Happy Easter

by Jonathan Davis on 5 May 2013

6910328164 29776453f4 d Happy Easter

Photo Credit: selenajupiter cc

Dear Orthodox friends, have a very Happy Easter from all of us at the Belgrade Foreign Visitor’s Club

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Serbian folk remedy researched to control bed bugs

by Jonathan Davis on 12 April 2013

2179381309 07601e361d n Serbian folk remedy researched to control bed bugs
(Image by Sappymoosetree - Creative Commons) 

Bed bugs a re a terrible pest that is now present in up to 30% of US homes. Researchers are desperate to find a way to kill them, as they are very resistant to insecticides. 

A physical trap approach might be the solution, thanks to a Balkan folk remedy. 

From BBC News – Leaf-like material ‘traps bedbugs’, say researchers:

“A material designed to mimic the hooked hairs found on leaves could help trap and control bedbugs, the Journal of the Royal Society Interface reports. The US scientists were inspired by a traditional Balkan remedy that used kidney-bean leaves to combat the pest. Infestations have increased worldwide, partly due to pesticide resistance. An ensnaring solution could sidestep this.

…The researchers were inspired by an age-old remedy formerly used in Bulgaria and Serbia where kidney-bean leaves were strewn on the floor next to beds to trap the bugs. The greenery was burned the next day. Bedbugs have no evolutionary link with bean plants – although the general idea that plants have developed to trap insects like aphids and spider mites is known.  “

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Economic Propaganda in Yugoslavia from 1969-1980

by Jonathan Davis on 25 March 2013

Love this. 

An exhibition of economic propaganda from 70′s Yugoslavia

 8588625339 1567f62c77 Economic Propaganda in Yugoslavia from 1969 1980

8589725482 52a64fa12c Economic Propaganda in Yugoslavia from 1969 1980

8589725458 1b2d0fcc60 Economic Propaganda in Yugoslavia from 1969 1980

 

See more at POLET

Also see  kragujevac-kilimandzaro (Kragujevac to Kilimanjaro)

8589725798 3a2c77bd68 Economic Propaganda in Yugoslavia from 1969 1980

 

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Serbia sentences 14 for 1991 war crime in Croatia

by Jonathan Davis on 27 June 2012

How often do you read that Kosovo, or Croatia or Bosnia have prosecuted and jailed their war criminals? Rarely. 

In Serbia, I see these headlines frequently. 

It is not a case of Serbia having more war criminals to prosecute. There were many atrocities committed on all sides and only a fraction of the perpetrators have been brought to justice. 

I believe that Serbia’s War Crime prosecutor is simply more aggressive, more efficient, and supported politically and judicially. 

I am not sure this is true of the other combatant entities in the Balkan wars.

Yesterday the newswires picked up on the latest successful prosecution in Serbia: 

Serbia’s special war crimes court on Tuesday sentenced 14 former Yugoslav Army soldiers and paramilitaries to a total of 128 years in jail for the 1991 killings of 70 Croat civilians, some of whom were ordered to walk through a minefield.

In a ruling Belgrade hopes will boost its chances of joining the European Union, the court said it had been proven beyond doubt that the defendants were guilty of the killings, and of mistreating and torturing the civilian population.

In October 1991, the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army, allied with paramilitaries and local Serbs, swooped on the village of Lovas in eastern Croatia, immediately killing 22 ethnic Croats in their homes, the court said.

“They also killed another 23 people in improvised prisons … and forced civilians to walk through a mine field, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people,” it added. “Another three people were killed in isolated incidents.”

Serbia and the other countries that once made up the now defunct six-republic Yugoslavia are still struggling to come to terms with the wars that tore it apart in the 1990s, plunging Europe into bloodshed.

“With this (ruling) we have sent a reconciliatory message to all the war crimes victims throughout former Yugoslavia,” Bruno Vekaric, the assistant war crime prosecutor, told reporters in Belgrade.

EU MEMBERSHIP LINK

Serbia, a candidate for EU membership, is trying to show the 27-nation bloc it is serious about prosecuting war crimes from the period in order to dispel concerns that it has dragged its feet over doing so in the past.

It hopes that such prosecutions – particularly in cases where the victims were non-Serbs – will speed up its efforts to join the EU.

After former strongman Slobodan Milosevic was ousted in 2000, Serbia said it was trying to step up its efforts to apprehend war criminals and extradite them to the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague or to try them at home.

Milosevic himself died at the U.N. detention facility in The Hague while defending himself against charges he was guilty of war crimes and had fomented the Yugoslav wars.

Last year, Serbia arrested and extradited the two remaining most-wanted war crimes fugitives, Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic – sought for genocide – and Goran Hadzic, the 1991-1995 wartime leader of rebel Serbs in Croatia.

Serbia’s top war crime prosecutor said last week his office was investigating 13 people, including a former top-ranking security official, on suspicion of helping war crimes fugitives evade justice.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal plans to close by 2014, and the remaining cases have been handed to domestic courts. Serbia has already sentenced scores of war crime suspects.

A few things stand out. 

The repeated claim, unsupported by any evidence from the Serbian side, is that the prosecutions are motivated not by justice, but by a cynical desire to curry favour with the EU.  

Serbia was the only country to hand over a former head of state to The Hague. It has handed over all of its wanted war criminals. It has prosecuted “scores of war criminals” in domestic courts. 

Where is the equivalent zeal in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo? 

Kosovo in particular has a dire record of dealing with war criminals, probably because so many of them are currently in government. 

There is little more Serbia can do to get justice for the victims of Serb warcrimes. Serb victims of war crimes , however, will probably never see justice.

What’s worse the oppression of Serbs and other minorities continues in Kosovo. The criminals act with impunity because killing and beating Serbs still goes unpunished in Kosovo today, and few outside of the Serbian ghetto enclaves care about it. 

Via Serbia sentences 14 for 1991 war crime in Croatia | Reuters

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President Nikolic

by Jonathan Davis on 20 May 2012

Boris Tadic is out, Tomislav Nikolic is in. Welcome President Nikolic.

I think the Western press are going to go nuts over this. Speaking of which, there are wild celebrations downtown (I can hear the beeping from Vracar).

My attitude: Lets give the guy a chance.

Thoughts?

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Bowie

by Jonathan Davis on 13 April 2012

6918598008 1249879b8b Bowie

Love these Serbian renderings of English names.

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The progressive electoral quandry

by Jonathan Davis on 13 April 2012

I thought this quote from Hera made out of clouds in Peščanik made an interestinhg point about progressives in Serbia feel they have no reliable political representation:

“A citizen of Serbia who is in favor of urgent amendments to the Constitution, recognition of Kosovo, NATO membership, strengthening of Vojvodina autonomy, putting an end to the vassalage towards Russia, and full distancing of the state from the church and its obscure ethical views, who seeks public recognition of the failure of foreign policy, as well as the failure of education, of the judiciary reform, of the fight against corruption, of brining order into the work of secret and public police, a citizen who is against any form of national idealism and interest-based alliances with those who want to restore Milosevic’s policies, against the remnants of the forces which instigated and led wars, and all those who would have fallen victims to lustration – cannot find a relevant political force in Serbia today, with a program and practical activities he or she can rely on.

Being constantly unprepared leads to defeat. Constant defeat one is responsible for can be handled only hand in hand with a sense of injustice. Constant sense of injustice always finds an outside guilty party, and is the source of intolerance, loneliness and rejection of the world. The way we are unprepared is something that is inherited, practiced and bequeathed. It is not only the consequence of neglect. On the contrary, and not very rarely, it signifies the failure to accept being prepared, it is an expression of unreadiness for any kind of changes, for learning how to change, for acquiring the ability for realistic assessments and rational prognosis. It is a method of political determination, denial of the world to come, denial of the order of things.”

 

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Football street art

by Jonathan Davis on 12 March 2012

Here are some pictures of the super abundance of football related streetart that I have seen around town lately:

6829488866 a5eb64b4a5 Football street art

6829458098 bbd87e2d72 Football street art

6829457400 b7d1e1b563 Football street art

6975579255 6cc64ea9b8 Football street art

6975578491 d86e81bbd3 Football street art

6829450210 7c9066b430 Football street art

6824249926 1b9fb0aec1 Football street art

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Yugoslav Space Program? You’ve been hoaxed…

by Jonathan Davis on 15 February 2012

My wife recently found this clip on YouTube. Wonderful spoof about the (non-existent) Yugoslav space program.

See an interview with the creator, Ziga Virc.

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The Birds!

by Jonathan Davis on 8 January 2012

This is the scene that greets me every day at dusk, a huge flock of crows heading back to their nests for the day. Its like a scene from the The Crow!

Best watched on Flickr in HD

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Coloring the white city

by Jonathan Davis on 30 November 2011

Coloring the white city from Miomir Rajcevic on Vimeo.

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Serb mercenraries trapped in Libya

by Jonathan Davis on 26 September 2011

From Balkan mercenaries in Libya risk lives for gain (SETimes.com)

Ever since turmoil erupted in February, there have been reports of Balkan mercenaries in the north African country. Media reports last week claimed that rebel fighters executed a large group of fighters-for-hire in the city of Misrata, including nine Croats, 12 Serbs and an unknown number of Bosniaks.

That story remains unconfirmed, and details about the overall number of Balkan mercenaries active in the country are hard to come by. Still, military operations experts say they have enough data to form a rough estimate.

“According to my information, about 250 persons from Serbia are located in Libya,” military analyst Ljubodrag Stojadinovic told SETimes. He said several hundred well trained troops emerged from the Balkan wars, and are willing to use their expertise.

The mercenaries are driven by the promise of monetary gain, and not by politics or ideology, Stojadinovic added.

“The ‘dogs of war’ earn from 2,000 to 5,000 dollars or euros [per month], depending on who makes the offer and how they structure the arrangements,” he said

So whats the story here? Are there hundreds of Balkan mercenaries in Libya? If yes, what is their fate? Executed?

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Exit refugees

by Jonathan Davis on 15 July 2011

5933921790 1a7c67b230 Exit refugees

One of the funnier sites one sees around Belgrade after the Exit festivals is the casualties from the festival literlaly wondering the streets of Belgrade in a daze.

Here we had a shoeless 50 something hippie walking down the middle of the road in Dorcol muttering to himself…

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July 1st is Quiz Night!!

by Jules on 24 June 2011

Amaze yourself with how much inane trivia you really do know!!!

What: Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club – “Pub Quiz”
When: Friday, 01 July, 7.30pm
Where: Sports Cafe (Makendonska 4)

Come along and have a few laughs, meet new people and give the ‘grey matter’ a bit of a work-out.
The night will be a lot of fun and it will be the last time that “Peter the Griller” runs the quiz, so let’s give him a great BGFVC send off!!!!!

· Great prizes (prize for best team name too!)
· Register your team (4-6 people) OR if you want to meet new people why not register as an individual as we will match you with others.
· Please register by MIDDAY Thursday (30 June)
Jules (064) 398 8025 or jules@belgradefvc.com

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C’mon and get ruggered up! (Saturday)

by Jules on 14 June 2011

The pretty town of Beocin (100km north of Belgrade) in Vojvodina is hosting two rugby league matches this Saturday, 18 June.

BGFVC is able to offer transport to the game on the Red Star team bus and a meal afterward for 500 dinars.

TIMINGS:
13.00 – bus departs Belgrade
15.00 – kickoff for Nova Pazara vs Dorcol game
17.00 – kickoff for Red Star vs Krusevac
19.00 – after match meal (good Serbian fare – meat/salad/bread!)
22.00 – back in Belgrade in time for Amy Winehouse/Moby concert

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO RESERVE A SEAT:
- Jules (064) 398 8025 or mail to: jules@belgradefvc.com
- Philomena (063) 120 8624 or mail to philomena@belgradefvc.com

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THE FAMOUS BGFVC “PUB QUIZ’ NIGHT – will next take place on Friday, 10 June.

Time: 7.30pm to register and form teams. 8pm start!

Venue: Sports Cafe, Makedonska 4

PRIZES:

1st place: 6 copies of The Oxford English Serbian Dictionary – said to be the best on the market. (Kindly provided by The English Book)

2nd place: 6 goodie bags courtesy of Metropolitan University

3rd place: 6 x 600 dinar bar tabs at Sports Cafe

Losing team: a bottle of good quality Metropolitan University wine
Best team name: prize TBA

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO REGISTER AS A TEAM OR INDIVIDUAL:

- Jules (064) 398 8025 or jules@belgradefvc.com

- Philomena (063) 120 8624 or philomena@belgradefvc.com

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Savska Street Drama!

by Zach Nicodemous on 7 June 2011

Disclaimer: I just want to start this blog entry by disclaiming that perhaps this is more an observation of humanity rather than something specific to Belgrade, however the specific event that prompted this blog post occured in Belgrade, hence why I am writing about it here.

Yesterday, I was walking down Savska Street in Central Belgrade towards the main police station, having just finished parking my car.  To paint the picture, I was approaching from the row of shops on Savska, approximatly 50 metres from Technomajia on the corner.   There were, by my estimation, around 25 other people walking along the same stretch of Savska, along with a fair amount of traffic on the road.

There I was, walking along the street when I hear an almighty crash, whip myself around within half a second, to see a large 18 wheeler truck slamming into a small red car and proceeding to push it a good 40-50 metres down the road.  About half a second after the impact, I was running towards the scene of the incident certain I would be presented with fatal injuries that would require my 7 year old RAF Air Cadet First Aid training to be used.   The crash itself however isn’t what shocked me.   The thing that truly shocked me was the fact that out of the 25 – 30 people that had been walking on the same stretch of road as I, only one other person had run across the street with me to offer assistance.

Not only this, but the vehicles that had been driving behind the truck and the red car, proceeded to drive onto the central reservation and continue on their way, instead of stopping (as required by law when witnessing an accident) and waiting for the police to arrive and take their statements.

It got me thinking, what is it with the mentality these days, where 90% of people turn around and walk away when there is a person or persons are in need.  If YOU were involved in an accident, would you not want people to come and help you? Its a worldwide problem – I remember watching a scene in LOST a few years ago where a woman was being mugged in an alleyway and only one person came to her rescue.  The man said “I just did what anyone would do” to which the woman responded: “Three people walked by the alley. They saw me. But they just kept on going. “

I remember thinking to myself at the time how sad that was and yet, in most cases its very true. Perhaps my view on the world is too pristine but I like to think that people should help other people in need.  We are all members of humanity and regardless of our background, color or creed, we are all equal and worthy of a little common decency, so I beg of you all, if you see a person in need, please go out of your way and at least offer your help.  Do not walk on by like its nothing to do with you.

Amazingly, the women driving the small red car was not injured at all aside from a little bit of whiplash.  I asked her to get out of the car as soon as I saw she wasn’t seriously injured because the truck had hit her car at a fairly high speed and for all we knew, the car could catch fire at any second.  I gave her some water and called for police and an ambulance (both of whom took over EIGHT minutes to arrive which is fairly bad in itself, especially given that the main police station was less than 150 meters away!).

The Truck driver attempted to blame the crash on the women, however myself and one other person had seen most of the incident and it was fairly clear that the truck had been attempting to move from the right lane into the left lane, hadn’t seen the red car, spun it out and pushed it down the road.   Both myself and the other witness gave statements to that effect although I am not sure what is going to happen to him.  I think the Truck Driver was just as shaken as the women and I think it was a genuine accident so I hope that he does not loose his license or anything, but I do hope that he learns to check his mirrors a little closer before changing lanes!

How would you have reacted in this situation?  Would you have run over to help or would you have kept on walking? Leave a comment and let me know!

06062011 300x225 Savska Street Drama! 06062011002 300x225 Savska Street Drama! 06062011004 300x225 Savska Street Drama!

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Hi everyone,

Your next opportunity to streeeaaatch the grey matter, give ‘constructive feedback’ to the quizmaster and be quietly confident that you are definitely the smartest member of your team is coming up again soon.

THE FAMOUS BGFVC “PUB QUIZ’ NIGHT – will next take place on Friday, 10 June.

Time: 7.30pm to register and form teams. 8pm start!

Venue: Sports Cafe, Makedonska 4

PRIZES:

1st place: 6 copies of The Oxford English Serbian Dictionary – said to be the best on the market. (Kindly provided by The English Book)

2nd place: 6 goodie bags courtesy of Metropolitan University

3rd place: 6 x 600 dinar bar tabs at Sports Cafe

Losing team: a bottle of good quality Metropolitan University wine
Best team name: prize TBA

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO REGISTER AS A TEAM OR INDIVIDUAL:

- Jules (064) 398 8025 or jules@belgradefvc.com

- Philomena (063) 120 8624 or philomena@belgradefvc.com

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Cheers

Philomena & Jules

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poster zoo

The Embassy of Australia will host Australia day at the Zoo’ on Sunday 29 May 2011.

The day will centre around the mini-Australia exhibit and will include a quiz for school kids, games, jumping castle, facepainting and other activities to help youngsters learn more about Australia. You may even spot a giant koala!

All funds from sponsored activities will be donated to the Belgrade Zoo.

The Aussie Embassy welcomes your support, so come along and have some fun at beautiful Belgrade Zoo.

See attachment for more details

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BGFVC ‘PUB QUIZ’ NIGHT 

Friday, 13 May

Sports Cafe (Makendonska 4)

7.30pm

 

Come along and have a few laughs and give the ‘grey matter’ a bit of a work-out. 

It’s Friday the 13th too – so expect a few spooky questions. 

The night will be a lot of fun and will be hosted by an experienced ‘quiz master’.

A charity collection will be available at the door, so please bring loose change.

  • Great prizes (prize for best team name too!)
  • Register your team (4-6 people) OR if you want to meet new people why not register as an individual as we will match you with others. 
  • Please register by MIDDAY Thursday (12 May)
  • RSVP to:

Jules (064) 398 8025 or  jules@belgradefvc.com

Philomena (063) 120 8624 or philomena@belgradefvc.com

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Air Pollution in Belgrade

by Jonathan Davis on 14 April 2011

[Update: Thanks to Dragan Debeljak for pointing me to a new resource from the Serbian government where you can get near real-time air pollution information, with great detail for Belgrade: http://www.sepa.gov.rs/ams/xajax_data/eas_kvalitet_vazduha_1.php?nosplash=1 . ]

I am doing some research into air pollution in Belgrade, both for my own needs (my family and I are moving back to Belgrade after a year away) and for the wiki’s Accommodation section.

I am trying to find out the best and worst areas to live for air quality.

The only thing I could find on air pollution levels for the city is 9 year old (2002) “Environmental Atlas of Belgrade” from the Belgrade Institute of Public Health.

The maps are a bit hard to figure out, but they seem to show (unsurprisingly) that the city centre, Dorcol and Vracar are worst, with Dedinje and Senjak not much better, New Belgrade OK, with Zemun and other outlying areas best.

34ev1 300x210 Air Pollution in Belgrade Air Quality – All (2002) 33ev1 300x213 Air Pollution in Belgrade Air Quality – SO2, SOOT, NO2 (2002) 32ev1 300x203 Air Pollution in Belgrade Air Quality – Sulfer Dioxide and Soot (2002)

That data is old, so things might have changed. It is also shocking.

The entire centre of the city had a World Health Organisation rating over 3, which is off the scale. The measure stops at 2+, meaning “Extremely Unhealthy”.

I tried to contact Institut zа јаvnо zdrаvljе Srbiје to get some up-to-date information, but no one answers there.

Does anyone have any up-to-date information or know of an expert I could contact about this?

Maybe the World Health Organisation Belgrade office?

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‘Belgrade versus Rest of Serbia’ rugby league match & Serbian dinner

Why not take the opportunity to get out of the city for an afternoon, watch some sport and experience Serbia’s wonderful hospitality?

Ruma (50km north of Belgrade) is hosting the ‘Belgrade versus Rest of Serbia’ rugby league match on Sunday, 17 April and the local mayor has extended an invitation to all foreigners living in Belgrade to come and watch the game.

Bus will depart BGD at 14.00 (after the marathon).
Welcome drinks will be provided pre-game and afterwards there will be a special meal put on by the mayor of the town welcoming visitors to his city.
The plan is to be back in Belgrade by 21.00-21.30.
As an added bonus Lee Crooks, ex Great Britain Captain will be at the game with us – so come and get some signatures for the kids!

All for 500 dinars!

If you wish to take you own transport you are most welcome to and instructions can be supplied by Jules on (064) 398 8025 or jules@belgradefvc.com

So please join in the fun! It’s a great way to see another part of Serbia, to support the Belgrade team, and to experience something that we all love about this amazing country, its very genuine and generous hospitality.

Philomena & Jules

Limited seats on bus, so please RSVP to:
Jules (064) 398 8025 or jules@belgradefvc.com
Philomena (063) 120 8624 or philomena@belgradefvc.com

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Balkan Interiors

by Jonathan Davis on 29 March 2011

Slowly starting the process of looking for a new home in Belgrade as my wife and I are returning from a year in Denmark.

We are in the market for a decent flat, preferably in the suburbs (eager to avoid the noise, pollution and cockroaches of Dorcol).

As part of my looking, I decided to check out a few agency websites.

The thing that strikes me is that so many of the apartments have the same, dire décor.

Wood panelling seems to be a must. Chnitzy furnishing, puff leather and fake gold fittings are all in abundance.

I was wondering where the lean, clean, minimalist apartments were advertised?

Then I found a genuinely excellent site for flat hunters in Serbia:  http://www.residence.rs

Currently service Belgrade and Valjevo, it is the best site I have come across so far for stylish luxury apartments.

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April First Friday Event!!

by Jules on 22 March 2011

BGFVC QUIZ NIGHT with presentation of EKO Bags Serbia

Friday, 01 April

Sports Cafe (Makendonska 4)

 

Come along and have a few laughs and give the ‘grey matter’ a bit of a work-out. 

Eko Bags will be presenting their unique and wonderful bags at the event, so please bring your buying heads too and help this great cause out.

Pub quiz night will be a lot of fun and will be hosted by an experienced ‘quiz master’.

  • prizes
  • teams to be between 4-6 members 
  • feel free to register as an individual as we will help you put a ‘super intelligent’ team together or come with your own team
  • special drink prices for BGFVC members
  • please RSVP to

Jules (064) 398 8025 or  juleskovacevic@yahoo.co.uk

Philomena (063) 120 8624 or philomena@belgradefvc.com

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Superb interactive Belgrade maps

by Jonathan Davis on 11 March 2011

Belgraded.com pointed me to this new (to me) site with wonderful and useful interactive maps of Belgrade

Dnevne linije | Belgrade Maps

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Next meet-up – Friday, 04 March

Nachos

Strahinjica Bana 66

www.nachos.rs

Hi everyone … there seems to be a lot of people away so we thought it might be a good opportunity to try a dinner for a change. (If you just feel like dropping by for a drink and not eating that’s perfectly fine too! It will just be good to see everyone.)

We’ve booked a big table at Nachos (Mexican) for 8pm.

They’ve got a club downstairs for anyone who wants to stay on.

Coming up

April - we’re planning a pub crawl that will finish off at Pevac near Obilicev Venac.

May - will hopefully be go-karting.

June – a boat trip.

We’re also trying to find out when Buffalo Wings in Novi Beograd is open as there seems to be a bit of a fan-club already.

Any ideas or suggestions appreciated!!!

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Hi everyone!

The next BGFVC ‘First Friday’ meet-up is on at Sports Cafe on 04 February.

The bar will be runing a live telecast of the Six Nations’ Wales & England rugby match … so feel free to come dressed in your colours.

A love, or even like, of the game is not compulsory or necessary.

Where: Sports Cafe, Makedonska 4

When: Kick-off is at 8.45pm, but feel free to drop by anytime after 7.30pm.

We have a special area reserved for BGFVC, so when you arrive just ask to be pointed in the right direction.

Hope to see you there!!!

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The Masquerade Ball is nearly here!!

by Jules on 11 January 2011

OK people time to get your glad rags on and celebrate Serbian New Year with the BGFVC. There are only a few remaining tickets so please contact either Philomena or myslef ASAP to reserve your spot at the first event of 2011!!!

Here are all the details in case you don’t have them!!!

Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club Serbian New Year ‘Masque Ball’Come and celebrate Serbian New Year with BGFVC – a sit down dinner will be served, followed by a DJ/dancing.

When: Saturday, 15 January

(Yes, official Serbian New Year’s Eve is on 13 January, but we are planning on a big night and wanted to give you a bit of time to recover before the next onslaught to your systems!)

Time: 19.00 for dinner. Until 01.00 … or whenever!

Where: Kafana Sumatovac, Makedonska 33

(A car parking station is only 20 metres from the door.)

For directions, check PlanPlus: www.planplus.rs

Cost: 20 EUROS includes dinner,dessert and TWO drinks (selected spirits, wine, beer, soft drinks) – plus special BGFVC prices on selected cocktails, beer, and wine throughout the evening.

Dress code: Semi formal

Tickets are strictly limited and are available to be bought or reserved from:
* Jules Kovacevic juleskovacevic@yahoo.co.uk Mob: 064 398 8025
* Philomena O’Brien philomena@belgradefvc.com Mob: 062 767 323

See you all on Saturday I hope!!!

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What: Come and celebrate Serbian New Year with BGFVC – a sit down dinner will be served, followed by a DJ/dancing.

 When:  Saturday, 15 January

(Yes, official Serbian New Year’s Eve is on 13 January, but we are planning on a big night and wanted to give you a bit of time to recover before the next onslaught to your systems!)

 Time: 19.00 for dinner. Until 01.00 … or whenever!

 Where: Kafana Sumatovac, Makedonska 33

(A car parking station is only 20 metres from the door.)

For directions, check PlanPlus: www.planplus.rs

 Cost: 20 EUROS includes dinner,dessert and TWO drinks (selected spirits, wine, beer, soft drinks) – plus special BGFVC prices on selected cocktails, beer, and wine throughout the evening.

 Dress code: Semi formal

 Tickets available at on a first come first serve basis. Most are now sold. Please contact us via the Contact Us form to reserve tickets.

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BGFVC Second “First Fridays” Event

by Jules on 23 November 2010

Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club ‘First Fridays’

Come along to the best social and networking event in Belgrade!

Connecting like minded people who love Belgrade and love having a good time.

Next meet-up is Friday, 03 December

at Sumatovac, Makedonska 33

(A car parking station is only 20 metres from the door.)

For directions, check PlanPlus: www.planplus.rs

 Dinner 6-8pm

For those who need the ‘padding’ a special BGFVC dinner will be available between 6-8pm for 650 din!  (including GREAT Happy Hour prices for drinks – 5 cocktails, beer and wine!)

BGFVC meet-up 8-12

We have negotiated special BGFVC drink prices! ‘Buy 2 get 3’ cocktails Sex on the Beach, & Cuba Libre, Beer (125 din) and Wine (250 din)

We are expecting a HUGE turnout again, so please RSVP to:

Jules Kovacevic juleskovacevic@yahoo.co.uk  Mob: 064 398 8025

Philomena O’Brien philomena@belgradefvc.com  Mob: 062 767 323

ALSO …tickets for our BGFVC ‘Serbian New Year ‘Masque Ball’ on 15 January will be on sale. Please make sure you bring your 20 EUROS as tickets are limited and are on a first come first served basis.

Looking forward to seeing you

Philomena & Jules

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‘First Fridays’ kick-off on Friday 05 November
19.00 – 23.00hrs

The Belgrade Foreign Visitors’ Club moves to a new venue and a new regular slot.

The First Friday of each month will see our group move to the well-known and recently-renovated Serbian kafana Sumatovac at Makedonska 33 (Tel 011 337 3133).

Located near the Politika newspaper building not far from Republic Square, Sumatovac is easily found. Adjacent to Politika is a car park for visitors using their own transport. Sumatovac serves both international and Serbian cuisine, alongside a great cocktail list and other drinks.
For directions, check PlanPlus: http://www.planplus.rs/

The group aims to assist foreign residents arriving in Serbia, bringing them together with long-term expatriates and Serbian friends for informal networking and support.

Please RSVP to:
Jules Kovacevic juleskovacevic@yahoo.co.uk Mob: 064 398 8025
Philomena O’Brien philomena@belgradefvc.com Mob: 062 767 323

We are anticipating a large turn-out and are looking forward to seeing you at our new look events.

Jules and Philomena

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BGFVC ‘RE-START’

by Jonathan Davis on 7 October 2010

Friday, 15 October
8pm @ Tijuana

We are keen to get the ball rolling again with the BGFVC, and this will be our first post-summer meet-up.

Come along and enjoy a few drinks together (non-alcoholic cocktails will also be available – thanks Victor), and catch up on everybody’s news.

Tijuana has also had a bit of work done, so we hope people will notice an improvement particularly in the toilets. We have approached Victor about the smoke situation and have come up with a solution for this!!!

We’d also like to get people’s ideas of what they want from BGFVC going forward. All suggestions welcome.

We would love to see as many of you as possible even if you can only pop in for 5 minutes!!!!!!!

Jules, Zach & Philomena

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Belgrade 2.0 has a super interesting post about a new film about skinheads in Serbia.

Based on the trailers, it looks pretty good.

I must say, I have never seen a skinhead in 5 years in Belgrade, but this is because the neo-Nazis are better disguised these days.

There are still attacks on Roma camps (as depicted in the film), but thankfully there are very rare, the police are very aggressive dealing with neo-Nazis and, the Roma are well organised in fighting back.

Check out the pots with trailers at  Skinning Šišanje – Film about youth violence in Serbia.

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Nasty supermarket tricks

by Jonathan Davis on 24 September 2010

This video was filmed in the relatively new Idea supermarket in the up-scale Usce shopping centre. It illuminates the downright dangerous and immoral tricks played by some Serbian supermarkets.

It is not only Idea. I have had two incidents at the big Maxi at Gospodar Jovanova 39 where I ended up with rotten food.

One one occasion I was sold rotting Skate (fish). On another, I bought a kilo of marinaded chicken, only to spot that it was green and putrescent whilst preparing it.

I am told the supermarkets use the marinade to disguise the rotting, so be very careful when buying any meat in a marinade or sauce.

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Seven women to every man…yeah right

by Jonathan Davis on 9 September 2010

Belgrade 2.0 reports on the widespread myth that there are 7 women to every man in Banja Luka, and on plans to put to put two statues  – of supermodels? – up outside the city to welcome visitors.

CAE6E73A E170 40A0 B30C 15424750CC7B mw800 mh600 s Seven women to every man...yeah right

via Seven women per one man.

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Wizz Air: An Honest Review

by Zach Nicodemous on 14 August 2010

Earlier this month, I decided to try out the new direct service between London and Belgrade from Wizz Air.   I had previously used Wizz Air in 2009 on their service between Timisoara in Romania, and London and it was a relativly good experience, in fact, having researched the company alot prior to that flight and finding alot of negative feedback and reviews, I was pleasently suprised with the service I got back in 2009.

So I went into Nikola Tesla airport on August 4th with a sense of optimization, looking forward to another no frills, but puntual flight with Wizz Air………little did I realize what was about to occur.

———————————————————————————————–

On August 4th, I was due to be on the 21:55pm flight from Belgrade to London.    Check-in went very smoothly and I arrived at my gate about 70 minutes before the flight was due to leave.  There was a resturant just opposite the gate so I decided to head in there and have a late meal (A plate of Pasta with 4 different cheeses, very nice).    I rushed to finish the meal as by this time, it was about 21:15pm so I knew the gate should be opening up soon.    As i finished my meal, the screen above the gate updated saying the flight would be arriving early, at 21:35pm – which I was quite happy with, however a couple of moments later, it updated to say 23:55pm – a delay of 2 hours.

By this time, all the stores and almost all resturants in the airport were closed or closing, and NO representatives from Wizz Air were available to provide information or any kind of compensation in the way of food vouchers or otherwise.   In fact, an extensive search of the airport and chat with a couple of airport staff revealed that all Wizz Air staff had gone home after check-in closed!

The plane arrived at about 23:15pm and we were allowed to board at 23:40pm – it was obvious that the plane would not leave at 23:55pm and I think we finally took off at around 00:30am.     The boarding process went smoothly, but the staff were quite rude about the delay, especially when asked about the compensation that they state they provide on their website after a 2 hour delay.

Fast forward now to the return flight, from London Luton on 11th August, which was meant to take off at 5:35pm Local Time and actually did leave on time.   I was quite happy with the return flight, that is, up until around 40 minutes before we should have arrived in Belgrade.

About 3/4 of the way through the flight, I noticed the plane making some odd turns, as if the course was being changed, and sure enough about 15 minutes later, the captain came on the intercom to say that there was a minor electrical issue and that we would be landing in Budapest to have it looked at.

We were on the ground for about 2.5 hours in Budapest, confined to our seats on the plane with no food or refreshments offered. We were only updated 2 times by the captain during the whole two hours, and the cabin crew were EXTREMELY rude. Several passengers went asking for information and the cabin crew were not very polite in their responses, at one point I think I heard one of them say “I understand your concerns, but this is budget airline so its your own fault for choosing to fly with us”.

2 – 2.5 hours later, we took off again and arrived in Belgrade about 3 hours later, we had to circle Nikola Tesla for a bit to wait for a landing slot.

————————————————————-

All in all, I paid 200.98 euros for this flight, I paid an extra 8 euros for priority boarding, otherwise its manic and you don’t get a very good seat.

It is obvious that the cause of ongoing flight issues, is that being a budget airline, the planes are used many times during each day, sometimes making 6 or 8 flights with only 45 minutes – 60 minutes at the MOST on the ground. Maintenance is not carried out on the planes on a regular schedule, so electrical issues and other issues are dealt with “as and when they occur” – often forcing the plane to land in Budpest or wherever Wizz has a “base” and the proper technical support available.

It also obvious that this was the reason that the outbound flight to London on the 4th was delayed, there must have been an issue that caused them to land in Budapest, as the delay was about the same.
————

I will not be using Wizz Air again – the only good thing to come out of the whole Wizz Air venture in Belgrade, is that airlines such as British Airways are now lowering their prices to compete – a return flight to London with British Airways is now 224 euros, a mere 24 euros more than Wizz Air (or 32 euros when you do not have priority boarding). Considering that with BA, you get a complimentay meal and drink on the plane, more leg room, your choise of seating when booking, and very rarely any delays, I would be happy to pay the extra 20-30 euros. All in all, I experienced over 6 hours of frustration and delays during this flight.

—————

Summary:

Quality of Airplane: 4/5 – the planes looked fairly new and were fairly clean, barring any technical issues

On Time: 1/5 – the plane was basically late both times by 3 hours or more.

Cabin Crew: 1/5 when there is an issue, they appear to have almost no decent customer service training, and are very rude when there is any kind of situation. 3/5 when things are running smoothly. When things are running ok (such as when I used them from Timisoara) – the staff are polite to an extent.

Value for Money: 0/5 – I’m sorry, but I expect a budget airline to be at least 80-100 euros cheaper than a non budget airline. British Airways is only 20-30 euros more expensive.

Total: 6/20

————————-

Tomorrow, I will be posting a cross reference of ALL airlines that now offer flights from Belgrade to London, the costs, and my recommendations, however I do strongly recommend British Airways and not Wizz Air.

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Excellent Telenor customer service

by Jonathan Davis on 21 June 2010

This last week my mobile phone started malfunctioning. I called Telenor who asked me to bring it in to a shop.

I tool it in to the shop on Knez Mihailova. They took a look at the phone and decided it needed repair.

They were about to issue me with a spare when they realised I needed a company stamp to authorise getting a loan phone (I am a business customer).

One of the managers overrode the procedure and accepted my work ID as proof enough.

It is now in getting repaired.

My experience, from calling the call centre and being offered an English option, through to talking to Customer Services and my treatment in the shop were all excellent.

After some recent Customer Service disasters, I just wanted to point out a truly exception company operating here in Serbia that we can all learn from.

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Massive failure for SBB customer service

by Jonathan Davis on 21 June 2010

On Friday morning our SBB cable TV signal abruptly failed. I called the call centre and an agent told me there was a general problem in my area and it would be fixed later.

On Saturday morning it was still broken, so I called again. This time I was told that it was not that general problem, but something specific to me, so  “someone will call you later”. On Saturday afternoon I called again, and this time I was told “maybe they will call you today, maybe tomorrow”.

On Sunday, no call from SBB,  I called again and got the  “someone will call you later”. Of course no one called.

This afternoon (Monday) I called again and, yes,  “someone will call you later”. I explained that I had been told this every day for three days, so the agent put me on hold and then came back to tell me “That was the weekend, someone will call you later or tomorrow”.

I do not expect that call any time soon….

Some things that SBB could do to improve thremselves.

1. English option. Its is pot luck if you get an English speaking agent or not when you call the Call Centre. English language skills should be mandatory for all call centre staff. The new phone system (that seems to have gone live today) presents the caller with various options (Press 1 for …). All the options are in Serbian. No English option at all. They could learn from Telenor on this.

2. Tell the truth. I would much rather be told that there are too few engineers working at the weekend to be able to get my problem solved before Monday or Tuesday than fobbed off with nonsense about an imminent call. One can go out and buy an aerial, but not when you think the engineer is imminent.

3. If you say you will call back, then make sure you do. It is deeply frustrating to be told you will be called back then hear nothing day after day. I have Bel Medic do this to me today too. Must be the season for it.

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Ana from Belgium, get back in touch

by Jonathan Davis on 16 May 2010

Could Ana from Belgium, who was having problems registering on the forum, please contact us via the contact form again?

A glitch stripped out your email address, so we could not write back!

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Serbia’s growing historical realism

by Jonathan Davis on 11 May 2010

4559838669 f548889c3b Serbias growing historical realism

Tim Judah has a good piece in the BBC on the recent discover of another mass grave in Serbia. He credits Serbia for its openness and willingness to face the past.

He also draws attention to the crimes commited against Serbs, including the alleged trafficking of organs cut from Serb victims of Kosovo Albanian militia.

I am delighted to see Serbia facing up to its past and aggressively dealing with war criminals. Serbian wrongdoing stopped over a decade ago, but its is still politically obstructed by refusal to own up and move on. This has allowed the ongoing crimes and human rights abuses against Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo to be ignored.

By owning up to and apologising for what the Milosevic regime did over a decade ago, Serbs can finally draw proper attention to the crimes being committed against them today. Hundreds of thousands of Serb refugees – victims of ethnic cleansing from Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia – are still homeless. Serbs in Kosovo are still suffering gross human rights violations, including intimidation, violence, harassment and discrimination.

By owning up to and prosecuting those responsible for Serbs crimes, Serbs are not only getting justice for their victims, but they are also clearing the way for justice for Serbs. The sooner Serbs crimes become “old news”, the sooner crimes against Serbs will become headline news in the future.

BBC News – Mass grave find shows Serbia slowly facing up to past

The discovery of a mass grave in Serbia, thought to contain the bodies of about 250 Kosovo Albanians, is a brutal reminder of the wars of the 1990s.

But Serbia’s readiness to publicise the find is a sign that some things have begun to change.

…In Kosovo, too, there has been little open discussion about crimes committed on the Albanian side during the conflict. Allegations that hundreds of Serbs and Albanians were murdered in Albania during and after the war by the Kosovo Liberation Army have met with blanket denials.

Among the most gruesome allegations are that some of those prisoners had their organs removed, in order to sell them, before being killed.

Albania has dismissed the claims as fiction, but the UN and non-governmental organisations are still pressing for a full investigation.

…Another hopeful sign is the vigorous debate which is now taking place between non-governmental organisations across the former Yugoslavia over the creation of what is called the RECOM initiative.

This aims to establish the facts about war crimes in order, in part, to establish a basis for reconciliation but also to prevent facts being distorted for political ends in future.

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Ecclesiastical Phallic Symbols

by Jonathan Davis on 8 May 2010

Belgrade has some fantastic fertility symbols…

4584835014 4ab27b3b39 Ecclesiastical  Phallic Symbols This fertility symbol was pained in Dorcol recently. I suspect ecclesiastical elements were added later. 4584207907 98cb5eaaca Ecclesiastical  Phallic Symbols Phallic symbol detail showing church type decorations

Apparently the same artist believes that “Allah is badass”…

4584836320 e8dcd4015b Ecclesiastical  Phallic Symbols

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World Cup Fever hits Terazije

by Zach Nicodemous on 26 April 2010

fans World Cup Fever hits Terazije

I’m not a big football fan, however the recent daily scenes of hundreds of adults and children exchanging world cup stickers certainly amuses me somewhat!

I find it amazing that of all things – it is football that can bring hundreds of people, of all ages, colors and backgrounds together into one place, without any problems of issues!

What do you all make of it?

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BGFVC Club Party Tomorrow (23rd April from 7pm)

by Zach Nicodemous on 22 April 2010

The Belgrade Foreign Visitors Club will be meeting up tomorrow for a random spring party – no specific reason, just because we can!.

A few club members have birthdays coinciding with this meetup, so if you really need a reason to come and hang out with us, then that will do!

WHEN: Friday 23rd April, 2010 from 7pm
WHERE: Tijuana

HOW TO GET THERE: http://www.belgradefvc.com/forum/showthread.php?t=533

Invite your Friends!

You are always welcome to bring your friends to the club with you, we love to meet new people and make new friends, so spread the word!

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Combat 18 in Belgrade

by Jonathan Davis on 19 April 2010

4530796943 133dde4144 Combat 18 in Belgrade

Combat 18 in Belgrade, originally uploaded by Limbic.

Looks like neo-Nazi hooligans in Belgrade have connected with their brethren in the UK.

There has been an up-tick in Hooligan related violence in Belgrade recently, with shootings and even a train steaming incident.

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Join the BGFVC for the Belgrade Marathon 5km Fun Run

by Zach Nicodemous on 15 April 2010

funrun Join the BGFVC for the Belgrade Marathon 5km Fun Run

One of our Forum members organizing a meetup this weekend for the Belgrade Marathon 5km Fun Run which is takin place on Sunday 18th April at 10am!

Members of the Belgrade Foreign visitor club are welcome to join us in this short run.  We will be meeting at 9:30 am on sunday in front of Mcdonalds at Terazije (accross the street from hotel moskva).

Our group will be wearing white t-shirts with “metropolitan university” logo.   If you cannot find the group, you can call Guillaume (Gijom) on 061 224 8522.

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Must See: GRADs first birthday

by Jonathan Davis on 13 April 2010

web pozivnica01 vi Must See: GRADs first birthday

The European Centre for Culture and Debate has a great, free first birthday concert this Friday 16th April. The best act will be Rpoint, with Roma hip/hop rap and urban beats.

This part runs for 40 minutes from 6 pm. The dance troupes are from all round the country and they also sing.

Mary Black was at the rehearsals last night and was blown away. The bands will play Exit this year and are about to start rehearsals for a musical, set in Belgrade. One not to miss!

Details of location and the other bands playing are here:

http://www.gradbeograd.eu/programi.php?id=259&year=2010&mon=4&kat=6&lang=en

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New Widget & Karaoke Photos

by Zach Nicodemous on 11 April 2010

We’ve added a new widget to the right hand side of the website.   If you scroll down under “Follow Us” and under “Latest Forum Posts” you will see the “Whats On” widget.

This will always show upcoming concerts and events in Belgrade, the closest 10, and it should update all by itself as new ones are booked for Belgrade.

Photos

We’ve added almost 100 photos from the Karaoke Kraze, which was a resounding success.   Videos will be coming soon.

Check out the photos at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=403831&id=595025061

If you see someone you recognise, please tag them!

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“Are you waiting for me?”

by Jonathan Davis on 29 March 2010

4473079273 df606b5da7 Are you waiting for me?“I am waiting”, originally uploaded by Limbic.

Spotted this on Simina street.

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PMR 2A Anti-personnel mine

by Jonathan Davis on 24 March 2010

4454992086 856ec1ace0 PMR 2A Anti personnel mine

PMR 2A Anti-personnel mine, originally uploaded by Limbic.

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Follow the leader

by Jonathan Davis on 24 March 2010

4454211211 edc220f7eb Follow the leader

Follow the leader, originally uploaded by Limbic.

Spotted this on Simina Street. Liked the colours.

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