The climate in Serbia (which I will now refer to as Yugo because that’s what people in the know do :)) is not unlike the Midwest. In early spring the temps are usually around 50 plus or minus. So imagine my surprise when it was in the 80’s for the bulk of the trip, which was in early May. No biggie other than I packed for cooler temps and width wise I am much larger than the average Serb, so buying some shorts was out of the question. Most days were beautiful. Now, most people that live state side drive everywhere they want to go. EVERYWHERE. Not so in Europe, everything is close so there is lots of walking. Remember the unseasonably warm days? Suffice it to say that by the end of most days I was rather…….damp. It was disgusting.
Remembering everything from before, temps, promaja, walking….I get to the story. I have several tattoos and decided it would be sweet to get one in Serbia. Why not? My wife found a guy by the name of Igor at Tattoo Trn. Tattoos in Yugo aren’t as common as around here, but he was recommended and very talented, I’m pleased. I was horroified to find out that his shop was on the top floor of a Soviet era apartment building with no elevator. Great, more sweating. So we get to his shop and guess what? No A/C, no fan, all windows closed. His fear being that Promaja was lurking just outside his window. I would have gladly jumped off the balcony just to feel the breeze. When we walked into the studio we were greeted warmly by Igor and told us he was finishing up on a guy. That guy was getting his first tattoo, on his back, so he was fresh as a daisy and not bothered by the suffocating heat in this joint. We sat down and started talking to the guy when he was done. Come to find out he is what some might call a “civiian contractor” in the middle east, draw whatever conclusions you like and I’m sure they’ll be right. While talking I notice him eyeing my pack of cigarettes on the table. “Did you bring those from home or did you buy them here?” he asked. I told them they were from home. “May I?”, he asked reaching for the pack and I said sure. This guy takes the pack and holds it under his nose like he was going to give it an eskimo kiss (ya know, side to side like?). He takes two mighty whiffs of the pack, leans back in his chair and lets out the longest siiiiiiigh. “These smell great, way better than the shit around here” he proclaimed. “Can I have one?”
Of course you can have one!! Take the whole damn pack and stop freakin’ me out!
Not before or since have a seen such an unsettling display.