I’ve now been in Macedonia for 7 1/2 hours. We’re staying in a hotel of sorts–my kids would recognize it as a ‘Satelit’ hotel of the kind we stayed in in Brazil when we went with the soccer team. Twin beds in a small room and I’m once again sharing with my same roommate from Philadelphia. The weather has been beautiful today–low 70’s and breezy. Not that I’ve been outside the hotel since I got here–but let me start from the time of arrival.
We walked down the steps of the airplane and entered the terminal where we were met by Peace Corps volunteers shaking our hands and welcoming us to Macedonia. There were Peace Corps signs decorating the arrival area and they had name badges for us which were immediately hung around our necks–even before passport control. After passport control we went to baggage claim and EVERYTHING was there!!! Not ONE bag was lost from the entire traveling group of 38 people–remarkable! Moral of the story–Air Austria was great! We grabbed our bags and headed for the exit where there were maybe 20 PC staff and volunteers greeting us, grabbing our luggage and taking pictures. They took our luggage to a huge truck and put us on a large bus for transportation to the hotel. On the bus we received an envelope with 2350 Macedonian Denars–our ‘walking around money for the rest of the month of September. (~48 Denars to the Dollar or about $49 for the month)
Arrival at the hotel meant unloading all the luggage–but remember those 20 or so helpers? Oh yeah! Because we had to carry everything up 2 flights of stairs. Now the rooms are very small, but they do have their own bathrooms complete with a small shower, a small sink and a pull-chain toilet. A tidbit you might find interesting is that we are not supposed to put toilet paper in the toilet…so a small trash can is provided. Hmmm.
They served us a huge buffet lunch at 3:00. The food was delicious…Fried eggplant, zucchini, goat cheese, cheese pie, apple pie, chicken nuggets, pork meatballs, cucumber salad, tomato and onion salad, locally grown grapes and apples, shredded cabbage, bowls of various ‘salsa’ of different degrees of heat, and thats just what I can remember. One of the ladies at my table bought a bottle of the best Macedonian wine for all of us to share–$6.
Full belly + 30 hours of travel = nap time. But only for an hour as we had to be downstairs for a meeting with the currently serving PC volunteers who were there to help us. (That’s the meeting where we found out NOT to flush the toilet paper…kind of important.) Another nap–this time an hour and a half and we were expected downstairs for dinner….NOT hungry, just wanted to sleep some more, but don’t want to miss anything either. Dinner was cabbage salad with cucumbers, chicken breast and french fries. Didn’t eat much–see the NOT hungry thing above, but 2 of the guys bought beer (large bottle ~$1) and it reminded me of German beer….going to like this country!
Another plus is wireless internet access–YEAH!!! I don’t know how long that will last–probably only this week while I’m at the hotel, so I’ll try to make the best of it. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer–love to all!