Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Camel rides might be next

It's the talk of all Bosnia and so, on Sunday 9/3, we drove out to Visoko a half-hour from Sarajevo, to see the big archeology dig. You've read about the claim here -- a Bosnian-American amateur archeologist who says he's found evidence of pyramids elsewhere in the world and who thinks that people from Atlantis live on in the world has been excavating the hills near this ancient town where the king of Bosnia once ruled. He says he's now discovered buried under beautiful Bosnian forest signs of three pryamids. He's dubbed them the Pyramid of the Sun, of the Moon and of the Dragon. No reputable scientist anywhere in the world has supported his claims but Bosnians really really really want it to be true. His book at 35 KM has been selling off shelves, Visoko has become a thriving tourist attraction and believers just shrug at people -- usually foreigners -- who ask things like: why the hell would Eqyptians need pyramids in central Bosnia?

I wanted to know why someone would go to the trouble of building three pyramids then cover them with dirt and let a forest grow up on them. Dona, who wants to believe, solemnly told me that the pyramids in Eqypt were covered in sand and ones in Mexico were buried in jungle at one time. I have to look that up.

Visoko was packed on Sunday and Semir Osmanagic -- the big discoverer himself -- was on top of the mountain.

He was resplendent in a fawn suede safari suit and hat. Like Indiana Jones. I wanted to know why he wasn't sweating. He was being interviewed on TV while all around the mountain men in sweaty undershirts were heaping dirt into wheelbarrows.

What have they dug up, you ask? Rocks. Big slabs of smooth rock. That's it. There is just nothing that screams pyramid here. Maybe it's natural rock, maybe they've found floors of old houses -- but pyramid? no.

The real fun of Visoko is all the entreprenurial businesses that have grown up around the pyramid claim. I loved the little cafe set up on one of the paths to the "dig" where rocks were stacked up to make tables, twigs were twined together into chairs and each table was outfitted with an ashtray -- half a beer can. People sat out with their coffees as if on the Ferhadija in Sarajevo.

A little Roma man offered us a ride up to the top of the Pryamid of the Sun and a guided tour for 15 KM, about $9. Ask any questions you want, he kept urging us, but the answers were all "That is not yet known" or "We cannot say yet" or just mozeda -- maybe.

And the souvenirs are really creative. I bought a lovely clay bank that I'm sure some kid is being forced to mass produce after school. There are keyrings, plaques, paintings and more.

I loved the pryamid-shaped chocolates and at Rossi and Nero's pizzeria we lunched on a bacon pizza baked on a triangular board -- a Pyramid of the Sun pizza.

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