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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Gray Areas: November 25, 2012

Gray is what November has become as winter rushes toward us.  Fog, fog, and more fog.  It's gray when it rains and it's gray when it doesn't.

Night temperatures now hover around freezing so the fountain under Alexander the Great and his horse  is silent and gray.  There will be no more colored lights, choreographed water, or music from it until spring.

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray..... California dreaming on such a winter's day (California Dreaming by The Mamas and The Papas).

Our pursuit to stay in Macedonia legally is now in a gray, limbo status.  In early November the US Embassy sent a letter to Macedonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to announce our arrival and state that we were under the Rule of Law agreement cloak.  About a week later we heard in an email from the US Embassy that MFA did not currently have the ability to make the ID cards.  Due to their recent change of office buildings, the machine wasn't operating.  We were informed that MFA will not furnish us with a temporary "Get-Out-of-Macedonia-Free" note while we wait for the production of our ID cards.

This illegal status is uncomfortable for me.  Recently, I was taking a photograph for an online class where the assignment was "Justice" and the color red.  The word "justice" is hard to come by here.  In Macedonian, justice is (правда) pravda.  But, I found a line of graffiti that included "Justice" written in Latin letters.  While I was taking the photograph, which took some time to work out as it included me as a self portrait, the woman who lives in the apartment came out and began asking me questions that I couldn't understand.  Eventually, she said, "politcia," a word I could understand.  While I wasn't doing anything illegal, it seemed like with my precarious status, it would be a good time to leave.  

 Too Many Cops Too Little Justice

While confined to Macedonia, we continue to explore.  One Saturday, which was not gray, our plan was to visit the archaeological site of Skupi.  Skupi is located near the village of Bardovci which has become more like a suburb of Skopje.  Once there, we found the archaeological site closed on weekends.  But, perhaps more interesting, was the very busy cabbage market next door.  These cabbages are from Bardovci village.  Full wagons of cabbages are pulled in by tractor and empty wagons pulled out to be returned full.  One of the merchants told us that Bardovci cabbages are the best for eating and especially for pickling to store for the winter.  The season is October and November, and these cabbages are huge and heavy.  One of the sellers gave us a cabbage which we carried all the way back to the city center; it was very heavy.  There were also sturdy, waist-high leeks which stand in picket-fence-like rows.  These are also purchased in bulk and replanted by the buyer to preserve them through the winter.

 Bardovci cabbages in red Yugo

November has also been a month of social activities: Marine Ball, Macedonia Philharmonic concerts, Cinedays European Film Festival, art openings, IWA, a Roma Festival.  I'm not sure what that says about us that we can be so busy but still chafe under this "house arrest" of being unable to leave Macedonia without fear of expulsion.  

Friday night I had a dream that two men grabbed me and shoved me into a car.  I hope that's not a sign of what's to come.  

Despite that bad omen, we've made a decision to travel and take our chances.  Tonight after Dan's class finishes, we are flying to Istanbul for 4 nights.  We will take a copy of our one-sided letter from the US Embassy to MFA in hopes that if we are questioned, the letter will be accepted as our "Get-Out-of-Macedonia-Free" note. 

We've laid in extra cat food provisions--just in case.