Travel Log - Serbia - May 2024

May 31, 2024

This blog, and probably several more, will be travel logs. I am on a lecture/consulting tour of Mexico, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Israel.


I attended my first two grades of elementary school in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. I speak the language fluently and love Serbian national music, dances, and food. I have been visiting Belgrade frequently, either to lecture or consult. When visiting, I always spend dinner time in a restaurant where national music is played. In gypsy locations, the guests would get so excited with the music that they would sing along at the top of their voices with much emotion, and the women would end up dancing on the tables. I loved the spirit, the excitement, and the genuine behavior with no fear of expressing emotions. It was a great experience, and I sought it each time I visited.

With every subsequent visit, I started noticing that fewer and fewer restaurants had national music, and more and more had piped American music. If it were not for the food and the fact that the guests were smoking, I could imagine being in the States.

On this trip, I found only one restaurant with a live band playing on a weekday. They were older people with no energy or excitement. If I wanted good music, I was told, I had to go over the weekend to a place frequented by tourists, not the locals.

It is not only the local music that is disappearing. There is a national dish I adore, burek. It used to be ubiquitous, with outlets baking and serving it every few yards. No more. Now, one has to ask the hotel concierge where to find it. It is easy to find a pizza parlor or a McDonald’s.

I call this phenomenon American cultural colonialism. Nations are losing their identity. Go to a Russian karaoke parlor, and they are singing American songs. UNESCO should not only protect buildings but also the national dress, food, song, and dance.

Written by
Dr. Ichak Adizes