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119: Ohrid. 2012/8/28

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[Ohrid: sunset + festive parade + much more = photos;
video clips after the jump 影片在文中.]

Today a choice is to ride a bus for twenty minutes go to some fishermen’s village in order to take a boat to some cave’s church, but after checking more info on the internet I decided that they won’t be that different from all those seen in Ohrid, so I dropped the idea.

Last night when I tried to ask the private room owner about the cave’s church, she got a guest staying next door to translate for us.  After some chatting she mentioned that there’s some (Orthodox) religious celebration today, so today I started with the fountain square and from there hiked uphill.  I only saw a bunch of people gathering outside a church, many of them about to leave anyway, so I continued upward to Upper Gate and tried to find different angles to take photos of various parts of the town.

After that was ice cream and coffee.  And then back to the place where I started the walk for lunch, since this morning I saw an enticing roast chicken place.  The food was ok, but there were so many flies, which wasn’t all that uncommon in the Balkans, frankly.  What interested me more was how some waiters ride their bikes carrying a tray with many cups of Turkish coffee on it.

In the end I was partly tired of waving away the flies and was kind of full, so I asked a waiter to give me a doggie bag.

I also made sure to check places for exchanges, since I’ll leave for Albania tomorrow.  Yesterday I found out about the price of mini-bus to Struga (the closest town to the border, where I should change for a bus to Tirana, although I should get off in Elbasan for a bus to Berat instead riding all the way to Tirana), so that 40 MKD should be stacked aside for tomorrow.  A number of exchanges and the post office aren’t open – I guess it’s because of that Orthodox holiday.  I remember that a certain one offers something like MKD/ALL = 2.14 or so, but then many of them offer 2.

Another plan for today is to have a small 30-minute boat tour seeing from the lake various sites along the old town coastline.  As was the case on the first day, as soon as I approached the port, many touts came towards me.  They all started with 10 Euros, but I pointed to a board standing beside the port, which says a round-trip tour to Sveti Naum costs only 10 Euros! These people are being really greedy.  Then they started to drop the price: 600 MKD, and then 500MKD, but I was no longer interested.  (That board, by the way, also says in Dutch that “we speak Dutch” – I recall that Viktor mentioned that the Netherlands have some investments in Macedonia, and subsequently more Dutch tourists visit this country.)

My plan is to return, have a coffee and some rest, work on the trip, and then go out later for some sunset photos and exchange.  The coffee jar on the third floor (together with all the plates for the guests) is empty, so I asked one of the owner’s three daughters to give me some, but then the tiny gas stove was missing.  I knocked on the door right next to mine asking for it, and in that room was the nice young man who helped translate last night and his girlfriend.  The girlfriend then proceeded to clean the pot and stuff for me to use, but this young guy offered to make some coffee for me, so he put on his shirt and took me into the room.

That room was more like a storage room, and there are two tiny sofas, and yet those are for them to sleep on! I was a bit surprised.  The young guy is aged 23, and he didn’t finish college.  Will he? He doesn’t know.  And in any case, he mentioned that one in this country can manage one way or another, which is what Viktor also said.

And an interesting thing is that these two are Albanians born and living in Macedonia.  His grandfather killed someone in Albania and fled to Macedonia and settled.  But in any case, according to him, most of the western Macedonia is house to many, many Albanians.  He isn’t happy with his/their situation: Albanians in Macedonia have to learn Macedonian, but they – Macedonians – don’t have to learn Albanian.  And he proceeded to talk about “Big Albania,” which, according to he, includes Kosovo (“the American Albania, you know, different”), southeastern part of Montenegro, southern part of Serbia, northern Greece, and a big part of western Macedonia.  That’s interesting.

“I’m twenty-three.  And this country [Macedonia] is younger than me.” And he made a possibly dismissive gesture, although I can’t be sure.

Well, I told him that Albanians are better-looking, as far as I saw in Kosovo.  In this couple’s case, he is skinny and youthful with lush eyelashes, and she has long limbs, model-like head-to-body proportion, and delicate features.

He then said they’d head out for a coffee later and said I’m welcome to join.  He also gave me his number, in case I “need company in town.” That’s really very nice, but I decided not to join, and it isn’t exactly because they smoked a bit in the room – that I can dodge more or less in an outdoor space.

When I returned to the exchange office I checked earlier today near the fountain square, a younger guy there said that they were out of Albanian Lekës, but his older colleague would return at 7pm and would “probably” bring Lekës.  So I had no choice but to hike up the hill first for photos.  When I came to the church beside the ruins of a Christian establishment, a couple were sitting right in front of the church.  The man asked where I am from and how I liked the country, and I asked the woman to take photos of me, including a jumping photo.

Back to the fountain square I saw a succession of young people, many of them being kids, in traditional costumes.  Many were playing instruments or dancing, and they were obviously waiting for the commencement of a parade.  It was a bit too dark for good photos, but I made two video clips.
http://youtu.be/c3lVnZVRZVA
http://youtu.be/zy7hOM5yRzk

To my annoyance, while that exchange office now has Lekës, the man “misunderstood” me this morning, and said the buy rate is 2 while sell rate is 2.5.  Other places were probably closed by now, so eventually I decided to change most of what I have into 90 Euros and the left 580(?)MKD into Lekës.

Back lying on the bed, I thought about moving tomorrow.  The first day I got here, I actually hurt my shoulders when lifting the suitcase up to the third floor.  That was keenly felt up to the second morning, and luckily I have some ointment for that.  Tomorrow.. hopefully things’d go smoothly.  I don’t know what to expect of the bus ride durations.  Let’s just see.

8/28記帳:1EUR= 61.75MKD; 1BGN= 31.57MKD; 1TWD= 1.666MKD
住宿:500
冰淇淋+ 咖啡:20*2 +50 = 90
中餐:300
超市:130
總計:720 MKD

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