Saturday, August 7, 2010

Since the Last Time

Yes, I am enjoying my time right where I am, why not?
Just a brief update on things here in MK.  I have been working on a piece about the Roma.  I have struggled with it as I have met radically different kinds of Gypsies and as I am still in the process of experimenting with different ways of handling beggars.  
Other than that, I have been taking it easy and trying to just enjoy my time here.  I have more or less stayed put in one city, Skopje, the capital.  I fight the urge to hop on buses and explore, explore, explore.  I know the more I am “on the road” outside the capital, the more I’ll be on my feet doing the tourist thing and the less I’ll be sitting getting words on paper.  On one hand I feel like I am not using this visit for all it’s worth--seeing every nook and cranny of my home away form home, but on the other hand, I really don’t want to get home to Ohio and realize I spent my days not working towards my goal of writing new material and revising old.  Besides, I am on my feet enough exploring Skopje as it is.
The past two days I have been out and about seeing archaeological sites and checking out the museums.  I’ve put in time buying souvenirs and enjoying the food.  Last weekend I climbed to the middle of Mt. Vodno.  I spent two days over in Shutka, the Gypsy neighborhood.  My friend, Zhaklina, arranged a half day with her archaeologist friend for me here in Skopje.  I’ve had a great week seeing and doing.  I even bought an original oil painting.  I’ll have to remove the canvas in order to get it home, I think.  
So many things to do that I haven’t done, but I am trying to tell myself, as my time for departure draws near, that next time I will do all the tourist things I wanted to do this time.  I think Croatia kind of used up my desire to live out of a packed bag for a while.  Next time, I’m going to see Ohrid, Krushevo, Galichnik, Mavrovo, Berovo, and stay in a mountain hut, and climb Plachkovica and Korab, and find the church in Varosh dedicated to the Serbians who died expelling the Fascists, and see the Sharena Jama-Painted Mosque in Tetovo, and the neolithic observatory in Kokino, and all that.  
But when I find myself getting anxious that I didn’t walk every step of Macedonia, I have to remind myself that I traveled here to have a “staycation” away from home, to get some writing done, and see some friends.  And I did all that.  Now all I have to do is go out and get a new suitcase to carry home all the trinkets and souvenirs I’ve gotten along the way.  

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