The itinerary for Prince Charles and Camilla was nowhere to be found on the internet and when I went by the British Counsel building this morning it was closed. It is a Monday to Friday office … so I had to guess about the time. I thought, “if I were planning this I would want people to be aware and provide an audience for the royals”. Apparently they don’t think the way I do.
Ahhh, what time of the day would be good for laying flowers at a monument at a public building? What time would you choose? I chose 10 a.m., and began to wander in that direction in and out of small streets I’d not seen before. Two Kosovo police officers were heading that way, and I though .. “maybe they are assigned to that duty.” But, no. Two other officers were standing security near a building. I asked them if they knew what time the Prince would make his appearance. They did not know. So much for shared intelligence in the city of Pristina.
It’s still early, only 8:30. Walking through a small street I came to back of a building I had photographed the day before. It was obviously very old; and, from the type of construction it was most like built by someone Turkish .. using sod for bricks and hand hewn wooden beams to support the layers. It appeared as though it had started as a single story and then been “upgraded”. Oops, was there supposed to be a door there?
If you are handy with a tool belt and are looking for a fixer-upper, you might be interested in this property.
As I was taking some photos of the construction a man approached and asked if I were a journalist. “No, but I am a travel blogger” He asked then if I would be willing to have a coffee with him and talk (people want to practice their English). Of course, I had time.
We talked; he said he had been a journalist with the local television station in Pristina, but now the younger ones had all of the technical knowledge and he had retired. He talked about his experience with Americans during the conflict; and other times with Jordanians and how he learned and practiced various languages. We talked about the importance of knowing and understanding other cultures. We talked about The Donald (everyone wants to know about the Donald, and if he really could get elected .. people just think he is not a good choice for America).
At 9:30 I said I think we should head to the parliament building and see if there is anything happening … and happening it was, but on a very small scale. A small group of people were standing around a red carpet; police were directing pedestrians around that area and out onto the street. Fortunately my new friend knew people and we ended up at the edge of the red carpet with the news photographers. I’ve always said “it’s who you know.”
There were children lined up, each with a single white rose for Camilla to lay at the memorial to “The Lost” in front of the parliament building (More than 10,000 people are still missing in Kosovo after the war.)
And several others with full bouquets of white roses, which I assumed were for Camilla personally. It was entertaining to watch the adults walk the children through how to line up, walk to the memorial, lay the flowers, line up, face left, and walk single file back to their places. The kids were about 6 to 10 years of age; and although I am sure they were told of the importance of this event it was painfully obvious that they would rather be doing something else.
These two girls seemed to be the only ones that were really Into It!
“Dear” in the headlights, look
One little girl dressed in red and with one of the full bouquets seemed happy to be part of the fete, until it was explained to her, what she would be doing …
Do you see it coming … meltdown on 3…..2…..1
The kids were drilled half a dozen times without much success. It was chilly and they were short on patience. Where the heck was that prince guy, anyway???
Then all of the news people rushed out of the building to take their places at the edge of the red carpet. While we all continued to wait. It is now almost 11, and I have been here an hour, others much longer.
Finally, the royals arrive with about 12 vehicles in tow. They are much shorter than I had imagined; and where is Camilla’s hat? What a letdown. I know the Brits are a conservative bunch, but really guys, less than 100 people showed up! I think there were more people in the cavalcade than waiting to see them.
The following links may be of interest to you Elizabeth Gowing is the driving force behind “The Idea Partnership” providing educational supports to Romas (gypsies) and other refugee communities in Kosovo.