MONTENEGRO: The Mini-Series. Part 1: Will they make it?

Friday the 12th was Big Bajram, the last day of Ramadan, and Abby’s office was closed, so we decided to go to Montenegro for the long weekend. Because our car has a mylar back windscreen and gaps around the rear door, we decided to rent a car, and Friday morning we went to the local Avis, which is located in the Hotel Rognor. The office was closed because it was Big Bajram, the last day of Ramadan. However, the hotel clerk called the Avis assistant manager, and she came within 10 minutes and agreed to rent us a car. However, we’d need to have a notarized letter stating that we weren’t taking the car out of the country without Avis’ permission. (Apparently, a rental contract isn’t enough.) An obstacle, but within a few minutes the Assistant Manager found a notary who could come in – “within hour and a half or so.” At this point, it was 9.00 AM and we’d already been waiting for an hour. Mylar be damned, we decided to take our own car.

We then needed to get a short-term international drivers’ insurance policy. The “green card” is available at any Western Union office, so we zipped down to the Western Union office at the corner of the entrance to our neighborhood – but it was closed because it was Big Bajram. We then drove back uptown to the Western Union office by the Embassy, which was open. However, their internet connection was down, so they couldn’t sell us the policy. We then went to the third Western Union office down the street, which also was open. However, their electricity was out and their generator was locked in the store next door for safe-keeping.

The clerk told us that we probably could buy insurance at the border, but that if we waited ten minutes, the storekeeper next door would come in, they could get their generator, and sell us the policy. Figuring that we’d want to have this bird in the hand, we agreed to wait, but while we were waiting for the store to open, we received a telephone call that somehow our garage door gate had opened electronically on its own, and we needed to come home to close it with the clicker. Abby went home while I waited for the generator to arrive, and I was still waiting when she came back. It was now well after 10.00 AM.

Finally, the storekeeper arrived, the Western Union guys hooked up their generator, and turned on their computer. It was then that they learned that the insurance company had closed for the holiday and had shut down its server, so they couldn’t sell us a green card. At this point it was 11.00 AM and I was ready to call it quits. However, Abby was sensible and drove us up to the border where, without any trouble whatsoever, we bought our policy and crossed the border.