Friday, January 31, 2014


Momo Kapor - ''Kosava''I devoured Momo Kapor's Guide to the Serbian Mentality last summer, and I heartily recommend it. The book includes an essay about the Kosava, the icy wind that blows through Belgrade in the winter. I had forgotten about it until yesterday.

I moved this month, partly for the novelty and partly because I was hoping for a somewhat longer commute; the two minute walk from my previous abode just wasn't long enough for the head-clearing, people-watching, step-logging that I was looking for. My new apartment is still in the neighbourhood, but it's a good ten-fifteen minutes from the office. Perfect.

Unless, of course, an icy wind is ripping down the snow-and-salt-and slush-covered streets at a hundred miles an hour. That does tend to undermine the pleasantness of a morning constitution. Here is Wikipedia:
Košava (pronounced [kɔ̌ʃaʋa]) is a cold, very squally southeastern wind found in Serbia and some nearby countries. It starts in the Carpathian Mountains and follows the Danube northwest through the Iron Gate region where it gains a jet effect, then continues to Belgrade. It can spread as far north as Hungary and as far south as Niš.[1]
In the winter, it can cause temperatures to drop to around -30°C. In the summer, it is cool and dusty. It varies diurnally, and is strongest between 5:00 and 10:00 in the morning. Košava is usually caused by a low pressure zone over the Adriatic Sea and a corresponding high pressure zone in southern Russia.
Today's forecast, which calls for a "real winter's day" puts the low at -10, about 14 degrees fahrenheit. It felt a lot colder I assure you, and the "squally" description from Wikipedia seems particularly apt. Spring seems far behind, and Kapor's drawing much too benign; squally is not the adjective that comes to mind when I look at the wispy woman looking serenely down on the city.

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