Jonathan Manikas, an American man, uploaded yesterday to Youtube a poignant video where he apologizes to Serbian people for the bombing of Serbia in 1999. He wrote:
On top of the 2,500 Serbian civilians murdered by U.S.-led NATO, the targeted bombing of civilian infrastructure (such as electricity & water supplies, and communication systems) is a war crime under international law as well.
The bombing was more about geopolitics, with the Pentagon’s intention to extend NATO’s borders to gain military & economic influence at the front door of Russia, than it was about a “humanitarian mission” (obviously).
I’m so sorry what I as an American did to your nation.
Jibri Bell, a black American, spent one month in Serbia. He just came back from Serbia and put a great video on Youtube. Jibri Bell is just telling the truth, showing that Serbia and Serbian people are amazing, and that black people are more than welcome in Serbia (don’t trust anti-Serb propaganda):
It’s great to hear that some politicians one man from the United States support “Kosovo is Serbia,” the heart of Serbia. A great video made by Yusef Al Tahir, an American man, living in Chicago, United States:
Albanian Islamists are trying to destroy Serbian history and culture in Serbian province of Kosovo, but Kosovo is still the heart of Serbia. It was, it is, and will always be.
Photo (Kosovo is the heart of Serbia) by Sanja Kis.
I have received yesterday a donation of $20 from Ms. J Tiger, a young lady from Washington, D.C., United States. I thanked her, and she replied saying:
I will be in Serbia for the first time in December and am really enjoying your website as I research and plan my trip and just gather general information about a country that is so often wrongfully portrayed in the media here. I appreciate your work and really get a lot out of the information you share. A donation was the least I could do to support your efforts.
Just great to hear that a woman in the United States likes my website, supports it by donating, and is going to visit Serbia. I would hope others will follow suit.
Hailley, an American girl from Wisconsin studying at Coe College (Iowa, USA) was recently in Serbia, and put up two blog posts talking about her experiences in Serbia. Firstly, she discovers Serbian hospitality:
“Yes, I saw tons of amazing things and had tons of amazing experiences in Serbia, but none of them can quite compare to the kindness of those people who walked into the bar and ended up coming in to sing to us. The Serbs have this very strong desire to show off the best of their country and a lot of the time, they’re willing to do pretty much whatever it takes to help tourists and visitors experience that.”
“Serbia is such a completely different cultural experience! A lot of people visit Europe and talk about a distinctly European experience, but Serbia didn’t ever really European. There was definitely a mix of cultural elements. I saw shops that I had seen in London and came across architecture that looked similar to what I’d seen in pictures from a friend’s trip to Turkey. Serbia was a very unique experience and if you’re looking for something off the beaten tourist path, you should definitely go. But, as always when you’re traveling abroad, be open minded when you reach your destination. That’s the only way you can truly appreciate the country and enjoy yourself. “
Set aside your prejudices and venture to Serbia, this oft-ignored part of Europe.
Back in November, I wrote about how an American missionary called Taylor Morey Armstrong discovered Serbian hospitality while visiting the Serbian city of Novi Sad. Now another American young man is serving there, in Novi Sad, and put up an interesting (and funny) blog post talking about things he found fascinating or peculiar about Serbia. The ‘list’ is so good that I ended up including the whole thing, because it’s too good not to read — but check out Darren’s site directly:
1. Restaurant Culture: This one has yet to make sense to me. For some reason, Serbians LOVE to go to restaurants with friends and just order drinks. And that’s it. They never order food. It’s funny too because drinks here are twice as expensive as in the States, while food here is CHEAP. And when they order their drinks, they just sit there for hours and hours and sip away at their drink. It takes them an hour to finish a .5 liter of soda! Last week the Elder’s from Belgrade came down and we had lunch at Adriana’s, which is the best place in Serbia. As we were eating, we found out we were the only table of 20 or so that had food on our table. No one ordered food. That’s just what Serbians do I guess… Not what I would do, but whatever.
2. Beer: Beer here is almost as cheap as water. Price of a 2 L of Jelen Piva: 100 Dinars. Price of a 2 L of water: 80 Dinars. Price of messing up priorities in a society: priceless! Come on Serbia… That’s not good.
3. Bakeries: They plague this land like McDonald’s plagues America. They have bakeries every fifteen steps.
4. Plieskabica: Google it. Best food known to man. Take an American hamburger, and put it on steroids that make food more delicious. That’s how I would describe them.
5. Exchange rate: 1 USD = 75 RSD as of today. Boo ya!
6. Novi Sad Branch: a total of 6 active members. All of them over the age of 60.
7. Language: Serbians learn English far better than we learn Serbian. We have met many Serbians who speak English with little or no accents.
8. DVD: Three bucks a pop, enough said.
9. Zip-lock Baggies: They do not exist in Serbia. You will never find a zip-lock bad in this country. They don’t exist.
10. Tennis: It’s hard to imagine, but tennis is one of the biggest sports out here. You see many, many tennis courts throughout the city.
11. Cross Walks: Serbians don’t like being the first one to cross at an intersection. Whenever we come up to a crosswalk, we always go first. They always just stare at each other and hope someone else goes first. It’s hilarious to watch! I will have to film it one day.
12. Fast Food: Fast food restaurants here are bomb: McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut. I could say with confidence they taste better out here than in the States. They serve french friends in Pizza Hut!
13. Novi Sad: The literal translation for the city name is “new now”
Sean Marcum, an American traveller from Tennessee, was recently in Belgrade. He discovers that Serbs are not the “brutish men” as portrayed in U.S. Media:
Anyway, I am rather glad to see that Serbs aren’t what the media has painted, which from I gathered through my life were a bunch of large brutish men who run around hating everyone not Serbian or Russian, committing genocide and ethnic cleansing or supporting it in the very least. Then to think that the US+NATO and Serbia were at war only 11 years ago is shocking too! Apart from a couple signs in the city, nothing else is present of that. People have been friendly enough to me and my other USA chum, so I guess, the media is, SURPRISE, full of it. I knew that Serbia would be fine, but I was VERY wary too.
Wyatt Bales, a 22-year-old American man currently on assignment in Sofia, Bulgaria, for The European Times, decided recently to head to Belgrade, Serbia. He wrote on Twitter that he wanted to see firsthand if Hollywood’s perception is right. He later wrote on Twitter that Serbia is amazing “In Belgrade, Serbia. Serbia is actually absolutely amazing. No idea why Serbia’s not an EU member. Belgrade is epic..” He also liked the food in Belgrade (Twitter): “At a Spanish restaurant now in Belgrade, Serbia. Food was amazing and good times had by all. Europe has its benefits.” He finally wrote on his Twitter account that he American stereotype is far from the truth: “Belgrade, Serbia = very cool city. The American stereotype is far from the truth.”
What else? Wyatt Bales goes on to write a blog post talking about his new adventure in Serbia. He points out the big difference between how Serbia is portrayed in the western media and what the country is really like:
A new country down! And boy, let me tell you — Serbia is awesome! It’s nothing like what you hear or think on tv. Because we all know that the media (especially CNN) is always spot on about world news.
And he goes on to say that Belgrade is definitely in the top 65 European cities he’s been in:
But 5 hours later we made it to the great city of Belgrade, Serbia! Nice construction, clean streets, and new buildings all around the city facing the Danube river with a huge castle as its center. It’s definitely in the top 65 European cities I’ve been in…
So yes, the American stereotype is far from the truth. Serbia is awesome.
It’s repeated so often that it has almost become a cliché: Serbia is a dangerous place for Americans. We recently wrote about how Staci, an American woman, was planning to go to Serbia, the scariest places she can think of in the world. Hopefully, not all Americans think that Serbia is a dangerous place, and travel there or even move to Serbia permanently.
The latest example comes from Christina “Kiki” Spiwak, a 24-year-old girl from Tennessee. She has moved from the USA to Serbia. Kiki has been living in Serbia since February, and she put up a blog post talking about a couple of things she has come to realize already in her short time in Serbia. She points out that Serbia has some of the nicest people she has ever met, talks about Belgrade’s graffiti, and notes that she feels safe walking the dangerous streets of Belgrade:
“Lack of crime – I’m definitely not used to that! But it’s awesome. I feel safe here. Not just because of Nemanja, but because Beograd doesn’t have the same crime problems Memphis did. I don’t fear being mugged on the buses, harassed on the streets for being a foreigner, or anything in between or beyond! It’s amazing. And somewhat surprising to many since the opinion of most about Serbia is that it is a political wasteland with no morals and simply a breeding ground for immoral behavior and genocides. However, in the month I’ve been here.. I’ve definitely seen the exact opposite.”
The whole thing is yet another story showing that Serbia is one of the most welcoming places to expats. Unfortunately, that’s not the message we tend to get from the media. The Balkans have long had a reputation for being one of the world’s perennial trouble spots. But for expatriates, the Balkan country Serbia ranks as one of the most welcoming and safe places to live. Oh, one more thing, don’t bring your salt and pepper shakers with you if you plan to travel to Serbia. Serbia is so dangerous!!