Research Pays or so David Thought

Bill Clinton in Kosovo

On trip to Macedonia

View from the window

While scoping the scene in Skopje…David discovered a train station that has a train to Greece where another connection point will get you the train to Athens…the whole trip takes around 11 hours but hey…it’s a train!  David wrote back to Kosta to see if a three day Host was OK .  That cuts it a little short but still allows time to see Athens.  Having Kosta as a guide makes that QUALITY time instead of time wasted on a guide book or city tour bus. Kosta already booked 3 days on the beach with his friends. Then another article turns up that all international trains run by the Greek government (kind of like Amtrak)  were cancelled in January 2011 due to the debt crisis.

David arrived on time by bus from Kosovo to Macedonia bus station and met with a “Chicago” Taxi driver that took him to an ATM to get some Macedonian dinars. David stupidly bought his “bull” and hired him to drive him 10 minutes for $8 to the Hostel.  Then the owner took him across the street to where he housed the Americans, like it was a favor.  It was a nice room but David couldn’t connect to the internet.  He explained it was necessary, so the owner made a big deal that he would have to move another couple over and give David their room .  David said …Just give me my money back and I will find a hotel in the center.  He said he could find a small room but it was hotter because it was on the top floor.  David didn’t like Hotter but after he hauled his bags up three flights for David and a fan was in the room…well OK.

 Then David discovered he couldn’t get a connection from the top floor so again the man took him to another room on the floor that his Mother lived.  No key but no worry…my Mother is next door …very safe…David said am I safe from your Mother?  There was no key and a balcony with no key and a wide open door.  OK…when in Rome.  He went to hang his clothes in the closet and found them full with 80 years worth of his Mother’s Clothes.  Well no one will try and steal anything here!

He had told the Taxi driver to pick him up at 5pm so left to wait on the patio.  There he met Ed from Melbourne. Ed bought a motorcycle from an Englishman in Lebanon and had been traveling everywhere.  He was young and too intelligent to just be a normal person.  Friendly enough so when 5 pm came and went but no Taxi showed , David put Ed in charge to inform the driver, should he show…David walked to the town.

It was pleasant enough but David was a bit disoriented so was looking at the signs and the map trying to figure out the general area when a voice called out…”Are you a Stranger here?”  Yes I am why do you ask?
Well I saw you looking at the Hospital and was worried you needed assistance.  There was a man wih a Buffalo Bills T-Shirt on so when he asked David where he was from David told him Buffalo…home of the Bills. The guy had no clue what the Buffalo Bills were…he was just wearing the TShirt.  David said he was trying to read the street sign to figure out where the famous Stone Bridge of 1416AD  was located.  The man said it was straight down the road and around the corner .  You will see the Statue of Alexander the Great and the Whole 9 yards..  David thanked him and sure enough found it all.

He walked around a Boulevard of Cafes and Monuments taking pictures when three Hyenas or Gypsy children approached him  with their sad looks and hands out.  They surrounded him and he sensed TROUBLE!  He strapped his camera around his hand and surveyed the situation. One was in front talking to him with his hand out another went behind and said nothing while the other kept getting closer and closer taunting him for money.  They were like Jackels and he knew he was in trouble when one distracted him and another touched his pocket…He yelled out to attract attention and said DO NOT TOUCH ME! GET AWAY!!!  Another person came over and started pushing the children out of reach but then he left and theý came back again.  Again David yelled and another person came to assist him…as he lashed out at one the other came from behind. They finally turned from needy Angels into venomous snakes and devils.  They drew spit and threatened to cover him as they surrounded him again.  He was about to yell Policia when another in the crowd came to his rescue though they seemed undaunted by anyone.  David ducked into a Cafe at a Hotel where by that time everyone was watching this happening…except the Polica.

 He had a Coffee and ate dinner and was planning to go over to the Bazzar across the bridge but was worried he might run into the same Gypsy gang again on their turf at night.  He went but only for a short time then took a Taxi back to City Hostel to meet with Ed the Aussie and two of his new friends from Kent England on holiday.  We discussed Liberia, Charles Taylor, Belarus, Russia, Afghanistan, Egypt everything…Ed knew people everywhere and was on top of everything. It was scary…I thought he was a Mercenary or M5 agent…even the English guys could not figure out how he knew EVERYTHING.

 The owner came over and offered us some home made Grappa or whatever they call the Homemade poison similar to our White Lighting.They invited me to travel into town.  I would have joined them in a second…twenty years ago…but was already for bed.  We committed to coffee around 11 am the next day.

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