Here is what I have been advised:
Eat a lot of food, there is so much good to eat there!
Dont eat a lot of food, you will come back fat.
Study hard so you can learn as much Serbian as possible while youre there!
Dont stick to a schedule… play hard.
Explore! Travel! Take the train. Trains are great in that area.
Dont explore, stay in Serbia, there is so much to see! And if you do travel, take the bus. Its much more trustworthy than the trains in that area.
Talk to a lot strangers.
Be aware, dont get caught up in crime or heaven forbid, human trafficking.
Dont talk about politics or the NATO bombing.
Dont participate in demonstrations, they may start peaceful, but could quickly escalate to violence.
Be aware of increased Anti-American sentiment around certain holidays and around March 24th, the anniversary of the NATO bombing campaign.
Dont go to a sporting match, fans can get rowdy, which may escalate to violence, many times directed at Westerners.
So…after taking this all into account and saying my last goodbyes, I jumped on my Lufthansa flight to Munich, and somewhere over the East Coast, in between cat naps and movies, I realized I left my laptop at the TSA checkpoint at LAX. Great! First glitch of the trip. 14 hours later I safely arrived at Belgrade after making friends with a Montenegran man on the flight over, who was teaching me useful phrases and trying to get me to book a charter on his sail boat in the Adriatic. Mama greeted me with flowers at the airport, bringing along an English speaking friend to help in the translation, and we were off to check me into my cozy hostel. I knew better than to balk at the graffiti all over the walls outside my apartment, after reading the Real Housewife of Belgrades blog, I knew its pretty normal. Now if I could just figure out how to make an apostrophe on this strangely oriented keyboard……
So Day 1, Done, and tomorrow its off to a walking city tour, if I can just get up by noon Belgrade time (3AM my time)
See you later!