Friday, March 28, 2008

New Country for Old Man

So, I'm in Podgorica. For those who haven't kept up with Europe's continued breaking into smaller and smaller bits, Podgorica is the capital of Montenegro, and therefore arguably Europe's newest capital (that honour could go to Pristina, but I'm still not sure if Kosovo is a real country or not.)

I only arrived a couple of hours ago, and I'm off to do a workshop at the coast in a few minutes, so I'll give my potted thoughts.

1. Podgorica used to be called Titograd, which is a marvelously evocative name, redolent of tractor factories, concrete apartment buildings and smog. So while I kind of regret that it's not still called Titograd, it doesn't really look like a Titograd. It's surrounded by snowcapped mountains and is a very small town (it seems), and (as communist towns go) it seems pretty attractive really.

2. It has a spanking new and modern looking new airport, all shiny buildings and cleanliness and chrome and everything. But it seems like there are no planes or passengers served by it. I arrived on one of those propeller engined little things from Vienna, which when we got there was the only plane in town. As you might imagine we didn't really provide the airport with a vast amount of business before the staff all went back to filing their nails or whatever else they do in the hours between customers.

3. Two surprising facts (to me at least). (a) The currency is the Euro; (b) Everything seems to be written in Roman script rather than cyrillic, which I was kind of expecting.

That's it for now. Not sure how to say good night in Montenegran (I wonder if that's what they call it, like Serbo Croat split into three more or less the same languages (Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian) and now there's a new one? I'll have to ask). My guess is it will be something like Dobre Utra. So a possible Dobre Utra for now.


Gadjo Dilo said...

Language is "Montenegrin". It's flooded with Russian money now, isn't it? I'd heard that the oligarchs had descended upon it as a prime piece of real-estate having the twin comforts of the Orthodox church and Mediterranean beach-life.

Andy H said...

Yes, that's what everybody told me. Russian money everywhere.

And people who grew up speaking Serbo-Croat can now speak 4 languages (does that make them quadrilingual?) Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, and Montenegrin.

Striking a blow for linguistic diversity

Gadjo Dilo said...

Linguistic diversity, indeed. I think it's sometimes called Balkanisation!

Hope you have a good time there Andy; let me know if you find any good places for snorkelling down there.

Spangly Princess said...

Dobre Utra is my default slavic greeting, in that it is the only thing I know how to say at all in any kind of slavic language.(I learned the word for hedgehog before I went to Russia, but surprisingly it was even less useful than you might expect).