Remember that time we left Belgrade at 4 in the afternoon, right in the middle of the anti-world’s second largest gay pride parade?
I left tattooless that day but with a Serbian translation on my mind and in my heart:
Let it be, let it be, let it be…
After arriving in Serbia with Croation money, we quickly realized that the Serbs were not just adamant about not supporting even the slightest of Croatian economic success, so much in fact, that they refused to accept Croation currency even for trade.
Which is why when Rose from Colorado told me she came all the way back from Bulgaria to cash in on her woo Serbian dollars, I believed it. What I had a difficult time believing, on the other hand, was how she left her 5 year old son behind for a 4 month European vacation.
On we go, onto spending our last bit of lira on slices of pizza; it would be worthless to us soon. The Australian boys led us through the parking garage to a shiny, silver soccer mom van. It seemed almost like a token from God after so many humid bumpy buses and squats. We crammed our packs in the back and not for one second did I regret deciding that I should tag along with my new Kiwi friend Anna and these three young and adventurous Australian men. I’d known them for all of 2 and 3/4 hours before it was decided that I would accompany them on a 13 hour road trip to Istanbul, Turkey.
We’re speeding down the interstate now, realizing a bit too late that our 18 year old driver can’t drive a manual. The policeman realized it a bit too late as well, the poor soul standing in the middle of the road to warn passerby’s of a sharp upcoming turn. He waved at us furiously but we couldn’t stop, we saw him too late. The car veered to the right and we blew through the curve at a shockingly alarming speed that I couldn’t read because it was in kilometers.
We three in the back gripped the seats as the passenger yelled, “What the FUCK man?” to his younger, idealistic brother, who only wanted to drive us to Isanbul, is that so fucking much to ask?
Apparently so, according to the Serbian police. Corrupted Serbian police, if we’re getting technical.
He walks to the passenger side and I start stuffing my valuables down my shirt. Passport. ATM cards. Money-whatever the he’ll this currency is. Bosnian, maybe? Shove it in. Camera. BlackBerry.
A brief exchange and four cigarettes later, the older brother has charmed the policeman and we’re permitted back onto the road, 100 euro down for the count, but happy to have made it out. It could have been worse.
Our next run in with the police wouldn’t be until Turkey, where we would all be scrambling to get dresses before the Turkish border, but that’s a story for another day.