17.11.08

Site Visit Eve

So tomorrow is the big day when I get to go to Skopje for 3 days and 2 nights to meet my counterpart and future coworkers, both native Macedonians at my workplace and the MAK 11 & 12 volunteers. I'm most excited about not sleeping at home for two nights, although I am skeptical that my hotel will be a hotel. I'm expecting a sketchy hostel, that way no matter what, it will be great. Thats often my favored coping mechanism for life. I think its helping me keep an even keel in Macedonia now. No expectations to be let down. Marko, a MAK 11, said that their hostel was Bad when they came for site visit to Skopje. I can't find MKD online, so who knows.

We took the train to Skopje on saturday and I saw Quantum of Solace! After thinking about it, I think I liked it better than most of the more modern James Bond movies. (the old ones cannot be touched, especially not Sean Connery james bond movies.) Daniel Craig is beautiful, like a modern day Steve Mcqueen, and I love how the new movies let you see more of the emotional toil that goes on for Bond. going to a movie here was very similar to going in the US. The movie theater was in a mall (a very nice mall, by american standards) with the choices being Quantum of Solace, Mummy 3, Hellboy 2, the Love Guru and a Macedonian movie. There were two screens, we got there just in time for the 12pm showing of james bond. Tickets were 120 MKD, which is about 2-3 dollars, depending on exchange rate. Nice seats, no 20 minutes of previews, people were pretty quiet for most of the film. The strange part was the abrupt ending of the movie. Not the movie itself, the theater. The lights went on before the final few beats of music at the end of the movie and then the movie stopped completely in the middle of the credits. Besides that, its pretty much the same.

Its strange when I think that I am in the Peace Corps. I went to the movies! I have pretty frequent internet access, I can go shopping at H&M if I please. I can go out to restaurants and have a beer or two with friends. They have the same beers and cigarette brands. There are Adidas and Puma stores and people actually go shopping in them, despite this country being so poor. This isn't even the capital city. And then, at the end of the day, I go home to my host family that lives in a village with cows and chickens. I'm thinking its all a facade, these western stores and prices. Maybe a handful of people have the money to enjoy these luxuries, the rest are just incurring debt because the mindset here doesn't force people to worry about tomorrow, next month or the next few years. My theory is that the money enabling people to fashion these material lives comes directly from foreign sources via grants from international donors. Maybe not directly, but almost. People get paid to administer NGOs or municipalities, those are the people who can afford to shop at the places I see. But in 2-3 more years, when the money dries up and funders look to other continents, then what? I'm constantly scared that this won't be rock bottom for Macedonia, the worst has yet to come. I'm wondering exactly what my being here will do for macedonia in the end, but its still early to worry about that.

In other news, I also had some decent mexican food on Saturday in Skopje, complete with enough hot sauce that my mouth tingled for another hour after lunch.

1 comment:

Kait said...

was the hostel baaaaaadddd?