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  • Here is an example of "the Balkans" as a "state of mind" that comes from personal experience. On my first trip to Zagreb, Croatia, in 2000, I stayed at a small hotel where there was some confusion about the room I had reserved, and so I was put in another room, which was more expensive. I told the manager that I would not pay the higher rate since the hotel was the one who had made the mistake (double-booking). This discussion was taking place in the morning and the manager was in the process of slicing bread for breakfast. "But it's not very much," he said, "and you are a rich American and we are poor Croatians." I am far from rich, by the way, but I didn't correct him. I insisted on the principle of the matter. "Principle?!" he said, waving the knife at me. "You have to realize, my friend: you're in the Balkans now!" I decided not to argue with him and paid the higher rate.

    September 7, 2008

  • Great story rolig! I'd like to spend more time in the Balkans ... rates to be negotiated!

    September 7, 2008

  • Well let me know if you're in the area! Slovenia does not like to think itself part of the Balkans, and it has good historical and cultural reasons for that ("Balkans? Please! We're Central Europe! Mitteleuropa! Srednja Evropa!"), but still, the lady doth protest too much.

    September 8, 2008