Kastro. Bio mi je simpatičan taj čovek niskog rasta, retke brade i širokog osmeha, sa uvek ležerno prebačenom tradicionalnom maramom, koja je postala simbol otpora, najpre izraelskoj okupaciji, a potom bilo čemu. Kad se u poznijim godinama oženio mladom i lepom palestinskom aktivistkinjom, više je bio u istoriji nego u aktuelnim političkim zbivanjima.
Od mog prijatelja ambasadora dobio sam palestinski pečat u pasoš i neke fotografije iz njegove zemlje. U priči sam putovao s njim kroz predele Palestine u kojima sam već bio i one u koje bih želeo da odem. Uz tradicionalni čaj bili smo u crkvi Hristovog rođenja, u Vitlejemu, u koju sam se sklonio pod kišom kamenja koje se sručilo na nedužne turiste. Nasmejao se na moju priču o tom incidentu, koji je verovatno nastao u trenutku nezadovoljstva Palestinaca izgradnjom novih izraelskih naselja na njihovim teritorijama. Ime grada na hebrejskom znači Kuća hleba. Zar nije sâm Isus rekao: “Ko tebe kamenom, ti njega hlebom?” Turisti, svakako, nisu krivi, ali neko mora da plati cenu. Ipak, boravak na ovom svetom mestu i pomisao na malog Hrista na srebrnoj zvezdi, koja simbolično najavljuje njegov dolazak, sigurno budi talas emocija. Car Konstantin, čije ime nosi i moj mlađi sin, podigao je ovde hram iznad pećine u kojoj se Isus rodio.
U priči me je zatim poveo kroz gradove na Zapadnoj obali, koje sam, sticajem srećnih okolnosti, ubrzo obišao sa svojim bratom Milanom i Prof. Radetom Kosanovićem u humanitarnoj misiji u bolnici u Hebronu. Tamo smo se uverili da su najslađe urme u okolini Jerihona, jednog od najstarijih naseljenih mesta na svetu – 11.000 godina neprekidno. Došli smo u priči do Golanske visoravni, a zatim i do Judejske pustinje, u čijem bespuću se krije srpski manastir Svetog Save Osvećenog, uklesan u stenama i bez električnog osvetljenja.
Palestinci se nikada neće odreći Jerusalima, koji je vekovima njihov sveti grad, dok je Ramala de facto administrativni centar palestinske države. Borba za svaku stopu Svete zemlje je neprekidna, jer to je borba za život koji mora opstati na tim biblijskim prostorima. A on nije nimalo lak, kad se za kretanje po sopstvenoj zemlji moraju stalno prelaziti izraelski kontrolni punktovi.
Mala zemlja u kojoj se uporno traži mesto za sve, čije je pravo da na njoj žive i nađu svoj mir.

Januar 2013.
______________________________________________________________________

The Biblical territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is very difficult to divide. The states of Israel and Palestine, situated in this space nowadays, as well as their peoples, have been unable to find the right solution for centuries, one that would suit both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The West Bank of the Jordan River and the Gaza strip are the largest Palestinian territories in this country, which presently has an observer status in the United Nations. This status has been held only by Palestine and the Vatican.
At the Embassy, Mr Mohammed Nabhan, the Palestinian Ambassador in Serbia, tells me the story of his country’s long history of fighting for independence while he shows me a very old  Palestinian monograph containing drawings several hundred years old. He speaks Serbian fluently as he was educated here, just like many other of his compatriots during Tito’s Yugoslavia.
The friendship between the legendary president of the Palestinian Liberation Army, Yasser Arafat, and Josip Broz Tito, grew so strong over the decades, that there has been no child of my generation who did not know Arafat, or did not greet him at least once. These welcomes happened during his visits to Belgrade, when children would wave little flags, or at other locations where the two statesmen met while trying to cut the new world order, puffing at Cuban cigars supplied by Fidel Castro. I felt some affinity towards this short man, with a sparse beard and a broad smile, a traditional scarf always nonchalantly thrown over his shoulders; the scarf that became the symbol of resistance, first to the Israeli occupation and then to anything and everything. When later in life he married a young and beautiful Palestinian female activist, he was already more part of history than an active participant in the current political life.
From my ambassador friend I received a stamp in my passport and some photographs from his country. In our conversation we travelled through various parts of Palestine, those that I have already visited and those that I had yet to see. While drinking traditional tea we found ourselves in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (the birthplace of Jesus), where I had taken cover from a deluge of stones that fell on innocent tourists. He laughed at my rendition of this incident, which probably happened at the time of Palestinian discontent with the development of new Israeli settlements on their territory. Bethlehem in Hebrew means ‘the house of bread’. Didn’t Jesus himself say: ‘Give thy bread to those who throw stones at you’. The tourists are certainly not to blame, but someone has to pay the price. Yet, being in this holy place with a thought of the baby Christ on a silver star, which symbolically announces his arrival, has to stir some emotions. Emperor Constantine, after whom my younger son was named, built a temple above the cave in which Jesus was born.
In his stories he took me through the cities on the West Bank, which I visited later with my brother Milan and Prof. Rade Kosanović during the humanitarian mission in the hospital in Hebron. We agreed that the sweetest dates were to be found around Jericho, one of the oldest settlements in the world – 11.000 in continuity. In our stories we reached the Golan Heights and then the Judean Desert in whose wasteland the Serbian Monastery of Saint Sava the Sanctified is tucked away, carved out of rocks and without electricity.
The Palestinians will never give up Jerusalem which has been their holy city for centuries, whereas Ramallah is a de facto administrative centre of the Palestinian state. The fight for every foot of the holy land is continuous because it is a fight for life which has to survive in these biblical territories. And this life is not easy at all when, while moving around your own country, you have to pass through Israeli checkpoints all the time.
This is a small country where everyone is always trying to assert their own space, all those who have the right to live here and find their peace.

January 2013

PALAU – PALAU – BELAU

Popodnevno kupanje-The afternoon bathing

Popodnevno kupanje-The afternoon bathing

Skolski autobus krstari ostrvom-The school bus picking up the children

Skolski autobus krstari ostrvom-The school bus picking up the children

Stenovita ostrva-Rock Islands

Stenovita ostrva-Rock Islands

The capitol building of Palau, Melekeok

The capitol building of Palau, Melekeok

Tradicionalna oslikana kuca-Traditional painted house

Tradicionalna oslikana kuca-Traditional painted house

Tuzni tropi-Tristes Tropiques

Tuzni tropi-Tristes Tropiques

Zgrada Nacionalnog kongresa-Palau National Congress

Zgrada Nacionalnog kongresa-Palau National Congress

Glavni grad Koror-The capital Koror

Glavni grad Koror-The capital Koror

Kanui iz Survajvera-Canoes from the Surviver

Kanui iz Survajvera-Canoes from the Surviver

Lepa usamljena plaza-A nice and lonely beach

Lepa usamljena plaza-A nice and lonely beach

Lepa usamljena plaza-A nice lonely beach

Lepa usamljena plaza-A nice lonely beach

Most prijateljstva-Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge

Most prijateljstva-Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge

Oseka-Low tide

Oseka-Low tide

Plima-High tide

Plima-High tide

Ostaci rata na Pacifiku-Remnants of WW2 at Pacific

Ostaci rata na Pacifiku-Remnants of WW2 at Pacific

Jedna od najmanjih i najmlađih zemalja na svetu, Palau je ostrvska državica
oblasti Mikronezije u zapadnom Pacifiku. “Tamo gde raj upada u more”, kaže
se u reklamnoj brošuri za ovu zemlju, što se, ipak, mora primiti sa izvesnom
rezervom kad se opisuju pacifička ostrva. To nisu uvek bele peščane plaže sa
zanosnim lepoticama u kokosovim kostimima, jer vrlo često plaže uopšte ne
postoje. To oštri koralni grebeni, dok “lepotice” mogu imati i do sto
kilograma, jer je to tipična odlika telesne građe naroda ovih regiona.
Svakako da postoji i ona lepša strana, koja je najizraženija u Francuskoj
Polineziji.
Da se jedan engleski brod Istočnoindijske kompanije, koja je tada vladala
Indijom i Dalekim istokom, nije nasukao na obale arhipelaga Palau krajem
XVIII veka, ko zna kada bi se čulo za njega, s obzirom na to da se nalazi
izvan glavnih pomorskih puteva. Kapetan Henri Vilson se toliko sprijateljio
sa kraljem, da mu je ovaj dozvolio da njegovog sina, mladog princa, odvede u
London na školovanje. Princ Li Bu je, nažalost, već sledeće godine tamo umro
od velikih boginja.
Zanimljiv je nemačko-španski kupoprodajni ugovor, prema kome Špansko
Kraljevstvo prodaje Nemačkoj Imperiji 1899. godine Marijanska ostrva,
Karolinska ostrva i Palau (bez ostrva Guam), dakle celu Mikroneziju. Nemci
su se tamo kratko zadržali, do kraja Prvog svetskog rata, kada su
administrirali Palau iz Nemačke Nove Gvineje. Potom je, između dva rata,
Palau prešao u ruke Japanaca, a zatim potpao pod američku vlast sve do
devedesetih godina XX veka, kada je ova zemlja stekla potpunu nezavisnost.
Groblje zarđalih japanskih tenkova svedok je vremena dominacije Japana na
Pacifiku.
Stenovita ostrva su prirodni fenomen u vidu čitavog arhipelaga preko puta
glavnog grada, koji se naziva Koror. Ostrvca su obrasla gustim zelenilom i
okružena su ili spojena belim peščanim plažama, što im daje jedinstvenu
lepotu.
Dve stotine godine stara tipična ostrvska kuća, sa krovom od guste trske i
lepo islikanim ribarskim motivima iznad ulaza, podseća na brod koji kao da
izranja iz šume palmi i čeka da bude porinut u lagunu, u kojoj mirno leže
raznobojni kanui, zaostali sa snimanja serije Surviver.
Lepota ostrva Palau je u njihovoj jednostavnosti, miru i udaljenosti od
sveta. Opšta uspavanost ove nacije danas je možda njihova velika prednost.
Ako to sebi mogu da dozvole, lepo je biti letargičan kao Paluanci.
Buđenje je ono što bi moglo biti opasno.

April 2005.
_________________________________________________________

One of the smallest and youngest countries in the world – Palau, is an
island state in the region of Micronesia in the West Pacific. ‘Where heaven
falls into the sea’ – is the slogan on the tourist brochure, but this has to
be taken not so seriously when describing the Pacific islands. They are not
always white sandy beaches with captivating beauties clad in coconut leaves,
because very often beaches do not exist on these islands. They are sharp
coral reefs, whereas ‘the beauties’ can weigh up to 100 kilograms, as this
is a typical body shape of the people in these regions. Of course, there is
a nicer side to it all, predominantly in the French Polynesia.
If one English boat, belonging to the East India Company which then ruled
India and the Far East, did not run aground on the shores of Palau
archipelago at the end of the 18th century, who knows if and when Palau
would have been discovered, as it lies outside the main marine routes.
Captain Henry Wilson befriended the local king to the point that he let him
take his son, the young prince, to London for schooling. Unfortunately,
Prince Lee Boo died there as early as the following year from small pox.
According to the German-Spanish Treaty from 1899, the Kingdom of Spain sold
to the German Empire the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands and Palau
(without Guam), which is basically the entire Micronesia. The Germans did
not stay long, until the end of World War I, when they ruled Palau from
German New Guinea. Then between the two wars, Palau fell into Japanese
hands, and then under American rule until the 1990s, when it finally won
full independence. A graveyard full of rusting Japanese tanks is testament
to the Japanese dominance on the Pacific.
Rock Islands situated across the capital city Koror, are a natural
phenomenon and they form an entire archipelago. They are covered with dense
greenery and are either surrounded or connected by white sandy beaches,
which makes them uniquely beautiful.
A typical island house, 200 years old, with a thatched roof and motifs from
a fishermen’s life painted above the entrance, reminds me of a ship which
appears to emerge from the palm trees and awaits launch in the lagoon, where
multi-coloured canoes, left from the shooting of The Survivor series, are
floating peacefully.
The beauty of the Palau islands is in their simplicity, tranquillity and
remoteness from the rest of the world. The sleepiness of their entire nation
may actually be an advantage in today’s world. If you can afford it, it
could be nice to be sleepy like a Palauan.
It is the waking up that can prove to be dangerous.

April 2005

PAKISTAN – PAKISTAN – پاكِستان‎

Skolski prevoz-A school vehicle

Skolski prevoz-A school vehicle

Ulicni prizor-A scene from the street

Ulicni prizor-A scene from the street

Umetnost u pokretu - The moving art

Umetnost u pokretu – The moving art

Umetnost u pokretu- The moving art

Umetnost u pokretu- The moving art

Umetnost u pokretu-The moving art

Umetnost u pokretu-The moving art

Apoteka-A medicine corner shop

Apoteka-A medicine corner shop

Autobus kao umetnicko delo i moj cuvar-A bus as a piece of art and my body guard

Autobus kao umetnicko delo i moj cuvar-A bus as a piece of art and my body guard

Butik naoruzanja i njegov gazda-An arms boutique and its owner

Butik naoruzanja i njegov gazda-An arms boutique and its owner

Islamski koledz u Pesavaru-The Islamic college in Peshawar

Islamski koledz u Pesavaru-The Islamic college in Peshawar

Istocnjacka brza hrana - Oriental fast food

Istocnjacka brza hrana – Oriental fast food

Istocnjacka brza hrana-Oriental fast food

Istocnjacka brza hrana-Oriental fast food

Muzej u Karaciju-Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi

Muzej u Karaciju-Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi

Muzej u Pesavaru-The Peshawar Museum

Muzej u Pesavaru-The Peshawar Museum

Na veceri sa Dr. Tahirom-At the dinner with Dr. Tahir

Na veceri sa Dr. Tahirom-At the dinner with Dr. Tahir

Nacionalni mauzolej osnivacu nacije-Mazar-e-Quaid-nation's father mausoleum

Nacionalni mauzolej osnivacu nacije-Mazar-e-Quaid-nation’s father mausoleum

Nasmejani prodavac-The smiling vendor

Nasmejani prodavac-The smiling vendor

Oslikana motorna riksa-A painted rickshaw

Oslikana motorna riksa-A painted rickshaw

Plaza u Karaciju-A beach in Karachi

Plaza u Karaciju-A beach in Karachi

Pogled iz hotela-A view from the Pearl Continental Hotel (2)

Pogled iz hotela-A view from the Pearl Continental Hotel (2)

Pogled na Kajberski prolaz prema Avganistanu-A view of Khyber Pass towards Afghanistan

Pogled na Kajberski prolaz prema Avganistanu-A view of Khyber Pass towards Afghanistan

Prodavac banana-A banana vendor

Prodavac banana-A banana vendor

Prodavac ptica-Selling birds

Prodavac ptica-Selling birds

Prodavac tipicnih kapa-A vendor of the typical caps

Prodavac tipicnih kapa-A vendor of the typical caps

Prodavci tepiha-The carpet vendors

Prodavci tepiha-The carpet vendors

Opasno je ovih dana u Pešavaru, gradu na severu Pakistana, na samoj granici sa Avganistanom. Opasno je bilo i onih dana kad sam posetio ovaj grad i boravio u hotelu Pearl Continental, u kome je nedavno podmetnuta bomba, pored ostalih, odnela i život jednog srpskog predstavnika mirovnih snaga. Opasnost je ovde trajna pojava.
Doktor Tahir je veoma fin čovek, koga sam upoznao na kongresu plastičnih hirurga u manje zanimljivom velegradu Karačiju i koji me je tom prilikom pozvao da ga posetim u Pešavaru. Zajedno smo doputovali, večerali toplu jagnjetinu na zemljanom podu njegove omiljene mehane, a već sutradan mi je sredio dozvolu za posetu čuvenom Kajberskom prolazu.
To je veoma osetljiva pogranična zona, koju talibani lako prolaze pod zaštitom nepristupačnih planina i svoje braće istomišljenika u tampon zoni između dve zemlje, u kojoj vladaju zakoni lokalnih plemena i klanova. Bezbednost vam ovde niko ne garantuje, ako se izuzme naoružani čuvar na zadnjem sedištu vozila koji, i pored kalašnjikova skoro njegove visine, više deluje smešno nego zastrašujuće. Kroz brojne klance i preko prevoja stižemo do Kajberskog prolaza, sa čije se najviše tačke vidi i kontroliše ogromna teritorija. Sve vojske, osvajači, istaživači, pustolovi, na putu za Indiju, morali su proći kroz ovaj prolaz, od Aleksandra Velikog, Marka Pola, Džingis kana, do Engleza. Svi su, naravno, želeli kontrolu nad njim, o čemu svedoče table na stenama sa imenima vojskovođa i regimenti. Danas, iz posebno uređene sobe za osmatranje, vide se brojni prevoji sa dugim konvojima na putu koji vodi u Kabul. U tom trenutku sam veoma želeo da se nađem na tom putu.
Oslikani kamioni i autobusi ponos su vlasnika tih vozila, koji teže da ukrase svaki njihov delić i pri tom nadograde nove oslikane strukture. A tek ako poželite da se fotografišete ispred tog remek-dela, njihovoj sreći nema kraja.
Ušao sam u prodavnicu svih vrsta naoružanja. Pravo je čudo kako male manufakture, čiji je to porodični posao već decenijama, za kratko vreme i primitivnom tehnologijom, mogu da napravie kopiju bilo koje nove puške koja se pojavi u svetu. Ispred radnje je počelo neko komešanje, ja sam morao da je odmah napustim i, u pratnji čuvara, brzo krenem ka Pešavaru. Nisam, doduše, ni imao nameru da tamo nešto kupujem, ali samo prisustvo stranca uzburkalo je lokalne duhove.
Žao mi je što se mnoge loše stvari dešavaju dobrom i ponosnom narodu Paštuna. Oni odavde prkose svetskoj globalnoj politici, dok ih ona ubija njihovim sopstvenim bombama. Nedavno je tako, u atentatu bombaša-samoubice, nastradala i Benazir Buto, bivša premijerka Pakistana, jedna od najlepših žena svetske politike i, možda, nada za tu zemlju.
Nada je ipak ostala, jer Pakistan je dovoljno snažan da savlada terorizam i krene svetlijom stazom u budućnost.

Novembar 2006.
_________________________________________________________________________

These days it is dangerous in Peshawar, a city in the North, at the very border with Afghanistan. It was dangerous when I visited as well; I stayed at the Pearl Continental Hotel, where a planted bomb killed, amongst others, one Serbian Peace corps representative. Danger is a permanent feature here.
Doctor Tahir is a very fine man whom I met at the Plastic Surgery Congress in a less interesting metropolis – Karachi, who then invited me to visit him in Peshawar. We travelled together, had dinner of warm lamb on the clay floor of his favourite hangout, and as soon as the following day, he managed to secure me a permit to visit the famous Khyber Pass.
This is a very sensitive border area into which the Taliban cross with ease under cover of impassable mountains and their supportive brethren in the no-man’s land between the two countries, ruled by the local clans and tribes. No one guarantees you safety here, if you exclude the armed guard at the back of the car, who despite the Kalashnikov almost his size, looks more funny than scary. Through numerous gorges and over the bend we reach the Khyber Pass; a huge territory that is visible and easy to control from its highest point. All the armies, conquerors, explorers and adventurers had to pass through here on their route to India, from Alexander the Great, Marco Polo, Ghengis Khan through to the English. Everyone, of course, wanted to control the Pass, as witnessed by the boards carved in the rocks with the names of army leaders and regiments. Today, from a special observatory, you can see many mountain bends with long convoys on route to Kabul. At that moment I very much wanted to be on that road.
Proud owners of painted trucks and buses are striving to cover every little bit of their vehicle and even add to the existing ‘murals’. And furthermore, if you wish to take a photo in front of their masterpiece, their happiness is endless.
I entered a shop selling all kinds of arms. Small family businesses manufacturing arms for decades can, as if by a miracle, reproduce any new machinegun that appears in the world market, despite a primitive technology and a lack of time. Suddenly, some sort of commotion started in front of the shop and I had to leave for Peshawar immediately, accompanied by my guard. I had not planned to buy anything anyway, but my mere presence as a foreigner had upset the local spirits.
I feel sorry that many bad things are happening to the kind and proud Pashtun people. From this place they defy the global politics which is killing them with their own bombs. Recently, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, perished in a suicide bomb attack. She was one of the most beautiful women politicians in the world and perhaps, this country’s hope.
Yet, the hope has remained, as Pakistan is strong enough to overcome terrorism and take a brighter path to the future.

November 2006

OMAN – OMAN – سلطنة عمان

Najsrecniji-The happiest

Najsrecniji-The happiest

Najveca dzamija u zemlji - Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Najveca dzamija u zemlji – Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Najveca dzamija u zemlji-Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Najveca dzamija u zemlji-Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Napustena zemljana zgrada-An abandoned mud house

Napustena zemljana zgrada-An abandoned mud house

Opera u Muskatu-Royal Opera House in Muscat

Opera u Muskatu-Royal Opera House in Muscat

Pogled na Muskat - A view of Muscat

Pogled na Muskat – A view of Muscat

Pogled na Muskat-A view of Muscat

Pogled na Muskat-A view of Muscat

Ras Al Had Castle

Ras Al Had Castle

Riblja pijaca u Sinau-Fish market in Sinaw

Riblja pijaca u Sinau-Fish market in Sinaw

Setaliste kraj mora-Seaside promenade

Setaliste kraj mora-Seaside promenade

Stocna pijaca u Nizvi-Cattle market in Nizwa

Stocna pijaca u Nizvi-Cattle market in Nizwa

Sultanova jahta i tradicionalni jedrenjak-The Sultan's yacht and a traditional dhow

Sultanova jahta i tradicionalni jedrenjak-The Sultan’s yacht and a traditional dhow

Sultanova palata-Al Alam Royal Palace

Sultanova palata-Al Alam Royal Palace

Ulaz u arapsku pijacu-The Souq entrance

Ulaz u arapsku pijacu-The Souq entrance

Zamak-Dzabrin-Jabreen Castle