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Bright memories are from trips

Adventures in Kosovo trip

ARMENIA | Saturday, 14 June 2014 | Views [3334] | Comments [2]

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The story dates back to November 2-10, 2013 when Victoria and me were selected as participants to “New creative entrepreneurs'' Youth in Action program in Albania. As every traveler, we were making a plan to take the chance to stay some more days after the training and visit at least one more country and of course we agreed on KOSOVO, as we also have “Kosovo” in our region – Karabagh. Moreover, in one training I had heard there is a peace bridge for Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo. Decided! What is the next step? Exactly! Announcing everyone about our plan. But on the very last day of our flight both of us has checked whether we could enter Kosovo… NO! WHY?! Surprise, not less that SCHENGEN visa was REQUIRED. I checked in Wikipedia, Vica was cleverer - she checked via the Ministry of foreign affairs of Kosovo. ''Ok then'', we said as there was nothing else to say, - ''we will visit other cities in Albania'' (we got the visa to Albania upon arrival!).

November 1 Tirana, Albania – visiting the attractions, staying at our couch's home (found via couchsurfing org). November 2-9 Durres – wonderful training near the sea, wonderful sun and wonderful people.

Forgot to write down that during the training a bunch of crazy and noisy Kosovars visited our hotel and stayed there till the last day of our training. Apart from the fact that all the Kosovar girls were like Ukrainian ones (as Vica would say:- “Kosovo is the new Ukraine”), they had amazing taste of music and were having party every evening and of course me and others took the chance to be present  in their parties and have fun.

Then comes the most splendid part!

By chance we were told that the Kosovars leave on 10th of November and what happened then? Of course, Vica and me, being excited from the fact that we could join them in their bus both having acquaintances in Kosovo and saving the money, we begged the organizers to make the evaluation earlier and let us leave with Kosovars. And stupid us:  we did not even remember  the most significant DETAIL – the absence of SCHENGEN visa in our poor passports :D. We kissed, hugged the participants, passed our thankfulness to training organizers, took the backpacks and ''hayde'' how we say! But this is not the end. In the very last second the principal of the school refused to take us with them because it was against their school policies which  had  not been clarified for us! But it was fine! We were not broken! We still endeavored to find ways to get to Kosovo. And again we just didn't remember about SCHENGEN! Just forgotten! It simply slipped in our minds. One of our Albanian friends – Romeo, arranged everything and we took the bus for Kosovo! Yuhuuuu! we were so much excited: already checking in the couchsurfing website whether I had reply from a couch in Pristina and so many plans!

We r in the bus

At last we moved from Durres to Pristina. On the way lots of passengers took the bus but still as there were many places left Vica and me were sitting in parallel to each other but separately. And one strange guy with a strange outlook, with extremely long hair and scary gestures took the bus and came and sat just behind Vica. ‘‘it's fine, so many people are around here, none's gonna harm us…''.  2 hours later! Strange whispering from Vica's back…

- Is it him or is it the music from the radio? - asked Vica and I could see that she was step by step becoming scared.

- Yesss, but don't pay attention'', - I told her but then I started to pay attention to him :D.

A bit later he started to whisper in a more rigorous way as if he was praying or something… Vica got more scared! I was trying to control my mimics not to make her go crazy!

- Is he scary, Tat?

- … Well, yes, to be honest he looks very dangerous…

And Vica's face turned bluish white :D.- oh yeah that’s usually what people look like when being told such things – Vica shares her emotions later :).

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Then comes the ''detective'' part (now it's funny, get ready to laugh!). The first thing that we did was the following. Vica changed her position trying to be a bit far from him. She was already leaning on the window not the back seat.

- I do really hope that he doesn't have a metallic cord with him to choke me!, - said Vica, - and I think I am in such a distance that he can’t reach me…

- Don't be afraid, he won't manage to do anything, I will hit him somehow, he is not that strong, look at him, he is so slim and weak, his pale skin…I will push him, never mind…

But not believing to what I had told to Vica I took my travel knife from the backpack and kept in my hand. Afterwards, we agreed on the following. I was following him, his movements, and Vica was following his reflection through the front window and at the same time was trying to take a photo in order to see and understand what was in his hand, because apparently he was holding a very strange ''tool''.  During our ''investigation'' we were already making the psychological portrait of that guy. He was definitely a member if not the founder of a super strange religious sect and a crazy masochist who was using that tool maybe for torturing himself or people sitting in front of him… The more we were inspecting him, the more intensively he was whispering... It was really scary! I decided to make contacts with at least one person in the bus so as WHEN we were in Pristina, we could join him in order to escape the MANIAC. Then he fell asleep and we noticed that he was holding a souvenir in a form of a musical instrument and was just listening to music, but as he had long hair we couldn't notice his earphones…

Already in Albania-Kosovo border

The inspector, who could hardly speak English, came in, took all the passports and disappeared! We discussed: “So nice, there is no need to get out of the bus! What a civil approach!'’.

And here we go! The inspector came back.

- Armenians?!

- Yes we are!

- Here are you passports. You've got a problem!

Tadadadaaaam! Vica and me looked at each other and suddenly remembered about SHENGEN. But still not losing the chance to see Kosovo, the peace bridge, we made silly and completely innocent faces and asked frankly:

- What do you mean? What problem?

- Ladies, you don't have SCHENGEN visa…

- Do we need it? Ah, we didn't know… (Shit , of course we knew :D but it would sound stupid to say that we knew, we forgot about it, paid round trip tickets and now try to bargain with you…)

- Yes, you need it. Please take your bags, you can't enter the border…

- Can you show me an official document where it is written that we need SCHENGEN visa? – I was still trying to find ways…

- Of course I can, I will provide them, please, follow me.

We followed him, got out of the bus and the bus left us in the middle of nowhere with heavy bags and ''manto vichak''. I am skipping the official part - the scanning of passports, typing and signing the declarations. The funniest thing was that we were not that much thinking of ourselves but about our passport stamps. Vica was wondering whether they would have a rejection stamp or not :D. The inspector said:

- No worries, we r gonna send you back to Tirana... by a bus or a car...

- Is it possible to send us to Durres in order we can have the night with friends or at least stay till the morning... ?

Everything was in vein...

Actually we were presenting our situation in a more dramatic way than it really was, as simply we could go to one hostel and have the night there and the next day call our couch, but no, we were trying to make very catastrophic faces but again in vein.

We were standing in the border and then one and another busses stopped - one full of only males, another only with females…One imam came out of the bus and they discussed a bit and then the imam told us:

- No worries we can take you, no worries in the other bus there are only females...

No one could understand us correctly that the thing was not being afraid of males but being alone in Tirana in the night with heavy bags...And fortunately after a ten minute of senseless discussion a girl approached us telling that she understands English!!!! AT LAST!!! We were happy!!! Her name was Sonila. She said:

- We can take you on our bus, NO WORRIES, ONLY FEMALS are in the bus…

With the feeling of disappointment and ''Good bye Kosovo (border)'' outlook we took steps for taking the bus. I was the first one still with no clear understanding what we would experience! I bravely entered the bus and! Saw ONLY FEMALES with head covers who strangely looked at me! Me, having nothing to say, said - Hello!

They started to chat between each other - like it's not the way to greet us, you should say “Salam aleykum”.

''Ah stupid me how could I forget that!''

Vika was the second to enter bus, having missed the greeting part, she again said hello.

Salam aleykum was the reply to Vica’s greeting. In a moment we froze, then greeted back ''aleykum salam'' and took our seats in the very back of the bus.

(I am a Christian with strong tolerance towards different religion practitioners. And both for me and for Vica it was the first time to be in such a Muslim environment).

Then the party started! The kids were trying to make contacts with us with their Albanian language. Some of them, knowing sereval English elementary sentences, were communicating with us repeating ''How are you?'', ''What is your name?'', ‘'Do you speak English?'', ''Do you speak pistolet?'' (I didn't get the point though…). Firstly I was smiling to them kindly and trying to please them, Vica as well, but eventually they started to get on our nerves with their screaming, laughing…But Vica was the hero among us, as she was going on with the same patience answering the same questions…apparently she speaks "pistolet language" :D

Besides, some of the Females started to approach us giving us sweets, fruit and Vica remembered one word “shuqran” in Arabic for thank you. We said ''shukran'' to the sweets we got, after this we got another piece of gifts. Vica said:

- Maybe in their language ''shukran'' means we want more sweets? :D

We were so tired that were making jokes in anything and were laughing. Vica was controlling her emotions, me – not! I was laughing at the highest possible notes of my voice (as usual) and Vica was trying to control and nurture me in order I behave myself properly.

- Please, Tat, don't laugh too loudly, they might think we don't respect them…

- Come on, listen to their screamings...

- Tat, don't cross your feet, maybe in their community it's not well accepted (I think she remembered one of the church rules).

- Vica, it's comfortable for me to sit like this, come on!

- Tat, I understand you, but we are in their territory and would you stand if someone comes to your home and behaves the way you don't accept???

- OK…, - I complained and took a normal position. But it lasted only 2 minutes and again my feet were crossed :D

Sonila, the girl who was perfectly communicating in English was very attentive to us. She came to our seats and suggested us to have the night in their home. She was with her aunt – Vali, who seeing us, the two girls, decided to take care of us and called his brother, Sonilla’s father… And for them it was a matter of honor and responsibility to take care of lonely girls! We didn't even manage to say anything when she declared that her aunt and her had arranged everything, her dad had bought a dinner for us and was waiting for us! What did we do? Of course agreed! Wonderful chance to witness the Albanian family and moreover, a Muslim family and experience every cultural detail! Yuhuuu! We were twice happy at that time!

Sonila and her hospitable family was a gift for us! We stayed in their house 2 days and those 2 days were the exceptional in our lives as in 2 days we managed to learn so many things about Albania, about Muslim people, about their culture, traditions, even about Kosovo and the region in general! Thank you Sonila and your family very much!

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Vica's credo in life – double check!

Mine - never regret!

Both of us checked the possibility to go to Kosovo, got the answer but at the same time none of us regret a single moment in this whole story!

The so "eagered" peace bridge in Mitrovice- where the communities of Albanians and Serbs now live together!

50 miss world girls promote tolerance in Kosovo. The source: http://www.demotix.com/news/1567742/50-miss-world-girls-promote-peace-and-tolerance-kosovo#media-1567536

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Peace to every corner in Earth!

Tags: adventures, travel, trip

Comments

1

Tat, thanks for refreshing our memories,,,i still cannot help smiling when i read the story.
And the bus story...seems like we were way too depressed :))

  Victoria Jun 14, 2014 5:57 PM

2

thank u 2 for being with me :)))

  tatevos Jun 14, 2014 6:01 PM

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