IMPORTANT: THE COLOURS IN BLURB PREVIEW MAY LOOK STRANGE IN YOUR BROWSER. THE PRINTED BOOK TURNS OUT FINE, THOUGH.
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As if I was still there
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Each time I enter the countries of ex-Yugoslavia, I first experience prejudice. Compared to the West everything seems more simple, more naïve.
For me, the Balkans begins at the border crossing between Austria and Slovenia. The Albanian snack bar just next to the petrol station is open 24/7. I see signs for Balkan fast food, such as čevapi, burek and of course pomes. Although it was already night, the asphalt was still glowing with heat. A group of German bus tourists stopped on their way to the Croatian riviera. I could easily imagine them eating wienerschnitzels in the evenings, listening to some electrical keyboard and guitar duo on a hotel terrace.
Arriving home I am greeted with minestrone soup and plekavica. The Dutch Randstad with its fast trains and people hurrying to and from their work is far away. I am among my own people now. Here I do not have to wait for friends to plan an appointment with me two weeks in advance. Time slows down with another coffee or beer with my friends. For long hours we can discuss politics, do the local gossip or talk about how nice the summer holiday was in Croatia.
In ex-Yugoslavia the TV programme seems to be filled with clips from beauty pageants and commercials for loans. The times have abruptly changed twenty years ago. Old war monuments are left in the landscape, not being of any interest to anybody anymore.
Postcards of memories from my homeland start to unfold. The Balkans is green hills and magnificent mountains, river canyons, peaceful villages and laid back cities.
My body feels overwhelmed by the feeling that nothing can be accomplished here. I take my father’s heavy Mamiya camera and press the shutter.
- Utrecht, 1 May 2011