Aug 29:  Belgrade

I slept like the proverbial baby.  Or like Kramer after he went out.  There was some rowdiness continuing into the night (this was a dorm, remember) but the beers, Simply Sleep, earplugs, mask and bathroom fan running all night did the job.  Great team effort, guys.

This was a free day.  I gradually got out of bed between 8:20 and 8:50am, and left the room at 9:15am for a walk about town.

Trg Republike and National Museum.  Those green umbrellas behind the white ones are where we ate last night.

Knez Mihailova.

I returned to Kalemegdan Fortress so I could go to the zoo contained therein.  The animals seemed very friendly here.  Maybe because I got there early while they were all being fed, and they thought I had food.  A got was trying to eat a dead leaf that was just outside his reach, so I helped him out.

Llamas always give great photos.

Right at this point I had "My Hump" stuck in my head, because Will Ferrell sang it in Blades of Glory.  By coincidence, the very next animal I saw was a camel.

My lovely camel lumps.  My lovely camel lumps.  My lovely camel lumps.  In the back and in the front.  Check it out!

Graffiti in the snake house.  This is the worst zoo ever.  But it's come a long WWII the Nazis bombed the zoo and the surviving animals were seen walking the streets in a daze.

Very little English at the zoo, and all the animal signs are in Cyrillic.  I walked into a private area and had no clue what the employee was telling me.  Noticed on the way out that there was a stop sign on the gate.  And I tried to buy a Coke at a kiosk that no one was working at.  A woman came over speaking Serbian and I thought she was telling me the kiosk person would be back soon.  She took out her money and showed me 60 dinars, the price of the Coke.  "Oh, pay you" I sez.

The enclosures were apparently built into the existing fortress structure.  Looks cool, but perhaps not optimal for the residents.

I don't know for sure, but I believe these are Masha and Misha, the bears that ate that guy two weekends ago.  If you missed the story, there's an annual beer fest in Belgrade.  This year a drunk guy descended from the cafe (barely outside the zoo grounds but overlooking this area), entered the bear cage, stripped down nude, and was eaten.  This cage isn't directly under the cafe, but it has an open roof, so this has to be the one.

"I immediately regret this decision."  LG, there's your dynamite drop-in.

I found another bear cage that's directly below the cafe, so I was thinking maybe this was the one instead.  But it has a closed roof.  Just in case, here are more bears.

I was curious about that cafe the guy was drinking at, so I went.  I had two Heinekens and sat out reviewing my journal, because I was planning to hit an Internet cafe and needed to remember a few anecdotes to convey.

From the cafe.  I think the cage at the bottom contains that second pair of bears.  The first pair was behind me and downhill a bit.  I figured the guy climbed down the wall here into the zoo, and maybe walked on top of the cages down to the open bear cage.

Before exiting the zoo I found a small garden with free birds outside an administration building.  Among the birds was a rooster I'll call Lucky.  He had a lame left leg, nasty growths on his beak (tumors? infection? scarring?), and every time he tried to ku-ku-ri-ku (Serbian for cock-a-doodle-doo) no sound came out.  And he seemed oblivious to his muteness, so I think he was deaf also.  He reminded me of Little Jerry Seinfeld, which seems like a very cheap Seinfeld reference, but it's actually a combined Seinfeld/Anchorman ref, because Jerry is pronounced with a soft J, as in jogging.

Outside the zoo but still within the fortress I took this pic.  I tried to get the skyline, river and fortress all in one shot, but it came out terrible.

I descended to street level again and walked in the general direction of the hotel.

Hotel Moscow, which I think is famous because I've seen photos of it before.

Parliament.  This is the building the citizenry took over in 2000 after Milosevic tried to nullify an election, and he relinquished his office.

St. Mark's Church.

I stopped at an Internet cafe in that underground area near the hotel.  Boners finally moved into a 3-way tie for 4th (the lowest money spot) Monday night.  I'd started the season strong but fell as low as 7th before some of my guys got in gear.  Tuesday night I fell 3 points out of the money though.

I returned to the same fast-food stand across from the dorm.  Instead of cevapi again I had pljeskavica.  I checked the Intrepid sheet in the dorm and Gorana had added a note--anyone wishing to party late into the night should meet at "the horse" (Trg Republike) at 10pm.  And we had to leave at 6am the next morning.  I was ready for this brutal night.

After that pit stop I continued south with the aim of reaching Tito's grave.

On the way I got a pic of St. Sava Temple, which eventually will be the largest Serbian Orthodox church in the world.  Construction started in 1935 according to Lonely Planet.  Wikipedia says it started in 1985, and Gorana says it was actually before 1935 (possibly building on an earlier structure).  Whenever it started, it's almost finished.

I kept walking and tried to find the street that Tito is buried on.  My Lonely Planet identifies the street but the map doesn't go down that far.  Finally I saw a map at a bus stop and realized the grave was farther away than I'd...uh...realized.  And it was about to close.  So I abandoned that idea and reversed course, and got more pics of St. Sava.

Ooh, that's a clean one.


More interior.

I returned to my room and slept/rested 5:30pm-8pm.  Just before my alarm went off at 8pm I cracked a fart that sounded exactly like the rising pluck at the beginning of Modern Love.

At 10pm I met Gorana, Charles and Jen at the horse.  We had a bit of a bonus--Gorana knew two local girls (one Serbian, one Bosnian) whom she talked into coming out with us.  I don't have to tell you what they looked like.  I was partial to the blonde in the white dress.  We tried to hit a bar/club located in an apartment building, but when we got there a sign said it was closed for a couple days.  And then the local girls decided they had to study for finals and went home.  Well, that sucked.

Plan B was to try the floating bars/clubs on the other side of the river, so we took a taxi over.  Problem was we got there too early (11pm) and none of them were open for dancing yet, which the girls were keen to do.  We went to one club with a racecar motif and had some drinks.  I had a Green Demon that wasn't potent at all.  Then we moved to Acapulco after the dance floor opened.  I had three Long Islands, because I was wearing the pink shirt Hemi (j2's co-president) bought me and thought it would make a good photo.  This is a joke referring to Spring Training this year when Fish and I drank Long Islands while Dave and Tim questioned our manhood.

This is the gayest photo ever taken of me.  As I take the straw in my mouth, I'm thinking about MySpace and American Idol.

I look a bit more manly here, only because I don't have my fur coat or European carryall with me.

Jen and Gorana dancing.  They talked Charles into joining them, but I resisted.  I remember there was a blonde glamazon at the next table dancing very sexily with an ass and everything.  A rare case of a girl who likely outweighed me but it didn't matter.

After Acapulco we went to Blaywatch ("blay" is some pun on a verb meaning "do nothing") but at that point it was after 3am and it was closed.  So we took a taxi back to the hotel.  I went to bed a little after 3:30am, with my alarm set for 5:30am.  I was still wired but tried to fall asleep ASAP, because 2 hours is 2 hours.