We just returned from an incredible 4000 kilometer road trip through Italy, Switzerland, The Czech Republic, Hungary and Croatia. Throughout the journey we got to enjoy not only the breathtaking historical sites, but also the gourmet foods, vast selection and variety that fine provisioners like Globus in Zurich have to offer. The culinary possibilities were endless and we ate as much Sushi, Mexican and anything foreign as you could. I felt like a kid in a candy store on more than one occasion. I think at every stop along the way, we filled the car trunk with all those comestibles we miss and cannot find on the shelves of groceries here in Montenegro.
Returning home to our friends meant a dinner was in order and we thought we would treat the gang to something that you cannot find on any menu in the country; a fondue dinner. We had picked some up in Switzerland. It is the perfect cold weather food to share with friends, and given winter here lasts only about two weeks, we better use this opportunity before it turns 15 or 20 degrees again soon.
The only challenge was that we needed to find another fondue set. And here begins the oddysey. We searched, what felt like, the entire country for a fondue pot. It was nowhere to be found. Some time ago we had seen them at Kips, the only Home Depot stye store on the coast, so that was the first stop of the day. No luck. Not only were none in stock, but they had no idea what we were talking about even with the assistance of photographs (yes, my language skills have not progressed at all). Next stop was Voli, one of the two large supermarket chains and our only source of the brand of food our cats eat. Again, out of luck. No fondue pots in the homewares section and no cat food in stock either. Pickled onions were also on our shopping list, but those were equally impossible to find.
Our luck was diminishing rapidly, patience was dwindling and that “poor me I am in a foreign land” anxiety was on the rise. A shot of local Rakia was in order! Being away for a few weeks in cities of infinite abundance had re-spoiled me. Now I must get re-accustomed to what is here and what’s not. A mini-culture shock ala 2009 was happening all over again.
Good friends (all of whom live with these same little daily expat challenges), a few more shots of local Rakia and fondue improvised on hot plates made it all better. So begins 2012 in Montenegro. More transformation, internal and external, to observe and record. A couple days ago we announced the doubling of the marina, the construction of a 5-star hotel and a superyacht refit and maintenance facility. No doubt there will be lots to talk about again this year.