traveling from one end of Europe to the other, especially to the rough end, was to get away from that kind of question. My English degree of six years ago might be getting a little faded at the edges but I’d hoped it was serviceable enough for the academically lightweight role of ‘lector.’
“Mary likes the old Yugoslavia,” Nada said smoothly. “That’s her ‘area of research.’ She’s a romantic. That’s why she doesn’t mind going down to Kosmet.”
“Yes!” Suleiman exclaimed. “When Nada told me there was an English girl with a degree in English willing to come to Pristina — I didn’t believe it!”
Certainly even the fact that I knew some Serbian and as a ‘Native Speaker’ spoke something called “R.P.” (“Received Pronunciation! BBC English!” Suleiman murmured reverently in his own impeccable accent) seemed completely overshadowed by the fact that I had not only been to Pristina but was prepared to go back.
The Balkans and the Beale Street Blues
hadn’t noticed any Faculty of Philosophy when I’d been down in Pristina three years before. Not that I could honestly say in a place like Pristina I would really be on the look out for one. Kosmet was Southern Serbia. Macedonia lay to the south, Bulgaria to the east, Albania to the south east and Montenegro over the mountains. It was the heart of the Balkans and I’d been in the classic Balkan traveler mode, wandering about bemoaning five hundred years of Turkish occupation while delighting in the world it had left behind. As our bus trundled into Pristina down Marshal Tito Street we passed three gypsy carts, each one towing a large brown bear. And at the bus station a shoeless gypsy knee-deep in children was leading a pink-bottomed monkey through the market on the end of a piece of string. I
Pristina’s more permanent attractions according to Putnik, the Yugo- slav travel agency, were the Imperial Mosque, the Sultan Bayazit Mosque, the Turkish Baths, the Partisan Memorial and the Nineteenth Century Clock Tower with Roumanian Mechanism. The Turkish Baths should be struck off the list, confided the boy at Pristina’s Putnik because they’d been turned