Live Slovenia!
Welcome to the blog! Živeti Slovenija is a Blog for those interested in the workings of another country - in this case, the quirky and exciting Slovenia.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You never know...

You never do know.

Ljubljana comes alive in good weather. Blue skies and warmish temperatures bring out all the people that we haven't seen through the grey. Trees even decide to come out of their barky houses and bud.

The nice weather merits an unofficial flea market to be set up on the banks of the Ljubljanica river. Stalls and tables line the concrete and stone walls.

We were strolling by on our way to a riverside cafe for a late lunch when we walked past a table and mom points out to me a SWORD.

Yes, lying there was a short stabbing sword, the handle and hilt painted gold but etched with letters and patterns, with a very sharp blade made of burnished steel.

The vendor noticed our interest withen a millisecond and rushed over. "Yes, thees ees a, rrowman sword. Thurteenth centurey. All one, very solid."

I was hooked. I asked the price.

"Feefty uros."

That was tough, it took a very large chunk out of my savings. I hesitated, picked up the sword. It was indeed solid steel. It reminded me of the sword Sting for those of you who have read or watched Tolkien. I hesitated some more.

"Fourty-five uros.

Better. I decided to bargain for forty, but then, as Avery and dad and Jia gathered...

"Fourty uros."

Mom, like me, wanted to do more bargaining, so she kept asking, "Do you have that much, Garrett?" to which I dim-wittedly said, "Yes, yes, I do."

They were packing up. I decided to try for thirty five.

Mom once again nudged me to make a desicion. I winked at her, then said, "Thirty-five?

Unfortunately, the vendor's assistant saw me, and when I said 'Thirty-five," he spoke rapidly in slovene to the vendor, who shook his head and said, "Forty, last offer."

Well, I coughed up forty euros and paid for the sword. We wrapped in in plastic bags the man gave us (tough ones, not grocery quality) and was getting out of the way of the truck that came through collecting tables (that had apparently been lent) when I saw a rotund man in a stripey suit and sunglasses nudging a companian and gesturing towards me and looking at the sword. I hastily turned away.

But Avery, sharpeyed as always, saw the man, as he walked past dad, peer into the back of dad's backpack. If they were trying to thieve from us, or were just collectors I don't know. But both two wallets and a sword made it home safely.

So, really, at a flea market in Ljubljana, well...

... you really never do know.

Votes counted

Alright then, evidently the next poem needs to be in Chinese.

for those who voted french poem about violence, good job!

for those who voted a passage from a textbook, well done as well! that poem came from a french textbook.

For those who voted otherwise...well, there's always the next poll, isn't there?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Smarna gora snafu


As you might know, I like rock climbing, so I tried to find climbing opportunities here. I asked the streetwise owner of our language school, Primoz, where there might be climbing gyms for me. He suggested two places - one halfway to the coast, the other relatively close to Ljubljana. I was ecstatic.

The experience turned out to be eerily reminiscent of the other time we tried to find rock climbing.

It was an hour long bus ride out there. After leaving Ljubljana far behind, the bus dropped us off in a small country town. As sunday is considered a sabbath (even the law school where dad works is locked sunday) we saw no one around. We headed in the direction of the mountain, where we saw a building perched on the tiptop of the peak. This must be Smarna gora. The S in the name has an accent on it, it is pronounced Shmarna gora.

Mom, of course, took the name and turned it to Snorragora. "Are we at Snorragora?" she asked as we disembarked and the bus, our ticket back home, back to food and water and heat, trundled away.

We started walking in the direction of the mountain. We wound through a quaint village, asking directions from the only person we saw around. We were on the right course. He said that this hike would take about one hour. This was not good, as we had no supplies. We thought we would only go partway to scope out the lay of the land.

Ten minutes up and we met some fellow hikers going down. They, however said thirty minutes. This was good. Maybe we could go to the top after all. That must be where the rock climbing is.

After a while we came to a crossing of paths, asked directions, and found we only had twenty minutes left. Good, but we were getting cold. We also got on the right path.

After fifteen more minutes we came to a large plantation-like house with a tilled garden. This might be the restaurant we were promised. but there wasn't anyone at the house but the hikers. Then we knew we had more hiking to go.

On we went. There was a last steep slope and then we were there. There were people eating and drinking. Hooray!

Of course, all meat.

we got juice and some really good bread. I got some energy bars and we ate. Good.

Then, on the way back from a quick look at the view, we saw an indoor cafe. And there we had been freezing all the time.

A knee-jarring hike back down and we made it to the bus stop. Same line, different stop. This one was right next to the river sava, which is known for its sky-blue water. And it was - very very blue.

I was admiring the water quality when I heard a frantic "GARRETT! GARRETT!" I looked over in alarm and saw that the bus was there and trying to leave and I wasn't on it.

I rushed over and hopped on the bus. The kind bus driver waited but he seemed annoyed about it.

But the bus bumbles weren't over. As went, Avery and I noticed some bus police coming down the aisles looking like secret service arrestors. They had handcuffs and were making sure that everyone had paid to ride.

I was scared. Mom had charged here card for all of us. She had paid four fares with her card for the whole family to ride. So the card I carried had not been charged for me, and the inspectors would think I had busjumped!

They came, but as I was desparedly getting out my bus card dad caught up with them and told them that mom had paid for all of us. Phew. they got off at the next stop, but then two large men in impeccably tailored suits got on. We thought they were the slovenian FBI until dad saw two nameplates that said "Mormonski" we all breathed another sige of relief. No fraudulent investors or murderers on this bus.

at the next stop, ours to chang buses, the five bus line was right behind us so we jumped out. Correction - dad, mom, and jia jumped out and I was left with avery int he back of the bus and the doors wouldn't open.

I frantically jumped for the open doors button. The doors slid open and we made it home safely.

So still no rock climbing. Sigh. But at least when we get another tip-off of a climbing gym, we won't listen.

But then, third time pays for all, so who knows?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello all!

New developments, more posts!

The latest poll slightly differs from the last one - this is not a picture, its a


Oh, sorry. Well, for all you linguists out there, here's a riddle! Please only vote twice.

Today we met with another fulbright scholar, and with him was a man who had a contact who could provide us with musical intruments.