Dobar tek! Enjoy!
Having lunch in the Vrbas restaurant, right by the river of the same name is not only a meal for me on this sunday (the 29th of July). Its a feast!
The restaurant, situated inside of the old roman fortress is one of the fanciest one in town and no doubt people are ginving me a strange look when I walk onto the terrace, wearing nothing but my bermudas, T-shirt and shades.
After I spend all day on the city - beach, I was longing for a cold beer, a good meal and a slug of Šlivovitza. God knows I got it!
You see, when serbian peolpe go out to eat, they don't just order a regular plate. They want enough food on the table, to rival a red cross aid delivery for the whole of the Darfur region.
A meal for four people takes four waiters to come to the table twice... and that is only the starters.
When Serbs eat, they really do.
They are not like Germans or other western Europeans, who order a regular portion and start complaining about their big belly and their diet when they are served seconds. No way!
Meat is served on plates, piled up sky - high and the sidedishes go extra on equally big plates.
The conversation doens't stop during the meal. People eat, drink, have a cigarette in between and continue eating.
No wonder some of the man have bellies so big, they would have made every french king look anorexic. Table manners don't matter that much, but you can see how everyone is enjoying themselves and the food and then again: Who cares?
As for me, I'm fighting hard with my Banja Luka Šnicla, drowned in brown sauce, served with cheese, french fries, beans and salat on the side.
Half way through, I'm forced to surrender and the waiter looks at me with pitty, serving me one of three Šlivovitza's, which are necessary to help my stomach start working on the three quarts of the pig I just had.
While the wind is blowing through the trees, you can hear the laughter of children running around the place and the sound of the river, floating slowly through its bed, right in the middle of the fortress.
Two Šlivovitzas later, I'm able to breathe again, condsidering myself lucky that I survived.
Later that day, on my walk to the city center, I hear the sound of a gipsy orchestra, wonderring where that might come from.
Trawling throuhgt the streets, I find myself standing in front of the national gallery of the Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia.
About a hundret people are standing in front of the main entrance, all dressed up in suits and/or traditional serbian cloathing. The men are drinking Rakija (= Liquor) from the bottle, the women are smoking long white cigarettes and a band of gipsy musicians is walking around the crowd, playing some fast and electrifying music.
The kids of the musicians run around, asking everyone for money and the one old man who is careless enough to take his wallet out in front of them, is robbed blind by a crew of 8 year olds.
Laughing at them, he throws coins and small bills into the air, giving himself the appearence of a serbian Bill Gates.
When bride and groom step out of the building, together with their closest family members, I find myself in the middle of a tornado of emotions gone wild.
Everyone kisses everyone, the bottles are reached around, the gipsys play so loud and fast, that their (allready deeply red) heads will seem to explode at every moment.
After some time, the whole bunch of peolpe gets into their cars and with the horns sounding and the serbian flag being waved out of the windows, that whole family sets off.
Meanwhile, I'm still standing outsides of the national gallery, watching the gipsy kids picking up the coins from the pavement, wondering how I could be so lucky.
Live seems to have a lot of surprises in its pocket for me these days and I'm, excited to find out about the next one.
Then keep surfing by...