Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prilep and to Skopje

On Sunday, we got up to go to Prilep. Sadly Justin wasn’t feeling too well so he decided to stay at home while the girls went to Prilep. Once we got to the bus station, this random guy started yelling at us “Prilep? Prilep?” I turned and looked at him and said yes, but we wanted to know how much. He told us it was 120 MKD “same as bus.” These “taxis” are quite common, and basically the same as the regular taxis. Just guys trying to make an extra buck. Just like giving a ride to a friend for a little bit of money. We got in the back seat and off he drove (there was an old guy in the front seat who got off part of the way to Prilep). He dropped us off in front of the bus station and we tried to figure out the money (who would owe who what later) and he came up and told us 120 MKD again. He was super nice and spoke pretty good English. At that time, (when he came up to tell us how much we owed) and took the money out of my hand and gave me the correct change. It was rather complicated, because  you know when your thought process gets interrupted and you can’t refocus? Well, that is what happened.

But anyway, we left and started walking towards the Thai restaurant. There is a Thai restaurant in Macedonia. Only one. Yup and it is in Prilep. Go figure. However, we didn’t originally know where the restaurant was. So we stood at a corner and tried to find it on the map (small little bus about 1/8 of a inch in black on grey). Once we found it, we knew which way to head off and off we went wandering down to the center of Prilep. Stopping to take some pictures along the way, of course.

Prilep is a big tobacco town.  

We started walking up towards the Thai food without knowing exactly how far it was from where we were. It ended up being about a half a mile or so. It was a nice easy walk, pretty and not too cold.

Once we got there we had yummy Thai food. Although it tasted more like Chinese than Thai, it was still good. And the server was super nice and friendly. After food (which took about 2 hours or so, even though we were the only people there), we headed back down to the center to see the (very) few sights that Prilep had to offer. And took some fun pictures of course.


Random things: A "Facebook style boutique" and a bad named club "The End"

And then the ride back home. We walk into the bus station and ask for a ticket to Bitola. They lady tells us that there isn’t a us to Bitola until 4pm, and it is the one from Skopje so we wouldn’t be able to buy tickets until it gets here anyway. It was 2 pm. So we walk back outside hoping to catch a “taxi” back. Low and behold there is a guy asking “Bitola? Bitola?” We say yes. Him: “How many?” Me: “How much?” Him: “120, same as bus. How many?” Me: (pointing) “Three.” Him: “Ok, come on.” He then proceeds to wave to two other people and walks us over to his normal size car. Yes. A five seat car with 6 of us supposed to go into it. The three of us started laughing and going, this will be interesting. So Jen gets in the front seat, while the other two people (a bf and gf it looked like) Lizzie, and I got in the back seat. I was basically sitting at an angle with half of me on Lizzie’s lap and the half on the arm of the car seat. The best part? When the cops pulled in front of us. The guy had been going the speed limit and then he slowed WAY down, driving so they couldn’t really see us. They were going way under the speed limit but who would pass a cop in Macedonia? Once the cops turned off the road, he immediately sped up and all of us started laughing (well none of the Macedonians did, but we Americans did). The driver looked at us and smiled. Which made us laugh more. Once we got back to Bitola, we went to Vero to grab some stuff for Jen’s mom’s spiced tea.

Black Tea
Frozen orange juice
frozen pineapple juice
3/4 c sugar
a cinnamon stick
3 or 4 cloves

1.    Brew  a strong Quart of tea
2.    Add the other ingredients to the tea and heat to boiling.
3.    Let steep for a bit
4.    Enjoy!

With the frozen juices:  they are the 12 oz size frozen which calls for adding 36 ounces of water...  I usually only add about 1/2 of that...  you can tell by the taste.

SO, if you cannot find frozen juice and.... use ready to serve juice....  make a little less tea water  and use another tea bag to make it stronger.

Once we got back we made the tea and watched TV/looked stuff up online/hung out until we went to bed.

On Monday, Jen and I got up to take the 8:30 am bus, according to the online schedule, and got to the bus station. We arrived there with about 10 minutes before the bus. We were approached by this guy offering to take us to Skopje for 10 Euros (why can’t people just quote me in MKD? We are in Macedonia not the Euro Zone!), but we decided to just get a bus ticket since we didn’t know the price in MKD and thought the bus will be here in less than 10. Well, we were wrong bu the guy would have charged us 150 over. Not enough to make up for the difference. The lady at the bus station said the bus would be here at 9. So now we had a 30 minute wait. So we just sat at the bus stop and waited. We chatted up a few taxi drivers. And saw this:

Then we took the looong bus ride back to Skopje, complete with beautiful scenery.

We had a random police stop on the turn off to Skopje. The police just stopped us for about 20 minutes, no explanation. Even the Macedonians were curious. They had 22 cars, an SUV and us stopped before they let us all go. Then once we finally were let go, we got stopped at the tool booth, just a long line of cars. And there were police in full riot gear (minus the shields). And then there were about 4 SUVs full of the guys in a bit. So of course, I took a picture. For a minute I thought the guy was coming towards the bus to make me delete the photo, but he was not. We have no idea what they were there for, but maybe someone arriving to the airport? Someone important?

Jen and I caught a cab down to the center (basically to make this guy shut up because he wouldn’t let us think), ate at Anja’s. We even had a 30 minute conversation with the bartended who was curipous about why we were in Macedonia. It is hard to tell someone that the *main* reason you are in Macedonia is to act as a people-to-people ambassador and what we are currently doing, talking, is what they are really paying me for. Kinda weird, so we hedged it. Then I walked Jen to the bus stop, where she caught another “taxi” to Tetovo, and was dropped off at her front door (well the entrance to the university, but who is quibbling over minor details?

I then went to pick up our special order thing (can’t tell you what because the person who it is for reads the blog). And went looking for this place to buy terra cotta pots, but I couldn’t find it. However, on the way back I passed this artist who does drawings of sights around Skopje that I had been eyeing for a while. He was finally here and I asked him how much it was, for 2 it was 500 or 350 for one. So I of course got two. J Then home and to do little things after one gets back from a trip.

See you around the globe!

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