Read, Write, Run, Roam

Detective RHOB Strikes Again: The Case of the Missing Dumpster


Since I received such a positive response to my previous detective story (one email-that’s all it takes, folks), here’s another installment of Belgrade Mysteries.

Our first few days here were a blur of jet lag and confusion—even without drinking rakija. Despite this, I managed to pick up some cases rather quickly. My first case involved deciphering the coded symbols on our washing machine. It was tough, but easier than translating the Serbian instructions that came with all our appliances. That stuff you’ve heard about English being a universal language? Tell it to Gorenje.

I solved the laundry code, but couldn’t celebrate right away. I had to buy dishwasher and laundry detergent first. However, I bought dishwasher salt and stain remover instead. It seemed that my “Serbian for Housewives” skills had gone missing-though I suspected I had never had them in the first place.

Solving crimes in heels-very Serbian

On my second day here, I solved another case: the Mystery of the Key.  I tried to get into our apartment on the second floor, but the key wasn’t working. What happened? Had the locksmiths double-crossed me?

Apparently not. It turned out that floors numbers start at zero here, meaning that the first floor in Serbia is considered the second floor in America. And since the doors looked exactly the same and had no numbers on them, I was using my key in someone else’s door. Fortunately, that someone else was not at home when I solved this mystery, so there was no need to go downtown.

It was my first week in Belgrade, and I was starting to feel as if I could solve any mystery. Sherlock Holmes? Nancy Drew? Columbo? They had nothing on RHOB.

Just as I was starting to feel comfortable in my new digs, I faced the greatest mystery of all: the Case of the Missing Dumpster.

No secret stairs to a garbage room, either

It was time to throw out the garbage, and I looked in our courtyard for a dumpster or garbage cans. Nothing. I looked on the first, excuse me, zero floor for a garbage room. Nishta. Garbage chute? Non-existent. The plot thickened like an old bowl of Ben’s Chili.

Where did garbage go in Belgrade? People couldn’t recycle everything around here. What were they doing with it? Was it all being used for Mugatu’s Derelicte Campaign?

I decided to take bold action. I had noticed small garbage cans in a nearby park and decided to throw our garbage in one of them. We only had a small plastic bag, so I figured it wouldn’t attract too much attention. Was this illegal? Possibly. But a little danger never got in the way of a case for RHOB.

I walked out of our building, garbage in hand, and strolled down the street. Suddenly, I noticed a garbage truck emptying something. Something that looked suspiciously like a silver dumpster. As I watched the waste fall into the truck, it looked like household, not commercial garbage. Once I realized what the big, silver thing was, I noticed something else: they were everywhere. I had been walking by them for days without noticing them. RHOB: super-genius.

I threw my bag in the dumpster and walked to a café, passing the scene below. It appeared that solving The Case of the Missing Dumpster was my official welcome to Belgrade.

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4 responses

  1. BD

    Hilarious! But I am thrilled to know that RHOB is a closet Nancy Drew. I have been a huge Nancy fan since the second grade!

    January 28, 2011 at 3:48 am

  2. I LOVED Nancy Drew, and mysteries in general.

    January 28, 2011 at 9:26 am

  3. Ha, ha. I live in Sofia, Bulgaria and had the same problem in both of the apartments I’ve lived in. And for the record, I wasn’t going to leave a comment until I read the Ben’s Chili Bowl comment and after five years living on U Street I couldn’t resist. Hope that you’re digging Belgrade as much as I have when I’ve visited!!

    January 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm

  4. Belgrade is a great city-even better than I imagined. Glad liked the U Street reference. I’m not sure when you were last there but it has become an even bigger hotspot. Definitely worth a visit.

    January 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

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