You can Always Pass on Prishtina
I would, had I known its boredom
Back when I lived in Russia, Kosovo was big news. The Russians were really pissed off that NATO was bombing Serbia for its actions in the Serbian province of Kosovo. The Serbs were trying to drive out ethnic Albanians, usually Muslims, in favor of ethnic Serbs, usually Orthodox Christians.
This would make Kosovo, a historic center of unrest, more palatable to direct rule from Belgrade. It also parallels Russia’s ageless problems with Chechnya. There, ethnic Muslims have historically fought against Moscow’s Orthodox Christian rule.
NATO would have none of that though, and bombed Belgrade to convince Slobodan Milosevic that he should let Kosovo become and independent country. Only Americans would think this anything but a dangerous precedent. Europe is filled with concentrated minorities that all want independence, mainly on religious or ethnic lines. Kosovo is a perfect example.
And on this Sunday, I am in Prishtina, the capitol of United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the defacto rulers of this land in limbo. I started out from Skopje, Macedonia at 10am, and a taxi ride to the border, and then a hitchhiked ride from there, I am here by noon and I am already bored.
It seems that every thing is closed on Sunday in Pristina. Worse, the friend I was to meet went hiking without me at the last minute and my phone doesn’t seem to work here. Rather than be disappointed, I make myself home at a swanky Italian restaurant and spend the afternoon absorbing warm winter sunshine as I write an actual pen to paper letter to a clock-stopping hot girl I know.
Once the sun drops below the buildings, I wander around more of the town and soon find myself on Bill Klinton Avenue (yes, that one) as I walk to the bus station. There, while waiting for the bus, I am admiring the freedom spire-esque tower-like monument in the middle of town when dark black smoke erupts from its top.
Okay, so that’s an ornate smokestack, not a monument, and its competing with the power station upwind of Prishtina to see which can pollute this city more. Yep, time to go. Word to the wise: you can pass on Prishtina.