Read, Write, Run, Roam

An open letter to the urban planners of Ohrid, Macedonia

Dear Ohrid urban planners,

Lake Ohrid, as I wrote earlier, was a lovely surprise. You helped retain the charm of the Old City with (I presume) regulations on the type of buildings that can be built along the cliffs surrounding the lake. You kept the cobblestone streets as a testament to history, and a challenge to stilettos. You approved a delightful wooded path between St. Klementi and St. John. There was a photo opportunity at every turn.

Because I enjoyed it so, it is with a heavy heart that I recall our first morning in Ohrid, when we decided to enjoy an espresso by the port. We sat at a cafe and noticed the completely incongruous jumbo television parked at the end of the pedestrian avenue. The soundless commercials distracted us from the view of the lake and passerby, but we decided to ignore it.

And then the sound turned on at 10am. Loud commercials for BMWs and Tikves wine overwhelmed the sound of children’s laughter. Heavy bass pumped out of the speakers as we were given an unsolicited weather report. We drank our coffee quickly and left as soon as we could.

Urban planners, Ohrid is known for its history and natural beauty. Why slap a huge TV right in the middle of it? I expect this at a New Jersey strip mall, not at a prehistoric lake. The mere three commercials being played on an endless loop make me think that this venture is not even profitable. It’s certainly not helping nearby cafe owners. They are probably putting a hex on you for driving out the morning business and forcing them to hear about Skopso beer a thousand times a day. Please, for the sake of visitors, peaceful views, and sane cafe workers, get rid of this awful sight and sound. I’m sure we can sell it to an American city for the jumbo TV’s intended purpose: proposing marriage in a tacky and tragic manner.




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