Saturday, November 19, 2005

Going to prom in the snow

The first snow of the year still makes me feel like a little kid - like I want to run around in the street with my head trhown back and tongue hanging out to catch snowflakes. I want to make snowballs and throw them at my neighbors and feebly attempt to make a snowman out of the still too slushy snow. It's been snowing non-stop for 24 hours now, but not much is sticking to the ground. There's still something quaint about looking out my 11th story window and seeing all the white rooftops. Something about the winter makes Prishtina almost pretty (at least until the snow starts to melt and everything turns to mud).

Last night I went to the Marine Ball, the first one in Prishtina. Got all gussied up in formal wear and listened to important people speak and danced with government officials and Generals and Colonels and such. And in spite of the serious tone of the whole thing, it was still somehow like going to a high school dance with bad music (really, the DJ was probably the absolute worst that I have ever heard in my life), thus we dubbed it the Prishtina Prom. The Norwegian Goddess and I double "dated" with some friends from Frisbee and made the best of an otherwise not so great evening. But company makes a huge difference - when you're amongst friends, you can have fun anywere. So about dinner...

About an 1 1/2 after we arrived (the whole ceremony was delayed due to technical issues, thus dinner was also delayed), the waiters finally begin to bring food to the tables. First a small plate of mantia (meat filled pastries - lovely stuff) little hard rolls, and one plate with 6 slices of white bread on it. All for 15 people. Hm. Next a plate arrived in front of each person with your typical Kosovar appetizers - hard cheese, feta cheese, half a hard boiled egg drowned in something resembling mayonnaise, smoked beef, 2 slices of salami, and 1 olive. Yep, just one. About the time we had finished this, another waiter arrives with a steaming plate of Junior High School cafeteria-type hamburger patties and slaps one on everybody's appetizer plates. Now, even though most of us had been here a while, we still weren't quite sure what was going on. Under normal circumstances, we wouldn't have touched the things. However, we were starving, and weren't really all that certain that there was any more food on the agenda. Cringing, we ate them anyway and hoped for the best. It seemed like we were right. That was it. They came and cleared away our plates, everyone got up and milled around. I damn near broke down and had a cigarette (BUT I didn't). Anything to kill the fact that I was still starving - even after the Junior High School burger pattie. I at least needed some tater tots and ketchup to go with it. About an hour (and 2 glasses of wine) later, the waiters made another round... there really was dinner to be served. Hooray! Well, kind of - unfortunately for the vegetarian at our table, the next course was comprised entirely of meat, and LOTS of it - meat on a stick (could't get it off the stick, didn't eat it), chicken breast (over-cooked to near hockey puck status, didn't eat it), roasted pork (at least I think it was pork, and that was pretty tasty), a steak (rubberized, didn't eat it), and some sausage (never sure what they make those out of here, didn't eat that either). Literally a plate full of meat and about 3 green peas (I ate all three, had to have something). I gave up, as did most everyone else and moved on to the dance floor instead. We boogied until about 1am, and called it a night.

Driving home in the taxi, the streets of Prishtina were quiet, the snowflakes that fell were huge and fluffy like tufts of cotton falling from the sky, and as the Goddess and I zipped through the city back to "our side of town", I was really glad to be here.

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