Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Scent of Brion

This morning I had decided to walk up to Kalemegdan, the park at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava. I didn't understand that the fortress, rebuilt by Justininan in 535 and the park were different, but now I do. The fortress itself is pretty dilapidated--not much besides a few walls and some stones, but the view is beautiful. It's at the end of the Knez Mihailova, a long pedestrian street that has lots of cafes and stores, as well as men playing the accordion.

On the way back, I decided to stop into the Tourist center. Last week I had gone looking for a museum dedicated to the good old days of Yugoslavia (there was an article about it in the newspaper in the hotel). I had gotten the address wrong, mixing kniez mihailova with kniez milosha, and I figured the folks at the tourist center could tell me where to find it.

I asked the lady about a museum dedicated to the "good old days of yugoslavia."

"It's next door," she told me.

Bingo. that was the damn dog's name.

I went next door, and sure enough, Zhive et Zhivot (life and living, I think) was right there. although it could have been advertised a little better. I've walked by it half a dozen times.

The first floor had a couple of Zastavas, as well as some clothes from the sixties, and an encomium to the yugoslav passport, the most widely accepted around the world in those days. The second floor had some sports jerseys (Drazen Petrovic, among others) as well as a little cafe, which featured the exact same coffee can I swiped from our landlord in Skopje in 1997.

 The third floor was dedicated to the sounds and smells of the good old days. One of the smells was a cologne called Brion, which was described as the scent of the "serious working man."

When we lived in Skopje, I got my hair cut at an old school barber shop. After shaving my neck with a straight razor, the barber would douse me in a foul smelling cologne. At first I contemplated telling him to skip it, but, over time, I grew to enjoy coming home to my woman once in a while smelling like a man should.

I never got a look at what cologne my barber was using, but now I know. That smell is unforgettable. The scent of good old times.

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