War is over - the horizon

Waterpolo in the Adriatic
Life in the small towns on the coast of the Istra-peninsula seems to go on as usual, except all the tourists have gone. The war two hundred kilometers to the east is on television in all the empty bars and restaurants, and the triumphant footage is being applauded by the staff and a few locals as if it is a victory by the national soccer team.

Off course we all find our parents old bores when they start rehashing their anecdotes about the subject, but still... they have actually experienced War. For my generation, the conflict in Yugoslavia came at the right time and place to have a dark temptation, like the Spanish Civil war in the thirties, except that this one was so complicated that you never knew who where the Good and who were the Bad.
A friend and I once crossed the Yugoslavian border from Hungary, boldly driving into this 'country at war'. We didn't even know whether this was Serbia, Croatia or Slovenia. Nothing happened, we didn't see anything out of the ordinary. After half an hour we felt increasingly silly and just went back.
Years later, I decided to drive to Croatia alone in my old VW Passat just after the Croatians started to throw the Bosnian Serbs back out of the Crajina.
Driving up from Trieste, the road became deserted as I approached the border, and after that there were only empty hotels and guesthouses, empty restaurants and camping-sites and ditto bars and nightclubs. Expecting war the Heming-way, bars full of partying soldiers, hookers and spies, loud talk, cheap drink, rampant rumours and desperate sex, Istra was terminally boring.
For me, this was about the worst possible time for solitary contemplation, and after a few days of hopping from one coastal ghost town to the next, a volley of Katjushas on the roof of my car felt like exactly what I needed.
I drove inland, to Zagreb, where a couple of Serb rockets was said to have landed only days before. On arrival, Zagreb was just another big, busy city, with noisy traffic and countless people minding their own business. I didn't even stay the night, but drove straight on to Slovenia, green and peaceful.
Ljubljana offered an affordable hotel in the quiet historical center of town, with nice cafes along canals and romantic alleys. I hopped bars all evening, drinking, watching the girls, talking to no one, except, in the end, to myself to tell yours truly over and over again what a pointless trip this had been, serves you right you fool, want to experience ethnic cleansing? start with yourself and make this world a better place for all parties involved, etc.etc.
Wandering back in the direction of the hotel around closing time, I saw two girls sitting on the pavement in front of a disco, leaning against a big flowerpot. They were gloriously drunk and one of them had her jeans and knickers stripped down to her ankles. She laughed uncontrolably as she let a flood of piss stream from between her perfect legs down the slope of the tarmac. There's nothing you can do wrong when you're that young and beautiful, I remember thinking.