Arthur Bueno on Tue, 21 Sep 1999 15:17:00 +0200

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Syndicate: 5. - bambipark

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 15:16:06 +0200
From: "f," <>
Subject: 5. - bambipark

	pozarevac is a small city about 80 km southeast of belgrade in the plains
of the river morava, a tributary of the danube. it takes about an hour to
go there by car mostly via the highway leading to nis. during the bombing
its army barracks were hit as it happened everywhere in yugoslavia. there
seems to be little special with the spot on first sight. but it was here
where slobodan milosevic and his wife mirjana markovic were born and grew
up. and it was here where two or three days after the bombing began the son
of the couple started to build a recreational area for kids called
bambipark. the latter was subject for some little propaganda quarrels
beside the bigger ones during war. while domestic media claimed it as a
proof that there's kind of normality and that there is taken care for the
citizens' weal even during those hard times international media saw it as
an example for the regime's cynic propaganda. when i saw bambipark i got
the impression that media made it bigger than life - the place itself has
little to become crazy about.
	we went to pozarevac on a sunny weekend in early september. one could
expect some kind of personality cult around the milosevic-family; there's
nothing to be seen of that, no portraits, no transparents, no proud sign on
the city's entrance. but the bambilogo becomes ubiquitous: the little fawn
and its name are to be seen on billboards, in shopwindows, as neon signs.
what on first sight could be all advertisement for the park has another
reason: it is the brand of a state-owned "holding kompanija" in town that
produces bambi-bisquits and bambi-crackers. the factories are in operation
since decades and astonishing enough were never sued by disney. it was them
who in collaboration with the local gouvernment and marko milosevic
projected and built bambipark. marko himself was given a very special job:
he did not only give the workers an example by grabbing a hammer during the
building but was generally in charge for the construction; and the
controlling instance that could hold him responsible for eventual mistakes
was himself again. bambipark was opened july 4th, and in september
newspapers reported that during the two months around 40.000 visitors came
to pozarevac' attraction; 71 employees were engaged; the returns were
around 210.000 din.
	we first lost our way because we overlooked the few streetsigns directing
to bambiland. after a short walk through the city's pedestrian zone we
continued by car and ended in another part of the town where we found the
discotheque madona: another marko milosevic-business even it is not run or
dirctly owned by him; a relative is his dummy for that. others of marko's
enterprises in pozarevac include the cafe passage, the cafe rolex, the
pizzeria non-stop, a radio station and an internetprovider both named
madona, too. in his adoration for the popstar he had chosen her name; but
he changed the spelling of the name after she objected. the disco is
advertised all in town with fancy glittering signs. its architecture is a
mixture of maybe greek elements and the imagination of an american disco
without having ever seen one: pastel coloured twin towers guard the
entrance, the walls outside are decorated with graffittis ("don't drink and
drive", "stop the violence"). inside there seem to be stages and some bars.
unfortunately there's no parking lot which may have limited the number of
guests from other towns. later i learned that the discotheque is
permanently closed since september 1998.
	with the help of a policeman we found our way back to the center and
finally a dusty street leading to bambipark. it is placed in a semi-rural
suburb and surrounded by residential houses under construction and meadows.
the area measures some 220 to 250 meters and is encircled by a fence made
of wooden beams. bambipark itself seems to be rather one of the hangouts of
the local youth than a national attraction: even it was sunday the here
existing parking lot was hardly half filled with eight or ten cars. there
were no signs for regular bus services from farther even a youth travel
agency in belgrade shall have organized such trips. the entrance was
abandoned as the information booth was, so we did not have to pay the
obligatory ten dinars (current exchange rate on  the street is around 13
din = 1 dem) - later i was told that we came on the last day of the season.
nevertheless there were scarcely more than 100 people, mainly kids around.
the main event was contest of rollerbladers in a halfpipe commented by a
jolly guy being a mixture of animateur and dj. the mainstream pop framing
the contest was blasted all over the place by big speakers. close to the
rollerbladers and their fans four kids played beachvolleyball on a
sandfield. some others tested their qualities in basketball; strange enough
there was not a regular field but four single baskets back to back. the
other attractions were less populated: another place for skaters was nearly
deserted and partially in bad shape, a bouncy castle (one of these big
blown up things where you can jump inside) attracted a few toddlers and
their parents as the wooden pirate ship with "red bull"-sails did, the
small electric cars were used by noone, the chairs along the pool (like
those in hotels where you can only paddle a bit but not swim) were
abandoned and when i tried the maze the only being i found inside was a
pityful looking stray dog that may have lost its way. and in the center of
it all a bar was placed like some kind of stage overlooking the whole area
with the name "l'extreme" where some ten people sat mainly watching the
contest from there. in fact here the only extreme thing of whole bambiland
could be found: no extreme sports as some rumours have said, but the
lettering of the bar's is some two or three meters high and was large
enough that the X served as the entrance. the rumours i had heard before
had promised a lot more - talk was about extreme sports. even there were
plans to enlarge bambipark - and there's enough space around for that - i
guess they will have to wait some time.

photographs should be developed soon and will be scanned.

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