>do macadamia nuts come from macedonia?
>so my time in skopje (pronounced skop-ya) was short but it was that point in the trip when you realize how far you’ve travelled in just a few weeks, and you really start to gel with the nomadic vibe. and you’re jonesing for what lies ahead. still so much more to see, still so far to go.
these parts of the world i’ve been wandering through are still relatively untouched by tourism. no tacky souvenir shops or american restaurants or ridiculously high prices. crossing the border from bulgaria to macedonia, the border guards actually did a double take with my passport. they don’t see many canadians, i guess.
i was even asked, “canadian? what are you doing in macedonia?”
my response was, “to see the world.”
he smiled weakly.
like bulgaria, macedonia is loaded with beautiful scenery and traditional culture saved from the ravages of the 21st century. roosters play in the streets. old women in kerchiefs teeter along dirt roads carrying bundles for miles and miles. goats poke at the cows. cows charge at the roads. water pumps and high mountains and horse-pulled-ploughs and fresh cucumbers and pristine waters.
lakes reflect your future. but they don’t speak of where they’ve been.
i would like to say i took photos of the city, but the most exciting part of skopje was Lake Matka just outside of the city. me and a couple of friends from the hostel took a half-hour taxi ride up to the lake (for the sum of €2.50) and spent the day running in and out of caves, traversing steep mountain-side paths (and almost plummetting 50 feet off the cliff), taking boat rides, and talking with the birdies.
this little birdie just sat there as we turned the corner, and didn’t fly away. she just stared at us bewildered. we got within 2 feet of her, and she quizzically chirped at us. we thought perhaps she was injured and couldn’t fly, and we kept looking up to try and find the nest she must have fallen out of. but none to be found. after standing there for 10 minutes, we could either turn back, or step over her. so as i lifted my leg to get around her, she jumped up and flew wickedly and vigoursly across the gorge. she wasn’t hurt. she was just struck with a case of curiosity.
“i hiked across a mountain trail for an hour in the brilliant sunshine, under clear azur skies, where my voice rose across the mountain’s façades and the fragrant air filled my lungs with new scents. then i took a boat across the still lake where seeds and petals from the overhanging bougainvilla trees floated down onto my hair and eyelashes….what did you do?”
“well i went to work for 9 hours where my boss chastized me in front of the entire office for wearing a red blouse instead of a black one, ate my lunch at Pret, got stuck in traffic on the M25 for 2 hours, and then i came home and watched Eastenders until i passed out on the couch.”
“oh. uh…that sounds like quite a life you’ve got.”
hehe, aint’ i a stinker?
halfway through the boat ride, our tour guide stopped us at a cave and said we could go inside the dark dampness to see bats.
and bats there were….listen to this video….you can hear the bats squealing and squaking in the background…if only i’d shut up!!…you can sorta see them too.
i think it’s really interesting how we are so far removed from nature, that when we are suddenly in the presence of lands untouched by civilization, we take dozens of photos, marvel at the beauty, and write long journal/blog entries about how we are mezmerized by the serenity (ahem). whereas 1000 years ago, nature was all we had. we lived and coexisted with it and thrived off of it, and we knew nothing else. now, in a supply-demand society, we have micro-waves-chips-managers and pound on the concrete. but perhaps we were happier when we swung from the trees and drank cocktails out of coconuts.