Detective RHOB: (Cold) Case in Belgrade
Only one day after writing about my Fox Crime addiction, I solved an important mystery: how people make ice at home in Belgrade.
The case began with an innocent observation. I noticed that our refrigerator had a non-functioning icemaker, and that there were no ice trays in the freezer. Using my deductive reasoning, I told Muz, “there’s no way to make ice in this house. I’ll have to pick up an ice tray this week.” Readers, take note: you can’t get anything by RHOB.
I pounded the pavement, but there were no ice trays in the first, second, third, and fifth grocery store I went to. Even Mercator (a toned-down Target) came up empty. “This week” turned into 8 weeks. Then it hit me. I had a serious case to solve: how do people make ice around here?
I thought that answer was simple: Europeans don’t use ice at home. But it was a dead lead. While ice isn’t common in most beverages here, ice is served with mixed drinks or cocktails. In fact, we were caught flat-footed when Beogradjanis asked us for whiskey with ice. We had to turn down their request—and turn up the heat on my not-so-cold case.
I decided to buy a bag of ice. But there seemed to be no such thing. The supermarket manager acted like it was a crazy request. Liquor stores didn’t carry it. “What gives?” I thought. Was a femme fatale slashing all the bags of ice? Was organized crime trying to hone in on the ice market? The mystery deepened like a pothole on K Street.
After nothing but dead ends, I questioned suspected ice users (AKA: other expats). My five minutes of interrogation worked wonders. There are three ways to get ice in Belgrade. First, you can order it through an “ice guy” who delivers 20 kilos of ice. I couldn’t decide if this was extravagant or old-fashioned. Either way, it was unworkable: we don’t have room for that much ice. The second method of ice manufacturing is to buy an ice bag, pictured below.
This product is promising, but elusive. Finally, I learned that “American-style” ice trays are sold at the Chinese Market in Novi Beograd. One Chinatown chase scene later, I cracked the case by buying two ice trays.
Later that evening, I celebrated my detective skills with an ice-cold Coke Zero. It tasted like victory.