on being back in Mostar

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Luckily, I had a lovely sunny day in Dubrovnik. Today, it was rainy, windy and grey.  The trip back, though, wasn’t spoiled by the weather.  The early morning bus left on time, with ten minutes to load the bus and luggage, much to the surprise of the impatient passengers. A rather full bus meant a bit of a long stop at the three border crossings.  But the stops were quite short.  The quickness was due, in part, by rather assertive driving and passing. A number of people, including the bus drivers, passed until an opening was available. In other words, a number of people were jumping the queue. 

The landscape, even in the rain and fog, was stunning, with the islands in the bay, and the narrow beaches. It is difficult to not have one’s eye drawn to the view, but of course, most people slept. 

It was on returning to Mostar driving down the narrow old city streets, I saw the city through new eyes.  In front of me were two tourists, and I could see the shock pass their eyes when they saw the first war ruin. A sort of slight eye opening and head moving back sort of shock.  Traveling through the narrow streets, barely scraping past parked cars, you could see the charm. But you can also see the ruins, the crumbled stones and bricks.  The sort of sadness that the old town of Dubrovnik has fully erased. I wondered if I would visit if this were my only knowledge or view?

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The bus driver nearly missed the entrance to the bus station, which crumbling station leaves a sad impression.  But walking home, I was glad to be back. There is a sort of homeliness to Mostar, a sort of being a place people live despite ruins, and empty shops and cars parked on sidewalks everywhere.  Walking to the shop, I passed the poor man who stands by a shop, sometimes singing, or chanting, asking for money.  I passed the mosque with new obit notices and old ones, torn down. There were people carrying bread home from the bakery, and dashing out of the rain into the cafes.  This is the sort of thing one cannot see by the bus window. 

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