Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Our two day stay in Zriajinin overlooked the town square at another excellent boutique style hotel very similar to the one we stayed at in Bucharest.
The entire hotel looks like it was decorated by the an Ikea designer. An international woman's volleyball tournament is taking place in nearby NoviSad, Serbia's second largest city. Staying in the hotel are the Polish, Romanian and Israeli teams. This tourney seems to be a big deal as it is being televised internationally. Security is tight with the Israeli's staying here as they get escorted loading in and out of their bus by police and security. These 16 -30 year old women are all very tall and needless to say, fit. From our hotel window I look down on the pretty town square to see the juxtaposition of the athletes boarding their bus beside my Mom and aunt waddling around the the town square after the 15,000 Dinars that just blew out of one of their hands at the ATM. Within ten minutes all the $180 CAD equivalent in cash was recovered.

Zranjinin is about 20 minutes from both Novi Sad to the south and Werbass to the northwest. It has a fairly wide of variety of active industries with textile plants and numerous food plants to process the harvest from all of the fertile land surrounding it. The terrain around here is the same fertile alluvial plains that make up most of the Vojvodina. It is harvest time and the roads around here are crawling with combines harvesters, corn laden trucks and tractors.
The highway to Novi Sad is pretty decent driving for a two laner. The Serbs are the probably most civilized drivers I have ever seen in any of the eight European countries I have visited. It is really just like driving in Ontario but then it is highly subjective if Ontario driving is indeed civilized. Police enforcement of speed limits is strictly enforced here with numerous radar traps and rules are generally obeyed.

Novi Sad is undergoing some major road work with new highway interchanges and ramps that workmen appear to be toiling on 24/7. So far at every highway construction project that we have encountered in both Romania and Serbia there is EU or German government signage and flags indicating their funding of the work. Only Bulgaria and Romania have been accepted into the EU as probationary members but still maintain their own currencies. The former Yugoslavian republics have not been granted entry primarily due to the unresolved border conflicts. Speaking to some of the locals about this, western European nations use the EU membership as carrot on a stick approach to get these countries to comply with EU standards on ecology, human rights, trade and other concerns.

As one German tourist told me: "We need to loan these countries money so that they may build the roads and buy our cars to drive on them". It all sounds similar to classic Ponzi scheme going on where the Chinese buy US treasuries so that Americans have money to borrow and buy more Chinese trinkets.
German total national exports are approximately equal to that of China's 1.2 trillion dollars, their population is aging and not consuming like they used to and they are on the hook for 250 billion in bonds loaned to the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) One extreme solution would be for Germany to exit the Euro and allow the other nations to devalue the currency which cannot happen with the Germans still on the Euro. This seems unlikely now though as a devalued currency will make it more difficult to pay back the debt. It is starting to look like the plan is to paper over the debt with more money printing just like the US does: Extend and Pretend

I am just a dumb millwright so I don't understand the intricacies of LIBOR, sovereign bond purchases, debt rollover  and international finance. I say just pull the band aid off fast and let Greece default along with the rest of the PIIGS but people way smarter than me supposedly have got this all under control. The African politicians have even waded in giving the Euros and Americans advice Quit your belly aching and the newly powerful BRIC nations are now talking about loaning money to the European Central bank which leads me back to the east block nations.
The Euro zone needs these new consumers to buy their products. These burgeoning consumers are the next frontier in the easy credit and finance cycle so that the Germans can keep their mighty industrial juggernaut chugging along. American industries are also getting a toehold here to replace their own tapped out consumers.

Now, where was I?
Oh yeah, this was supposed to be a travel blog not a finance blog.

Today we are making another trip to Werbass to try to locate the house. Our base is now in Sombor, about 50 kms. to the northwest of Werbass. I'm still having hotel WiFi issues but will try to update with more pics and an interactive map later.

No comments:

Post a Comment