Surreal Moment du Jour: Waking up at 4:05 am to the sound of a muezzin calling out the morning call to prayer, the Athan. I looked out the window, and could just barely see the yellow light of the sun peeking up over the hills. Several small, thin minarets dotted the valley below Velania, a hillside neighborhood I was staying in. After a few minutes, a couple of other muezzins started up, creating a sort of canonical call to prayer.
All Athans aside, the Kosovar people are actually rather apathetic when it comes to religion. While around five percent practice a strict version of Islam, far less of the women actually wear headscarves when on the street. Instead, they dress in completely Western skintight boot-cut jeans and halter tops, tank tops, and lot cut short sleeves - all while tottering on minimum 3 inch stillettos and slathered in impeccable blue eyeliner and six coats of mascara. I realize I have yet to meet any rural Kosovars, thus my observations may be skewed (I have read that rural culture is more consevative, and women are rarely seen in restaurants or bars after dark). Even though unemployment hovers between fifty and sixty percent, one of the only profitable businesses are cafe/bar operation and black market importation of cigarrettes, hawked baseball stadium hot-dog guy style on the street.