Thanks to Julie Andrews for this week’s photo challenge – Favourite Things.
Sorry, that should have read Patti Moed!
A few days back.
MB found himself in a boat.
In the middle of a river.
In the Matka Canyon.
About thirty minutes drive south-west of Skopjé.
Republic of North Macedonia.
The 4-day Eid public holiday was upon Middle East residents earlier this week. Temperatures were in the 40s and rising daily. MB could have fried an egg on the Qatar stones. If he had an egg. And a stone.
MB got to thinking. It was time to get out of town. And out of country. But where to go?
MB remembered reading a few months back about the ‘name’ dispute between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia getting settled. Greece had it in their Greek heads that because one of their provinces was also called Macedonia, the neighbouring country, the Republic of Macedonia, was somehow, inexplicably, making a geographical claim on the Greek province.
That’s Greeks for you!
MB can put the Greek position into perspective with the following analogy:
Two neighbours are called John. John 1 gets out of the bed on the wrong side early one morning and knocks loudly on the front door of John 2.
I want you to change your name, says John 1 to John 2.
Why so? says John 2 to John 1.
Because by calling yourself John, I strongly believe you are making a claim on my wife, answers the genius John 1.
John 2 punches John 1 hard on the nose and breaks it in a number of places, leaving John 1 with a very swollen nose and two black eyes for a period of some weeks. Wife of John 1 nurses John 1 during that time, with nice food, soothing words and much TLC. John 1 never comes clean to wife about the cause of the fracas.
However, The Republic of Macedonia did not break any Greek noses. They replied approximately along the following lines, albeit MB did not see the final name change agreement:
We could choose Brazil or Russia, but both names are already taken. Can we introduce some geographical indicator into our name to demonstrate that our country is only our country and not any other country, and any other places on the planet that might coincidentally have the same name are not ours and we don’t want them.
The Greeks were caught wrong-footed, expecting a long-winded dispute. Ah….. ah….. ah….. ok I guess, said Spartakus, the Greek delegation leader.
Thanks for calling over, replied the laid-back cucumber-cool Macedonian ruler. Safe trip home.
End of dispute.
When Macedonians were able to easily solve a seemingly intractable problem (according to the Greeks, who ran out of bright ideas it seems, very soon after their carpenters finished the wooden horse), MB got to thinking that Macedonians must be a decent bunch of lads. The kind of lads that MB wouldn’t mind spending a few days with, sipping Macedonian wine and cool Macedonian beer with, chewing the fat with and shooting the Macedonian/Irish breeze.
A mere minute or two after having his Macedonian Eureka moment, and with the benefit of a first world passport (sorry Arab brothers and sisters!), MB booked a flight from Doha to Skopjé, some two days hence, leaving others to fry their eggs on the Qatari stones. Those that had eggs. And stones.
And that is exactly how MB came to be sitting in a boat in the middle of the Matka River Canyon, some thirty minutes drive south-west of Skopjé, Republic of North Macedonia.
But what about the photo challenge MB?
Oh ya, the photo challenge!
When MB was in the boat in the Middle of the Matka River Canyon, the young Albanian boat driver, called Janjo (of zero relevance to MB’s story), suddenly killed the engine. Janjo had just spotted a wild deer jump out of the adjacent forest to forage for some riverside grass. Or whatever it is that wild deer look for in such situations. MB, the ‘Jesse James’ of lens changes, snapped his 200mm lens onto the camera body and caught the below deer shots, amongst others.
Travel and photos. And Macedonians. These are a few of MB’s favourite things.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens,