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August 24, 2002

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Early in the morning we follow our host to the bus station - he drives a bus for 12 Euros a day and today he's taking the route back to Montenegro. We want to see the rest of Kosovo. An hour later another bus drops us off in Prizren where we find a hotel (expensive, of course) and meet some UN peace keepers from Fiji. They invite us to sit down for coffee and we're won over by their nice and open manner; before long we plan to go to a party with them in the evening. Prizren once served as the medieval capital of Old Serbia (hence, Serbia's claims to the region), and today it shows a strong Turkish influence. Multi-colored stone and thin minarets, in the Turkish style, highlight the architecture of old town. In the afternoon we join our new Fijian acquaintances and ride around in 'coca-colas' (the local term for the red and white police cars) to a party in Prishtina, the capital of Kosovo. Prishtina is a forgettable city; it's a cluster of expedient, unimaginative, concrete apartment buildings. During the day we've talked to many UN Peace Keepers. Some of them say (none pictured below) that propaganda has distorted the actual events. They say that genocide committed by the Serbs never happened, much of the killing occurred between rival Albanian political factions. They also say that the situation here is full of pitfalls, ranging from organized Albanian crime to political maneuvering among the Germans, French, Italians, Americans, and the rest of NATO.
In Albanian Kosovo with Peace Keepers from Fiji. The streets here can be more cosmopolitan than New York.
Summarizing infrastructure in Kosovo isn't easy. You see classy boutiques that need private, streetside generators to keep the electricity going.
Where are you papers, kid? Kosovo Force (KFOR) troops keep checkpoints manned all over the province.
An Albanian wedding can be more lively than a sold-out stadium event. The wedding reception rocked our hotel for two days.
Fijians sing, dance, and know how to have fun. They should have attended the Albanian wedding as honorary partyers.