Sunday, 30 December 2012

Away for a few days - New Year!

Hey everyone, kako ste?

Just letting you know I will not be able to post anything on here for the next few days, as I am literally about to head off to Sarajevo for New Year celebrations.

What do you all have planned for New Years Eve wherever you are in the world?

SRETNA NOVA GODINA!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Old Zenica in Photos: Part Two

Courtesy of the people at ZenicaBlog, a number of extra photos of Zenica in a previous life have been discovered.

Here are the pick of the bunch. For more, you can visit the original link on the ZenicaBlog page.

If any of my readers could shed some light on the year(s) these photographs were taken, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.





Friday, 28 December 2012

Funny Friday - Mujo Joke

(Source: daviddisalvo.org)
An American came to Bosnia and had heard that Bosnians are naturally stupid.

Whilst walking, he saw Mujo and thought he would screw him around for money.

He said to Mujo:
- Look my friend, I will ask you a question and if you do not know the answer, you give me 50 dollars. And then you ask me a question, and if I do not know the answer, I give you 500 dollars.

Mujo was thinking, and thinking... then said:

- Ah, alright!

The American asked:
- What is the distance between the Earth and the Sun?

Mujo looked at him... he had no idea and took out 50 dollars and gave it to him.

The American shoved the money in his pocket and said:
- Come on, now you ask me something!


Mujo asked:
- Tell me my friend, what is this: It has two legs when going uphill, and three when it is going downhill?


The American looked at him, shocked. He had no idea, so he took 500 dollars out and gave it to him.

He couldn't be calm, so he asked Mujo:
- Come on, please, tell me what it is?

Mujo looked at him, thinking, scratching his head... then took 50 dollars out and gave it to him!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Balkan Thursday Trivia - Week Five


(Source: whatson.co.za)

       QUESTIONS (1 point):

  1. Last Saturday (Dec 22), thousands of people rallied in Zenica against ongoing local air pollution. The demonstrators marched on the local offices of which multinational steel company, blaming them for much of the city's pollution?
  2. At an October match in Krusevac, fans of Serbia's national under-21 side were accused of racist chanting against opponents from which nation?
  3. Ban Jelacic Square is the central square of which Balkan city?
  4. TRUE OR FALSE?: The city of Metkovic is located within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  5. The former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was made up of six socialist republics. If 5 of those republics were: Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina; then which was the sixth member?
  6. Former footballer Mark Viduka joined Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb -- then known as 'Croatia Zagreb' -- in 1995 from which ex-National Soccer League club in Australia?
  7. What does 'Volim te' translate to in English?
  8. Mevlid Jasarevic was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment earlier this month for an October 2011 machine-gun attack on which nation's embassy in Sarajevo?
  9. Former Serbian basket-baller Vlade Divac was drafted to which National Basketball Association (NBA) side in 1989?
  10. What is the name of the Sea shared between Croatia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina and others?

       BONUS (3 points):

  1. Who is this?





















[**Click 'Read more' - or scroll - for answers >>**]

Zenica: Before and Now (PHOTOS)

Take a look at these interesting and old photos of Zenica's central street - Trg Alije Izetbegovic - and compare them with more-recent pictures of the city.

It has to be said, aside from the changes from a road to a walking strip, as well as the removal of those benches, much of the infrastructure is remarkably unaltered. Not much has been knocked down in the past few decades since some of those photographs were taken, nor has much been built up.

BEFORE (years unknown):
(Source: Facebook / Supplied)















(Source: skyscrapercity.com)




















NOW:
(Source: Zenica24sata)














(Source: Klix)

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

How another Aussie in Bosnia celebrates Christmas!

It was a few days ago when I introduced you to Dimitri Hantas, a fellow Australian who currently calls Bosnia home.

Earlier today, I posted my personal experience of Christmas in Bosnia. Well, check this video of how Dimitri commemorated the special occasion down the road in Sarajevo!

Here, dressed as Santa Claus, he jumps right into the thick of the Christmas spirit as he gives away bags of lollies to passers-by on Sarajevo's main walking strip.

Dimitri tells me that he and his partner, Mirjana, had put a lot of effort into planning it, with the latter staying up late the night before preparing the lolly bags.

Awesome work, guys! I am sure smiles were brought to many faces yesterday all because of you.

For those who would like to hear more from Dimitri, you can follow his movements on his blog, 'The Balkan Corner.'

video

(PS. Dimitri, you are one crazy bloke, mate! No way I would have the gall to do that!)

Christmas in Bosnia 2012

2012 Christmas lunch with my in-laws!
When I rewind to twelve months ago, I could hardly have imagined that I would be spending my 2012 Christmas on the other side of the world in Bosnia - but that's exactly what eventuated.

Maybe, after such an occurrence, most people would learn not to assume anything - but I didn't. For the last few months - and even weeks - I believed Christmas Day here would be a quiet and lonely experience for myself. Boy, was I wrong.

Despite the fact the vast majority of citizens in and around Zenica are Muslims and do not celebrate Christmas, I was pleasantly surprised and heart-warmed to discover many embracing the day for their Christian counterparts.

Few in this city would have experienced such hospitality better than I. After all, I am living in a household with four other Muslims.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas / Sretan Bozic!

(Source: thetortoiseruns.wordpress.com)
I know I am a day early here in Zenica, but regardless, I would like to wish a big Merry Christmas or Sretan Bozic to those around the world who celebrate this date!

Personally, I have almost bought all necessary food and such for tomorrow (God, how did my parents do it all those years?) - and I can't wait to experience a very unique Christmas away from my family for the first time in my life.

It will be a very busy day tomorrow, so don't expect anything from me on this blog, but I will aim to write up a small synopsis of my Bosnian Christmas experience in the days afterwards.

Again, Merry Christmas / Sretan Bozic, and I hope you all have a lovely day wherever in the world you may be.

PS. I am praying for a snowy White Christmas tomorrow! The signs aren't looking good - but wish me luck!

Things I'll Miss About Bosnia: #8

European football at a reasonable time!

European football lovers don't know how lucky they are to
have football broadcast at humane times!
(Source: nottheitgirls.com)

Most of you should know by now that I am absolutely nuts about my football (that's 'soccer' to some of you), and I have been this way since I was a little kid.

Growing up, I particularly loved watching the English Premier League on the telly. 

Whether it was catching a fixture of my once-beloved Chelsea, keeping tabs on Australians such as Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill running around for their respective clubs, or eyeing over a tense Champions League clash - I was always hooked to watching the round-ball code in Europe.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Thousands protest in Zenica over air pollution

Protesters against local air pollution march down Zenica's
central strip, Dec 22, 2012.
(Source: Mia Dujmovic)
Around 3,000 people walked through Zenica on Saturday in protest against ongoing air pollution across the city.

The demonstrators expressed their dissatisfaction over the current state of the environment by marching towards the local offices of steel company ArcelorMittal - who they blame as the main culprits of the pollution.

Wearing gas masks and carrying banners such as, 'We survived the war, and we will survive you,' the crowd also ventured past the local city council building, where they pasted a list of demands before continuing on to their main destination.

The protesters were met with just a doorman once they finally reached the steel company's offices.

Speaking to the crowd prior to the march, one of the organisers of the protest, Samir Lemes, told the attendees that the demonstration was merely the beginning.

New Blog: "The Balkan Corner"

'The Balkan Corner' - dimitrihantas.blogspot.com
Several months ago, I made a passing reference in a post on this page about another 'Aussie in Bosnia' - Dimitri Hantas.

It is with great pleasure that I announce to you today the Sarajevo-based Hantas has also decided to open up a blog page to share his work!

If I can be completely frank for a moment: the man's experiences and knowledge of Bosnia-Herzegovina and, moreover, the entire Balkan region, completely dwarf those of mine.

I have been fortunate enough to catch up with Dimitri on several occasions now, and he never fails to surprise me with how much he knows over a vast array of topics including local history and current topical issues.

It is for this reason I am very satisfied with his decision to begin this page.

Hantas' blog is titled 'The Balkan Corner.'

Be sure to check it out - beginning with his in-depth analysis of the recent municipal elections across BiH.

Svaka cast, Dimitri.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Photo of the Day: Kravice Waterfalls

Check out this amazing photograph of the Kravice Waterfalls, which are located forty kilometres south of Mostar.
With a height of 25 metres, this natural landmark is very popular with tourists.
It might be worth marking it down on your "I Must Go Here Before I Die" list. After seeing this photo - it's certainly on my list now!

(Source: Facebook.com/Visit-Bosnia)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

VIDEO: 5 Things NOT to do in Bosnia (+ Bloopers)

It had been more than a week since my last video, so I decided my break from YouTube stardom had been long enough.

Here is another light-hearted video from me which is aimed at informing non-Bosnians of the five (5) things they simply cannot do if, or when, they come to Bosnia.

As I said above, this video is light-hearted, so try to avoid taking it too seriously - though, I hope it can be  useful and, perhaps even, somewhat informative to some of you. 

I have included a 'bloopers' section towards the end of the video as a bit of an extra. (It's hard filming this stuff and saying the right words without fumbling!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video, and hopefully I am able to construct some higher-quality movies for you in the future. (I might need to move away from Windows Movie Maker, though. That program and myself really have a love-hate relationship - believe me!)

PS. I know I speak fast at times - on top of my Australian accent - so I have included a transcript below of what I said in the video in case it is difficult to understand me. (Click "Read more >>" if you can't view transcript.)

5 Things NOT To Do In Bosnia + Bloopers:




Balkan Thursday Trivia - Week 4

(Source: celebs.com)

QUESTIONS (1 point):

  1. Which former coach of the Japanese national football team is currently the leader of an interim committee to run the Football Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina?
  2. A deer was reportedly spotted in the centre of which Bosnian city this week?
  3. What are the 3 words missing at the end of this former Bosnia-Herzegovina national anthem: 'Jedna si Jedina, Moja Domavina, Jedna si Jedina, ..... ..... .......'?
  4. Which Serbian football team were victors of the 1991 European Cup?
  5. Hip-hop group 'Elemental' hail from which Balkan city?
  6. Tear gas was reportedly thrown in Sarajevo last week prior to a concert by which Serbian turbo-folk singer?
  7. On which date does Bosnia-Herzegovina celebrate Independence Day (re-phrased: date when separation from Yugoslavia was declared)?
  8. Diocletian's Palace is located in which Balkan city?
  9. "Cetiri" translates to what number in English?
  10. What is the name of the infamous father of Australian-Serb tennis player Jelena Dokic?

BONUS (3 points):

  1. Which ex-Yugoslav city is this?

















[**Click 'Read more' - or scroll - for answers >>**]

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Weird and Wacky: Deer spotted in downtown Tuzla!

A local reportedly snapped this photo of a deer
making its way down a Tuzla street this morning.
(Source: Klix.ba)
You can tell there hasn't been a whole heap going on in this region of the Balkans lately, as there are a lot of strange stories which are dominating the headlines in recent weeks.

The latest odd occurrence was in Tuzla this morning, where, according to Klix, a deer -- yes, that's right, a deer -- was sighted strolling through the down-town area of the city.

Some citizens contacted local authorities upon the sighting, with local policeman Izudin Saric confirming the deer was, indeed, spotted in the city centre.

The deer is believed to have waltzed past Tuzla's National Theatre before escaping across the nearby Jala River.

So, how on Earth did the deer end up in the centre of Bosnia's third-largest city? Well, the jury is still out on that one.

My 2013 "Robijasi" Calendar

I discovered this gem being sold by a street seller in Zenica yesterday afternoon: a 2013 Robijasi calendar!

All for a mere $2 AUD (3 BAM)! Not bad, huh?

It should serve as a nice reminder of my time here in Zenica when it is hanging on my wall back in Australia next year.

There are some photos of matches where I was present - but sadly I have been unable to spot myself in any of them so far. Ho hum.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Things I'll Miss About Bosnia: #7

Awesome food and its affordability

A fresh loaf of bread from the bakery costs a mere 60 cents (AUD)!
(Source: Depo.ba)

Growing up in Australia, I have become rather accustomed to food being quite high on the expensive scale.

Whether it was forking out $8 (AUD) for a standard McDonalds meal or $3.50 for a nice loaf of bread - it always seemed like it was a bit much. 

So it was to my pleasant surprise when I arrived in Bosnia last year to find myself dining-in-style, all the while spending peanuts!

OK, OK, I know .. it is a bit of a Catch-22. Food and such being so cheap is not always a good thing; often it coincides with a fledgling or run-down economy (such as is the case in Bosnia-Herzegovina). 

But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the fact I am -- finally -- buying food at a reasonable price, right?

'Fail' by Serbian Musicians Goes Viral (VIDEO)

Check out this amusing video which has gone viral in recent days: a DJ playing without any cables attached to his set, plus a singer who is lip-synching - and rather poorly.

The pair -- I admit to having no idea who they are -- were appearing on a live program on Serbia's 'Pink Televizija' channel.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Zenica: Christmas/New Year Preparations in Full Swing

A Christmas tree outside a supermarket in
Zenica's main shopping centre.
The sheer amount of local decorations in preparation for Christmas is something that has really surprised me in recent weeks.

Although this is Middle Bosnia where I am currently located - and the majority of citizens in this area are Muslims - locals are preparing for and, seemingly, embracing the traditional Catholic event.

Not only are the typical Christmas lights going up on people's apartment windows and houses in Zenica, but many local businesses are also getting in on the act, decorating their stores with various paraphernalia as well as putting up Christmas trees.

Oh, and bare in mind that December 25 is another nine days away!

Despite the fact Christmas is not a day of celebration in the Islamic calendar, it appears many local Muslims are paying their due respects, and - through the shop decorations and such - even encouraging Catholics to celebrate their special day.

Weird and Wacky: Tear gas thrown at Sarajevo concert

Serbian turbo-folk singer Aca Lukas.
(Source: Klix.ba)
If the story about Belgrade commuters kicking inspectors off their bus the other day wasn't odd enough, this tale from Sarajevo will surely leave you scratching your head:

Bosnian news portal Klix is reporting tear gas was thrown at one of the entrances to a Sarajevo concert by a Serbian turbo-folk singer on Saturday.

Local police from the Sarajevo Canton confirmed the tear gas incident, which appeared to target patrons entering the city's Olympic Hall Zetra ahead of a concert by Aca Lukas.

Detailing eyewitness accounts, the Klix report stated the 'tear gas caused panic among the visitors, who started running with tears in their eyes.'

The portal claims a group of 10 people, apparently dissatisfied with the presence of the Serbian folk performer, began insulting and swearing at concert-goers as they arrived at the arena.

Despite the tear gas incident, the Lukas concert went ahead as scheduled.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Beautiful Bosnia in Pictures

Enlarge this map and start utilising it to map a
'rough' route out for when you eventually come!
(Source: AboutRomania.com)
It was only really this evening that it dawned on me that my time in this magnificent country is coming to a close very soon - and with that, a strong sense of sadness came across me.

There's a multitude of reasons why this depresses me - the people I will have to say goodbye to, mostly - but another one that stood out is the feeling that I have not seen as much of this nation as I wish I had.

There are, undoubtedly, so many beautiful locations and places in Bosnia-Herzegovina that just have to be seen while you're alive.

Although I am really disappointed that I did not see many of these places whilst here - I know it is just one more reason why I must return to these shores as soon as possible.

So, join me here as I post some of the most amazing pictures of what is known as the 'Heart-Shaped Land' - Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Enjoy.

PS. These pictures making you salivate? Hajde, my friend. Come visit here! What are you waiting for!? Check the BHtourism website for more information.


MOSTAR


(Source: BHtourism.ba)

Some Saturday Satires: Mujo and Haso

(Source: Top5orMore.blogspot.com)
Here are a couple of classic Mujo and Haso jokes to brighten up your Saturday - thanks to Top5orMore.blogspot.com.

For those who don't know:
"Mujo and Haso are Bosnian national joke idols for many decades before. There is a million jokes about Mujo and Haso from ex-Yugoslavian region. Everybody here knows about them. And a movie was made about these two guys by Ranko Đurić Đuro and Igor Arih in Slovenia (ex-Yugoslavian country).

Often there is one women in their jokes and her name is Fata. Also, sometimes there is third funny guy called Suljo."
To give you a hint, Mujo and Haso jokes are typically simple and sharp, with a common theme revolving around light-hearted digs at the IQ of the iconic pair.

Now, time for some cheap laughs:

1. Fata and doctor
Fata is taken by intensive care to the city hospital. Mujo is waiting for the doctor in front of the main entrance. The doctor came out and talked to Mujo:


- "Your Fata is not looking good."
- "Doctor, I know that, but she is a good cooker, she is good with our children and that is the reason why she is my wife."

Friday, 14 December 2012

Photo of the Day: Crkvice, Zenica

Not many pictures manage to take my breath away, but this one from Adnan Porca did.

Taken on Dec 9, 2012, it shows the effects of recent snowfall in the Babina Rijeka/Crkvice suburban area of Zenica.

In fact, I can even see my current residence in the photo! Beautiful.

(Source: Adnan Porca)

Another Milestone: 30,000+ Views

Another milestone has been knocked over in the past couple of days: 30,000 views to this blog!

It took just under six months -- wow, time flies -- to reach this target.

Thank you to absolutely everyone who reads and/or comments this blog.

I am still loving all of this, and I don't plan on quitting just yet - so stick with me!

Cheers and ZIVIO!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Balkan Quiz: Week Three

(Source: PubUnicorn.com)
You know the drill by now, guys.

    QUESTIONS (1 POINT):

  1. Serbia's Ambassador to NATO, Branislav Milinkovic, reportedly committed suicide at which European airport last week?
  2. Which football side were the 2011/2012 Premier League Champions of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
  3. TRUE OR FALSE?: The Bosnian Latin alphabet contains 30 letters.
  4. In July 1995, the murder of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Serbian forces occurred in which Bosnian town?
  5. Sarajevo's Old Town is arguably better known by what Turkish-derived term?
  6. Bosnian author and amateur archaeologist Semir Osmanagic claimed in 2005 that ancient pyramids exist near which Bosnian town?
  7. The home stadium of local football side Celik Zenica is called what?
  8. Who is the current-serving President of Republika Srpska?
  9. What is the capital of Montenegro?
  10. What is the name of the Serb nationalist youth who assassinated the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo in 1914?
    BONUS (3 POINTS):
  1. Who is this?














[**Click 'Read more' - or scroll - for answers >>**]

Nick 'Smooth Deep' Semwogerere

After posting the video of my standard day in Bosnia last week, I was surprised to receive a message from a man by the name of Nick Semwogerere - someone who I better know as 'Smooth Deep,' though I will refer to him by his last name for the sake of this post.

Semwogerere is based in London at the moment but has spent quite a bit of time in Bosnia-Herzegovina and, like me, has fallen absolutely in love with the place.

He has his very own YouTube channel, where he regularly posts a variety of videos, including his opinions on topical (as well as, at times, trivial) Balkan issues, plus a number of songs he has personally made - including more!

In fact, it was actually through Semwogerere's popular song 'Sarajevo Grade Moj' that I came to discover him.

Check out the song below, which has accrued more than 120,000 views in less than a year!



Nick sounds like a really switched-on and nice bloke, and I agree with much of his opinions when it comes to local issues.

You can also keep up to date with his movements on his Twitter page.

Keep up the good work, my friend!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Weird and Wacky: Passengers kick ticket inspectors off bus in Belgrade!

Belgrade's buses were at a standstill yesterday.
(Source: Telegraf.rs)
Now here's a rather unusual story being reported by Serbian news portal Telegraf today.

Apparently a number of Belgrade bus passengers were so peeved with large delays caused by snowfall yesterday, that when several ticket inspectors attempted to enter the vehicle, they simply kicked them off!

Belgrade Mayor Dragan Dilas had previously ordered the inspectors not to evict passengers without tickets from the city's buses, trolleybuses and trams while the temperatures outside were below zero.

So, when the inspectors began to appear on the buses yesterday -- which were already up to one hour behind schedule -- some "nervous" (the term used by the news portal) passengers decided to push the inspectors out onto the street!

The Telegraf reported that a mere 20 centimetres of snow fell on Belgrade yesterday, causing major disruptions to the flow of traffic in central areas.

Hopefully the city's public transport systems manage better over the next few months - when much more snow is expected.

Street Workout Zenica-style!

Now here's a cool video of the 'SteelSlaves' Street Workout team from Zenica doing their thing.

This is really worth checking out - not only because they are from Zenica - but because some of those things they are doing in the video are truly breathtaking!

Nice work, lads - and I am looking forward to more compilations in the future!

Monday, 10 December 2012

VIDEO: Enjoying Zenica's Snow

Following the positive response I received after my previous video last week, I decided it was time to whip the camera out once again.

Therefore, as promised, here is a video compilation of myself soaking up the recent snowfall in Zenica!

As previously noted on this blog, I don't get to experience snow all that often back home in Melbourne, so here is a rare opportunity for me to revel in it all. So forgive me if I go a bit over-the-top sometimes during the video!

(I told you it turns me into a little kid again.)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Rusty's Top 10 Balkan Songs!

Much of my day is made up of listening to music, and though I am certainly no expert, I have learned to grow an appreciation for different varieties of Balkan music and artists.

So, without further a do, I present to you my Top Ten Favourite Balkan songs!

(Please note: As you can probably imagine, there are a huge number of good Balkan songs which I have never heard before (or which I do not remember), so try and not be too upset because I excluded them from this list. I am just working with the songs I have heard, and which I can remember.)

Cheers and ENJOY!

-------------

10. Djecaci - LOVRINAC.
Djecaci are a Croatian hip-hop group based in Split. Personally, I love the tempo of this track, which in English means 'Graveyard.' The video clip is a little gory, but - if you're above the age of, I don't know, 15 - it's entertaining!
[English translation of 'Lovrinac.']




I love snow! (More Photos)

I cannot control myself - I am absolutely in love with the snow. Seeing nothing but white outside feels like I am in a dream!

Really looking forward to heading outside in an hour or two to soak it all up. Seeing dozens of people -- of all ages -- currently outside my window playing in the snow is making me incredibly envious.

Will attempt to get a video up for you guys in the coming days.

Anyway, more photos here:


















Saturday, 8 December 2012

PHOTOS: Finally, major snowfall in Zenica!

Just as it started to seem like we would never get it, major snow has - finally - begun to fall on Zenica.

Local media reports are suggesting that up to 40 centimetres of snow will fall across Bosnia-Herzegovina today.

I must admit, for someone like myself who doesn't have the opportunity to witness snow that often, I turn into a little kid whenever it is around.

(Probably explains why today I have already taken dozens of photos in the space of a few hours!)

I really can't wait for even larger amounts to fall in the coming weeks. Excuse my bluntness, but the snow-covered houses and mountains around here really just look so damn beautiful. It's also interesting to see how just a little bit of snow can transform the 'feel' of a city so drastically.

PHOTOS:


rustywoodger's First Zenica Snow album on Photobucket

Some Saturday Satires

(Source: WesternRifleShooters.files.
wordpress.com)
  • 'Studying a foreign language starts with swearwords, enough to know half of Bosnian.' 

  • 'Milošević is convicted by the court, but the judge does not know what would be his worst punishment. He decides to sentence Milošević to live on a Bosnian pension.' 
  • Friday, 7 December 2012

    Bosnia-Herzegovina Factual Index

    (Source: cia.gov)
    • Number of official languages: 3
    • Median age: 41.2
    • International ranking by land mass: 128
    • Number of Olympic Games medals: 0
    • Percentage of citizens who are Muslim: 40
    • Percentage of citizens who are Serbian Orthodox: 31
    • Percentage of citizens who are Roman Catholic: 15
    • Estimated number of Bosnian diaspora worldwide: 2 million

    Thursday, 6 December 2012

    VIDEO: A snapshot of my day in Bosnia.

    Many of my friends often ask me two things: (1) 'What do you do with your day?' and, (2) 'How is your Bosnian these days?'

    Tired of answering these questions on a daily basis, I decided to make this video for them (and for you) to enjoy - or cringe over. Whichever is your preference.

    This is just a casual Thursday in which I decided to film a few things in the space of one hour, with the aim of giving you some idea of my daily life here, and what my surrounds look like.

    None of it is serious, so, please, try not and take offence at anything I say.

    Just see it for what it is: an extremely low-budget flick, one which documents my unique adventure, and hopefully raises a laugh or two in the process - or teaches you some things that you didn't know previously.

    Screw it -- just watch me making a fool of myself already!

    Serbia's NATO ambassador leaps to his death

    Branislav Milinkovic sits at a NATO
    conference in Brussels, Dec. 14, 2006.
    (Source: Reuters)
    Serbia's ambassador to NATO 'chatted and joked' with colleagues before jumping to his death from a multi-story parking garage at Brussels Airport on Tuesday afternoon, AAP reports.

    Branislav Milinkovic, a respected diplomat and lawyer appointed to the ambassadorship in 2009, was at the airport to greet Serbian delegates arriving for a scheduled NATO conference, and gave no indication of what he intended in the moments before leaping to his death, Serbian officials say.

    The 52-year-old's mysterious death has shocked international officials, including NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who said he was "deeply saddened by the tragic death of the Serbian ambassador."

    "As Serbian ambassador to NATO he earned the respect and admiration of his fellow ambassadors," he said.

    Over the past two decades, Milinkovic had been heavily involved in fostering closer relations between Serbia and other former Yugoslav nations, as well as with Western Europe.

    Wednesday, 5 December 2012

    Balkan Quiz: Week Two!

    (Source: beenleighbowls.com.au)
    Here it finally is; the second instalment of Rusty's Quiz, this time with a broader Balkan focus!

    I know last week's questions led to some tense battles between couples trying to out-do each other with their Balkan knowledge - so hopefully this quiz helps settle some scores for a few of you. ;-)

    If otherwise, it's a good way to test how much you personally know about this unique part of the world!

    Good luck!

    QUESTIONS (1 point):

    1. What is the name of the politician who became the Bosniak Chairman of the Presidency in March 2012?
    2. What is the nickname of the Bosnia-Herzegovina national football team (in either Bosnian or English)?
    3. Mirad Hadziahmetovic was disqualified from Zenica's mayoral elections earlier this year for uploading what type of content to his campaign website?
    4. Which Croatian tennis player was champion of Wimbledon in 2001?
    5. Which former Croatian war-time general recently had his original 24-year prison sentence overturned by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?
    6. Which Bosnian city has its name derived from the Turkish term for 'city of salt'?
    7. Which Croatian footballer joined Real Madrid from Tottenham during the European summer of 2012?
    8. How many colours make up the flag of Bosnia-Herzegovina?
    9. Earlier this week, which former Yugoslav nation saw violent anti-austerity protests, reportedly leading to dozens of arrests and injuries?
    10. In English, 'krompirusa' is what sort of pie?

    BONUS QUESTION (3 points):


    1. Who is the person in this image?
















    [**Click 'Read more' - or scroll - for answers >>**]

    Tuesday, 4 December 2012

    Sarajevo marches for persons with disabilities

    Participants included those bound by wheelchairs.
    (Source: Klix.ba)
    Hundreds of citizens marched through Sarajevo on Monday to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

    Made up of members of a number of government and non-government organisations, participants of the 'Try to be me' walk carried placards through central city streets in an attempt to draw attention to the needs of disabled persons.

    Government minister - and one of the organisers of the march - Vjekoslav Camber said the walk aimed to send the message that persons with disability must not be ignored.

    "By walking, primarily, we wanted to show the citizens and the general public of Bosnia-Herzegovina that it is necessary to accept people with disabilities as equal citizens of this community and of this country," said Camber, the Federal Minister of Labour and Social Policy.

    Monday, 3 December 2012

    Mala Bosna U Americi / Little Bosnia in America

    Shot by ITV, here is a short but interesting feature on the large Bosnian diaspora community residing in the US city of St Louis - which, in recent times, has become known as 'Little Bosnia.'

    Sunday, 2 December 2012

    Croatia and Bosnia, neighbours a world apart

    A few hours drive away: The current state of many buildings in
    BiH on left; Croatia's Vodice beach on the right. 
    Picture it.

    It's seven in the morning as you drive past crumbling and bombed-out buildings, dodging stray dogs on the street and waving away gypsies tapping at your car window looking for change.

    Fast forward five hours. Now it's midday. The sun is shining, and you are soaking it up on a beautiful, pristine beach. The sea-side cafes are brimming with people. There are no gypsies to bother you. Just the sounds of the various and interesting languages spoken by the dozens of holiday-makers strolling past at you every minute.

    No, you did not jump into Emmett Brown's time machine sports car made famous in Back To The Future. You just took a simple drive from central Bosnia to Croatia's Adriatic coastline.

    Things I'll Miss About Bosnia: #6

    The Mountainous Landscape

    Zenica is a city nestled between various hills and
    mountains.
    (Source: visitmycountry.net)

    Mountains.

    It's funny how I have become so used to waking up to the sight of this every morning. 

    Growing up in several different areas of Victoria back home, it was the total opposite. Simply put; Victoria (and, you could say, Australia in general) is flat. Bosnia and Herzegovina is anything but. And I love this difference!

    The mountainous, hilly terrain in this region of the Balkans is a truly magnificent sight. It is hard to explain the real aesthetic beauty of these in words. Sometimes, only photos can do the explaining, or, better yet, actually seeing them with your own eyes.

    The amount of towns and cities nestled in between all these mountains is actually quite astonishing - as is the gradient and size on some of the mountains!

    It is not far from my apartment to where the mountains begin!
    A few months ago, I made the decision to trek up Smetovi, which is the highest mountain in the Zenica region. 

    It's fair to say I underestimated how long it would take to reach the top - resulting in a 12-hour journey up and back - but it was a nice experience which provided me with an opportunity to catch awesome views across all of Zenica as I walked up the mountain.

    Can you imagine something similar in Melbourne? Lets be honest, I don't think the top of the You Yangs would give you a close-up view of a city like Smetovi does, nor would Mount Dandenong.

    So, unlike back in Oz where we have to pack the car and go for a day-trip to see the mountains, here in Bosnia-Herzegovina we kind of live in the mountains!

    Very, very cool stuff.

    Saturday, 1 December 2012

    A Saturday joke ..

    (Source: personal.psu.edu)
    The weekend has finally arrived for us, so lets treat it like one!

    Here's a Bosnian joke I heard the other day. It was originally in Bosnian - and probably makes more sense in that language - but, who cares, we'll give it a go in English.

    Note: Before reading the joke, you should remember the common phrase used by Bosnians: "Dje si?" (It's pronounced in English as it sounds!)
    This translates in English to 'Where are you?', and is commonly said when bumping into somebody you know - kind of like how we back in Australia always say 'What's up?' to our friends.

    Anyway, just read the joke already, :-)


    A Bosnian man meets an English girl at the train station.

    The Bosnian man says to the girl, "What's your name?"

    The English girl:  "Jessie."

    Bosnian Man: "Well, I'm here, but I'm asking you what's your name!?"


    Get it? Yeah, I'll try and do better next time ..

    Enjoy your weekend, folks!

    Friday, 30 November 2012

    Zenica shows its support towards Palestine

    People of all ages came out in Zenica tonight to show
    their solidarity with the Palestinian population.
    More than 200 people took to the streets of Zenica this evening in a strong show of support towards the Palestinian population.

    Waving Palestinian flags and carrying signs which called for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, locals organised the demonstration following recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which saw 161 Palestinians - including 71 civilians - killed in the space of eight days.

    One of the organisers of the event, Semir Topoljak, told ZenicaBlog that the deaths of innocent Palestinians during Israel's week-long offensive forced him and others to take action.

    First major snowfall gifts photographers

    Bosanski Novi this morning.
    (Source: SRNA)
    It may have been expected, but Friday's snowfall across parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina still managed to produce a number of spectacular photographs.

    Although most of the nation remained unaffected, up to eight inches of snow was reported to have fallen on the north-western cities of Bihac and Bosanski Novi, providing a wonderful opportunity for local photojournalists to dusts off their lenses and take some snaps for us.

    The cold snap signals the beginning of the winter season in BiH, with climatologist Dzenan Zulum telling Klix.ba that residents of central and eastern Bosnia can expect snow to begin falling in their areas as early as Sunday afternoon.

    Thursday, 29 November 2012

    Humanitarian Concert for Amina Halilic (Zenica)

    Singing for Amina: An ever-present reminder that the
    occasion was all about helping the 15-year-old.
    On Wednesday evening, a charity concert was organised to raise money for young Zenica local, Amina Halilic, who suffers from a rare heart condition.

    I had the fantastic opportunity to go along to the event staged at Zenica's National Theatre, with the night aimed at helping Halilic's family find the 6,000 BAM ($3,800 AUD) necessary to fly Amina to Turkey for medical examinations, which will determine if her condition is treatable.

    With an entry fee of 5 BAM, the arena was packed to not only help out the 15-year-old, but also to catch a glimpse of a number of famous - and, well, not-so-famous - local acts.

    Photo of the Day: Sarajevo

    Check out this gem of a photo of a rainbow running across Sarajevo's skyline this morning!

    Courtesy of Sarajevo resident Armin Dervoz, who sent the photo to news portal Klix:

    Click to enlarge!

    Wednesday, 28 November 2012

    Bosnia-Herzegovina Quiz!

    (Source: infousa.state.gov)
    Alright guys, don't you think it's time for a little bit of fun?

    Instead of writing up another news-piece this evening, I thought I would mix my content up a bit and provide you with a little bit of a quiz which I have penned myself!

    So, come on, you think you know all there is to know about the nation that is Bosnia and Herzegovina?


    Here, there is no mucking around. See if you can answer the questions, and then use the points table at the bottom to see how you faired! (One correct answer = 1 point; Bonus question = 2 points.)

    Oh, and yeah, good luck!

    [**Click 'Read more >>'**]