The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

My Shaky Sarajevo Notes

So there is such a thing as too much Bosnian coffee, and I have sipped on beyond it. Tiny cup number four clatters in my hand—three were invitations at various points around the city and one was ordered by accident. The waiter hurries with my food. “Finally,” he says with a smile, though I didn’t notice a delay. He just wanted to say, “Finally,” I think, and watch me write it down.

The pizza has ketchup on it. I get a vivid sense memory from another trip, and smile to myself. The waiter accepts my smile.  He’s the only employee not wearing argyle. The trend seems a random act of coordination on the part of his co-workers, rather than a choice of uniform my waiter rebelled against.  Customers come and go with mohawks, mullets. I grin at this as well, which my waiter sees again. I turn back to my notebook. I aim to be mysterious enough not to let on that I can say almost nothing, even after some relatively honest pre-trip studying. Anxiety erases my flashcards.

I finish my food, my coffee, my writing. As I leave, pulling the door closed behind me, the handle comes off in my hand. I gasp, briefly crediting my own strength.  An employee claps. My waiter smiles again and waves me on as I blush. Perhaps it happens all the time. I place the handle on a table and sheepishly depart.

Far, far too much coffee.

–Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Bosnia, travel

19 comments on “My Shaky Sarajevo Notes

  1. joannerambling
    April 5, 2013

    Any amount of coffee is to much coffee for me since I hate coffee……………

  2. hughcurtler
    April 6, 2013

    You write a delightful and interesting blog. Thank you for following mine. I will reciprocate!

  3. johnageddes
    April 6, 2013

    I spent several years working in BiH. I remember the ketchup on the pizza. Sometimes there was an egg in the centre like some eyeball looking at you from a bloodshot orb. Thanks for twigging these fond (?) memories of my time there.

    • I grew accustomed to egg on pizza after a few months hanging out with Turkish pizza makers in Vienna. Sometimes I think of adding one to a frozen pizza, but I’m still not quite ready… And tuna with onions? Well… 🙂

  4. mrodriguezalonso
    April 7, 2013

    Bosnia, a country I’d love to visit!
    and nice blog by the way! (:

  5. eldinsmille
    April 8, 2013

    Usually, waiters in Sarajevo don´t wanna be late. Especially if it is a woman waiting.
    And he liked you.
    And to add,
    there is no too much coffee in Sarajevo! We have a names for every coffee that we drink: “Welcome come”, “Good bye coffee”, “Piss off coffee”…
    I´m Glad you like my town!

    • eldinsmille
      April 8, 2013

      In dead end street (you can see just white old Bosnian house) I kissed one girl, long, long, long time ago.

    • I loved your town, of course! I had been so anxious to get there that I wanted to recall every detail. I came pretty close, though most aren’t quite fitting of the theme of the blog. Nonetheless, I’ll go again.

  6. In Search of Perfect
    April 8, 2013

    Great feature! What are you doing in Sarajevo?

    • Oh, these are notes from a trip a few years ago. Alas. I hope to add some more…I’ve been hanging around Colorado, Turkey, and Austria lately.

  7. butimbeautiful
    April 13, 2013

    I wonder what Sarajevo’s like now? It’s a household word really and for all the wrong reasons.

    • I was there in..hmm…2009? I had a wonderful experience with the people I met there. I can’t wait to go back.

  8. awtytravels
    August 24, 2015

    Oh, why on Earth is WordPress’ search function so bad? I wish I had discovered this blog many months ago!

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