At the end of each year, people like to look back on what happened in the past 365 days. Entrepreneurs don’t have much time to look back. It is more important to focus on tomorrow than to think about yesterday. Therefore, if I look my back the summary is practically the same each December: 'It was a great year, but next year should be even better!'
Belgrade is the easiest city in Europe to get lost in, especially if you’re a foreigner. You might know the name of the street of your hostel, but you first need a course in Cyrillic to read the street-signs. If you’re smart and grab a taxi instead it will be a matter of luck if the driver understands you need to go to a street called Ulica Sindjeliceva (Oo-lead-sa Sint-jay-lee-tjay-va) .
Sometimes I wonder if it’s possible to be nostalgic about something you never experienced. For instance, one look at my record collection shows I only like music made before I was even born. The fact that my record collection is 100% vinyl supports my believe that I don’t really belong in this age in which Apples are meant for listening to music rather than things that you pick from a tree and eat.
With welfare and prosperity come luxury-problems. One of these problems in one of the richer parts in Belgrade, the Old Town, is that more and more people have dogs. And these dogs shit on the street. The government is trying to fix this problem, but is making mistake after mistake. This resulted in the fact that the cure became worse than the problem…
I'm not an economist. I studied sociology and international relations and now I'm just an owner of a small company that provides bicycle tours through Belgrade. Which I must say is a great job!
Biking around in Belgrade, certain patterns start to become clear. For instance the reaction people have when I'm approaching them on the bicycle-path. It seems that these paths are used for many things, expect for biking.
Once I broke into houses, changed the locks and lived there; once I was a squatter. Squatting used to be a legal way for people to obtain a place to live in Holland. Squatters are mostly left-wing (ex-) students and responsible consumers. The most effective way to get kicked out from that group is be spotted eating at the embassy of capitalism and obesity : McDonald's.
Walking through downtown Belgrade, you see many shoe-stores, bakeries, pharmacies, fashion-shops and banks. In that respect, Belgrade does not differ a lot from any other big (Eastern) European city. But through the many years of development and change, a few strange shops from times long gone have somehow managed to survive, and are still offering their specialist services.