Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Unexpected!

Before we left England it seemed three things dominated the average high street: estate agents, greetings card shops and coffee shops. But despite all the Starbucks, Costas and shameless imitators nothing prepared us for the sheer quantity of cafes in Bosnia Herzegovina. Here in Mostar it seems there is one on every street corner, and they are there merely to bookmark the many more in between. When it comes to a comparing them we’ve barely scraped the surface. However on Friday night we went out for coffee at the Hotel Bristol. I’d long admired their large terrace and it was one of the first evenings of the year warm enough to test it out. We sat up near the water feature on some comfortable chairs and had a very pleasant time of it. No surprise there, perhaps, but there was one in store when we looked at the bill. Here we were sitting outside one of Mostar’s top three hotels and the bill was exactly the same as it would have been in many cafes that could better be described as ‘dives’ - most unexpected!

Tonight I was driving young people home from Klub. I was indicating right, about to turn and drive down past the Bristol. As we approached the junction a big car rolled past. I immediately recognised the chiselled looks of a Cadillac Escalade. I glanced left to see the slim figures of a US license plate on the back of it - and perhaps a secret-service Suburban in front of it. When I looked right again I noticed a police officer gesticulating that I wasn’t to turn. Beyond him, outside the hotel, was an impressive line of big vehicles interspersed with police cars. The road was closed. I doubt the great and the good – or, at very least, these owners of oversized automobiles – had descended on the hotel for its good value refreshments. Sadly, as I type, Google is unable to enlighten me either; the reason for the road closure and the abnormal street parking remain a mystery. But if you’re passing on a normal day, don’t be put off from making the time for a quick coffee on the terrace.

No comments: