Half of what people told me about Kosovo is true, while the other half is an imaginary load that can only be acquired through photos and descriptions. It’s true that Pristina is full of Roma and homeless people. There are pick pocketers everywhere and the culture is totally male-dominated, which isn’t really my cup of tea. There are a lot of hills with some billies, but not so many that Pristina doesn’t feel like a city.
Guess what, though ? There are Roma practically everywhere in Europe, but Kosovo is poor and therefore has more of them. The homeless people gravitate to touristy areas because when they see Americans, they think money. There are pick-pocketers in every big city–even more so in India, I’m told. Not that I would know. As long as you have street smarts you won’t get into trouble. Patriarchal cultures are an unfortunate byproduct of Kosovo’s Muslim roots, but–surprise, surprise !–France, Spain, and the United States are patriarchal, too. And the hillbillies are super friendly with interesting stories to share. These people lived through a war and must now take on life with those memories on their backburners. Never in my life have I met a people that holds Americans in such high regard. Apparently the land of hamburgers, freedom, and open spaces made Kosovar Albanians really happy when Clinton told NATO to drop bombs on Serbian troops. Nevermind all those dead people, just stop the horrible atrocities ! An eye for an eye, because he got sworn into his presidency on the Bible, right ? Wrong. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but I’m still thankful that Pristina has been restored to its original beauty. All the colorful houses and picturesque landscapes with just a dash of revolutionary symbols scattered throughout add to the initial euphoria of being in a new place.