Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Finding places

one thing that Sarajevo, advanced and European as it is, has in common with Kampala is a system of worthless addresses. The idea of getting in a taxi and handing a slip of paper with a number and street name on it and actually getting someplace is foreign here.

To get to my book club meeting, for example, we got elaborate written instructions from our host, even though the location is literally around the corner from my office.

Street names are hard to see especially at night and numbers are chaotic. Usually the name on the mailbox is not the actual name of the resident. So basically you steer people to the right place with the use of landmarks: to wit finding an apartment on Pruscakova street...

"...with your back to the flame (univerally understood to mean the Eternal flame memorial to the partisans in central Sarajevo) Pruscakova is on the right as you proceed toward the park. go past the traffic light at Dalmatinska. On the right you will pass the Metropolis coffee and milk bar. You will rech a road that goes to the right. This is you start to go uphill you will find a set of stairs. At the foot of the stairs turn left and walk through a passageway. The entrance to the building is at the rear. The name on the buzzer is Hasanefendic. We live on the first floor (Bosnian.)

Ah yes, that last part. You can even get lost after finding the correct building because Bosnians number their floors differently than we do. The first floor is really the second floor.

It always seems like a miracle when you get somewhere you are trying to get to.

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