June 23, 2008

I'll Have a Beer...and Some Ice Cream

Summer is in full effect here, with temperatures reaching the 90s and Macedonians categorically refusing the prepare certain meals. On the second point, we took my brother to a restaurant in town and were told, in no uncertain terms, that what we ordered just couldn't be made--it's June, for god's sake! Well, with summer also comes the rather expansive cafe culture, something my brother mentioned in the previous post.

In America, just about the only place one can nurse a single drink for two hours is Starbucks--but even then, dirty looks are sure to follow if a comfy chair is involved. Even the dive-iest of dives isn't going to let you sip on that lukewarm Coors for more than thirty minutes before the bartender starts laying down some serious pressure about the next one. Are you drinking or are you leaving?

Not so in Macedonia. Not only does the bartender/waiter (inevitably the same guy) not interrogate you about your next drink, but getting the check from him often requires some real effort on your part. Making eye contact is a pipe dream--just go ahead and wave your arms like an airport runway signaler. So people tend to sit. And talk. And people watch. And drink their beer and coffee and eat their ice cream.

Ice cream is really popular here at all the cafes. It's not unusual to see a table of four at which one patron is downing a Skopsko beer, a second is sipping a cappuccino, and the other two are eating soft serve vanilla ice cream. It's four guys dressed for the discotheque and it's something like eleven at night.

And then there's boza. Apparently this is a really Balkan beverage. My first taste of boza had me thinking someone left a vat of Orange Julius out in the midday sun for a few weeks. It's kind of sour, kind of sweet, and it had this slight kick to it. Is there alcohol? I'm guessing not, since I've seen every seventh grader in town drinking a boza float. I can't blame them--a boza float is where it's at. Personally, I let all the ice cream melt and the creaminess mixes with the whatever-the-hell-it-is for a taste I find quite irresistible.

I'm just afraid one day I'll spy someone drinking a beer float.

Our day camp--Healthy Kids--is now in full swing. More on that later...

No comments: