almost didn’t want
to mention possibly meeting, Dragan Dabic, too in the second edition
of my book.
But, I decided to write the best and most
truthful testimonies of my memories as possible about my super cool
vacation in Serbia & Montenegro in 2002.
Darko told whomever this man was to please help lift my luggage
into the trunk in Serbian and he did. Darko always liked to brag and
as usual he introduced me to his friend giving me the details of his
being an important man in the Serbian military etc.. We went straight
from the Beograd airport to the home of Bojana’s family in the suburbs
of Belgrade and all became reacquainted. Whomever it was, he was a
relatively short man in height with salt and pepper hair and muscular
with that triangle type of nose.
Bojana and I hugged;
she introduced me to her family (father, mother and brother who was a
high school student in Beograd). Afterward, Darko showed me the room
upstairs where I would sleep which was actually Bojana’s room also
informing me of our three week itinerary; he had it all planned out.
Darko told me we would all spend the night over Bojana’s house, the
next day sleep at his apartment outside Beograd and later explained the
next day we would stop at his father’s family’s house for dinner and
leave from there making our way into Montenegro for a ten day vacation
staying at his friend’s resort on Budva’s seaside coast. Along the way
Darko told me he would give me the best tour I could ask for and he
did. He showed me military installations and one of my favorite stops
was the NATO bombed Chinese embassy which I stood in front of only
several yards from.
My night at Bojana’s
residence was wonderful. I was never showed as much love and
hospitality as I did from her family. Although it was late in the
evening (about 11pm Serbian time) when we arrived, Bojana’s mother, a
wonderful woman, treated me as her own daughter. She insisted that
Darko, Bojana and I enjoy what seemed a 10 course home cooked meal.
She was still cooking while she served us a variety of cooked steaks,
vegetables and pastries. And like many Italian families she insisted I
tried and ate everything. To top the night off before bed Bojana and
her father performed an accordion duet live in the kitchen for me.
Apparently, Bojana and her father were professional accordion players
and Bojana explained that her father’s employment consisted of playing
nightly in a local bar. Thereafter, we went to bed with full stomachs.
The next morning we all enjoyed an equally exquisite breakfast.
Bojana’s family had livestock in the backyard and her mother cooked us
a fresh eggs and steak for breakfast like never before experienced. We
said our parting goodbyes and left for Darko’s apartment in the hills
of Beograd. We brought my suitcases in and upon entering I noticed
there were lots of stray dogs around the apartment entrance. One in
particular was very cute and Darko explained that the various residents
fed it because it was so adorable. I found it interesting that so many
old men were just hanging about the entrance to the apartment building
drinking and just sitting there with seemingly nothing to do. They
remained there throughout my entire trip.
Even when Ratko
Mladic came to see me on my final day in Serbia in full military
regalia giving me a parting gift (a book he inscribed to me entitled
Serbija) while Darko took pictures of Mladic with his arm around me,
the men remained there merely looking like old bums. Retrospectively, I
wonder if they weren’t some watchmen and/or guards. Unto this day I
always wondered what Darko did with those photos.
surprised what a very large apartment Darko owned. He showed me into
his guest room and I unpacked my suitcases in just enough time to
inform me I was to consolidate all my truly necessary items for
Montenegro into one small bag that would reasonably fit into his trunk
in the morning because he needed enough room for his and Bojana’s
luggage also. He laughed at all the things I brought with me to
Beograd telling me that I had no idea how to pack.
the time I was done with that task Darko told me it was time to go meet
some friends at a local café for coffee. It was late summer and the
outside café’s in Beograd were the best !
We met up with
a few friends in some restaurant in Beograd; there was about five of us
sitting there just chatting and drinking coffee when I noticed an older
gentleman sitting a few seats down with feathered salt and pepper
colored hair not saying much except for an occasional laugh and nod at
us. I wondered wherefore Darko a man about thirty would associate with
such an older person, as for me being several years older than Darko, I
thought to myself, what a cute guy. Then upon closer inspection, I
realized it was doctor Radovan Karadzic. I knew he was a
psychiatrist. By no means was this to be our last meeting. Throughout
the time I spent in Serbia Darko met with Karadzic on many occasions in
Beograd. The meetings were usually brief; only to exchange oral
information and/or a few papers with Darko and whisper something or
other in Darko‘s ear. He looks as the news media portrays him dressed
in his gray wrinkled suit and tie and salt and pepper colored hair. He
was a perfect gentleman all times I met him with Darko. After finishing
our coffee, Darko said we ought leave and get a good nights rest
because we had to leave early the next day for Montenegro.
The next morning we all got into Darko’s blue Audi (car) and left for
his Father’s house. I remember arguing with Darko about wanting to
bring lots of luggage with me and he replied I didn’t need all that
stuff and I could only bring one normal sized bag with me and I had to
leave the rest of my things at his