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Daily Trip Report - July 13, 2003

Carson Block -
In preparation for the BBQ at Luan's house, I set out in the morning to buy the steak I had promised to bring. I also needed to buy numerous spices and olive oil for the marinade. Again, the weather was beautiful, so I decided to walk to the two stores I needed to go to. After a not so filling breakfast at Route 66, the earlier mentioned American style diner, I went to the first store for the oil and spices. This place had been pointed out to me by one of the guys from EDA as one of the bigger grocery stores in Prishtina. All told, it was probably about 1,200 square feet. The shopping carts were very small by American standards. With a little help from the slightly bilingual employees, I pretty much found the items I needed to buy. I was impressed that the checkout counter was automated, with a bar code scanner. Next, I went to the butcher shop a little further down the street. I was surprised that the butcher, an older woman, spoke pretty good English. I was also surprised that there was no choice of the cut of steak - the only item available was rump steak. I wonder what they do with the rest of the cow. Finally, I walked home. All told, I probably walked about 2 miles.

We then met up at the Law School student union to investigate the fate of the UPS. Surprisingly, it was in the student union office and not in the student computer lab. It wasn't in use though because we never thought to include socket adapters. In any case, the student union president had originally thought that the UPS was meant for the three computers in their office. We agreed with them that the UPS isn't sufficient to power the 10 computers in the downstairs lab, so they might as well keep that UPS and that we would try to have Anthony build a sufficient UPS for the students' lab.

After that, we headed back to the restaurant in the Victory Hotel to pound out some changes to our Center proposal that we were going to present to EDA at the BBQ. I actually found the food there pretty decent.

We arrived at Luan's parents' house for the BBQ. It's an impressive house by any country's standards. It has a charcoal grill BBQ "house" in the backyard where his father prepared the feast. The odd feature for such a house was the minimarket it contains instead of a garage. Apparently, the mother runs the market and the father works at the struggling electric utility. Its neighborhood appears to be just on the edge of Prishtina, which because of Prishtina's small size isn't far from downtown (except the poor road condition force you to drive slowly at times). The neighborhood is mostly all new construction of larger houses, with plenty of open spaces around. We shot a few hoops, but we didn't have the full-blown game we had imagined because we were short on time. Dinner was a feast, with the food being excellent. Unfortunately, the rump steaks didn't come out that tender. There was lots of political discussion at dinner, but after a while, Ardian abruptly ended it by declaring that he would fall asleep if we kept the discussion topic, and that he wanted to finish up talking about the Center.


Nicole Thibodeau -
Met w/ Xhevdet and now we understand the UPS problem. He needs outlet adaptors. We will try to get them. We will make sure we resolve this in advance for the next UPS we send.

Had a meeting w/ Carson, Tim, Prof. Perritt to complete draft of the business clinic proposal before our dinner w/ Dastid's group tonight.

I love coming here b/c I think Americans are a lot like Kosovars. They are easy for us to relate to, and we are easy for them to realte to. I have such tight friendships w/ my friends here, just like w/ my close American friends. I am struck by the level of respect they hold for us. It is so nice to be appreciated, but at the same time we are burdened w/ huge responsibility to come through for them. They have so much faith in what we are doing. My friends here have all expressed much appreciation to me for being here and continuing to work on the projects we are working on. They listen to us and expect us to give them advice/information that they will take seriously. It is so nice to be involved with a project where the fruits of our labor are apparent early on.

Regardless of some of the cultural differences - such as Balkan standard time v. American standard time - we have much in common. It's fun to hang out w/ the locals! Valza's mom is hilarious and I learned that Albanians tell jokes and say other things in Serbian to their friends and families when it is appropriate. An example of when it is appropriate is when they want to tell dirty jokes. Apparently, Albanians were too prudish to tell dirty jokes, so they don't know any in Albanian. Instead they tell them in Serbain b/c the Serbs weren't so prudish!

The weather is perfect. I will try to send some of my pictures next time I write.

The lack of water is something I can't get used to. They do a decent job of shutting it off at roughly the same time everday, but it is so annoying. So far only one power outtage since I've been here, but they say it's b/c it is summer.

Jill I hope you read this whole thing - bring a sweater or jacket b/c it gets cold at night.

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