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Monday, September 23: Day 154 – Up, Up and Away

Ibrahim picked us up and took us to the airport. We had fun talking about his business. He and his brother look after five apartments and one house. Our location was perfectly placed in the heart of the city.

Once we arrived at the airport, Ibrahim solemnly announced that bad things happened at this airport. “At one time, it was red with blood.”

I told him that I was horrible at taking selfies and Ibrahim said he took good selfies. I agree!!

While waiting, I noticed a young family boarding the plane. I wondered if the parents were war refugees and that they were returning to their homelands to show their home to their daughter and son and meet family members who remained. I overheard the school age girl say in American English, “Just think: If we lived in Mostar, no one would have a hard time pronouncing my name.”

Like everywhere else, we have to go through airport security. I put my backpack, my day pack and my cell phone in one bin and scoot through the metal detector. It takes less than a minute.

Rob, on the other hand, takes off his coat, removes the Kindle and tablet from his backpack, takes off his belt, pulls coins, sunglasses, cell phone and wallet out of his pockets, and 2 zippered security pouches. He also has the passports and boarding passes. Then he puts his backpack and day pack onto the belt. He uses three bins!! Fortunately, he didn’t have to remove his hiking boots!!

I am waiting for quite some time as he reassembles his ensemble. I told him that he needs to streamline the process. He laughs as we recall the numerous times he has to wait for me outside the ladies room. Here is the one time where it is reversed!!!

Maybe it takes longer for these Arab women who must enter this room to be searched properly.

When we travel, I am always looking for books to explain the world around me. Here are a few:

The Bridge in the Drinka by Ivo Andric (1961 Nobel Prize for Literature). This book was required reading in Yugoslavia as it addresses 500 years of history. However, it has been dropped since it seems to foster anti-Turk sentiments. This is akin to the removal of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn because it was perceived as racist.

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia (1941). This is a nonfiction travel journal that is well regarded.

Zlata’s Diary (1993). This is the Sarajevo version of Anne Frank…except fortunately Zlata escapes the worst of it.

Miss Sarajevo was a beauty pageant that took place during the Seige of Sarajevo. Bill Carter made a short film about Sarajevo during that time. Bono was so moved that he made a song called Miss Saravejo to go with it. The young girls featured in this film are all grown up.

Below is the song with some of the images from the documentary, Miss Sarajevo.

A few remaining facts….

Perucica in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the last remaining jungle in Europe.

City trams were constructed here in 1885. Locals say that the same cars are in use today! Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and second city in the world behind San Francisco to have these trams.

We are back on Turkish Airlines and they have this cool advertisement informing you that they travel to more cities than any airline in the world. It is called The Journey. I wish that it was a full length feature film. Watch it here.

We aren’t used to flying and checking bags. We each had a carry on, I had a backpack, and Rob had a raincoat that we stored in the overhead bin. We read, slept, and played a little electronic Solitaire.

It was a smooth landing! We got in line to exit the plane. We were just about to get on the escalator when Rob said, “Where’s my coat?”…”and your backpack???” He raced back to retrieve our things. Rob asked me later, “If we had not gotten the bag, what was in there?” Hmmm ” My raincoat, dirty laundry,…and my pants!!!” Ha.

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