These little prefab units are all over Europe, some seeming like they date way back into The Soviet Days. This one was new, I think they’re getting ready to pour a slab for it up front. It will probably be a newsstand.

Also, other stuff.






I found this place waayyy too late in our stay in Mostar and immediately considered eating here at least once a day for the remaining week or so of our time here.


The Diner Grill, Chicago, via The Chicago Tribune

Price of a beer in a bar: US$1.44, bottled

Song currently stuck in my head: Respectable Street (XTC)

After a rough breakup back in the mid aughts I was stacking weekend jags, letting my budget off the leash and doing whatever it took to force myself to socialize even if it meant heading out on my own and picking up drunken momentum until I’d attracted a small crowd of like minded merry makers, often pushing into roving blackout territory and then pulling back and attempting to maintain or just barreling on. It was a glorious time and these evenings became my hobby. In fact, when work started requiring more and more weekends out of town, I sat my manager down and explained that I wasn’t paying Chicago rent to spend my weekends at department meetings in Whogivesafuck, Maryland and that something had to change. The fact that everyone at those meetings was shitfaced most of the weekend and the company was paying the tab did not make them a suitable substitute for getting socially sauced on my time.

The booze was a crutch and that’s fortunate because a crutch was exactly what I needed to get back on my feet.

Anyway, the mornings were rough. Daylight was at a premium in my ‘garden unit’ (read:basement apartment), but eventually I’d crawl through a shower and hit The Diner Grill where I could listen to the short order cooks talk about which neighborhood bars they’d gotten 86’d from the night before. I’ve only ever been asked to leave one bar, and never for good reason, so my sins of the previous night were exorcised when held up against even the whitewashed stories I heard. I loved the Grill, and the grill seemed to like me.

I was reminded of The Diner Grill immediately when I saw Grill G-N, a greasy spoon near our second Mostar rental and across the street from the cafe/bar we’d just settled into. The bartender encouraged us to take out from G-N and bring it over and he didn’t have to say it twice.

Grill G-N is nothing special, but that’s kind of the point. I could wax pretentiously about the lack of pretense with the kind of overwrought prose that gave rise to the boutique dive bar, ‘fresh sawdust on the floor daily’ and ‘random rural detritus on the walls’ trends in The States, but there’s nothing new to say. I like this place, as much because of who I was as what it is, and finding places to like helps form the foundations of a structured daily life while traveling. I have friends who find any structure, even of their own making, too restrictive (philosophically even when not functionally), similar to bikers I’ve met who refuse to ride in cars (‘cages’). They look at your Ferrises Tim and your Robbins Tony, or whoever your productivity inspiration figures might be, and see mental illness and/or a deep distortion of priorities. But I’m fine with being the structure guy. Structure has done me well.

Bullets hit here



Various vertical surfaces that absorbed, were pierced by and or deflected bullets about 20 years ago. This town is covered in bullet pockmarks.

The first photo is of a particularly tall residential building downtown in Mostar. It’s an insane collection of asymmetric elements mashed together and it has an outdoor spiral staircase all the way to the top.

The third photo is a commercial building that’s famous as a sniper tower during the war in the 90s.

Also, a van.


Price of a beer in a bar: US$3.05 for a 500ml mug of draft.

Song currently stuck in my head: Atak of da bal-hedz (Onyx)

When I was a carny, I used to live out of a 6′ x 6′ cell. Actually, I used to share  6′ x 6′ cell with a huge man who had limited speech abilities and an insatiable hunger for marijuana. I spent the summer between high school and college traveling around with an ‘amusement’ company, working the games in a traveling midway. I’d been framing houses for a few weeks and it wasn’t going particularly well. My boss was kind of an asshole and my coworkers were boring on the job, so the time was dragging and when my boarding school roommate suggested I join the circus with him he didn’t have to ask twice.

You know how when you go to the fair you see a set of ski ball lanes (or something) sticking out of the side of a truck with a little awning over it? Well often the first 6′ or so of that truck is a cubicle with a bunk bed, a shower and a sink and often that’s where the workers live.

Luckily The Girlfriend isn’t a huge man with limited speech abilities and an insatiable hunger for marijuana (no offense, Grundy). At the very least, her petite frame increases our available space, so we’ve got that going for us.

The reason I bring all of this up is that we’re once again in a small studio, comparable to the one in Split but less efficiently laid out. It’s well furnished with a much higher capacity water heater than Split, but overall its a far cry from our place at The City Hotel Building. The sectional couch transforms into three or so sleeping surfaces, though we take the path of least resistance and sleep on it as-is. The one big advantage is that the internet here flows along a strong signal at moderate speeds (~13Mbps down). The signal at our last place was too weak to allow conclusions about the speed to  be drawn.

We’re about 15 minutes on foot from our last place, so any gains in location are minor. There are more cafes around, but there were plenty around our last place and all of them serve heaving doses of second hand smoke along with their US$1.83 double espressos, so the added selection is of limited use.

The pop radio here is terrific and that’s a rarity. It’s rock and ska heavy with driven,  layered complexity and occasional nuance. We just sit around in public and say “Oh, it’s the Bosnian The Tubes” or “the Bosnian U2”. The dependable internet access has us binging episodes of The Budgeteers (pops video), Passport Heavy (pops video) and a rogue’s gallery of other drone piloting youtube travel vloggers, passing the days of drizzle in between runs to the gym, medical appointments (dental, blood, dermatologist… routine stuff), groceries and abortive attempts to visit tourist attractions that are closed for the low season.


Cats in Mostar


The Old Town is full of cats. Here are some of them.