Mat was going to operate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, but because of flights and timing, we arrived early so he could be rested. As a result, we were able to see Montenegro's outer parts. The country has a coastline that winds down the Adriatic Sea. Very rocky. Very mountainous, Very gorgeous.
We found ourselves in Budva, a place where every Montenegrin crawls to during the summer leaving Podgorica a ghost town. The tourist were gone this time of year, so that left us with wide open spaces to stroll through the old village and the fort.
I even got to dip my toes into the Adriatic Sea! They claim to be very environmentally friendly people (despite the loaf of French bread we found soaking up the water). The water was clear and an emerald sea green. However, it was not tempting enough, nor warm enough, to get into my swimsuit.
Next, we went to some ancient Roman ruins closer to Podgorica. Very interesting, but not as interesting as the Montenegrins around it. In the upper right hand corner picture, you can see a house in the far background built out of the ancient ruins. This guy decided, these stones were sturdy enough for the Romans, why not my house? Also, to mow the lawn, they grabbed a herd of goats and made a bigger fence to prevent them from getting out. Much more interesting than boring Roman history, don't ya think?
Next, we were taken to the poorer side of town where the Roma's live (refugees from Croatia and Romania and other countries). On the way there, we stopped and bought some pomegranates and dried figs from a stand off the street. Mat likes to get pictures of me spending all his money, so there ya go! Notice the bottom picture. That is a house and because the minimum wage here is $11,000 Euro per yr, younger people and newlyweds can't afford property or rent for that matter, so they simply add an addition onto their parents house that is still standing. You can see the rebar poking out of this one, ready for the new addition.
Here are the refugee camps. They are overcrowded and poorly constructed homes. There are only 3 open bath houses for 900 people to share. They are hard workers and love to make things out of scrap metal to sell for money. The kids run around the streets keeping entertained by sticks and leftover lumber scraps. The local doctors here said that when they do surgeries on the Roma's they heal amazingly fast (like two days fast). No swelling and no bruising. They believe it's because they are in the dirt and have strong immune systems. Don't be afraid to go and do that yard work now! You may heal a little faster and not be as sick.
Here's the carts the Roma's pull. If they're well off, they are pedaled or motorized, but most of them are pulled by donkey or horse.
Right by the Roma's camp are what they call the Niagara Falls. Nothing like the states, but it is a popular makeout/picnic place for the locals. You can expect for it to be crowded on national Orthodox holidays.
They also have a bunny and chicken mansion built into the side of the rock.
Lastly, we toured the new church building. It was up and running in July. Unfortunately, it only supports 3 ward members and a handful of investigators, but hopefully it will be used more in the future. The people aren't very accepting of our church. It's been spraypainted on and the day before we left, someone had chucked a flat piece of broken cement through the window breaking the first pane and cracking the second. A shame really. Sadly, whoever did this deed won't read that days headline in the newspaper stating "LDS church donates $50,000 in medical equipment to the hospital of Montenegro" or "US doctor travels to provide extra training in...." You know the rest of the story.
I took a picture of the hymn book because they spent all summer trying to translate some new hymns for the members. It is quite the process and hard to do. There is also a picture of the chapel. Open house will be in a few weeks (Once the window gets fixed)
We had a lovely dinner on the upper patio of a restaurant overlooking the bell tower prior to the war. It was the only thing left standing that didn't get wiped flat. I didn't get a picture, stupid me, but it was a lovely night and I enjoyed my bass immensely.