Ok, so maybe that was a bad idea

No guide to Sarajevo for now. Too many angry comments. Ouch, people. I’m sorry I didn’t mention your favourite restaurant, or you thought I dissed your favourite food (I am not a foodie, and never claimed to be one), or  I left out the Sarajevo Film Festival (actually, if you read this blog regularly, you’d know that I’ve mentioned the Film Festival before, that’s why I left it out in the guide.)

I didn’t mention Banja Luka and Mostar because… I didn’t live in Banja Luka or Mostar, and I don’t know them well enough to advise anyone on adjusting. Ditto for Tuzla, Zenica, Doboj, Trebinje, and the others. I lived in Sarajevo, and only Sarajevo. 

The RS wasn’t mentioned in the post (expect implicitly in my mention of the Tara River) only because I spent most of my time in the FBiH. I thought about mentioning more attractions (yes, like Kozara National Park) but the post was long as it was. If you want a comprehensive guide to BiH, buy a guidebook. There are many good ones. I recommend the Brandt guide by Tim Clancy.

So, here’s the deal: instead of a guide, just ask me for advice if you need it and I’ll see if I can send you in the right direction.

And calm down. I wasn’t trying to insult anyone. What I wrote was based on the content of many emails I’ve gotten from people asking about life in Sarajevo. Some of the questions might seem dumb to you, but they are nonetheless standard questions people ask if they’ve never been to Bosnia before.

Expats, get a grip. I wasn’t claiming to be better than anyone else –I often behaved just as badly as everyone else.  The things I wrote were based on reality, and you damn well know it.  I’ve seen your photo albums on facebook, and some of you have seen mine, so let’s cut the bullshit.

7 thoughts on “Ok, so maybe that was a bad idea

  1. If you have a blog perhaps you shouldn’t be so sensitive to reader comments -for example, I’ve never seen Alanna take down a post….

    • Guess what? I’m not Alanna, and this blog is not an extension of my work. I blog because I enjoy blogging. My offline life is stressful enough. I don’t want to get into flame wars here.

      So, Lulu, this is my blog, and I can post or un-post whatever the hell I want. I’m not forcing you to read it, and it’s not a public forum.

  2. Lulu, I’m glad you like my blog. But I’d rather not be a part of this argument. And I did take down a post once: http://alannashaikh.blogspot.com/2008/02/why-health-matters.html

    I think everyone has buttons that can be pushed. I’d never take a post down off Change.org, because they pay me to write it. But Blood and Milk is for me, and I figure I can delete if I like…

    Also I have the best readers in the world and they are pretty much always civil and kind to each other.

  3. I missed whatever happened in the comments for your last post. But I really enjoy your insights on your blog & appreciate your honesty and openness about different, often difficult, matters. Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. Just, thanks for the blog!

    • Thanks, Rachel. Basically, I wrote a guide to living in Sarajevo for young expats who’ve never been to Bosnia. It offended a lot of people, Sarajevans and current Sarajevo expats alike. The post wasn’t intended to be a comprehensive guide to the entire country, or even to Sarajevo, just a blog post with some useful information. I wrote something nasty about one of my Sarajevo landlords, and I thought about that quite a bit today (no one complained about that part of the post). I wasn’t very fair. If I ever re-post, I will be a bit more sensitive about that and a few other things.

      Some of the complaints in my comments queue were ridiculous, though –mainly people complaining that I played up X too much to the detriment of Y, and failed to provide detailed historical, social, political and economic context for this or that. It was a blog post, not a doctoral dissertation on the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A few expats were mad about how I described the expat party scene. My intention wasn’t to come across as judgmental –I actually ran with a fairly, err, fun-loving crowd myself. I was just being honest.

      Maybe I’ll re-post. Maybe I won’t. I haven’t made my mind up yet.

  4. Awww, sorry that I missed that one. Saw it this morning, had to run out, was looking forward to reading it tomorrow at work (spent a couple weeks in Bosnia a few years ago, and would love to live vicariously through someone who was there longer).

    Don’t worry too much, if I ever (wrote a blog that anyone ever read and) posted some kind of introduction to La Paz or Pune, it would probably piss a lot of people off–all we can ever know about are our personal experiences, and as long as you make it clear that you’re coming from a limited perspective, what’s the harm in sharing your experiences? Man, internet people can be so crappy sometimes.

    • I will probably re-post it at some point. I was a bit stung by the reactions, and I have to admit that I’m more sensitive than I come across in my writing.

      You’re right about limited perspectives. My experiences in Bosnia and perspectives on those experiences are heavily colored by expat privilage, lack of knowledge of the local language, and overall ignorance. I thought that was implicit, but I now realize I should have led with that disclaimer up-front. I will next time.

      That said, the last thing I wanted to do was to portray Sarajevo as a bad or difficult place to live. It’s neither of those. In fact, it was far easier –and quantifiably safer– for me to live in Sarajevo than it has been to live in the American city I currently reside in.

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