Things Bosnian People Like

Cooking things Ispod Sača.  "Ispod Sača" means 'under the sač' and is often translated to 'in a Dutch oven.'   But that's really simplifying matters far too much.  While the sač is a round, cast iron dish with a lid, you don't normally cover the tops of dutch ovens with hot coals or ash, making them so heavy that some sort of stick or chain pulley system is needed in order to check on your food.  Cooking ispod sača is unique to the Balkans - we first heard about it in Serbia and first saw it with our own eyes in the mountains of Kosovo.  But here, the sač is not a relic rolled out on special occasions.   Cooking ispod sača is not just something you have to go up into the mountains or to a rural household to see it.   It's not just part of the kitsch at a national restaurant. It is a way of cooking recognized to be the best.  So, it continues to happen in homes, on roadsides, at restaurants, from towns to cities to villages.   Anything cooked ispod sača is ten times better than its oven-cooked version. 

Re-appropriating Luxury Brand Names.   There was a tailor named Prada and Benneton Second Hand Shop.  In the cases of Ferrari Cafe, Rio Mare Motel and Malibu Caffe, the actual logo artwork was used for the signage.   The Marriet and Big Hiltin hotels played it a little safer with spelling changes.   Definitely something they like.
Firewood.  After the watermills and tobacco fields, one of the first things we noticed in abundance when first crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina was the firewood.   In the Krajina, people like to stack in these large circular stacks.  They were stuffed under porches, piled in laws, cut for hours with a chainsaw in the parking lot of our pension in Travnik.  The obvious reasons are necessity and availability.   Poverty and woodstoves often go hand in hand, both because of the price of electricity or gas and because many homes don't have modern ovens or furnaces.   As for availability, half of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested.  But there are also a large number of people who just choose to heat and cook with wood.  For some people, it's for security - a different sort of 'fire insurance' than we have at home.  Russia is Bosnia's main gas source and just yesterday there was talk of a cut-off because some bill didn't get paid.  A wonderful byproduct of this love of wood-firing is the general excellence of pizza across the country.  Burn, baby, burn.
Water fountains.  Well, with all the water, why not?   The water fountains are used more often for a quick cooling head splash than a water bottle fill up, but that's just because drinking on the go just isn't how they do things in Bosnia and Herzegovina.   That is, of course, because they really like...
Cafe Culture.   I read that during the Siege of Sarajevo, when so many people stayed in cellars to survive ammunition showers and shelling, others walked right out their front door and joined their friends at a cafe.   Even the fact that any stayed open shows the dedication to cafe culture people of Bosnia and Herzegovina have.   The cafe can differ in style, but you know there will be leisurely conversations, groups expanding and contracting as people join their friends for a few minutes. The receipt is always set down with the delivery of the order, but sits there and sits there amongst the slow-burning cigarette and espresso cup, the sundae bowl and glass bottle Bitter Lemon, the potato chip and burek crumbs from someone who brought their own snack.   The point is to linger, converse and 'cafe.'
Striped Buildings.   The brightest, boldest striped building was definitely the Gymnasium in Mostar, above, built in 1902.   I can't find anything about the style online, if stripes were something big in Austro-Hungarian architecture.  That still wouldn't explain it anyway, because around Bosnia and Herzegovina, you see new and old buildings painted this way.  Sometimes, it's a subtle ivory on white, sometimes it's two shades of green or purple.   I really like them.  And so, apparently, do Bosnian people.

Honorable Mention

Walking Slowly.  Similar in principal to cafe-ing is taking a 'Sarajevo stroll.'   Someone told us that's what walking slowly is called here, but we can attest to the fact that it is not just a capital phenomenon.  You know how babies look all funny when their body is trying to move forward faster than their feet know how to?  That's me in Bosnia and Herzegovina.   I have managed not to clip the back of anyone's heels, but have found that the only way I can possibly move this slowly without coming to a complete stand still is by maintaining a strange, wide stepped waddle. Locals are much better at it.  These strolls are designed for conversation, not transit.  Which is probably why once a Bosnian gets in a car, they drive very fast
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