Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back In Kosovo

You have to admit that the title of this post is the perfect sequel to the latest one I penned, named From Elvis In Kosovo. I actually came up with the name before I had decided what to write. But then I remembered another thing having to do with Elvis and my time as a peacekeeping soldier a couple of years ago. Well, sort of, anyway:

When I arrived in Kosovo as part of the Swedish battalion stationed there, one of the first things I had to do was to visit Pristina, the largest town in Kosovo, to get to know the lay of the land, so to speak. Sitting in a green jeep, me and my buddies made big eyes taking it all in. After all, a war had taken place here not long ago.

Then all of a sudden, I caught sight of a large banner hanging over the street. In high letters it spelled E-L-V-I-S. It caught me completely off guard. I mean, here I was, not knowing what to expect or find, and right in front of me was the name of the greatest singer the world has ever known. It was a surrealistic moment.

Back at the Swedish camp, I couldn't help but wonder about that banner. Was there really an Elvis shop in Kosovo? And if so, what did it sell? I found the answer a short while later, while on foot patrol one night in Pristina.

In a city where electricity come and go randomly, it came as no surprise to me and my fellow soldiers that the street lamps were dark that particular night. After a while my night vision kicked in, and suddenly, walking on the pavement, I caught sight of that big banner again. And, turning my head to the right, I understood.

Though it was dark, I clearly identified a shopwindow and that the name of the store was – yeah, you guessed it, ELVIS. But, looking closely, I noticed that the goods displayed had absolutely nothing to do with Elvis Presley whatsoever. Instead, I found myself looking at a clothes shop.

As you can imagine, I was slightly disappointed. At the same time I guess I was glad the mystery was solved. And you know what? Every time I drove under that banner the following six moths or walked past that particular store, I saw the face of Elvis Presley in front of me. In an unsafe country far from home, it was a good feeling.

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