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Marketplace in Zenica
93 James Mason

Marketplace in Zenica


If the marketplace wasn't working the war was bad. Fortunately, in Zenica the market was able to function most of the time. On the day I shot this photo there was a lot of locally produced fruits and vegetables. Viktoria, my landlord in Nova Bila, heard I was headed to Zenica and asked me to stop by the market and buy her some beans. I asked what kind and she said "any kind of beans!" So when I got to the market I roamed around looking for some yummy-looking beans and finally settled on some brown ones. I bought five kilos, since they were quite cheap. The seller gave me a funny look when I handed over the cash. "I wonder what that's all about?" I said to myself. When I got home to Viktoria's I set the bag of beans on her kitchen counter. There was a group of locals in the living room watching TV and drinking Viktoria's wonderful Turkish coffee. They all looked at me in shock. Viktoria was in total shock. "What's going on here?" I mumbled to myself. "Pa James! Ti si kupio srpski grah!" exclaimed Viktoria. (James! You bought Serbian beans!")

What was the meaning of this incident? Although I'm somewhat familiar with the various cultures of the Balkans, I still don't understand why these people, denied access to the Zenica market, were shocked that I'd buy Srpski grah.....

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