Trafika Europe 5 - Slovenian Interlude

Apparently I’d found myself in the middle of an enduring siege between the uniformed army at the restaurant, and the Gypsy guerrilla children; wrestling for supremacy of the muddy path linking the improvised parking lot and the improvised restaurant. Just then a Volkswagen Golf with Bulgarian plates pulled in, and the little Gypsies forgot the unhappy waiter and ran off with their slop buckets. The waiter returned to his sentry duty by the door, and continued his smoke break. I sat at a table covered in a white cloth, as well as aged coffee stains, which lay over an even dirtier red tablecloth. A plastic ashtray sat in the middle, alongside a vase containing plastic flowers from the Yugoslav Mesozoic period. I had to wait, of course, to earn the right to pay for a sour coffee, hand-mixed with a disposable thin plastic spoon, amidst this particular ambience. It was my first time in such a setting. The honorary waiter extended one smoke to two, spoke with a comrade who stood behind a stainless steel bar, and managed to somehow get lost on the way from there to my table. It seemed as though I were experiencing the genuine tradition of southern hospitality that I’d heard so much about. Others, far wiser than I, had tried and failed to change this mode of behaviour, so it was futile for me to do anything but absorb it. I tried once to communicate with these local human-like creatures, asking the innocent question, ‘How far is it to Brčko?’ To which


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