Wildlife, ethnographies and snow.

Sorry about the delay, but our internet connection is far away from our flat, and that requires trekking out and buying a drink (oh, poor us) to check email and update blogs and read memes.

First of all, where the hell are all the squirrels in this city? Seriously, we've been here for more than a week and we haven't seen a squirrel or a chipmunk in the city? Did they all leave for a nuttier climate? I mean, in our old house, the attic was besieged by the little nut-chewing bastards, and now there are zip, zero, none!

Also, the cats and dogs are not as friendly as the ones back home. Granted, the cats roaming in the narrow streets in Ljubljana are wilder than the local house cats pooping in our neighbour's garden back home, but whenever we see one of our four-legged friends they either bolt the other way or growl.

So far, we checked out the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum, which is rather an understated establishment but well worth the 2 Euros (student price) to enter. They had a temporary exhibit on the influence of Chinese culture on Slovenian society. The exhibit focused on dignitaries, architects and missionaries who visited China and not only brought back amazing artifacts, but also ideas on urban planning, design and philosophy that was absorbed into Slovenian culture and ultimately the European continent. Who knew?

There are two permanent exhibits running - one on world cultures, including cultural artifacts from Africa and South and North America. The purpose of the exhibit is to encourage critical thinking around ethnocentrism and xenophobia, and even the museum is quite critical of its own practices, such as holding artifacts and how artifacts are presented. They have a spiffy website here.

Of course, the most compelling part of the museum, especially for two sociology students, is the floor committed to Slovenian culture. To be fair, because I was really enthralled by the entire exhibit (as some of you might know, I can spend an entire day in a museum and never get bored, and actually go back for days) my report will not be as impressive. But, there was an excellent collection of tools used for different subsistence strategies (trapping, hunting, fishing and agriculture) plus an extensive collection of tools used in different trades, such as a watchmaker (see below) and clothes and personal items found throughout history. I will be going back and taking more notes and photos.

Did you know that Halloween is celebrated differently here? (well, duh). It's called Kurentovanje, and it's celebrated in February, on the ten days leading up to Shrove Tuesday. People dress up in beautiful, colourful costumes and take over the streets. The Ethnographic Museum had some costumes on display:

Did Lisa mention we had a snow day today? Last night it started hailing, which turned into snow by early morning. I woke up to thick snowflakes slowly falling onto the ground. We hiked up Ljublanski grad, took some pictures, then headed back down to the vegetarian restaurant followed by a trip to Metropol, our current haunt. Some snow pics:

Most pics by Lisa, one by Jay

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