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  • I just feel so good today. The Sun is out and the temperature has lost that cold feeling.

    Life is never boring here. Christian and I got back to the apartment last night, switched on the TV to get a war fix only to see a green man who was apparently green because he was on a night imagery video phone link giving a report from somewhere in Iraq. Just as we sat down the electricity went off. Of course, as a trainee Albanian citizen this is no longer a problem. After the first time this happened I learnt to always leave a candle in the corner of the kitchen next to a lighter. We moved through a very dark apartment to the kitchen only to discover that the cleaner had moved the candles. In fact we still have not found them. Perhaps she took them. Who knows, some things in life must remain a mystery such as the location of the candles and the green man. Anyway, Plan B - go out.

    We went to Depot. Depot is a lounge bar which would not be out of place in either New York or Södermalm (the best part of Stockholm which rather conveniently is where I live). It has a fifties red velvet wallpaper and a white and gold wallpaper along the back, not too dissimilar from the background on the Sisters billboards in Stockholm at the moment. They have a few scattered sofa's and tables and a nice candle lit feel to the place. One thing stands out though, the golden toilet. I find it most interesting that someone has taken time out to paint the toilet gold. Maybe someone got confused when they were asked if they wanted a golden shower. Toilet painting is just waiting to happen really.

    I found myself talking with four people, Vjollca, Petrit who has just got back from visiting Amsterdam and weirdly speaks Norwegian, Bujar who's been living in Brooklyn, New York for eight years (they are Brother and Sister). Bujar has just got back from a three week holiday in Cuba with Edona, who is a Blonde Albanian Jew (Petrit's description). I've been thinking about this for a while and I can confirm that I've never met a blonde Albanian Jew before, especially one that just stepped off a plane from Cuba. What I found really funny about the whole thing is that she's just found out that she's Jewish and that she can get a visa to Israel. Two things struck me here. Now, I guess under normal circumstances finding out that you're Jewish is a pretty life changing experience, however being told you're Jewish here is probably just another one of those things. You know, "today, a few grenades were launched at the police, Jimmy the Swede is still shooting dogs, someone drove a jeep into a bar and, oh and by the way, you're Jewish". Secondly, I guess a holiday in Israel is no big deal if you've survived the last 10 years in Kosovo, but for me I would check my life insurance if I was going to step off a plane in Israel right now. Interestingly it was Petrit that told her that she was Jewish. Petrit and Edona used to date when they were 16. So, basically as far as I can see he managed to go out with her and forget to tell he that she was Jewish. Made me smile. I once forgot to tell my ex-girlfriend that I was going out with a few friends for a beer and she didn't forgive me for a week. He must have been in the dog house (not really though, they are obviously the best of friends).

    Talking of dogs, I need to explain who Jimmy is. RTK radio did an interview with a Lieutenant called Jimmy from Swedish KFOR the other day. Jimmy's job is to shoot dogs. Christian and I have been laughing non stop at some of the stuff he said. I'll be dedicating an entire blog day to Jimmy at a later date.

    Also, I guess I better explain the grenade thing. Last Friday 3 grenades were launched at UN police targets. This caused minor chaos in the city. Police drove around a lot with their sirens blazing. The police helicopter hovered overhead and police road block were set up and that basically was the last we herd about it. The weird thing about this place is the way that that kind of stuff just gets swallowed into a big news black hole. No one knows anything about it. Some say it's the Serbs, but that makes little sense. Others say it was the Mafia, but then that makes little sense either. All I can tell is that it wasn't Bujar or Edona because they were in Cuba.

    After Depot's we went back to Bujar's where Vjollca opened a bottle of wine. One thing that strikes me about people here is just how friendly and hospitable they are. Anyway, and this will be something I will remember for a long time, Edona gets up and announces that she needs to give me a present from Cuba. She then hands me a small clay painted sculpture of a thing that's like a Thai tut tut (like a 3 wheeled motorbike taxi). That was so nice of her. I will be arriving in Sweden from Kosovo with a present from Cuba. Kind of sums up how crazy this place is really.

    Later today I will be exploring the growth of urban culture in Pristina. What better place to start than Graffiti - photo''s later.