My projected aim and outcome for this blog is to take you, the reader, on a Rolla coaster ride of cultural adrenalin rushes to rival any thrill seekers experience to be found at the pleasure beaches of Blackpool, Cleethorpes or even Brighton. I do not pretend, however, to give you such metaphorical heights, speeds and g-forces akin to a day out at Alton Towers…
Yesterday morning Rada’s dad’s uncle died at the family house 2 hours drive into the countryside. By early afternoon his body was on display at the Kapela by the city crem and family and friends have travelled from all round to pay their respects by filing past the open coffin and giving condolences to the immediate family. I am going later today so I am going to see my first ever real life dead body. I’ll let you know how it goes. The funeral is going to be tomorrow back at the family house. They don’t hang around here.
There is a ship in port in Montenegro called Logos II. It is a Christian missions ship and there has been a team from the boat working with the church here in Rada’s town. The culmination of their work was an evening of culture exhibitionism at the city hotel for any of the townsfolk who wished to watch. I particularly enjoyed the Malaysian lady doing the Mexican frilly dress dance, three white men playing African drums, the life-story of a former US druggie and the top quality but highly Western dramas portraying humanity’s rejection and reconciliation with Christ. I must admit the Korean Wave-Your-Fan-Around Royal Court dance was a bit of a let down. Overall the crew hit the mark very well and after an impassioned preach from Pastor Stan it was obvious that quite a number of the onlookers were seriously challenged about what their lives were all about.
If I hear one more smoker clearing their lungs out so they can breathe when they get up in the morning I really am going to pass out.
Wet hair and bare feet
If you ever come to Montenegro do not try and go anywhere if your hair is moist or your feet are without apparel. It is believed that a cold wind on wet hair can lead to paralysis. I have been subject to the wrath of disgusted Montenegrins far too often. I now dry my hair.
The cake made for me by Rada’s auntie consisted of boiled apples, sponge, cream and some sort of strawberry jelly. It was gratefully appreciated.
Relatives from afar
A car-load of relatives have just turned up from Serbia for the death ceremonies. They had travelled through the night since they hear the news. All is going well and it is great for Rada to see them after so many years. However, the houseful of people is a bit overwhelming for Anya and I think I kissed a man I shouldn’t have kissed.
A round of drinks
There is this beautiful tradition here that if the waiter/barman knows you he may buy you a round of drinks. Well Rada, her friend Goca and I were in a bar the other night and the waiter paid for our first round of drinks despite Rada’s aggressive protestations. A few minutes later a whole new round was served to out table! And we were still less than halfway through the first drink when a third round appeared! I had to make it look like I thought he had gone too far but to be honest I was in paradise. There were six beers and three glasses of wine on the table and I knew Rada and Goca weren’t gonna have three each! Unfortunately, Rada’s brother and two friends arrived and “helped” me finish them off.
My daughter just passed wind for four seconds non-stop.
Rada’s brother has asked me to arrange a fake marriage for him so that he can come and live in the UK. If anybody wants to offer let me know.
Post-mortem of death rituals
As I said at the start of the blog I have just been to give my condolences to the family. However, I was gutted to discover the coffin was unusually closed so I am yet to see a dead body. Nevertheless it was weird. The coffin was in tiny chapel by the crematorium. I entered and went in turn to each member of the family, who spend the entire day stood around the coffin, and said “I’m sorry” and shook their hands. Then we gathered outside and chatted for well over an hour. The whole affair is very much a social occasion and I think this is good.
It appears that I cracked a good, and appropriate, joke when I said, “at least that’s one less relative to visit!” Looking back that could have seriously backfired on me and I could have ended up dead myself. As it happens everybody thought it was very funny.