29 Oct 2011
I was awaken by the sounds of trucks and buses around 2 a.m. It was another border checkpoint again. Lost count of the numbers of border crossings that I had to endure on this trip. No problems here and we were on our way to Kosovo. There was a welcome sign to Kosovo at the border gate and I expected the checkpoint to be just around the corner but I was totally wrong. The “No Mans land” was a huge area in the middle of a National Park and it took us about thirty minutes to reach it. And the driver drove slowly as it was pitch dark.
On reaching the Border Crossing checkpoint the normal procedure began …. the guards boarded the bus, collected the passports and brought it back….. I was singled out again. I was asked to go alight the bus and the normal explanation began. The first thing he asked me was why I visited four countries in one day and I told him that I was on a short trip and Pristine is on my list. I was then asked to take my backpack as he wanted to inspect it but it did not happen because when he carried my back pack he smiled and laughed. Maybe he just wanted to welcome me to Kosovo his way and he told me to enjoy myself in Kosovo.He said he never came upon a Malaysian passport holder and wondered why I entered Kosovo at his checkpoint in a National Park at a crazy hour. He left me with a smile. Cheeky Bugger!!
The bus reached Pristine at about 5 a.m after an eight hour plus ride. The bus station was empty except for a small tuck shop where I bought myself a cup of coffee. I had a chat with the owner and asked him if there were any cheap motels around which I could use for the day as my bus to Skopje was at 2 pm that afternoon. He called a few numbers and five minutes later a taxi was waiting to pick me up to check into a hotel. I wanted to pay him for the phone calls but he said not to worry as he admired people like me wondering around the world at certain places and at crazy hours. I told him to try it and he said to me he had no guts to do it. I told him to just try it once and he wont be able to stop doing it and he laughed.
The taxi driver brought me to a small motel near the center of town and I was really looking forward to refreshing myself. Checked in and I was really knackered BIG time. Had a bath and managed to have a few winks as I had to have an early start to wander around Pristine that day. It was at about 9 a.m I woke up and after another warm shower it was walking time around Pristine. Pristine town center is small and is filled with mosques and churches and also with KFOR troops which are the NATO lead peacekeepers.
Walking around Pristine I noticed that there is a statue of “Bill Clinton” . Yes the American president and there is a George Bush Avenue which is the main road in Pristine. This is because the United States was a major driving force to defeat the Serbians troops in Kosovo. Sort of gratitude to the United States. I wanted to ‘lose’ myself in Pristine but I could not afford the time so I just walked slowly, passed the pedestrian mall until I reached the Museum of Kosovo and a little bit further until I lost sight of a few landmarks. Started walking back to town using another route until I noticed the unfinished Kisha Orthodox church. The National Public Library which was nearby had an unusual building structure with white domes and a decorative iron grate on the outside walls. It is located at the rear of University of Prishtina.
Walked back and stopped at the American School Of Kosovo, which was beside a football stadium. A high end shopping center is also situated in the building too. There were rows of shops nearby which sold pirated computer software. Stopped at an Internet cafe to check my mails for an hour and walked backed to the hotel. I then took a taxi to the bus station where I arrived earlier this morning from Podgorica. Bought my bus ticket and had a Kebab and a Coke Light for lunch. Boarded the bus and I was on my way to Skopje.