Saturday, February 19, 2011

Balkan trip day 12: The different faces of the police

A few hours later than expected but still early enough the car was fixed and as new (in any case from the inside because from the outside it still had tons of sand and dust, imported from all the countries we were traveling to).

Ready to go! Arber escorted us through the city to the road that would lead in the direction of Kosovo. The trip went smoothly. The big tunnel and the highway made it pleasant to travel to the border and due to the new start motor the car was like flying on the street.

At the border, a friendly member of the Dutch police working for the EULEX was greeting us in our own language (i.e. Dutch) and helped Auke who tried to find the right way to pay a special car insurance for Kosovo (for some reason the green card is not valid in the northern part of Cyprus, Iran and Kosovo). The border procedures went smoothly. It was interesting to see police agents from different countries checking the functioning off the customs. On their costumes by a small flag you could find out their country of origin.

Just before Pristina a friend and a brother of Ruzhdi (our local partner) would be waiting for us to escort us to the place where we would stay.

However we missed them and we arrived in Pristina where difficult roads led us to the suburbs of the city. Completely disoriented we tried to found a place easy to be recognised so that we cam call our friends to pick us up. Then we saw some agents who were controlling the cars that passed. I had a nice talk with them and they explained our friends by phone where we were. Also they asked me what car they have in order to stop all these cars for control so that they would not miss us. That was not necessary because they quickly found us.

We went quickly to Vusstri to the hotel where Auke and Annechien would stay. I got an apartment to my disposal. In the hotel my friends from ROM were already waiting for me. I should meet them in Mitrovica that evening but because we left Albania late and because of our searching time in Pristina we were so delayed that Ruzhdi thought it would be better to invite them to us. During the dinner we discussed about the situation in Mitrovica and about reconciliation projects there.

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