Well, I’m sitting here listening to the CDs I bought in Kosovo (I’m sure all IPR were respected despite the fact that they cost a euro and a half each, though I didn’t interrogate the nice man in the shop who spoke German with such a very strong Swiss accent on this point), and trying as so often to persuade U to fall asleep on my lap.
So that was OK, and then came what Basil Fawlty would have called “the tricky bit”: moderating a discussion in three languages of which I only speak one. I only had to cut two people off because they were going on too long, one tedious individual who fancied himself an expert on constitutional law, and another who I actually felt really sorry for, an ethnic Turk from one of the small towns of Kosovo who complained that he and his people were getting screwed from all sides, Serbs, Albanians and international community, and he wasn’t even allowed to have his surname – Şahil – spelt properly on his identity card. I’m not at all unfamiliar with the problems of having your surname spelt correctly, and told him so afterwards (again in German, which is the unacknowledged second language of everyone in Kosovo), though I didn’t do so during the open session of the conference as I was afraid it would sound patronising.
Then a rapid dash to Pristina airport, in the company of Dr A, who has attended all three conferences I was at on this trip – Paris on Friday before last, Berlin on Saturday before last, and Kosovo yesterday and the day before. Dr A actually lives in Munich but commutes to Berlin, which must be a pain. We flew together to Budapest. I had the window seat and was thinking to myself that the sun was not where I expected, and there was a very large city much bigger than any city I knew to be north of Kosovo under the plane, when the truth hit me and I said to Dr A, “Are we flying over Skopje???” He confirmed that because of Serbia’s reluctance to recognise anything in Kosovo, flights north out of Pristina actually fly south, over Macedonia, and then turn round and head north over Bulgaria and Rumania, thus adding an extra half hour to the journey time.
So made it home in reasonably good order, and since then have been desultorily updating lj, cooking, playing with children, chat with neighbours (both J and his son have a leg in plaster at the moment) got out of house for a little shopping, read much but not yet all of River of Gods by Ian McDonald. But back to work tomorrow.