pics #1612 - #1642
Saturday October 1st - Red Galactic Dragon
From yesterday's last minute request, I have found a host for a few days. Pedrag, a cool guy, doing theatre, also practicing yoga, who was in the Netherlands last week. He gives me a place in the basement under the benevolent look of Laksmi, Shiva and Ganesha. After leaving my bags stuff there, I go for a walk in the city center. I meet another host, Pavle. We have a burek togeterh, this time one with mushroom, but one can find some with, potatos, spinach, cheese and meat. Pavle is a dynamic and free guy, working in th US in th summer, coming back to relax in Serbia, spending winter travelling under the sun, back to Serbia and starting again. He recently went to India, and practices yoga. He actually hosts a class tomorrow and I am invited. He guides me to a cafe on top of a former factory building. Around a drink we overlook the city, relaxedly testifying with irony the agitated city. It is an alternative place reminding of East Berlin. Back at my host, we go out to another alternative pub, held by a Mexican. In one day Belgrade is giving me a better impression.
Bajrakli Mosque, the only one in Belgrade, testifying of the Ottoman times
Sunday October 2nd - White Solar Wind
My day starts with the full Primary Series, since the Vipassana course in Romania, I became sort of rusty. At 16.00 I teach a class in the park. A dog sits nearby, as if guarding us. At 18.00 is held the class at Pavle where I am invited. It is hard to find his place, but people are helping: "Second street left, first right, then ask again". When this game is finished, the class at Pavle starts. Warming up and preparatory exercise in Hatha yoga style, followed by Vinyasa. The teacher asks me to finish the class for her. After that we end up around glasses of juices, listening to Iyengar talks on youtube, while a joint is turning. I can tell that blowing once a year guarantees strong effects with a single puff! With the teacher, Ana, we instantly connect from our favorite philosophers and yogis: Krishnamurti, Erich Schiffman, Shiva Rea, Iyengar, Ramana Maharishi...
Monday October 3rd - Blue Planetary Night
I woke up early to join Ana's class at 10.00 in a fitness center. AS yesterday, she asks me in the middle of the class to teach the rest. Gives me the salary for the class. Invites me to stay at her place for as long as I want. I can easily understand her enthusiasm as she started teaching Vinyasa two weeks ago, from what she has seen on videos only... and then appears a guy with a Vinyasa yoga diploma. For me it is also good luck: Wednesday I move to her place. The mission of the day is to fix the bicycle. In each big city it is usually the "must do" that remains on the list for very long, as I get into the flow. I come home at my host, chatting around grape juice.
Tuesday October 4th - Yellow Spectral Seed
Bicycle repair mission again for today, canceled yesterday. But I found an internet cafe where it is possible to upload my pictures form SD card, not easy to find in Serbia. At night, with my host and his girlfriend, we are going to the premiere of the theater piece "Patriotic Supermarket" which deals about situation in Kosovo.. The piece is subtitled in English, and free for us, because my hosts knows everyone in Belgrade's theater scene. The piece shows us about misunderstanding, stereotypes and cliches in each community, descriptions daily situation, of bombardments, mines, of the tomahawk missile that very accurately hits Serbian TV building, very accurately killing 16 employees who would lose their job if they did not show up. Black humor as we repeatedly hear a super market jingle. "War is the poor's hobby". In fact, war is also a remedy to get out of economical crisis. Used and abused by some imperialists. And it allows to those powerful to test their new weapons, tomahawk on Belgrade in 1999, or phosphoric bombs made in USA, generously delivered to Gaza by Tsahal for Christmas 2008, ... Irak, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya are currently used as live test areas by war pigs, lead by Peace Nobel Price 2009, you know, the black of the white house. Certainly as NATO is us, the guys that are fought against by our soldiers are necessarily the bad ones. We forget crowds of innocents murdered with our taxes' money, sorry: your taxes! Serbia is not in NATO. Well a piece that gives to think about Kosovo, giving a more realistic vision than the simplicity of "evil Serbian".
the Novi Dvor, official residence of the Serbian President
Wednesday October 5th - Red Crystal Serpent
I teach another class in the park today, the last one as it is getting colder and dark earlier. Then I hurry to meet Ana and get home to here place by bus, about one hour from the city center. She lives with her 2 years old daughter, her Macedonian mother, who cooks great and her husband Shljuka -easier to write in Cyrillic- a keyboard jazz player and composer. We have "gibanica" for diner, a bit like burek, but better. Delicious, actually.
Thursday October 6th to Friday October 14th
White Cosmic Worldbridger to White Planetary Wizard
During all this time hosted by Ana, I had the chance to read some of her books, especially Mr Iyengar's "Yoga, a path to holistic Health" that was stronlgy adviced by Claas from Utrecht. I followed many of Ana's classes, and taught some of them. As I had good teachers during the training last year, my classes are appreciated. And I forget that speaking wiz a frainche aksente to plenty of girlz obviously helps. Ana even organizes a special class for me to present Vinyasa to Belgrade teachers. Last minute we still have six attendees, and for the first time I could put all of what I remember from Marlene's teaching about sequencing in the class. We want to dot the same for next month. At Ana's place, it is great. I learn Serbian with her daughter Sunchitsa. I taste food specialties prepared by her mother who says that she introduces herself best when cooking. Late in the evening, we share good talks with her and Shlujka. Again I meet people who chose their original lifestyle, not conceding much. I traveled all these days by bus, re-discovering public transports. Busy hours that are so crowded that I lost my map holder and compass by rushing out. Again some necessary stuff lost.
Russian writer Pushkin
I watched "Dances with Wolves" again, admiring the landscape and the US soldier. a colonialist whoo meet the American Indian culture for real. He loses his prejudices, finding back values such as the courage between warriors, the humility towards nature. A movie about tolerance that I strongly advices you to watch once more.
Park in front of the Parliament
With time I have found interesting places in the city, a good perspective here, some nice engravements there. It is still a nice place to be even when the weather chilled down to make us switch from summer shorts to winter pull-overs. As in Budapest traffic is more anarchic and I got back to my good cycling habits, riding in alert according to the traffic. In Belgrade, we can find most things as in the Western lands, but it is cheaper and not so much invaded by big companies. Serbia, little brother of Russia is for this reason left apart by Western powers. At the market, we can find tasty products, even if it is disappearing as industrialization is growing there too. The milk mafia was doing an action during my stay: we could not find serbian butter in shops, but AUstrian, Fraench and Gemrna, certainly. In the city's big building, Societe Generale, raiffaisen Bank... are already there, next to Gazprom. Serbia counts on joining the European Union which would be a way out of the ghetto, but people are conscious that it also means losing independence and entering weaker in the machine. One can wonder if Serbia will resist to economical slaughter, to the colonisation of its ressources by leading economies; which always induces a loss in quality. As when reading Saint John'Gospel, even if it is more detailed than in the prvious one, Jesus ends up crucified anyway.
Belgrade was the capital of a non-aligned country in the time of Yugoslavia under Tito, friend of the golden assholes of the West as well as of the steel assholes from the East. In the 1990, while nationalists were rising inside Yugoslavia, it appears that the country had, strangely, the 4th weapon stock in the world. Slovenia, Croatia, Bonsia-i-Herzegovina and Macedonia became independent in the blood. (give weapons to Vlaams and Wallons, and see! The same in Spain!). So Belgrade was capital of a very diminished Yugoslavia, renamed in Serbia-and-Montenegro until the latest took its independence, depriving Serbia of its access to Mediterranean Sea. Now Kosovo claims its independence, populated of a majority of Albanese who ran away from the dictatorship, and were the hosted here in the time of Tito, now they claim the region as being their own. A complicated situation, very sad for this country at the crossroads of so many cultures. And an ideal situation for the EU who swallows one by one these small republics that could have had weight as one Yugoslavia. Manipulations under table, cowardice of politics and economists craving for power, too often originating from countries where I lived many years. I am not close to get back there. I cannot avoid a feeling of disgust for this wealth in which I have lived, knowing on what it relies. And I am yet just in Europe!