Before I get into what it’s like being a black person traveling in Macedonia, I should let you know that this post is actually part of a longer post on my blog called Being a Black Traveler in Eastern Europe and Slavic Europe by Country.
So check out the whole Eastern Europe series when you are done.
Okay, so what is it like being a black girl traveling in Macedonia?
Macedonia is the only country where I have been pulled off the bus multiple times and interrogated by one border officer in particular. Despite that, I LOVE Macedonia! It’s probably one of my top five favorite countries in the world.
I think the reason I got pulled off the bus by this one guard in particular, on TWO SEPARATE OCCASIONS, is because I think he just took a personal interest in “different-looking” females, if you know what I mean. The second time I got pulled off the bus, the officer told me it was because it was “strange” that I keep traveling to Macedonia and that I like the Balkans so much. That was the dumbest thing I had ever heard because it was only my second time in Macedonia in two years. I’m not going there every weekend.
There were other foreigners on the bus as well, including a male Japanese tourist. So why single me out, on two occasions as the strangest of all the strange strangers who care about Macedonia? Why? Because it was sexual profiling. Let’s call a spade a spade.
The reason I will go to the extreme of calling it that is because again, this happened twice. The second time, his colleague was just laughing the whole time the officer who pulled me off the bus was talking to me. It was all very unprofessional and too casual. I could see his colleague thought it was funny, pointless and silly, you know, kind of like when some guy is awkwardly trying to talk to you at a bar and his friends are laughing at how bad his chat is. That’s what it felt like to me because his colleague just kept laughing and taking nothing seriously. So I think it was moreso that this officer guy was bored at work and wanted to spice up his day by talking to the black girl on the bus with long hair and a mini dress. So I’m not so offended by it because I understand the psychology behind his behavior, however, it’s still annoying and unprofessional.
But again, I love Macedonia so much. I lost my Eastern Europe virginity to Macedonia. So I have a strong reverence for the country like no other. I have spent a cumulative 2.5 weeks in Macedonia if I combine all my travels there, and really, the border dude is the only negative experience.
Like all the Balkan countries, I noticed that a lot of people were staring at me. As this was the first country I traveled to in Eastern Europe, it was a strange feeling at first. But after a few days, I got numb to it.
As much as I love love love Macedonia, it, as well as Kosovo and Croatia, are the places where I have experienced the strangest behaviors from randoms. One day I was walking through the city center in Skopje, and a man caught up to me as I was walking down the street to ask me if he could suck my toes. He said he loves feet and that he always wanted to suck a black girl’s toes. I honestly thought that was funny. I didn’t feel in danger. There were a lot of people around, but it was certainly strange. And the other creepy moment was something that’s just not even worth repeating!
Click here to go back to my series on being a black traveler in Eastern Europe and slavic countries.