Saturday, July 25, 2009

A skyline I am falling in love with

For the second night running I sit and watch the sun go down over Sarajevo. Suki's terrace has a 60 degree slice of sky line, and as we are thrust right into the city here, you can see a lot.
Falling in love is a strong phrase, but I have got a soft spot for this view, this is what I wrote about the couple of mosques you can see:
"Mosques stand at several sites, and at twilight from this hillside vantage they look a little coy, their grand domes like mini nuclear power plants, residual heat glowing on them, quietly magnificent in copper-grey hue. They also seem quite jocular, gigantified jewellry boxes amid the rest of the buildings in the centre, the stately embassies, civic mansion houses and bland office buildings. Backstage, the twisting modern metallic blue windowed sky scraper, the Avaz (meaning "Voice") building, hosuing the media organisation of the same name with the TV station Suki works at, looks sophistcated, the other tall buildings are concrete tower blocks bare like cakes with the icing fallen off, pocked by wartime shelling and with large cracks showing."
I wrote this on my first night. Last night, the view was serene, and it seemed to exhibit to my mind a city in peace time. A bat took a fly, erased its black dot from just above the twilight horizon line, a jackdaw winged its unfolded aerofoils out into the valley from a nearby perch, and then later a duck drilled a line from right to left along the oblong spine of the city. An inquistive cat came and looked at me, flinching and running away as I moved, and children raised a din in the street behind me. One widnow had no glass on it, a lady stood solid over its frame and gazed out with me, a child on another balcony in a nappy was also looking, this time down at a dog on an adjacent promontory, an extrvagantly noisy fat beast of a doberman that flared up at the slightest movement from me or her. In the book I have been reading, the Chetniks surrounded the city and pumped shells into this midst for nearly 4 years from 1992 until late 1995. alittle girl in an apple tree, holding out fruit to a persecuted neighbour (an outcast, misunderstood for his holding of an automatic weapon, perhaps because of his own fears), wondering as she does so whather they are watching, and if so, what are they thinking. So too, in the Jergovic book, another story depicts a cactus given to a lover, which grows pointing in the direction of a major chetnik position, buit which eventually dieing, as the love between the lovers dies due to their seperation in the siege, in separate musty and coal soot smelling cellars at different parts of the town. This occurred here, but now you sit ina n internet cafe flanked by two english ladies, having chatted with two americans and a german in the street outside, where you go to an intenrational bank and are warmly and courteously receieved, and where your host buys you dinner and coffee, and shows you his store of anateur pronography, and people while away hours in coffee shops.
A spiv in a fake jewel clad hat, outside the restaurant around the corner, says to you:" Iym goin to studee Eenglish at Oxford University" in midatlantic accent, "I know 20 languages" This is spurious, but it represents to me there is no trace of the war in a superficial sense, only when I ask Suki about it, he speaks lower and goes into deeper private feelings, and soon doesn't want to talk about it. Also, it at no point feels unsafe, even the guy who stole my bag seemed harmless, even more so given what he was doing, his countenace was one of complete passivity, just wanting money. So tomorrow I finally go to Mostar, for 2 nights, in time to see the diving at 4pm I hope from the bridge.

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