My 7th month in Remote Year was spent in Belgrade, Serbia. A place a lot of people know nothing about. And some people even confuse Serbia with Siberia. Mainly because not many people have been to Serbia and it’s hard to register where it is on a map. Coming to Serbia I had no idea what to expect and I honestly didn’t know where it was located on the map either besides that it was in Eastern Europe. And there’s somehow this made up belief in my head that Serbians are cold hearted people, maybe they are part of the Russian mafia and like to put your feet in concrete and let the fishes eat your eyeballs out. Why I thought that is beyond me, maybe too many movies or the media, who knows? But it’s the exact opposite, Serbian people have been some of the warmest and friendliest people I’ve met traveling so far. This place opened my eyes and mind a lot and is why traveling is so important. So you can see reality instead of whatever the fuck the media/Hollywood has constructed in your mind.
BOMBS: We bombed the shit out of Serbia back in 1999 when Clinton was president. And they don’t forget it as they haven’t fixed the majority of the buildings yet as a daily reminder. Which made me feel bad and uneasy there as if as an American I wasn’t welcome here. However, I never felt slighted as being an American that I have felt in some other European countries. They were open and nice, which was unexpected, especially since we bombed them less than 20 years ago. Some of the people that were my age or younger say they remember the bombs and it wasn’t scary. It was more of a party and they’d go get a view on a hill or somewhere to see the bombing from a distance. This was not the answer I was expecting from them at all. Here’s a pic of one of the bombed out buildings of a news station.
CIGARETTES: They smoke everywhere and I mean everywhere. It’s a part of their diet of 800 cigarettes a day. And anywhere I went I just needed to accept that I’m going to be swimming in clouds of second hand nicotine. Here’s a video of my Crib explaining the deep love of smoking in Serbia.
FOOD: What do they eat. They eat meat on top of meat. Like “Cepavi” which is one of their main meat dishes. It is minced meat and it’s looks like a finger sized breakfast sausages however it’s really nothing to write home about. It’s the little sausages in this pic.
“Karadordeva Snical” is rolled veal stuffed with “Kajmak” (a creamy milk cheese) and bacon. Then fried. It’s amazing and very different. Once you cut into it the cheese oozes out perfectly for you to dip your meal into it.
“Sarma” is cabbage leaves wrapped around minced meat and rice that is bathing in oil. These are good but what isn’t good bathed in oil.
“Paprika” is the red fruit and not the spice like in Hungarian food. However this pepper is not spicy at all even though every time I taste it I’m still holding back and ready for it to burn my soul. It can’t burn anything it’s like a red bell pepper and is very tasty.
They have two salads on most menus in Serbia which is “Sopska” and “Serbian Salad.” Both have tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and oil. But the main difference is Serbian has hot peppers and Sopska is covered in cheese.
They have bakeries everywhere and everything is very fresh and cheap. I always got whatever this is. Which is a hotdog wrapped in a doughy sesame seed bread. It was an amazing walk and go lunch. I miss you beautifully wrapped weiner dog meal.
Also they have boners for popcorn. There is a popcorn cart on every damn corner, why? I have no clue.
MY BELGRADE MOVIE: I shot my short film in Belgrade called Mr. Owl and Penis Nose with masks that I got in Cusco, Peru. The masks were starting to get damaged so I wanted to create something with them before they were smashed in my luggage.
DRINKS: There’s their local beer (Jelen, etc) but it’s the same as everywhere, nothing special basic beer. However their beers also come in 2 liter bottles which is pretty cool. Serbia’s main drink is Rakia which is a plum brandy. This shit is hard core and isn’t for taking a shot and more for sipping. Be careful. It will demolish you. Get the plum flavor it’s the one the locals like the best, don’t get grape it tastes like a Serbian ballsack.
SOME SITES AND STUFF: Belgrade has a bunch of statues and stuff like every city in Europe. Every city has some dude on a horse and Belgrade is right there with some dude rocking Sea Biscuit. The National Assembly of Serbia has two people who look like they are getting humped by horses. Here’s some education they are not humping horses. The horses stand for politicians and they are dragging the horse into office and the second one is them dragging them out of office. Also there was a lot of Street art all over Belgrade from rats to pro vegan tags. The main attraction is the Belgrade Fortress which is a great place to check out and walk around.
CROSSWALKS: Most crosswalks in cities where there is no traffic you just walk, even if it’s red. Don’t do it in Serbia. A cop stopped me and said he was taking me to the station like 15 times in a cold I’m going to steal your soul manner. There was a point where I was like ok, this will be an interesting story being in a Serbian police station but once I was like let’s go very willingly he decided to let me go. It was an interesting 15 minute conversation, a conversation that made me wait for green walking lights at every crosswalk for the remainder of our time there. And my friends would roll there eyes like me like I’m lame.
RUNWAY EVERYDAY: Serbian Woman are gorgeous. And everyday is a runway day. Seriously the girls will go pick up a carton of milk and they will doll up in heels, tight dress and strut the streets. My head was bouncing back in forth like a ping pong ball looking and wondering why! Why! Why!! Help!!! Obviously this isn’t every girl but it happens more often here than most places. Many people in my travel group have stated that Serbian Girls are the hottest they’ve ever seen.
$$$$$: There money looks like this and Telsa gets a lot of Bank note love. Actually Telsa gets a looott love here. Croatians and Serbians argue very hotly about where Telsa’s heart belongs.
PEOPLE: They are proud of being Serbian. Many Serbs would openly tell me their history from communism, Yugoslavia, the bombings, their love/hate relationship with Croatia etc. The average salary is 300 Euros a month. I’m in awe of how they survive on so little. But I was told by one Serbian that they are cockroaches, which I questioned as that sounds bad but they said it’s because no matter what happens they will always survive like a cockroach. And this was said with Pride. I walked away from Serbia and there people with a lot of respect, they are kind, proud survivors.
PARTY: I heard from a lot of people that Serbians partied hard. But I didn’t dig their party scene. I left a party because the music was to loud. My ears rang for days and so did my friends. Ringing, “heyyy you are an old man!! You party like a pink pony high stepping wearing converse high-tops” Which I actually take as a complement because that would be some rad dancing. However, it wasn’t just me, my younger travel companions had their ears ringing for days too. Playing music loud to be loud is just trying to hard. Also having tables all over the dance floor so people can’t break loose is trying to hard too. It felt like people went out to be seen more than to break loose. They have a bunch of boat parties on the river called Splavs.
SERBIAN DANCING: Have you ever heard of Traditional Serbian Dancing? No. There’s a reason for that because it looks like chipmunks high on cat nip jump stepping around in stupid clothes.
DENTAL TOURISM: Apparently Serbia’s dental work is very cheap in comparison to other countries and they’ve created a dental tourism out of it. Come get your root canal and enjoy a weekend in Belgrade, weird shit. http://serbiandentaltourism.com/
OVERALL: Serbia isn’t a place I would have visited if it weren’t for remote year. And I’m glad I got to experience it as I got to learn about culture and open my mind to some warmer than expected and proud people.