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We rumbled along a four-lane highway, slow enough that I could almost count the blades of grass sticking out from the dark, muddy bank to our right. Behind it lay an endless sea of single-storey wooden houses propped up on short stilts, the only form of flood insurance affordable to America’s poor in a city that sits almost entirely below sea level. It was an unbroken expanse of rickety shanties honeycombed with cracked asphalt lanes and short-cropped grass, sprawled under a tangled spiderweb of power cables trailing loosely through the air.

“Not what you was expecting, huh?”

I looked over…

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“You know what I like about Sundays?”

“Wearing jeans to the office?”

“Well yes, but not that. It’s setting up my bullshit bingo template for all the pointless phrases that Darth Gilet is going to use in the Monday meeting. Seriously, I set it up the night before, every single week.”

“I think you need to find a girlfriend.”

“Last week I had ‘music without lyrics’ right next to ‘take them on the journey’. He managed both in the same breath, it was a work of art. Of course, I always leave a square for ‘low-hanging fruit’, which if you…

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“The police,” he said. “Were shooting us. With gas, bullets, everything, you understand?” He lit another cigarette, and the orange flicker cast a dim glow over the untrimmed stubble reaching down to his collar. Next to me, three cockroaches lay mournfully shrivelled on a ledge, the poor bastards smothered to death by decades of accumulated second-hand smoke. “But me, I was ok.” He shrugged. “So next day I went back, and then again, every day.”

It was 2016 and we were sitting in a dingy basement cafe in Tunis, 5 years after a popular revolution swept through the nation’s sun-bleached…

June 2019

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  • 1964 — Ušće Tower, tallest building in Belgrade, completed. Average income in Japan catches up to Serbia for the first time in recorded history.
  • 1990 — Communist League of Yugoslavia dissolves, paving the way for a decade of armed conflict. The world wide web is invented.
  • 2006 — Montenegro declares independence, breaking apart the final two member states of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Republic of Serbia is born. Steve Jobs unveils the first ever iPhone.

The air hangs heavy with the smell of rain, like freshly cut grass, warm against the skin even though the sun…

Rowern

Always searching never lost.

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