If you want to fully integrate in the Serbian (aka Belgrade) society I can recommend the ” Serbian integration lesson 601″. The cost is only 89 diners per 15-25 minutes ( the cost of a busplus ticket) or for free if you want to cheat. You can cheat, because they will not control your ticket anyway and you will read why.

For a full true integration experience you can only schedule ” lesson 601″  around rush hour ( +/- 7h00) from Monday to Friday. You wait at the bus stop Tošin Bunar for a green, red, white or blue bus which you hope it will come at one point. Normally there is written 601 (yes the line number) on the bus and Železnička stanica or Glavna Železnička stanica. Look the example below:

601-001

When the bus arrives and the doors are opened than “the lesson 601″ can start: first try to enter the bus, if you did not do your homework before the doors were opened you will pay the price of failure: either you will be squeezed between the door and other people or you will not be able to enter at all. If you managed to enter, please do not be too happy, because it is not yet victory , but at least you are becoming more a real Belgradian.

When the bus starts to drive you should already have found a place where you can hold yourself , because otherwise you will start moving , but on the other hand: who cares, you can not move anyway because the bus is PACKED. But you think that’s it ? No way, because this not packed, there is always place for more people and now it is getting really interesting:  time to learn Serbian !

You will very quickly understand what ” samo malo ” (just a bit more)  means  or imam izlaz (I have an exit). Especially that last one I found funny. I understand always “ima izlaz” (  it has an exit) , I always want to reply : like oh really, I did not noticed, but I am not yet that good in the serbian language it is better to not too be too funny.

601-002
In the 601 around 07h30: this we call a packed bus….

Then before the bus stop” Sava center” lesson 601 reaches it’s climax: here you see behavior, history and Serbian language coming all together. The bus stop “Sava center” is the last bus stop before crossing the Sava river, which formed until 1918 the border between the Austro-Hungarian empire and the Serbian Kingdom. A lot of people want to stay in the old Austrian-Hungarian empire it seems, because a lot of people go out here. Places has to be switched for those who stay and want to go to Serbia and those who want to stay in the old Austrian-Hungarian empire.  Of course language is needed to make it clear that you want to go out ( yes the ” samo malo’s”, ima izlaz’s ” )….

Actually in that two year I have noticed how courteous & helpful the Serbs are even in an overcrowded bus. This is something very positive and a compliment for my fellow passengers.

Conclusion is that this lesson 601 is essential for my integration / survival in the Serbian / Belgradian society … Hvala vi !

This post is dedicated to the courageous bus drivers of GSP ( the Belgrade public transport company) who bring us all in though circumstances safely to work or home: hvala puno !

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