Saturday, September 19, 2009

A long Saturday with bumps

It's been a long day.  It's after dark here even though it's early afternoon on the East Coast of the US.

We got up at 5a.m. to catch a plane to Timisoara, Romania and waited two hours for our ground transport to Belgrade, Serbia.  Five people shared a Toyota van for the trip.  My passport is filling up with Entry and Exit stamps.   It's about a 75 mile trip and took a couple of hours because of traffic and border stops.  We checked into our hotel around 1:30 and showered before going out to eat.

We got as far as the lobby before I realized I had left my wallet in the room and had to go back up to get it.   Florin checked his email in lobby while I was doing that and found out that our Pride march for tomorrow had just been cancelled.  The organizers had a meeting with government officials and learned that security would not be provided in this dangerous climate.  In effect, that was a ban on the Pride march.  It's a pity.  For a few minutes, we were discouraged.  We're booked here til Tuesday and the main purpose of our trip was taken away.  We realized that we can still make some connections with groups and individuals in our time here, as well as touring this fascinating city which also has the Danube running through.

On our way to find a restaurant for lunch. we changed some money into Serbian Dinars.  So far, I've dealt with Euros, Hungarian Forints, New Romanian Lei and Serbian Dinars.  Two currencies to go!  I try to get rid of all a country's currency before I leave.  Otherwise it's too confusing.  A US dollar is about 185 forints, 3 new Romania Lei, 625 Serbian Dinars.  It's all too much for this poor head to keep straight, trying to understand how much something costs in dollars.

We found a great place for lunch and then went to the Dorian Gray for coffee.  Then we parted ways.  It's makes for good traveling companions to have alone time.  I headed back to the hotel and got totally lost for about two hours.  I wandered and wandered and wandered some more, into some dark neighborhoods.  Just when I was going to find a taxi (I knew the name of my hotel but not the address), I saw a sign indicating the Centar Zira.  Since my hotel is the Hotel Zira, I decided against a taxi and walked a long time more but found my hotel.  There's a certain sense of satisfaction in getting very lost and finding one's way home (hmmm, another sermon?).

I'm sure tomorrow will also be busy and I'll carry a camera with me to post some photos.

Till then.


  1. So sorry parade was canceled but glad you are save. Bently sends his love and dog kisses. It is great to read your updates....
    missing you
    deb & Martha

  2. As much as I know you are disappointed in the march being cancelled it is comforting to know that the organizers favored safety. I'm glad you well!! ~Donna

  3. I read somewhere else that the parade was cancelled. My guess is that there will be another event within the city to celebrate pride - though hopefully secure. Thank you for your updates. Eastern Europe has a long way to go, I know you'll create lots of ripples.

  4. So, while in the Dorian Gray, did you find a portrait anywhere? LOL... all those currencies made me think of "...and a partridge in a pear treeee!" I was also sorry to hear the Pride march was cancelled (I heard the news on Sunday morning), but I had to believe that God somehow has a way to use that for good. It was thus gratifying to then read in the e-link that there was still "pride in Belgrade."