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Aleksandar of Macedonia
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Can I be frontally honest and even a bit shameless with you? (No, not that, but maybe later.) What I’m trying to say, and do brace yourself here, what I’m really trying to bare, fess up and gently confide here, behind a curtain and under a sheet, sotto voce, is that I simply do not like burek!

Shit, man, but if you ever witnessed my buddy Aleksandar wolf down one of these, you’d think he hadn’t eaten in a month, if ever. What’s the hurry, Alex? There’s plenty more, like tons. It’s hard to take five steps in the Balkans without having another greasy burek slap you in the face, with bits of minced meat, cheese or spinach splattering from Subotica to Burgas, if not Istanbul.

I’m in North Macedonia, thanks to Alex. In 2016, he wrote me, “Would like to thank you about your wonderful description of your travels. It feels like am traveling myself.” Answering, I vaguely expressed a wish to see his homeland. And, “When I just got to Germany, I took a wrong train, and a Macedonian woman helped me out. She was very lovely.”

Seeing that I was in Belgrade two months ago, Alex insisted I come to Skopje, so last week, I finally did. My all-night bus pulled into town at 5AM. There was a casino at the station, with two bald and burly guys standing outside, one very loud and smirking, his eyes lit up. Cabbies addressed me in terse English. A travel agency advertised express buses daily to Istanbul. All roads still lead to Constantinople, you better believe it. I slid coins into the coffee machine. Revived, I also felt grateful to have a smooth border crossing, because you just don’t know, man, especially during this time of the coronavirus.

I had no idea what Alex looked like. Spotting me, he shouted like a Texan. His English was rapid and fluent, which made me suspect he had lived in the States, but Alex had only spent two months in Houston.

“Did you go anywhere else while you were there?”

“No, I was working.”

Heading to Vladimirovo, we were in his tiny, beat up car, with his quiet son in the back. It was still dark. Dim apartment blocks sped by. Now and then, a radiant gas station.

“How did you learn English?”

“I taught myself.”

“No way, man! Seriously?”

“When I was a kid, I spent all my time at the US Information Agency, reading.” Alex’s English vocabulary is larger than most Americans’.

Alex has also worked with Brits and Americans, he said, mostly Texans. His current employer is Norwegian. As a project or inventory manager, Alex has been sent to Norway, Chile, Italy, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, and for fun, he’s traveled to Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Turkey and, of course, all over the former Yugoslavia. “But I’ve never paid for a plane ticket! I can’t afford it.” Although his €600 a month salary is excellent for Macedonia, he has a wife and two kids to support. Alex’s son needs special care.

Supplementing his income, Alex gives encyclopedic walking tours of Skopje, and he’s even won two TV quiz shows, with another appearance next month. Nearly everything we’ve discussed, Alex knew way more about it than I did, not that’s saying much. My ignorance is encyclopedic.

Vladimirovo is only ten miles from Bulgaria. The 2002 census counted 861 people, with everyone Macedonian except for two Serbs, with no Gypsies or Albanians, which is extremely rare in North Macedonia. Now, Vladimirovo has less than 400 people, with the rest dead or emigrated. The easiest way out is to claim Bulgarian citizenship, through ancestry or bribery, and just like that, you’re in the European Union! About the only ones left are old folks, subsistence farmers and sheep shepherds.

“That’s a very rough job. People don’t know. Screaming at all these animals all the time is very stressful. Many of these shepherds have strokes or heart attacks. Most are alcoholics. Many of them can’t get married. Who wants to marry a drunk that smells like sheep?”

Alex’s maternal grandparents had a house in Vladimirovo. In its four bedrooms, 19 people slept. By 2000, it was so decayed, hardly anyone wanted it, but Alex’s mom got half, which she then gave to Alex. After she broke a leg falling down stairs four years ago, Alex has been taking care of her. She also has Alzheimer’s.

“My mom gave me life twice. Once, when I was born, obviously, then she gave it to me again when I was eight. I loved Bruce Lee, you see. You know that movie where he fought in the glass house? I made my own nunchucks, with two pieces of wood, some chain and two nails. After I saw the movie, I went home, played with my nunchucks and crashed through a glass door.” Alex had to laugh at the memory. “I was bleeding here and here,” he pointed to his arm and neck, “but my mon did not panic. She stopped my bleeding and told my sister to call an ambulance. It arrived within 15 minutes! I was in the hospital for 23 days. I will always remember that. I will never abandon my mom. I will stay with her until the very end.”

After an aunt fell and broke her hip, Alex also took care of her for eight years. “I changed her diaper twice a day. I got her the XXL ones, for extra absorption.” Inheriting her apartment, Alex is renting it out.

Vladimirovo is filled with all these picturesque but at least semi-abandoned buildings. Windows miss panes. Daub deprived walls expose wattle. Meandering around, Alex greeted or bantered with everyone, for this soil was his anchor, comfort, blood and deepest resonance, what we should all have. We passed a middle-aged man on his way to picking beans, and a beefy fellow cutting firewood with a tractor-rigged saw. As sheep surged towards us, a dog angrily barked at his charge. A hippo sized pig begged to be petted.

“This is the church. The sexton was a very old man. When he allowed a candle to burn down almost the entire church, he was so heart broken, he died soon afterwards.” Alex shook his head. “Maybe two months afterwards.”

Leading me to a chapel in an open field, Alex explained, “Saint Elijah is our village’s patron saint. This is his chapel. Every year, there’s a huge festival. Over there is where we cook the food. Last year, five thousand people came, but this year’s celebration was canceled because of the coronavirus.”

When Alex said he was going to a nearby town, Berovo, for a haircut, I decided to join him, for the last one I had was nine months earlier, in Hoi An. With mostly white hair sprouting in all directions, I looked like a wild man or a bum.

ORDER IT NOW

Deep green and beige plastic strips curtained the barbershop’s door. Barging through them, we found an old man sitting against the back wall, reading a newspaper. The tiny room was covered with pictures or calendars, some going back a decade. Relatives jostled with Jesus, Mary, soccer stars and even Tito, abutted by a crawling nude.

“He’s 86-years-old,” Alex said of the barber.

“How long have you been going here, Alex?”

“Forever!”

“And how long has he been a barber?”

Alex asked the old guy, then said, “Since he was sixteen!”

“Wow! So he has never had another job…”

“I wouldn’t think so.”

It was my turn to ease onto the ancient chair, which was crafted during the Ottoman Empire, probably, if not the reign of Philip II, Alexander’s daddy. As the old man clicked clicked his scissors all over my head, I thought that one of these days, when the inevitable heart attack knocks him over, he will slit the throat of his last customer, which could have been me that day. Guided by knobby fingers, the extra long razor nudged, glided and skated against my defenseless flesh, without somehow nicking.

“Nul ne meurt avant son heure,” Montaigne said, but that’s bullshit, amigo. Even if a man lives to be 150, he’s killed way too early, for each of us needs several lifetimes to learn or do anything, and, hopefully, right a fraction of our wrongs.

Though death didn’t smooch me that day, its fragrance sure did, for each time the old man leaned over my white sheeted carcass, I could tell he was no longer, you know, holding it all in. We’ll all get there soon enough. Da Vinci, “When a man dies, he’ll pass through his own bowels.”

During several visits to Berovo, we always ate at the same place, for Alex had his habits, “In a small town like this, you can’t serve bad food, for words travel fast. Once people complain, you’re done. This place is great, and cheap!”

“How long have you eaten here?”

“Decades.”

Alex has his favorite waitress. When another showed up at our table, Alex quite cheerfully asked for Angela.

Thinking it a bit odd, I asked, “Was that rude?”

“No, no.”

“She’s not offended?”

“No.”

In her late 40’s, Angela has not had it easy, though you wouldn’t know it from her always cheerful demeanor. Her father was violent to his wife and children, so Angela married at 17 just to escape home. She then moved to southern Serbia.

Her husband was a waiter who, soon enough, also beat her. They had a daughter and a son. After 15 years with this brute, Angela returned to Berovo.

She then emigrated to Switzerland to pick fruit, before being hired by a fellow Berovian to take care of his senile and incontinent mother. A successful immigrant, he owned a supermarket in Zurich. After the old woman died, Angela came home for good.

Last year, Angela visited Berlin for four days and had Chinese food for the first time, she told Alex with a bright smile. (She thought I was Chinese.) Always mirthful, Angela’s truly angelic.

Despite all of his traveling, Alex has never eaten Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Thai, and the one time he tried bratwurst, Alex thought it was awful. “I like my own food,” he has said to me several times.

Halfway through our meal, a stocky, cheerful man came to our table to say hello. We shook hands. Leaving, he said to me in English for no apparent reason, “Thank you very much!”

“He was a very good soccer player,” Alex said. “We call him Savić, after Branko Savić, you know, the guy who played for the Red Star.”

“What does he do now?”

“He lives in Vladimirovo, but has a grocery store in Bevoro. Each morning, he buys milk from farmers, then resell it to the dairy companies.”

That evening, we again ran into Savić, and again he said to me, “Thank you very much!” It’s his one English phrase.

At least for now, I’m running out of English phrases myself. You think it’s easy to weave, feather, dab, daub and scumble endlessly out of one’s ass? This quick sketch of Vladimirovo and Aleksandar of Macedonia will have to do.

Say Macedonia and people will think of Alexander the Great, if they’ve heard of him, and maybe Mother Teresa, who was born in Skopje. The capital’s recent remake into a rather strident Hellenic theme park has been much derided, and we’ll get to it, OK, soon enough. I’m just glad that my introduction to North Macedonia was through its down-to-earth, low-key and honest aspect, so many thanks, Alex!

All over the globe, villages like Vladimirovo have been compromised and degraded, if not wiped out completely, but this trend must be reversed if humanity is to have a future. Though it’s hard to believe it during this grim and uncertain moment, that’s exactly what will happen. Soon.

Fame, infamy, honor, anecdotes, jokes and songs must be local, and they already are, mostly, in all ways that matter. Gravity will return.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Balkans, Macedonia 
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  1. “Despite all of his traveling, Alex has never eaten Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Thai, and the one time he tried bratwurst, Alex thought it was awful. “I like my own food,” he has said to me several times.”

    What is patriotism but the love of the good things we ate in our childhood?
    Lin Yutang

    Of course it’s more than that, but that’s a natural and healthy piece of it.

    • Agree: Alternate History
  2. Polemos says:

    All over the globe, villages like Vladimirovo have been compromised and degraded, if not wiped out completely, but this trend must be reversed if humanity is to have a future. Though it’s hard to believe it during this grim and uncertain moment, that’s exactly what will happen. Soon.

    I find this is the sentiment I most resonant in myself with how and what you write. All these local areas you capture in words and images are where humans become themselves. The global monoculture is human simulacrum erasing our past for a pretend and purchased future; the local, irreconcilable cultures are a collective future our hard work and patience raise up from soil our sweat and shit fall upon. It is some kind of irony how people who shout and tweet that we need to respect diversity and différance themselves think and conceive from this monoculture while stamping out and detesting greasy, smelly, smiling folks.

    Thank you for hope and focus, words and heart, through which our local perspectives become universal appreciations.

    • Agree: Pop Warner
    • Replies: @GeeBee
  3. On top of being yet another utterly enjoyable Linh Dinh piece, this is the first thing I’ve read in 15 years that mentioned Alexander the Great without making a point to mention his bisexuality, for no apparent reason.

    • LOL: chris
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  4. TJM says: • Website

    Linh Dinh writes another excellent description of a place I’d never heard of. Such interesting people, and yet, their lives aren’t that much different from our own. Aging relatives, local food, jobs good and bad, tragic accidents, bribing bureaucrats, and in the end life is local and too short.
    I always admire these people far away who learn English on their own. English is the common language of civilization today?

    • Replies: @Korenchkin
    , @tomo
  5. Thank you Linh for bringing Vladimirovo and Berovo to us.
    And thank you Alex for taking Linh there.
    A fellow Water Rabbit.

  6. GeeBee says:
    @Polemos

    How true and how beautifully expressed. In your words and dear Linh Dinh’s lie our only hope of salvation from the monsters that seek to devour us.

  7. @Sollipsist

    Alexander the Great was bisexual? I thought he was just Greek.

    • LOL: Sollipsist
    • Replies: @Hetoldyouso
  8. Linh Dinh is a truly inspired crafter of epigrams … another gem of his above:

    Even if a man lives to be 150, he’s killed way too early, for each of us needs several lifetimes to learn or do anything, and, hopefully, right a fraction of our wrongs.

    But as many of Linh Dinh’s fellow Vietnamese will tell you, no need to worry, you get as many lifetimes as you need

    • Replies: @mark tapley
  9. Vasilios says:

    I simply cannot fathom a man who would prefer this:
    over a fresh meat pie, gristle and grease or no.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    , @Mr. Hack
  10. “Would like to thank you about your wonderful description of your travels. It feels like am traveling myself.” Same here!

  11. Dumbo says:

    Thanks, I think that’s one of your best.

    (Well, I personally prefer when Linh talks to locals and gives us a hint of life someplace we’ll (likely) never go with people we’ll never meet, than when the pontificates about politics, Jews, and the U.S. Empire – nothing wrong with that, but there’s enough of it at Unz Review. These travelogues are a refreshing change).

  12. @Vasilios

    I wouldn’t want either. I want real food.

    • Replies: @Jmaie
    , @padre
  13. Oh man do those photos remind me of my travels across the Balkans in the early 90s. The decay was everywhere. Every old apartment building in Skopje had the subtle scent of an open sewer. My partner, working for USAID, was treating kids in small rural villages similar to Vladimirovo for things such as rickets. She was trying (and failing) to get an NGO to send a dentist to the area, for the standard Communist treatment of tooth decay was to wait until the pain got too bad then pull the tooth. I met a stunningly beautiful girl of 17-18 already missing 3 teeth.

    But what they had was each other. Family loyalty was fierce. Changing shitty diapers of an aunt. How many Americans would do what Alex did? Here we’d ship her off to some elderly warehouse then visit once a month. When she died we’d be secretly happy to have that monthly Saturday back for football, Twitter and porn.

    • Agree: Alfred, GomezAdddams
  14. All over the globe, villages like Vladimirovo have been compromised and degraded, if not wiped out completely, but this trend must be reversed if humanity is to have a future. Though it’s hard to believe it during this grim and uncertain moment, that’s exactly what will happen. Soon.

    A renascence of villages and village life would be very beneficial. But in the developed world and elsewhere, the number of farmers continue to decline, and with it most rural settlements. Those that remain or expand are usually commuter villages for nearby towns and cities, or homes for wealthy retirees.
    The only way to reinvigorate villages and village life is to increase the number of people working on the land and also rural industries. Attempts to do this have been far from successful. The EU Common Agricultural Policy had several aims, but the main aim was to support and stabilise the rural middle class. It didn’t work: the drift from farming and other rural occupations continue unabated.
    In short, I don’t share your optimism.

    • Disagree: Biff
    • Replies: @mark tapley
    , @Whitewolf
    , @Kali
  15. Dumbo says:

    What’s wrong with burek? Seems OK to mee, many other cuisines have variations of this, even if not exactly with the same ingredients.

    Linh enjoys even “vietnamese swedish pizza”, so, I doubt he has a very delicate palate. 😉

    • Replies: @tomo
  16. mwee says:

    Unnecessary, knee-jerk reaction to “anything Tito”.
    If LD was in the region 40-something years ago he would have enjoyed the same hospitality by the people who, under any circumstances, could have been called oppressed.
    And, not to mention, much less decay too.
    Coming from someone who left that country as cocky self assured “lover of freedom”, lived through six presidential clowns starting with Reagan and only then realized who the “dictator” was.

  17. anon[454] • Disclaimer says:
    @mwee

    One who gets it and that’s refreshing.!!!

  18. @mwee

    I ask a reasonable question. Why haven’t you gone back ?

    • Replies: @mwee
    , @ploni almoni
  19. mwee says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Reasonable question and, probably, in your mind a “sure shot”.
    Over the last decade I split my time between two countries. Being able do do that is thanks to (accredited) free education obtained in the old country. I can see another “reasonable question” or statement “how it’s not fair” doing that coming my way, so, how is it fair if quite a few Americans (or any other nationals) are living all over the world permanently or in very similar manner? Most of them made that living arrangement WITHOUT SPITTING on good old Country, and what I am trying to do is to remind folks from the Balkans what they had at one point in their lives.

  20. mwee says:
    @mwee

    Under NO circumstances…

  21. Jmaie says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Food doesn’t get more real than meat wrapped in dough purchased at a road-side cart.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  22. @Verymuchalive

    Independent farmers and the rural lifestyle don’t do anything for the elite. They want everyone herded into the designated urban areas where they can be controlled in the new technocratic society they have planned for all the goyim. China is leading the way with their Social Credit System of total surveillance and control.

    Not making much progress with the Club of Rome’s global warming carbon tax scheme they have revamped and rolled out another fake virus with the fake test, fake numbers and soon a fake vaccine as a cover for another multi-trillion dollar theft as was done in 08. Just like the millions of dollars made in the short sales made before 911 that were no doubt used to pay off all the operatives, the billions in vaccine profits (millions have already been appropriated starting before the fake virus was even sprung) will flow into the pockets of the insiders. No wonder all the politicians support this transparent medical fraud.

    As far as the villages and rural life lifestyle, look at the U.N.’s map of Jewmerica proposed under the Sustainable Development Initiative, Agenda 2030-21. In the coming austere technocratic feudal totalitarian system, the livestock won’t be traveling much or else they will exceed their personal energy quotas. The same Zionists that did 911, WMD’s, the phony War On Terror, the fake shootings such as Los Vegas, the fake Floyds, staged riots and another fake virus (remember the fake AIDS epidemic) will not stop until they control all land, energy, capital and resources.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  23. @brabantian

    And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, Hebrews 9:27

  24. utu says:

    Why don’t you explain burek in terms of low IQ and the HBD spiel? You are writing for the the place that gives a platform to the ilk of Sailors and Derbyshires. After all according to the Bibles and Talmuds of the IQists and the HBDists the IQ of the Balkanoids is somewhere there around of the American Blacks in Mississippi. So don’t be surprised. The burek or wherever it is is called should taste like shit. The science of HBD is totally unequivocal about it. You do not need to apologize that you do not like it.

  25. Alden says:

    Linh is my favorite UNZ writer, especially these travelogues and the people he meets along the way.

  26. At my university, we have a Slovene and a Serb as exchange faculty. The only two things they agree on are humor at the expense of Turks/Jews and the idea that Macedonians are Bulgarians who mistakingly think they are Greek.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
    , @Dumbo
  27. syd.bgd says:

    Small, but important error. Red Star Belgrade soccer star is Dušan “Dule” Savić.
    Great text. Tnx.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  28. Toza says:

    The part with the barber is the best. I hope he did a good job giving the haircut, at least.
    According to the Lewis cultural triangle, the Vietnamese are the most “reactive” people.

    I would like Linh to compare the Far Eastern, Balkan and American mentalities.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  29. padre says:
    @Verymuchalive

    Then stick to it, and let others stick to their own taste!

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  30. HalconHigh says: • Website

    Burek > Trump-Biden “debate”

  31. “She thought I was Chinese” … well, looking at your face reflecting in the mirror you can certainly pass for one to the untrained eye … but we’re so glad you are not one of those newly retarded Chinaman high on material success. Happy travels!

  32. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @syd.bgd

    Hi syd.bgd,

    Yes, my goof. I confused a Red Star with a Partizan, a cardinal sin! Alex pointed this out, but I had already sent article to Ron…

    Here’s a photo of Alex in Vinica. I forgot to embed it. Soup was good!

    Linh

    • Replies: @syd.bgd
    , @chris
  33. @utu

    Israelis also make bureks (they call them bourekas). According to your HBD theory the Israeli ones should be a lot tastier than Balkan ones. And, in fact, they are tastier.

    Still, the best börek (sic) of all are the Turkish ones. How does HBD explain that?

    • Thanks: Mr. Hack
  34. @mark tapley

    So you don’t share Lin Dinh’s optimism, either.

    • Replies: @mark tapley
  35. @padre

    That’s precisely what I was saying.

  36. @Jmaie

    If you want real food, make it yourself and from scratch.

    • Replies: @Ugetit
  37. JackOH says:

    Linh, hat’s off, buddy. Your capacity for writing with sympathy and in great detail about the peoples of different countries would exhaust a lesser writer-intellectual. There has to be a patron somewhere who can get you a steady gig and good folding money. All the best.

    • Agree: Whitewolf
  38. Dumbo says:
    @Toza

    This seems basically Northern Europeans – Southern Europeans (+browns) – Asians.

    • Replies: @Toza
  39. @TJM

    I know at least 5 people who learned English fluently by watching Cartoon Network all the time, and that was just in my classroom

  40. Ugetit says:
    @Verymuchalive

    If you want real food, make it yourself and from scratch.

    That concept often applies to many other things as well.

    BTW, if anyone wants real food, grow it or make it yourself, and since no one can reasonably do it all himself, shop local, support local, and otherwise encourage local. To hell with the one world hyenas and their plastic, bankrupt, moronic sewage; boycott all of it whenever possible.

    I proclaim, forte voce, give me a home-, or local-, made burek or kreatopita, or any of the other “pitas,” or give me death!

    • Agree: Kali
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  41. Toza says:
    @Dumbo

    Yes, it basically turns out that way, but many different characteristics are taken into consideration, the main being relationship to work and other people.
    https://www.redtangerine.org/scrum-in-culture-types-study/the-lewis-model/
    This cultural model is interesting, but not my favorite, I was just wondering about Linh’s thoughts on the Vietnamese being the most reactive.
    I read a cartoon book in Korea once, which compared the Chinese to the French, because of their culture, tradition and pride, both countries occupying large areas on the main land; then the Japanese to the British, because both live on the island, and due to the lack of space they have to be tolerant, hide their true feelings and often be hypocritical; and finally the Koreans being like the people of the Balkans, stuck between two more powerful empires, and having to defend and outsmart both by cleverness, being nationalist for the sake of preservation.

  42. GMC says:

    “Thank You Very Much ” – Linh – this is eastern European/Russian way of connecting with you. I hear it all the time, since most folks here don’t speak, much, but a few words of English, My favorite hardware store manager says it all the time – so I say back to him – ” I’ll be back ” and everyone laughs, since – Everyone knows Arnold’s famous words. I’m enjoying your East Europe journey , since I haven’t been able to get a train from Simferopol thru Ukraine ever since the State Dept took over Kyiv. In fact , we can’t even use an airplane to get to East Europe anymore – since the State Dept took over Kiev. But its life in Crimea – I just go to the Far East these days – like I did 50 years ago.LOL

  43. syd.bgd says:
    @Linh Dinh

    We say, one who works, makes mistakes.
    I guess Boško stands for Boško Đurovski, who was in Red Star Belgrade Europe Champions team. Milko Đurovski made that cardinal sin, trasferred from Red Star to Partizan. You can’t imagine songs coming from stands these days.
    Anyway, as OFK Belgrade supporter … f**k em both 😀 😀 😀
    Have a nice stay, pal

  44. TKK says:

    “That’s a very rough job. People don’t know. Screaming at all these animals all the time is very stressful. Many of these shepherds have strokes or heart attacks. Most are alcoholics. Many of them can’t get married. Who wants to marry a drunk that smells like sheep?”

    Isn’t that ironic? Tradition has viewed being a shepherd as a pastoral, reconnect with nature profession that desk slaves would envy. But it could be stressful. The stress would be greatly reduced with a pack of Great Pyrenees to help you deter and guard from wolves, coyotes and bears.

    It’s also fascinating to consider being a shepherd is a brutal job when the dominant metaphor of Jesus Christ was that of a shepherd guarding his flock!

    The Lord is my Shepherd…I shall not want!

    So, its a brutal stressful job to look out for dumb sheep. I see it. Not a calm serene Zen master, but a hard and tough warrior fighting demons.

  45. @Ugetit

    I totally agree with you. Relatives live on a small farm in the North of Scotland . I go up regularly. The potatoes and veg they produce are the best I’ve ever tasted. The mackerel and halibut we fish from their shoreline, likewise. As is their Aberdeen-Angus cattle.

    • Agree: Ugetit
  46. I enjoyed this Macedonian detour. Thank you Linh.

  47. Mr. Hack says:
    @Vasilios

    As Alex said, “I like my own food.” 🙂

  48. Whitewolf says:
    @Verymuchalive

    I’m surprised EU bureaucrats didn’t suggest bringing in millions of Africans to repopulate European villages. They seem to think a European is anyone with a heartbeat who wants to live in Europe. With that mindset the solution would be easy.

    I think village life will continue and eventually recover though it won’t be at levels of a century ago. There are always people that like the slower simpler lifestyle. With the covid hysteria forcing a lot of people to work from home recently it might make more people consider the option of moving out of the city.

  49. Ugetit says:

    …and a beefy fellow cutting firewood with a tractor-rigged saw.

    Ouch!

    The wood has already been cut. The pic shows him splitting it with a tractor mounted (not rigged) wood splitter.

    Sorry to be a smart __! 😉

  50. “I thought that one of these days, when the inevitable heart attack knocks him over, he will slit the throat of his last customer, which could have been me that day”

    Too fun!

  51. @Supply and Demand

    The creation of modern “Macedonian” identity out of a few peripheral Bulgars is one of the greatest achievements of a coalition of Communists, globalist bleeding hearts and plain lunatics.

    • Replies: @Cyrano
  52. Cyrano says:
    @Agathoklis

    No, it’s the result of the major backstabbing by the Serbs – of the Bulgarians, to make benefit the glorious nation of Greece. Much of the fighting in the 1st Balkan war was done by the Bulgarians and the Serbs, with cameo appearance from the Greeks. The Serbs betrayed everything that a true Slav should stand for – for what? For some Greeks who had some questionable faggoty civilization some 2-3 thousand years ago, and have been freeloading ever since. Go freeload of the Brits, they seem to like you, leave the Slavs alone – but without them you would still be under the Turks – literally, not that you would have mind it – mind you, being Greek and all that.

  53. @The Alarmist

    I proclaim you winner of the “Witty banter” price this week, well done.

    I mean the OP but have been struck with some odd beverage related condition so I´m dumber than usual.

    • Thanks: The Alarmist
  54. @Whitewolf

    As the economies continue to deteriorate especially in the more developed countries, more people will be forced into urban areas. The Zionists have been transferring the wealth to the top in Jewmerica since the Rothschild banking cartel, engineered by Paul Warburg was unconstitutionaly installed in 1913. This average inflation (depreciation) rate of 50% every 17 years has pretty much wiped out our once dominant middle class, despite huge increases in efficiency and productivity. After the banking cartel’s theft of trillions more (with our shabbos goy Congress’s approval) in 08-09 with the bailout for billionaires program and now under the fake virus, this rate will excellerate.

    Over 80% of the livestock in the U.S. live in urban areas. This will increase as the goyim get poorer. Many of the more desirable rural acreages in the south have gone up in price beyond the means of all but the wealthy due to people fleeing California. This situation will only get worse. Visualize Puerto Rico where 92% of then pop. are in urban areas. The Zionists don’t want a self sufficient independent middle class. This is only a problem for the elite. They want a permanent class of subsistence low wage workers in temporary jobs.

    Many of the rural inhabitants today are the more wealthy that can afford to buy prime rural real estate to get out of the cities. This was not the case in the villages that many are thinking about. My father grew up in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression. They raised and slaughtered their own animals, kept a smoke house and had mules for plowing the big garden and canned lots of stuff. They also raised lots of chickens for meat and eggs. They had no running water, gas or electricity. To do this required decent land with enough rainfall, lots of know how and hard work. Most people today are not in a position to do this even if they knew how. Most city dwellers today don’t know how to do anything other than walk around with their face diapers on while waiting for the Zionist Governors to issue more edicts from Bill Gates WHO-CDC fake virus scam.

  55. @Verymuchalive

    As Linh travels this area the evidence is all around him. This whole region has been plundered by the Zionists to fulfill their agenda. First the Hapsburgs who were doing much to unite and improve the situation in the Balkans were overthrown in the entirely contrived catastrophe of WW1. Then the whole area was handed over to Bolsheviks (Jews) after WW2 so the plunder could reach maximum potential. Rather than have a unified country with some ability to resist Zionist encroachment the Clinton ad. made sure Yugoslavia was “Balkanized” so oil and gas transmission into Europe could be kept under Zionist control. We are seeing the same thing happen to the Arab countries with the Israeli Foreign Legion (Jewmerica’s military) in the Middle East.

  56. Dumbo says:
    @Supply and Demand

    that Macedonians are Bulgarians who mistakingly think they are Greek.

    This reminds me of a similar saying in South America about Argentineans:

    “Argentineans are Italians who speak Spanish and think they are English”.

    Of course, this about white Argentineans. The country became much more mestizo in the last decades.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  57. @Whitewolf

    I’m surprised EU bureaucrats didn’t suggest bringing in millions of Africans to repopulate European villages. They seem to think a European is anyone with a heartbeat who wants to live in Europe. With that mindset the solution would be easy.

    That is what is already happening in California and other parts of America. Add vitality to your village: have a tented settlement of illegal Mexican immigrants !

    I think village life will continue and eventually recover though it won’t be at levels of a century ago.

    I agree.too. But, as you say, not at pre-WWI levels.

  58. republic says:

    Macedonia has one of the lowest cost of living in the world

  59. Sparkon says:

    It’s interesting that Skopje’s brand new Cevahir Towers, sometimes called Cevahir Sky City is a matching quartet of 430 ft. (130 m) 40-story mixed-use towers that are now the tallest buildings in N. Macedonia. They are located right across Blvd. Serbia from Foxxy Apartments, so obviously this is an exclusive neighborhood and a high rent district. Built with Turkish investment, altogether the four buildings of Cevahir Towers provide 1376 apartments ranging in size from 560 to 6,470 ft². The four buildings are entirely conventional in appearance, but nicely if modestly styled. No word on parking.

    Run rabbit run.

    For a change of pace and political orientation, and perusing architectural news from the socialist world, Pyongyang’s towering 330 m Ryugyong Hotel has been showing signs of life, if not vitality, in recent months. Construction began in 1987, but then stopped and restarted several times. By 2018, the long dormant structure had been clad with LCD panels, turning it into a humongous billboard.

    Photo: NY Times

    In Ho Chi Minh City, the Vietnamese have built their own soaring warren in the sky – The Landmark 81 – now the 15th tallest building in the world at well over 450 meters, and entirely residential.

    But back in the Western hemisphere in the socialist-republic of Cuba, apparently they make do with old buildings the same way they make do with old cars. The tallest and arguably most impressive residential structure in the Communist country’s capital Havana is the 121 meter Edificio FOCSA, built in 1956. Probably the most famous apartment block in Havana is the Alamar complex, with close to 100,000 residents.



    Psst: Plenty of parking! Adorable dumpsters! You’ll love it here!

  60. Kali says:
    @Verymuchalive

    In short, I don’t share your optimism.

    You’re wrong not to, Verymuchalive (glad to hear it by the way! 🙂 ), because whilst the rural middle classes have been leaving the countryside in droves, a very strong network of home-stedders/self-reliant communities, which has been slowly growing for the past couple of decades, is now mushrooming, at least around certain parts of rural Europe, with lots and lots of young people amongst them, young families too. And of course us aging hippies, roughing it because we refuse to be part of a demonstrably evil system.

    All we have to do now is see off the lithium miners when they come-a-calling. But they’ll probably be busy with war and covid and other distractions before their parasitic system collapses altogether, so we should spared. 🙂

    Linh Dinh, if you should ever decide to explore the Iberian Peninsular, I’d be pleased to give you a taste of the mountains of central Portugal, where the kind of community you describe above now exists alongside a very complimentary “new age” (for want of a better term) alternative community. – Oh yeah, and a bunch of “ex-pats” in the business of being in business charging “what the market will stand” for their creativity.

    Much love,
    Kali.

  61. chris says:
    @Linh Dinh

    And speaking of pictures Linh, thanks for the self-portrait in this one. It’s very much Velasquez in his studio! Another excellent sketch of yourself in your surroundings.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  62. @Dumbo

    ‘…Of course, this about white Argentineans. The country became much more mestizo in the last decades.’

    ? Do tell. How did that happen?

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  63. Dumbo says:
    @Colin Wright

    What’s so surprising? Bigger birth rate by mestizos in Argentina than whites (and white-ish), plus massive migration from Peru, Bolivia, etc. I don’t have any demographic data but it should be possible to find it. Actually, it’s even in Wiki:

    The principal source of immigration into Argentina after 1960 was no longer from Europe, but rather from bordering South American countries. During the period in between the Censuses of 1895 and 1914, immigrants from Europe comprised 88.4% of the total, and Latin American immigrants represented only 7.5%. By the 1960s, however, this trend had been completely reversed: the Latin American immigrants were 76.1%, and the Europeans merely 18.7% of the total.[62]

    Given that the main sources of South American immigrants since the 1960s have been Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, most of these immigrants have been either Amerindian or Mestizo, for they represent the ethnic majorities in those countries.

    • Thanks: Colin Wright
  64. @Whitewolf

    I’m surprised EU bureaucrats didn’t suggest bringing in millions of Africans to repopulate European villages.

    Oh, they have and they try. Most Africans don’t want to live in European villages though. Nature holds no interest for them, they quickly get bored and depressed without the stimulus of urban life (women, drugs, noise, etc.). Especially in Northern Europe the seasonal rhythms and winter solitude of village life are murder on African sensibilities.

  65. @chris

    Alex’s son called Slave (sic) sure looks miserable in that picture – he’s not some modern day slave is he?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  66. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Commentator Mike

    Let’s not joke about someone’s kid here. Slave is a first name in Bulgaria and North Macedonia. It means “Glory.”

    • Thanks: Commentator Mike
    • Replies: @chris
  67. chris says:
    @Linh Dinh

    From the Latin Salve!

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Simpleguest
  68. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @chris

    No, that’s an entirely different word, meaning “hello,” and still used as a greeting in Italy.

    • Replies: @chris
  69. chris says:
    @Linh Dinh

    … Aaaaggghhh, As soon as I had written it, and the editing window had closed, I checked it and found out the truth. Sundays we have walks and homework; stealing a minute here and there to read a column and write a post on Unz is always negotiating a very small window of opportunity around here.

    Thanks for the correction, Linh, and keep up your excellent work!!! Let us know your next destinations when you know them.

  70. @chris

    Slave is just a variation of the common Slavic name Slaven, Slavoj, Slava and perhaps dozen other derivatives.
    The name means simply a Slav.
    And in turn, according to some theories, the name of the Slavs is derived from the word “slava” which stands for “glory” in all Slavic languages.

    PS. Linh mentions somewhere that Slave is a kid with special needs, probably a Dow syndrome kid judging by his appearance, which makes the comment by the previous commenter #66 all the more sad.

    • Thanks: chris
  71. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Simpleguest

    Slave’s a great kid. In Bevoro, I asked him, “Pivo?” with a hand gesture to make myself clear. He nodded. As we sat outside a bar facing the promenade, he knocked down his beer just like I did, when I was his age.

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  72. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Simpleguest

    P.S. When a woman said to me, “Photo?” I thought she wanted me to photograph her with another woman, but it was her friend who wanted to be photographed with me. Slave cracked up. Done, they said to me, “Grazie! Ciao, ciao!”

    Yesterday in Gostivar, a man also asked to be photographed with me. These small towns don’t get international tourists.

    • Replies: @chris
  73. @Linh Dinh

    Slave’s a great kid.

    I am glad for him.
    Sometimes I think kids like him are blessed, for they seem incapable of committing sins, unlike our “normal” selves.
    Looking forward to your next postcard.

  74. @Simpleguest

    Well my apologies then. I didn’t mean to offend and wasn’t aware of all the facts. The guy in the photo just looked unhappy.

    • Replies: @Simpleguest
  75. chris says:
    @Linh Dinh

    These small towns don’t get international tourists.

    Not of this caliber!

  76. @Commentator Mike

    I didn’t mean to offend and wasn’t aware of all the facts.

    Cheers Mike.

    • Thanks: Commentator Mike
  77. We could segue into ‘what’s wrong with being a slave?

    I mean, why not? Every other conceivable form of human identity has been stripped of all negative connotations, made into an object for celebration, etc.

    • Replies: @Ugetit
  78. Ugetit says:
    @Colin Wright

    I agree. This anti-Slavism just hasta go! Anti-slaveryism, too! 🙂

  79. @mwee

    lived through six presidential clowns starting with Reagan and only then realized who the “dictator” was.

    Pray tell us, who was the dictator?

  80. @utu

    So low IQ people cannot cook good tasting food? Do you ever listen to yourself talk or read what you write? You’d have to have an IQ below 50 to write something so stupid.

  81. Thank you, Linh Dinh for another offering of your gems that pass unobtrusively as travelogues. On closer inspection, your vignettes are like a canvas where the viewer is challenged to get lost in and make of it what he will, sometimes glimpsing a view out of the ordinary, amounting to a minor epiphany.

  82. tomo says:
    @TJM

    After decades spent in JUSA/Canada and UK I admire even more the people who never even attempt to learn English
    That’s why I enjoy so much travelling around Japan, Latin America etc

  83. tomo says:
    @Dumbo

    Judging by the link he posted – the burek he tried seems too dry.
    I have been making burek for dinner to my friends all around the world (wherever I travel): Japan, France, Argentina, Italy, Spain…Australia – and I have never met anyone who did not love it and beg me to teach them how to do it.
    Especially the wealthy (some of the most powerful) Hollywood producers neighbors from when I lived in LA.

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