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Fixer in Bosnia - Republika Srpska

I am looking for a fixer and translator preferably with car in the Serb Republic in Bosnia. Anyone got a tip?

by Gorm K. Gaare at 2009-11-10 12:52:36 UTC berlin , Germany | Bookmark | | Report spam→

These days lots of people speak English, especially younger ones. if in a fix, just go to the English language faculty of the university in Sarajevo or Banja Luka or Belgrade. in terms of a car, you can rent from any of the international or local car rental companies in any big city, and drive yourself. Or just drive your own car down from Germany. Gas is expensive of course but between saving on the rental cost and not having to worry about heavy bags and so on, it may be worth it.

It is exactly 1000 kilometers from Berlin to Sarajevo. Not that bad. Roughly line of Berlin-Dresden-Prague-Graz-Zagreb-Sarajevo.

Bosnia is not that hard to get around, just get a good standard road map and you’ll be fine. In winter snow can be a pain in the ass; it once took me six hours to drive the 120 kilometers from Sarajevo to Tuzla, but I never liked that road anyway.

Email Matt Lutton, he’s living in Belgrade and is top of the scene.

by [former member] | 11 Nov 2009 13:11 | East Berlin (DDR), Germany | | Report spam→
Gorm be careful while you are in Republika Srpska. I was arrested there this time last year. I was doing a low key travel story about riding Bosnian trains.

I won’t go into detail but I was roughed up and arrested at the railway station in a town called Doboj.

It was very hostile. I managed to convince them I was from Finland, I hid my passport.

If you are intending to do anything remotely political do try and find a friendly, reliable fixer.

by [former member] | 11 Nov 2009 22:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
mark, you must have been extremely unlucky.
and what would be “political” these days in bosnia? the war’s been over for a long time, even though reconciliation never really happened.
arrested in Doboj? how? i mean, yes, the place was a bit of a dump when I was last there…but, arrested? for what? why would you say you’re from Finland? if you’re from the UK, there are still British SFOR troops there, no? if arrested, when you get to the next higher level of authority i would think you would be OK…

by [former member] | 11 Nov 2009 23:11 | East Berlin (DDR), Germany | | Report spam→
Slivovitz, Alan, slivovitz. Never underestimate how that clouds a man’s judgement, you should know that by now!

I was an outsider; I had a camera in my hand. I was followed into a cafe by some local thugs who were obviously pissed and got roughed up. The police arrived and held me for about 30 mins because I could not explain what I was doing in a shitty place called Doboj other than waiting for the next train out and back to Sarajevo.

I was pushed around and asked if I was American and as being British is the next worst thing I thought quickly and said I was from the least hostile nation I could think of, which that day was Finland.

My suggestion to Gorm was to be wary and unless you don’t follow the news diligently a man named Radovan Karadzic is currently on trial in the Hague and all it takes is a bottle of Slivovitz…..you get the idea now?

by [former member] | 11 Nov 2009 23:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
maybe it depends on how much slivo, i would think in that situation i would pull out the SFOR press card and wave it in their faces…the police are none too bright sometimes but they usually respected your right as a “novinar” to do your job…i got yelled at a lot and kicked out of a few places, but usually it was OK in the end, especially if i drank a hundred grams of slivovitz with them, because you do have recourse to higher authority. If I remember right the Finnish battalion of UNPROFOR/IFOR/SFOR was stationed around Doboj so maybe it wasn’t good to say Finland!

by [former member] | 12 Nov 2009 00:11 | East Berlin (DDR), Germany | | Report spam→
Finland is ok, or any country these days is OK… as long as it is not Portugal! Portugal is bad… very, very bad.

by [former member] | 12 Nov 2009 01:11 | Montreal, Canada | | Report spam→
Alan why would I want an SFOR press card. The last thing on my mind was to start waving something like that around and arguing with the Bosnian Serb police.

Like you said maybe I was unlucky but it was unfriendly and hostile. Banja Luka was much the same, less hostile but still very unfriendly.

My advice to Gorm was to be careful; there are still some crazy fuckers around!

Velibor surely they cannot hate the Portuguese, what have they ever done apart from knock England out of the World Cup!

by [former member] | 12 Nov 2009 10:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Ahh now I see Velibor. Well I will definitely be supporting Bosnia, although having no Christiano Ronaldo at the World Cup would be a shame!

by [former member] | 12 Nov 2009 14:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
I was in that region last february and I can agree in now way with those experiences.
I travelled trough that country and stayed a day two stations far from Doboj. There I photographed a switchman in a small train station. I have no bad experiences, he even invited me to a very very good bosnian coffee and bar of chocolate. I really met there only friedly people.

by Max Kesberg | 13 Nov 2009 17:11 | Heidelberg, Germany | | Report spam→
That’s the reason to be accredited…so you CAN state plainly who you are, what you’re doing, and so on. In the old days the press card also had “UN” and “OSCE” stickers on it so that lent more legitimacy too.

Learning a few phrases in Serbo-Croatian, like “pichku materinu” and “jebati” tends to break the ice also, especially if you’re being harassed. Because they will be surprised and amused that you as a foreigner who doesn’t speak their language actually learns those words — or it will just make them angrier and more violent — but at that point you may as well curse them in words that they understand, and go for it…

Velibor, what do you think :)

by [former member] | 14 Nov 2009 18:11 | East Berlin (DDR), Germany | | Report spam→
As I can see, there is different views on how to get the police while investigating on what you’re doing in their compounds.
In fact, I write in this page not to give any clue of how to deal with bosnian cops, I just wanted to know if any of you would know a student from the English language faculty of the university in Sarajevo. The need would be to have first a etter translated in order me to get in touch with the president of a bosnian association. In advance, many thanks for any kind of advice you may have :-)

by Raphaël Beaugrand | 14 Nov 2009 18:11 | france, France | | Report spam→
At least there seems to be a balance of experiences from people who have actually been there recently. Maybe I was unlucky; everyone has different experiences better or for worse. C’est la vie.

Max I am curious though when you say 2 stations from Doboj because if you were 2 stations south of Doboj you would be in the Bosnian/Croat federation and I encountered excellent hospitality there.

Alan here’s a phrase especially for you Jebi se, ostavi me na miru!

…and Serbo-Croatian is no longer a recognised language.

The language groups are split into Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian. There are slight differences in each.

by [former member] | 15 Nov 2009 10:11 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Thank you all for input and an interesting thread.
Eventually it seems like a friend from Belgrade will come over to help with translating etc. I am not to afraid of being arrested, but will take care anyway!

Thanks also for great language tips!

by Gorm K. Gaare | 15 Nov 2009 21:11 | berlin, Germany | | Report spam→

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Gorm K. Gaare, Photojournalist Gorm K. Gaare
Oslo , Norway
Max Kesberg, photographer Max Kesberg
Heidelberg , Germany
Raphaël Beaugrand, Journalist Raphaël Beaugrand


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