Bus From Hell…or to Hell…off to Kosovo

Highly Recommended Hotel Ideal in Podgorica
Boiled Potato and Stuffed Peppers in Salty Gravy

David waited at the hotel until around  7pm then took a taxi for 1.5 Euro to the bus station.  Looks like the “friendly” taxi driver David tipped so well…ripped him off big time.  It was a cool evening while he ate some stuffed peppers and had a coffee at the station.

One Hot Uncomfortable Bus

The bus arrived, was full and NOT Air Conditioned.  60 smelly sweaty coughing people on a Hot steamed up bus for almost 6 hours!  David was covered with sweat in 5 minutes with no where to go.  Captive…and he thought airplanes were cramped.  Less than 1/2 hour  down winding roads and the bus pulls over for a “smoke” break.  Everyone made a quick run to te bathroom and then stood there smoking.  David took advantage of the cool air to dry out again.  He was wearing the only clean clothes he had and they were soaked.  He noted the Muslim lady next to him was dressed in black with long sleeve Burka down to her ankles and silk head scarf.  If she could do it he could .She looked like she was ready to die. She never left the bus when they had bathroom breaks…there were no toilets on the bus and  when the bus did stop the facilities were stalls shared by both Men and Women with a hole in the floor and a hose to flush down.  Not all people took the time to flush…no toilet paper but use the hose. I think the lady next to me had a couple pair of Depends on under that tent.

 It was cooler outside that in the Bus.  David couldn’t figure out why they just didn’t open the roof vents and cool the bus down.  We were checked three times for our passports or work Visa.  Most of these passengers were migrant workers. Only about 15 passengers had Passports. The driver had to document all of the passengers, then the Montenegrean Police when exiting and finally the Kosovo Police when entering.

David managed some sleep.  The trip was not 6 hours but 8 hours! We entered Kosovo then most of the migrant workers got off along the way at various stops near their homes. When we arrived in Pristina it was around 5:30 am and there were only about 6 of us left!  You knew why when you saw this “Brown” city that smelled of burnt garbage,at least around the run down bus station, and revered Bill Clinton.  David used the ladies room then took a taxi to Velania Guesthouse through a maze of potholed streets up a mountain , down alleys and where the only life was an occasional prostitute coming back home from an night’s work.  The Taxi wanted 6 Euros but David said 5 knowing that the price quoted on the net was 3.

Bates Hotel

The entrance was unlocked but no office or anyone present.  He walked up to the top floor looking for some sign but nothing.  It reminded him of the Bates Hotel or now days, Vincent Tarantino’s “Hostel”, which I would not recommend to anyone planning to stay in a Hostel…especially in the Balkans.  David went back outside and noticed a stairway going down and around back with signs for Reception.  He followed them to a door with a hand written misspelled sign announcing Recepten. He rang the bell and a man in his underwear invited him in a hole in the wall smoke filled room with a plastic up full of water and cigarette butts.  There was some stale coffee on the dirty counter, TV was on “Snow” and a bed with a table in front was the desk.  David found a small stool to squat on while the man checked his passport and informed him it  be 48Euros instead of 36 because he was checking in early.  Of course…and the free laundry service?  You can use our facilities but may have to wait as there is only one washer for all the Hostel.  I walked back up to the top floor where my room was shown to me.  A shared bathroom was outside my door and next to that a shared kitchen with instant coffee 24/7.  David went to sleep then woke at Noon, showered and paid the maid 5 Euros to do all his wash while he went out to find a ATM and some bottled water.

Bill Clinton Welcoming all to Pristina

PS  Did I mention the room has no Air-Conditioning…or Fan!  Some things are scarce in this part of the world; electricity, A/C, toilet paper, toilets, ice, Cafes that serve ANY food at all (Coffee-shops serve small espresso or large espresso, booze and soda…no snacks or food), wastebaskets, Lattes (my problem), laundries, restaurants that DON’T serve Pizza, Restaurants, and any place that provides change when you give them money.

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