Updated: Jul 24, 2022
The cats here in Skopje are more skittish. I wonder how they've been treated to make them so nervous.
There is a pollution line of smog in the sky here, which does not make breathing pleasant.
I always feel as though I am doing something wrong in this country.
On Valentine's Day, I brought James home some breakfast from a vegan restaurant I discovered, called Vegan 365 for a special treat.
On my way out exploring, there was a street without any cars driving upon it. I crossed in the middle after looking both ways, and a uniformed lady officer popped out of nowhere, and yelled at me once I’d made the crossing.
My Macedonian language skills were not equipped for this!
Thankfully, she spoke some English. She demanded to see my passport and papers, asked me to empty out my pockets and open my small purse. Asked where I lived, which I didn’t know off the top of my head, as I’d only just moved into the place. She asked, curtly,
“Where in the USA, do you usually cross the street? Crosswalks, no? That is what they are for? You have broken a serious law, and I need to take you to the station to process you. If you did not have your documents, you would have broken another law. Keep them with you. We should go to the station where I can process you. You must obey the law."
I was very nervous, as you might imagine, and when she asked me to open my coin purse (it opens on two sides), I opened only one side before she lost interest. All that was in the one side of the coin purse I chose to open was a pair of keys (the other side contained a slim phone charger battery, cash and cards). James believes she was attempting to extort money. I believe this to be a fair possibility; alas, she did not see the other side of my coin purse and thought I only had a large set of house and garage keys stowed inside.
Since that experience, I ALWAYS use the crosswalk and get very nervous if I see a traffic light for pedestrians turn red as I'm crossing on green.
Throughout the city, I've seen these cops in uniform writing tickets and asking for papers from numerous people guilty of the same egregious crime.
The cops even make random car stops without cause, and are perfectly well-within the confines of the law to do so.
I've heard there are mafia-police ties and some gang rivalries.
I will be honest: It’s a bit scary here.
But there are pancakes...
Happy Valentine's Day to all you rule-breakers and law-abiding citizens out there!
Try not to get arrested.