What It’s Like to Chill W MLADIC


Contributor

I was emotionally crushed.

   
Desperate not to lose contact with Darko because of my personal
feelings towards him, I told him my summer classes at FDU were about to
end August 2002 and although the fall semester was about to begin, I
wanted to visit him in Serbia as soon as possible.  Soon for me meant
as soon as I received a check from the United States government for the
total of that semesters’ student loan money in the amount of about ten
thousand dollars.

    Darko, hesitant at first soon gave in to
my constant petitions to visit him.  The day I brought them both to JFK
to return to Serbia permanently, Bojana whispered something in Darko’s
ear as we hugged saying our goodbyes all three of trying to hold back
tears of parting and Darko looking me in the eye said something to the
effect, “Jill, don’t worry as soon as you can afford it call me and
we’ll arrange your visit.” Darko never could stand to see me cry which
on many occasion I did owing to the loss of my two children and other
personal challenges in my life.  They turned and boarded their plane to
Belgrade as I drove back to New Jersey.

     Driving home I
felt an odd combination of extreme sadness at the loss of my two best
friends mixed with the cheerful prospect I would shortly be boarding a
plane myself destined for Serbia and Montenegro by mid August 2002 when
my student loan check arrived.  Upon arriving home I immediately began
making all necessary arrangements for my forthcoming trip.

   
The day following Darko ‘s departure, I bought a great many  prepaid
phone cards for the purpose of calling him owing to both my missing him
and also my primarily wanting to began making all necessary
arrangements facilitating my forthcoming visit from JFK to Beograd.  I
had countless questions such as: how much money will I need, how will I
obtain a VISA being an American citizen with all the US State
Department warnings against US citizenry traveling to the region, etc.,
etc., etc..  I had already obtained a valid United States passport many
years ago which I always carried with me.  I’ve always held the strong
opinion that having a valid passport with you at all times is just a
good idea.  It enables one the necessary freedom to go to the airport
and catch a plane going anywhere at anytime.
       
       
Darko told me that I need not worry about all the complicated VISA
requirements listed on Serbian government website required of other
Americans  that he would handle everything.  I was told merely to bring
with me about five thousand United States dollars in cash spending
money and it was a done deal.  I went to buy some new suitcases and
clothes for my trip in Wayne, New Jersey during the first two weeks in
August 2002 in preparation.  Packing was always a problem for me as
Darko can attest to owing to my medically diagnosed attention deficit
disorder.  I had a difficult time deciding what to bring, so I tried to
bring everything I thought I needed.  The day of my departure my
suitcases weighed way over the weight limit restrictions indicated by
the airline.

    Getting to JFK for departure in mid August 2002
proved to be an almost insurmountable task in and of itself owing to my
heavy luggage and everyone I asked to drop me at the airport that day
had strongly held views against my going.

     Arnold Stark
declined to bring me owing to his personal jealousies insofar as Darko
and everyone else had one or another excuse rooted in the anti-American
sentiment in Serbia at that time and danger involved. 

   
Undeterred, I finally convinced Archbishop John LoBue, my priest and
confessor at the Holy Name Orthodox Christian Church in West Milford,
New Jersey to take me as far as the Port Authority in Manhattan; from
there I took a bus to JFK managing myself.

   
Post 9/11, JFK was supposedly safe beyond reproach insofar as security;
this proved untrue.  I had not traveled outside America in many years
so I was unfamiliar with the new travel restrictions on such items as
nail scissors etc., being illegal to bring onboard flights and carried
several very sharp ones right passed JFK security inspection inside my
purse on board out of my own ignorance of new flight rules.  It was not
until I arrived on my stopover in Paris, France that I was boarding
onto a JAT (Yugoslav Air Travel) flight for Belgrade that the security
officer of JAT told me that he had to confiscate the aforementioned
items owing to new security precautions implemented post 9/11.

   
I informed him upon boarding my initial flight at JFK in New York, the
security guards at the gate allowed me to board my flight to Paris
carrying them in my purse.  The JAT security employee merely shook his
head in amazement mentioning something insofar as his seriously
questioning American security in general stating that Jugosalv Air
Travel obviously took airline and passenger security much more
seriously. 

    I loved flying JAT!  Not only was I completely
satisfied the flight from Paris to Belgrade was many times more secure
since JAT searched boarding passengers more thoroughly than JFK, the
hospitality, food and drink was excellent.  I say this owing to my
being a well seasoned traveler having previously visited places such as
Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong, etc..  It was extremely laid back on
the flight.  People moved around switching seats and chatting with good
friends and the  food was the best! 
    My favorite Serbian food
and drink were served and all airline employees shoed me the highest
level of hospitality.  I was extremely pleased with the professionalism
and service on JAT I later began an online blog about it on Yahoo360.
   
   
Upon my flight arriving in Beograd, all passengers left the plane in
the usual manner except Serbian citizens were shuffled through customs
quickly merely showing their passport.  All others including myself
were asked to relinquish their passports and told to wait an
unspecified amount of time in a holding area at the airport.  An
airport security officer went

Author

Contributor

From our Partners

Explore YourTango

MOST POPULAR