Saturday, August 28, 2010

Registering with the Policja and my first swim in the Adriatic Sea

The road to Petrovac!

I successfully registered with the Policja (police). It was quite an experience. Montenegro allows foreigners to enter the country without a Visa. However, within 24 hours of arriving you are required to register with the Police. I didn't exactly meet this deadline, but it was okay. When I had my Security Briefing with the U.S. Embassy they provided me with an official letter (one in Montenegrin, one in English) that explained that I will be an Engleski (English) professor at Universitet Crne Gore Niksic. My landlord had to accompany me to the Police to tell them in person that I will be living in one of his rental apartments in Podgorica. My landlord speaks very little English. (When I say little, I really mean none.) It made communicating difficult, but it is serves as a crash course in Montenegrin.

Thankfully, I made a great friend (Danka), who I introduced to you in my last post, and speaks excellent English. Danka served as our translator. After registering with the Police, my landlord asked me to go to coffee. I asked Danka to go with us as well. It was nice to learn a little bit more about my landlord, Vasa, and his family. Vasa is the only boy in his family, outside of his father, and he has six sisters. He is married and used to work as a top manager for a home appliance company in the former Yugoslavia. He's retired now and makes his own honey and rakeja (which is the american equivalent to home made moonshine). When he comes to collect my rent for October, he will bring some and I will try it. I am a bit nervous. I heard this stuff is strong and does not go down easily. Many Montenegrins make their own Rakeja. Despite my nervous hesitations, I will definitely try it. On a positive note, the cafe we went to was AWESOME! I found ice-coffee. It was SUPERB.

Yesterday, Danka and her mother asked Danielle and I to go with them to an annual fish and wine festival in Petrovac. Petrovac is about a 45 minutes drive from Podgorica. It's right along the coast and very close to Budva. I had a blast. Petrovac is a beautiful, sea side town literally built on the side of a mountain that cascades down in to the Adriatic Sea. I have never scene anything like it before. The beach was packed and so were the streets.
Dustin, Danielle, Danka, Nikola, and Valentina at the Beach

We went straight to the beach and I took my first swim in the Adriatic Sea. The water is unbelievable. It's warm and relaxing. It was crystal clear and turquoise. As you swim, you can look straight down to the bottom and see coral rocks and tropical fish (they were blue). When you look back to the coast, all you see is this big stretch of beach umbrellas and towering mountains that surround the coast. It's really hard to put into words how beautiful it is here. I mean every time I look at something I want to snap a photo and turn it into a postcard.
Petrovac sunset! Beautiful

After swimming, we had to wait in a long line to get our fish and wine. The wine was made in Montenegro. Unfortunately, they ran out of fish. We arrived late; so next time we will be sure to arrive earlier. I was sad because the fish looked really good. Instead, we ended up going to a great restaurant along the coast. At 9PM, a huge concert began on the beach. The concert went on until 4AM. We only stayed until midnight. The first performer was a famous pop-artist from Serbia. She was really good. I loved listening to music in Serbian and Montenegrin. I could even pick up a few words. I could not get over the crowd. It was insane. I mean there had to be close to 15,000 people or more on the beach. It was a mad house, but totally worth it. There was no form of crowd control and very few police. This was definitely different from
My delicious dinner by the seaside.

I am really starting to get a good since of the way of life in Montenegro. It's calm and the people are laid back. There's no real since of urgency here, which I LOVE! People are welcoming, and eager to engage in conversation. I have only been here for seven days and my networks are building. I have made many great friends. I am comfortable and ready for my first great weekend in Montenegro.

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