Around Town

Cyndi took Lydia back to the apartment yesterday afternoon while I went and walked around town a bit.  Here are some pictures I took while I was out.  Hopefully they will let you see a bit of the town.

Everyone (well, not literally everyone, but many people) enjoy Pivo.  Pivo is beer.  There are adds for it all over the place.  You can buy it in kiosks all around town right next to the pop.  It is just amazing.

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Pivo Add on the street  Pivo “decoration”
The Serbians are Christian (Serbian Orthodox).  In town, there is one BIG Orthodox church.  Here is a picture of it:



Many of the buildings have grafiti on them.  I can’t read much of it (only some is in English).  But don’t get the impression that every place in town there is grafiti.  Most of the buildings are very nicely painted and clean.  In fact, if you are at home in a city in the US, you’ll probably be at home here.  Cacak is a strange cross between a big city (it has 100,000 or so people in it) and a small city (everyone knows everyone).  Some of the buildings are very modern while some are rather old.

Well, I need to wrap this post up right now.  Check back later today or tomorrow.  I should have another post written then.





Wash, Laundry, or be dirty


Well, it was finally time to figure out how to use the washer in our apartment. It isn’t that we were stinky (yet) or ran out of clothes (yet), but we didn’t want either of those two things to happen. So, we began by inspecting our washer. It is smaller (way smaller) than our washer in the US. We had a super dooper extra large capacity washer there. By comparison, this washer is about 1/4 the size. So, we figure out what we want to try as our first load, and start investigating the machine. We have to use fabric softner (more on that later) instead of dryer sheets. We also have to figure out how to get the soap in.

It turns out there there is a pull out drawer that you load all of that stuff into (seperate containers) and the machine squirts water into the container and washes out what it wants when. Ooookkkay….that is certainly a change from the US. We measure the softner and put it in the softner place (the bottle said use 1 capful…we think so that is what we try). We open up the soap and can’t find a scoop. It is just a bag so I dig around in it (yep…all the way to the bottom) and never find a scoop. We go get a plastic cup from the kitchen and guess. The load is way way smaller than we would do in the states so we try to guess accordingly (but we don’t want too much because then it will stay in the clothes).

Next, we have to figure out how to tell it what we want. There is only a cold water hookup and a dial you turn to set the water temp. We only used cold water in the US, so this isn’t a big deal…leave the dial set at 0 and hope that it doesn’t try to freeze the clothes and just uses spiggot temperature water. There are two more dials. One has letters that match up with letters in the soap drawer so that should be ok and pictures (that make no sense). By looking in the drawer, it looks like we should choose B. No sweat.

We have no clue what the other dial is for, but it may be a timer of some sort. It is also red. No clue so we skip it.


Next, we have to figure out the three buttons on the front. Push the one on the left…oops it turns on. That must be the power button. Don’t want that yet so we push it real fast. Now, the door won’t open. ARG. We fiddle around and get the door open again and put the clothes in. The other button has a tub picutre and the final button has an e. No clue so we don’t push them either.

After loading the clothes and soap, we start the wash. It spins (a bit) then stops. Then some water squirts in then stops. This repeats itself over and over and over. After many of these things, it starts to sound like a jet engine spinning up. It must be close to the end! Not yet…it rinses the clothes (the same squirt, spin a bit, squirt, spin, etc….) then spins again. We pull them out and hang them up to dry.


We don’t have a dryer (at least we don’t think so, but even if we did, it takes FOR EVER and takes much electricity) so we put them on a drying rack on our balcony (yep, the one with the great view). At least we are on the top floor so people can’t just look and see what kind of underwear the American’s are wearing. I can imagine it now (think of Back to the Future): Your name is Calvin Klien..that is what is printed on your underwear. Therefore, the American’s names must be Haines. Or think of Blast from the Past: I can’t imagine for a minute why Cliff is wearing Ralph Lauren’s underwear. Why are the American’s wearing someone elses underclothes?! But, I imagine if a big gust of wind ever comes along and blows it over, we’ll be all over the building and block. We might as well be prepared for it now.

Anyway, since this first experience, we have tried out different things. We pushed the middle button (with the tub picture) and the e button last night. We woke up to find that the water never drained out of the washer. We won’t do that combo again. Our control dial also has a sun (and 1/2 sun) on it. It looks like when we set the control to that and set the red timer, we do actually have a drier. we are going to try it this evening probably to see what actually happens.


Well, just to update everyone, I think I have committed two blunders already.

The first was when we went to visit our neighbors. They asked what I wanted to drink. I said that I liked the coffee but if it took too long to make I would take something else. They then asked about juice. I had recently learned that apple was juabka (pronounced yabooka). Well, I don’t think they had any; however instead of telling me that, I think they sent their son to the corner store for some apple juice. Next time, I’ll simply say juice is fine.

The next was at the store. I bought some diapers, bananas, and a broom. The total came to 1,502.41 dinars. First off, there is no practical unit of money to subdivide the dinar. Officially there used to be (it was called the para. If you want to go read more, go read the Wikipedia page on the Serbian Dinar). I didn’t have any 500 dinar notes, so I gave the lady 2 1,000 dinar notes (1,000 dinars is about $20 in US dollars). She said something to me. It was late and I wasn’t paying close attention, so I didn’t say anything. She handed me back a 500 dinar bill. While I was walking home, I finally figured out she asked me if I had 2 dinars. She didn’t want to make 498 dinars worth of change and was trying to ask me if I had 2.

Our Apartment

We wanted to give everyone a tour of our place…and since you aren’t here, the best we could do is to give you a virtual tour. Before we begin, here is the floorplan:


When you come in, you are looking at, essentially, the kitchen. It is rather small…perhaps 1.5-2 meters wide and 3-4 meters long. In it we have a BIG refrigerator (about US sized…that is huge for here), a round table with four chairs, a stove, 4 burner oven, and cabinents. We also have a pantry off of the kitchen and an entrance onto the balcony.

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Our kitchen
A view showing the sink, stove, oven, etc….

One really odd thing is that the sink faucet turns LEFT for cold and RIGHT for hot. This is exactly backwards of every other faucet in our apartment and backwards of what we are used to. From what we can tell, this is done because there is a mini-hotwater tank under the sink and that is just how they do it here.


If you turn left when you come in, you will see this. The entrance to the bathroom and a wardrobe. We store shoes, coats, and books in the wardrobe. The bathroom is fairly self explanitory. Although if you look closley at the wall, you will notice some switches:


The switch on the right is for the light in the bathroom (yep, it is outside.), the switch in the middle is for a heater in the bathroom (which also has it’s own on/off/temp. control in the bathroom), while the switch on the left is for the hot water heater. Here electricity costs 4-5 times less from 10pm to 6am than at any other time of the day so people tend to want to turn things off while they are gone or not using them. We are trying to adjust to this by using our hot water like Serbs. We’ll heat it at night and use it in the day. That works out ok as long as we don’t take marathon showers.

DSC06013 While we are here, I might as well show you inside the bathroom. On the left is the whole view of the bathroom. You can’t see the washing machine (it is in the bathroom) or toilet. On the right is the hot water tank. (on the right of this text as well as on the right of the picture). Below is a closeup of our shower head. I don’t know if it is low flow or not, but you get wet. it also has nice water pressure. DSC06014



If you leave the bathroom (or enter and turn right) you are essentially looking down a long hallway. The hall is probably 2-4 meters long. Along this hall are our two bedrooms and a HUGE mirror. Lydia’s room is the first on the left and our room is at the end of the hall. Each room is close to the same. On the inside wall there is a huge wardrobe to store clothes in (no chest of drawers here) and the bed is opposite that.










Lydia’s bed

Our bed


a wardrobe


If you turn around from our room, you’ll bee looking into the living room. In the picture to the right, you can see a better view of the mirror. One other thing you will notice is the doors. Serbs don’t like a draft (they think it will make them sick) so when they do open a window, they’ll shut the door. If you look closely, you may be able to see that the doors all have lips on them. This helps to seal the doors up better to prevent drafts.









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Our couch, chair, and trunks we are using as coffee tables
Our TV and some computer stuff

By now, I’m sure you are wondering about our windows, view, and balcony. What does it look like? What do they see every morning? Well, I have saved it till last because I think it is just awesome! We are on the 5th floor (6th if you are counting the way we do in the US, but 5 here) and have a great view of the city and mountains around the city. Way off in the distance you can see two mountains…Ovcar on the right and Kablar on the left. Ovcar was what I rode walked around last time we were here. And from Kablar, there is a tremendous view of Cacak.


[Update 05-28-2008 10:15:14] I posted some more information on our apartment here .

Where in the world is…Lydia?

Who remembers the TV show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego How about the computer games? Or what about the Where’s Waldo books from a few years ago? Well, we have decided that we would start our own version. Here’s how it will work:

Every week (our plan is every Saturday), we’ll post a picture of Lydia somewhere.
You make guesses by posting in the comments of the post (I’ll try to keep up and let these comments flow through rather quickly)
The next week, we’ll post a comment with the correct answer and a new picture.
If for some reason we don’t get a picture posted on Saturday (like if we are traveling) we’ll do is as soon as possible.

Here is this week’s picture:


In the interest of full disclosure, this wasn’t what we thought it was when we first saw it.

[Update 05-10-2008 18:44:30] The answer has been posted in the comments below.  No one got this one.  Why not take a look at this week’s picture in this post.  If you want to see a list of all Where’s Lydia posts, follow this link.

Around Cacak

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Here are some pictures I took of us walking around Cacak today. We went over to a friend’s house and decided to try to walk home instead of have him drive us. We made it with no problems (we didin’t even get lost once). Although, that isn’t saying much…the route was fairly simple and involved two major streets.

Lydia and Playground


Today we went to Mercator (a local mall type place where they have a grocery store along with your typical mall stores). While there, Lydia got fussy so I took her out. We found this play area place so we let her play for a little bit. I think she had fun.

While you are thinking about it, Lydia is still adjusting to the time change/jet lag. Pray that we would know how to adjust her schedule and that she would get all the rest she needs while going through this period.

Where do I put that?


Now where do I put this?

Seriously, Cyndi did an awesome job getting things unpacked and put away. She is awesome!

Sunset over Cacak


This is a sunset as seen from our apartment. It was taken with my camera phone so the quality isn’t great. When we get our camera battery charged, we’ll take some better pictures of the view and let everyone see what we see.

But, why not use this opportunity to pray for the people of Cacak. Pray that God would reveal Himself to them. Also pray that we would be able to get involved and meet people.