I left Jordan in the week hours of the morning to head for Montenegro. I gave myself the 3 hours allowance in case the cab never showed up or something happened along the way. But when I reached Jordan airport, the gate was not even open.
Went through my bag to retrieve my book and found an uneaten apricot I had taken yesterday from the buffet line. Settled down to munch and read. I could only go in like some 2 hours before boarding.
One thing I realised was that the plane actually took off at the appointed time in Jordan. So we boarded the plane really about 40 minutes before. That left me only about 1 hour waiting time, which was great.
As we aproached Montenegro, I was struck again at how barren Jordan was of greenery and how blue and green Montenegro is. Also how much I take for granted trees and grass in Malaysia.
Podgorica airport is relatively small. When I went through immigration, the lady had to take out a huge dusty book to check Malaysia. She was talking to her colleague about me from this place called Malaysia. I found it amusing but wished they could hurry me through.
Baggage was unloaded just outside the airport by 3 burly guys and I saw them take it off the plane and onto the moving belt. That is one of the great things of flying business Your luggage is also priority.
Went outside and waited for my partner who would be sharing the cab with me. She turned out to be a friendly girl from Uzbekistan and we talked alot on the way there. People in this region speak Russian mainly. And they have a tendency to take step closer to you when they talk face to face. Initially I felt the need to take a step back but soon came to accept that they require that level of closeness to communicate. Also, I found them to be very helpful in that they do seek you out and offer assistance when they hear you are in trouble or ill. One lady from Yugoslavio seeked me out during tea break to offer me some herbal medicine as I was feeling flu-ish. She assured me that even her 9 year old daughter takes it. Oh well....
Unlike last year in NY where I felt out of place talking about my kids and personal life, in this region, it was the most enjoyable thing everyone wanted to do. All we wanted to talk about when we could was our kids, our life back home, our wife nagging us and the daily routines of life. It was so easy to get along with them and they made such an effort to talk in English whenever I was around.
Most of them have just come out of USSR rule and democracy and freedom was something new to them. So, it was sooooo great exchanging view points on bringing up children. For ONCE I was an expert on Malaysian politics and the feeling of freedom. How much we Malaysians take for granted....
Montenegro in itself was HOT. Before I went, hubby actually google searched the weather and it was forecasted to be cold. But it was so humid that I was sweating and wished desperately that I could jump into the pool or into the sea.
The place we had the meeting was an hour away from the city so I didn't get to see the city. But I got to visit 2 other small coastal towns - Budva and Kotor. All of them having an 'old town' which was quaint and rustic. Much like those castle like towns with shallow drains and weaving streets. It was LOVELY.
In Kotor, we even managed a boat ride to a man made island. It was originally a stone where 2 fishermen found a painting of Mary and Jesus. And that rock turned out to the the resting place for alot of fishermen. So they decided to take the trouble to carry rock after rock from mainland to this rock and make an island. They then built a church and placed the picture in the main altar. Every fishermen who subsequently visited the island left behind some plates of silver. And every wedding that was held there, a small momento was left behind in that church as well. The ceiling was painted depicting the story of the old testament and the walls were painted with the story of the new testament. And that was all that was on this island - a church for the resting of fishermen. Further outwards, we even saw the opening out to the sea heading to ITALY!
The place we had our training was idylic. So idylic that I understood fully the meaning of idylic. You could walk in the middle of the street and the car behind you would not honk. You walked and stood and sat anywhere and everywhere and felt the calmness of the sea, the warm breeze and quiet nature take over your soul. You could be in the moment and enjoy it without guilt or pressure. It was so great.
The sea, goodness, the sea was a marvel in itself. The sand was not fine and white like that in Bali. But wave after wave has cut and polished stones into marvellous oval shapes that lined the sea edge. The lady who I had breakfast with decided to go to the beach with me on the last morning. We just stood hand in hand supporting each other as we walked into the clean sea. Marvelling at the stones that looked like M&Ms, small sweets, dark chocolates and some bigger ones that had colourful lines and smooth contours. Coming out from the beach, we felt like we had just gone through some reflexology. I felt so much like sitting down there just taking in the sun, the calm and the gentle motion of the waves.
After 3 days in Montenegro, it was time to go home. It would be highly unlikely that I would go to this country again. But I am so glad that I had the chance to be there. A place where nature can overtake your soul. A place where your soul can find nature.