EuroTrip '08 - Belgrade, fish soup

I was kicking myself all day yesterday because I forgot to take my camera with me for most of the day. First, my mother and I went to the bank to do some business which, of course, made us hungry so we stopped by a bakery and got fresh djevrek (no, although it looks like a sesame bagel, it is not - it is much lighter and crispier). Mmmmmm....

Then we went to the main building of the Natural History Museum and made some contacts there. The Director was at a meeting, but the secretary is smart, hip and on-the-ball and will be a great contact for the future as they try to design a new website and attempt to make their collection visible to the rest of the world.

Then we went to the Farmers' Market, where I really wished I had my camera with me. Among else, we bought some carp from the Skadarsko lake in Montenegro (Danube is full of mercury after the bombing, so it is not a good idea to eat its fish any more).

Then, we got hungry again and stopped by a cake & sweets shop and got a bunch of cakes. By the time we got home and I got my camera out, 3.5 out of 4 cakes were already eaten (krempite i indijaneri) so all I can show you is a very sweet and creamy 'sampita' in the process of getting devoured:


Then I went to the vet school where I met Dr.Milica Kovacevic-Filipovic. She is now teaching pathophysiology and does stem cell research in collaboration with a French lab. She is also the Editor of the new Bulletin of the association of small animal vets of Serbia, the first issue of which I got in hardcopy (it just came out), so we talked about the way it should be made available online and 1-2 best articles - the peer-reviewed clinical cases would be the best choice for this - should be translated into English and given a DOI and a permalink so they can be searchable and visible to the world. But aside from science, we were friends a long time ago - went to the same high school (I was one year ahead), rode horses together, partied together and went to vet school together, so it was quite a blast from the past for both of us to meet again after about 20 years (and agree how the age has improved both of our good looks, not made us look old and ugly). We spent a good two hours talkng about science, publishing, international scientific collaboration, state of Serbian science, etc, and I have learned a lot. And I think that I can help a lot from my side:


In the evening I went to see Cudo u Sarganu in Belgrade Drama Theater which was excellent. The actors were obviously having fun, not just doing their jobs, and thus they drew the audience in instantly. Also, I love plays in which it is obvious that actors on the stage are breaking real eggs, eating real food, drinking real beer and slivovitz, and smoking real cigarettes during the play (of course they enjoy doing this show - they get paid to have dinner and drinks!).

I went with my brand new sister (you can see a pic of her in the very first post from Belgrade a couple of days ago). OK, she is really my great-grand-niece and she is about twenty-ish, but since she moved to Belgrade to attend the University, my Mom took her in and "adopted" her. I alway wanted to have a little sister and she always wanted to have an older brother, so we hit it off from the get-go and spent a lot of time trying to catch up on 20 years of life apart. Legend says that she was named after me (Borika, while her little sister who is also moving to Belgrade in the fall to go to the University is most clearly named after my Mom).

Dr.Srdjan Milovanovic who teaches and practices psychiatry at the University of Belgrade Medical Center, has been my friend since I was 3 and he was 2 and remained in touch through all these years. He took these two pictures of me before the talk at the Pediatric Center on Tuesday:

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Finally, today, the carp we bought became fish soup. What a great lunch! My mother fixes the best fish soup in the world. With zuccini/cucumber/garlic salad, hot peppers and, of course, some grape brandy to begin with. So I ate, and ate, and ate, until the whole soup pot was empty:

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I am hard to reform, but I want you to keep trying ;-)

When given a roasted leg of zebra while traveling in Africa, you do not refuse, you eat it. When in Serbia, you eat fish soup. And I happen to love it. And carp in Skadar is certainly not endangered.

The Danube was poluted by petrol-smugling from Rumania with lead not mercury during the sanction in 1995. Since then fish is not recomended for people to eat. We were lucky to find a fish from a lake far from the Rumanian border.