expat blogger

living in Serbia

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Train, the Ballet and the Brick Layer (Novi Sad Part 3)

My favorite cafe in Novi Sad is a re-purposed train car. In spite of all the smoke inside of the car, I really enjoyed the experience. I had walked by this unique kafana several times and finally made my way in.
The ceiling of the car still has the original leather straps used to steady yourself during a train ride.
I would love to see this place in the summer, it must be even better with cafe tables scattered outside to expand the seating.

I think the disco ball on the porch roof is a nice touch.
The view from the front looks right down to the most famous view in town.
View of the back of the cafe looking on to the most famous buildings in town.

Besides exploring cafes, Novi Sad was full of all sorts of  more than pleasant adventures. Another blissful part of the trip was meeting my new English friend. He works in the city's ballet. As I have always fancied meeting someone in the Ballet, this was a treat for me. I will call him J. for brevity and privacy.
I took this pic outside a studio at the Miami Ballet. Notice the palm tree reflections.

I twisted my ankle just before meeting him and was in a lot of pain. Our plan had been to walk to the fortress and have coffee at a cafe there, but that hardly possible. I was fearful he may be put out or annoyed at the predicament, but thankfully he was merciful about the leg and we went for coffee close by.

The fort at Novi Sad that we did not visit.

We spent the day talking, walked/limped around a little bit. He introduced me to the mall and a great place for real Hot chocolate, and a rooftop restaurant that served a Indian Style Chicken salad with curry in it! Both were heaven for my taste buds and tummy.

I found his story fascinating.  Over the coffee, hot cocoa, and while limping across town he told me his story.

He had started ballet late in his high school years on a dare from his footballer friends in high school.  I think that backfired. He was good at it, and instead of being embarrassed (for very long), he went PRO!  He started modern dance at 15, then played around with ballet at 16, then at 17 he got serious.  He went to private ballet school, the KS Dance Ltd. and is now dancing internationally. He was blessed with perfect genetics for ballet a.k.a. his super flexibility and high arches that made all this possible.

At the ballet School the instructors were very strict. Not only did they instill the great discipline of ballet, but they also correct accents of the students until they speak the Queen's English properly. I found it interesting that if you are training to dance professionally in England you would simultaneously be taught to speak properly as well. Quite honestly, I think other training schools should do the same for their employees. It could certainly help many people get jobs.

Like anyone he had wondered where his life's journey would take him, he and his brother had studied martial arts as a child and his flexibility was an asset.  I am sure it was the same on the soccer pitch. But his genetic makeup seems to have been best suited for the ballet. The muscles that he built were just re sculpted to create the well tuned dancer that he is and continually improves on. Because he started late and is just budding, I believe he will have many years ahead of him to see his potential and a great career.

I am sure you can imagine that with any professional sport there are those who are hard to dance with because their egos may have surpassed comfortable living conditions.  This is also true within the ballet. It has taken some time for a few of the dancers who may have seemed a bit prickly in the beginning, but sometimes even the biggest porcupines shed some quills.

The Builder
For a while after J. discovered his place in the world of ballet, he wondered where he got his natural form from. His feet are so beautifully arched, and his hips turned out. He looked to his mother and father and saw no real similarities in this area. Until one day he saw his grandfather remove his shoes. J. noticed how arched his grandad's feet were. He said to his grandpa, "You could have been a dancer."
His grandfather replied, "I'm a builder."

When J. told me this I could only imagine a ballet about a builder with scaffolding lining a building, beams and bricks. I told J. what I was thinking, and he said it would have to be German. We both laughed. This was just one of the many laughs we had. What a great day and wonderful new friend.

J. dances at the Novi Sad Ballet, I hope one day to get to see him dance.

After finally returning home and making to the hospital, I got my own special dance boot. By the time I got is taken off I didn't think it was so special anymore.

Decorated by Friends, Mama, and ME. :) (I did most of the decorating while listening to a serious family conversation.... kept me from getting too bored!)

One of the many Antique lanterns in Novi Sad.


Abby said...

Neat story about "J"! And love the decorated cast :) Bet you are glad to have it off, huh?

Promajaneck said...

Your pictures are just great. When I visited Yugo my favorite custome was sitting in the cafes drinking, smoking and watching people. Great fun.

If you would like to put a link for my blog on your site I will gladly do the same. We are a small group that writes about this stuff so we need to stick together. =)

Zvonko said...

Great insight and photos. I was born and raised in Vojvodina but I have lived in the States for the past 18 years (with frequent trips back). Love to re-discover the old country through your American eyes and mind. Keep it coming!

Zvonko said...

Great insight, story and photos. Keep them coming! I was born and raised in Vojvodina but I've lived in the States for the past 18 years with frequent trips back. I love traveling back through your eyes and mind.