Skopje, Macedonia – September 2014
Baffled. That’s the word I’ve been searching for. It’s not often, anymore, that a place leaves me at a loss for words. I believe this is the first time it’s happened out of sheer bewilderment. I’ve heard that Skopje is undergoing a renaissance that many compare to Las Vegas. An appropriate comparison, if you see it on a superficial level. However, I feel that there’s much more love involved in the ornamentation. Skopje looks like it was decorated by Liberace’s favorite spinster aunt. A traveler. An eccentric. A collector. Every trinket is precious and has its place on the dusty shelves. There’s an order to the disorder. She knows where everything is.
Alexander the Great dominates the living room, a conversation piece on steroids. In the evenings, it lights up in neon colors which change hue every few minutes.
Souvenirs of London and Paris can be found at the end of the corridor.
And art. Oh, yes. Art. Gilt, glitz, and glitter. Her bedchamber is a luxurious lair.
A neon nightlight illuminates the evening glamor. It also changes hue.
Larger than life flamboyance is an understatement.
Ageless, feisty. She is a lady of many projects in various stages of incompletion.
If you listen closely, her extravagant monologues turn to events of the past. Never forget the time when time stopped. She never throws anything away, however broken and battered it may be.
Is that..? Oh my. Yes, ladies and germs. It is indeed a pirate ship. Perched near relics of the spartan years. But she’s not content with one. Oh, no. Two more just like it are being built further along the river bank.
And, of course, there are the obligatory cats. Everywhere. All of them are not only welcomed, but beckoned.
Smaller curios are placed amid the massive effigies and neon. Shimmering gold contrasts with the green patina of unpolished bronze. A haphazard symmetry to their arrangement. I wander through this wonderland of kitsch for hours. No matter which angle I try, my photos can’t capture the full effect. Either I’m too far away to catch the smaller details or the larger statues are cut off when I get close enough to the miniature treasures. My head begins to hurt from hours of relentless stimuli. Eccentrics are fascinating, but exhausting. Now I need a nap.