Bosnia 101: WHAT LIST?!

Browse any magazine, or magazine-style web-site, these days and you’re not going to get far without stumbling over a list. Lists are the authoritative way to dispense information in the modern age. Who hasn’t fallen for teasers such as ‘The Ten Things You Never Knew About...’ or ‘Five Ways To Better...’? Putting as few half-baked thoughts into bullet points seems a sure-fire way to imply infallibility. This being our one-hundred-and-first blog post it seems only right we jump on this band wagon and present ‘Bosnia 101: what list?!’ Who cares we’ve only been in the country five minutes; it’s a list, it must be good!

· WHAT COUNTRY?
Say ‘Bosnia Herzegovina’, or ‘BiH’ (bay-ha) for short; to just say ‘Bosnia’ when referring to the whole country is to Herzegovinans like saying ‘England’ to the Scots or the Welsh, when you really mean Great Britain.

· WHAT HISTORY?
Don’t expect to understand local history, and be wary of anyone who claims they do. The region’s rich tapestry, woven over millennia, will not be unravelled over a coffee or two, of an afternoon.

· WHAT RULES?
Traffic rules are, in practise, less like rules and more like guidelines (best read in the voice of Captain Barbossa!) – although have fun explaining that to the Police if you get pulled over!

· WHAT LIGHTS?
As a qualifier to the statement above it should be pointed out that it is compulsory to drive with headlights on at all time. Failure to do so will get you pulled over and fined – even if driving a car that’s technically not roadworthy won’t!

· WHAT QUEUE?
In line with the rest of continental Europe, the people of Bosnia Herzegovina do not give any indication of knowing the meaning of the word ‘queue’. It remains perhaps the only art in which the English still rule the world!

· WHAT COMPANY?
Bosnia Herzegovina is one of the few European destinations available to travellers desperate to escape the reaches of McDonalds and Starbucks-style globalisation; neither company has outlets here.

· WHAT LANGUAGE?
You’ll be hard pressed to find a Bosnian-English dictionary, but you will mostly get by with the more readily available Croatian-English ones – but, be warned, there are differences in the languages.

· WHAT SMOKE?
Bosnia Herzegovina could market itself as ‘heaven for the persecuted smoker’! ‘No-smoking’ is definitely a foreign concept, almost all cafes, bars and restaurants will leave your clothes smelling like a night in a British pub did before Brussels got involved! (A packet of 20 is about 80p!)

· WHAT COFFEE?
Bosnia Herzegovina is a coffee-drinking country. Cafes are everywhere and, unlike the chains that dominate the British high streets, you won’t need to mortgage your house to purchase a beverage. However, don’t expect to find a Caramel Macchiato! (Cups of coffee from 40p!)

· WHAT SONG?
Bosnia Herzegovina is a country that takes the Eurovison song contest seriously; not for them the tongue-in-cheek condescension of Mr Wogan. Their best result was coming 3rd in 2006. Apparent mutual appreciation with Croatia, Turkey and Slovenia probably helped!

(Do let us know you comments, corrections or suggestions for ‘the list’!)

Comments

Sam M said…
Your list has a lot more useful info than my Mobile World Facts app on my phone! I'm not sure why you'd need to know that there are 6 heliports in Bosnia but it's there!
David said…
I simply like that you began the entry "WHAT QUEUE?" with the words "In line...."
snoobee said…
with all that coffee, and so cheap, they must be hyper!!!!

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