<Imagine you had fallen from the moon>, he says and then deeply inhales the smoke of his cigarette, before he continues to speak <… and you would not know where you had landed. Where would you say does this city lie?>
<In Europe>, drops out of my mouth spontaneously. I point at the Döner-shop on the right side and then at the Italian café bar on the left.
The building of the historical National library in Sarajevo. Picture: Nicole Dörr
A bus painted in blue and yellow
But is that true? And is that all?
People step into a bus painted in blue colours with yellow stars on it, forming a circle. The symbols of the European Union. People eat pizza in a restaurant next to the highway. It blinks in red letters, saying EU, then RO, then PA, EUROPA. Some kilometres away lies a ruin, once painted in soft blue: UROPA, the E has fallen down. I would like to imagine EU-RO-PA the name of a fast-food company, but soon I discover its brothers and sisters, a bikini-shop next to the market (EURODRESS) and a travel agency that sells tickets to Rome, Nice and Berlin, EUROTRAVEL.
Flags and soldiers at the bazaar
Then the sun falls behind the gravestones and the Muezzins begin the prayer. A church bell joins in their singing. At the bazaar, young girls buy make-up. Boys pose with sun-glasses. There tourists step on the scene, then come soldiers. Soldier’s uniforms show Italian flags. The others speak Bavarian. Finally we see a General in a strange uniform. Where is he from? – Hm, I’m not so good in flags, maybe he’s Belgian?
Fashion trend Europa
For the rest, Sarajevo is full of Eu-ro-pa. Fallen from the moon, I would suggest Eu-ro-pa was a fashion trend that transforms not only Humans bodies, but also the bodily image of buildings: The historical building of the National library, not far from which the student Gavrilo Princip in 1914 shot the heirs to the Austro-Hungarian throne, wears blue and yellow signs as well.
A promotion sign on a distroyed building in Sarajevo, at the side of “sniper’s alley”. Picture: Nicole Dörr
A road and a Gyros imbiss
Like a snake a road glides through the canyon between Podgorica and the mountains of Montenegro. The snake-road indicates that it is being reconstructed by the European Agency for Reconstruction. A Greek Gyros imbiss in Belgrade joins in the chorus:
EU-RO-PA, wherever I walk,
EU-RO-PA, wherever I see.
Suddenly, I feel a strange inspiration to paint my body in blue and yellow.
An empty hotel in Mostar. Picture: Nicole Dörr
But happily I’m not alone… I look back at him, who has asked me first: <And what about you? If you had fallen from the moon? Where would you say does this city lie?>
Slowly he breathes out the smoke of his cigarette. <I would also have guessed we’re somewhere in Europe. What a stupid irony. I don’t get another visa to go there.>