Saturday, August 29, 2009

Belgrade: a balmy 97 degrees

Just arrived. City looks interesting - a mix of dour communist-era apartment buildings, a HUGE Eastern Orthodox church, and buildings bombed by Americans just 10 years ago. (and still not repaired) Had a fun time at the airport negotiating a taxi ride into town. As you might guess, I blend in here about as well as I do in China, so the taxi drivers see me as some easy money.

But, there's a handout in the airport that says that licensed taxis can't charge more than 1200 dinars for a ~12 mile ride downtown. So of course, i got a "special" price -the taxi's opening bid was 2,500 dinars.

I love this-getting local, trying some of the language, and ultimately just trying to win- so it's on!

I played the game well - dropping some numbers on them in Serbian (and hoping I didn't accidentally say a really huge number), but finally realized that I was arguing over a difference of 100 dinars - about 60 US cents! (and in every other way the Serbian Dinar is like monopoly money. The locals prefer Euros. I just bought a bottle of water (40 dinars, or about 25 cents). The cashier gave me a sneer when I paid with a new 1000 dinar note that I had just gotten from an ATM.)

Next up: quick shower, then touring.

1 comment:

Al said...

Dude- congratulations on the great vacation! I was in Delhi, China and Hong Kong earlier this year- but stayed at 5 star hotels- how boring!

In your honor, I will rent Hostel II tonight. Remember- if insanely hot women that are way out of your league try to entice you to a hostel in an old factory- run!

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous