28-XII-2012 17:23

Serbia seems to be much more colorful than the US, where I often felt that someone has pushed the saturation slider on the TV all the way down.

Many houses are in bright and vivid colors; there are far less gray cars; people rarely wear gray. It could be a reaction to the ugly gray of late autumn, which usually looks as if it inspired Tom Waits to write "November".

The coloring is not limited to residential areas - you can find bright red or pure blue fences on government buildings, sunny yellow or turquoise bars in a bus. In the seventies, there was an architectural movement where the airconditioning ducts were not hidden, but instead left hanging from the ceiling and painted red. That red is pure red, not the somewhat darkened red that one finds on, say, US fire hydrants.

Recent hike in prices of heating (gas now costs about four times more than 12 years ago, electricity is pretty much the same as in cheaper parts of the US) has made insulating the houses a profitable investment, so many are now being sheathed with styrofoam based boards, which are then covered in thin plaster and painted (or is the plaster mixed in paint?). Many take this as a chance to repaint their houses brighter, as this plaster is easier to cover than the classic mortar, where the choice of colors was reduced. Even then, very few houses were left gray.

Even garden furniture comes in colors. Try to buy this in the US: cats on a garden chair

Or, this butcher's shop:

Or the bus station in Belgrade:

Or these two shops:

Update, march 2012: the gray, made-for-US crap is finding its way to Serbia. Since many cars are second-hand imports from the EU countries, all the silver gray is reappearing here. In architecture too - while the residentials are getting even more colorful than before, the commercial buildings (probably by dictate of their chain principals) are getting more and more of huge gray surfaces.

Also, many pieces of garment one sees on the streets are now gray, or gray with some color accents. Just four years ago, seeing some pictures where ex-Yugos from diaspora visited here, you could pick those who've come from the US by the (lack of) color in what they wore.