Thursday, March 29, 2012

First and foremost, cheers for a blog post that can finally involve my photographs!

I can happily say that despite the vehement attempts of at least one Croatian Airlines official, who seemed dead set on making me miss my flight through claiming that each of my bags was one kilogram over the size limit and that I needed to spontaneously check my (rather small, thank you) backpacking backpack, I have arrived back in the United States. This was also in spite of Heathrow airport's attempt to hold me hostage indefinitely, when my 6 hour layover became 8 hours and then 11 hours over the span of Sunday afternoon.

On the bright side, I can happily say that I am keenly aware of every item available at  Harrod's.

The trip really was just beautiful. Little did I know that Southeastern Europe is the mecca of every bizarre and oddly quaint item that I could possibly want, as the following pictures indicate. If I could furnish my entire apartment with the array of absurd and intricate items that I witnessed on this trip, you can bet your bottom dollar (and my bottom dollar, probably) that I absolutely would. Who does not want, no, need these Jim Henson-like creatures peering out of their window every night? Fending off bandits and bears? I know that I would sleep better.

And this gem! This is ecofriendly both in literal terms and in so much as it actually resembles the Earth.  See the back wheel, like a small and subservient moon. Route 66 would be in its prime if some sort of tax break were associated with using these bad boys during rush hour. And how could you conceivably be out of shape? You would flop right over. Real inspiration to keep on top (yes, literally) of your workout.  In sum, most city museums might leave this out... but not Zagreb. They have their priorities in order.

Even just walking down the sidewalk, there were all kinds of really unexpected figures... like to the right. This elephant creature appears to be planning some kind of grand escape, and I say "grand" because he was about fifteen feet above the ground in that window sill. Best of luck, friend! This was not a storefront or anything, by the way. For all I know, for all anyone knows, he pays the rent and runs the household and I am being horribly offensive by making these assumptions regarding his size and existence.

These are my favorite elements of traveling, exposed in a rather peculiar way. Unearthing these completely unanticipated elements of a place by quietly walking through the residential neighborhoods, and then comparing that to the way that the city represents itself in its museums. Watching the way that people transport themselves, how people stand on the bus and if they are speaking, what icons they personify and present (even when they may think that few people are looking.) I was going to talk about the 'Zombie Ballet' of Belgrade in this entry, but then I got all wrapped up in the completely wacky aspects of the cities themselves...

Actually, here. If the zombie ballet were an object, it would be a combination of the previous three photos. If you are like me, you would find it gorgeous because it represents all of the surprising grotesqueness that conventionally beautiful actions can convey: passion, movement, light.

And to end with a photo that perhaps embodies all of these elements in a similar, and tragic, sense:

It is so hard, but essential, to remember that Someone once lived there.

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