The following was an attempt at humor and social commentary that probably failed on both fronts, enjoy.
Anyone who has been to a restaurant with me knows that I frequently make empty American promises about leaving a review on trip advisor/yelp/google/etc. In reality it takes a truly remarkable experience (both positive or negative) to actually motivate me to pen a review of somewhere. This started as an earnest attempt to review a restaurant for trip advisor, and that didn’t quite happen.
Earlier this week, I ate at Luka Sarajevo, a seafood place tucked in-between the Iranian and Serbian embassies on the river. This was my second time eating at Luka, as my first experience had been extremely lovely and left me dreaming of their golden fried calamari for weeks. My first experience at Luka had been a grand feast with new friends, a parade of delicate soups, fresh salads, bold wines, succulent octopus, a expertly broiled beast of a John Dory, and of course the heavenly crispy fried calamari paired with a tarter sauce which featured a vibrancy and body that every tartar sauce I’ve had in my life previously desperately lacked. All in all, it was a dining experience to remember.
This lovely initial venture to Luka fueled my decision to return with two other students from the program for some of the calamari. However our second experience Luka was bit … strange.
When we walked in, the host seemed confused and a bit flustered by our arrival, granted , we didn’t have reservation, but there were plenty of open tables. We were seated at the one empty table in the back dining room , and after taking our seat we noticed something. The dining room was filled with large Bosnian men in suits, all men, not a single woman to be seen. An the restaurant owner was out and about making pleasantries with his suited-up guests, and occasionally looking over at us Amerikankas (American women) and looking perplexed. About an hour and half after our arrival two women did arrive, however they looked displeased by our presence, giving our group an impressive combo of a side eye and the once-over before turning their over-pumped collagen infused gloss smattered lips into a curt frown, before taking their places at one of the tables of suited men. While we have been speculating that we had walked in on some sort of Balkan organized crime doing, this encounter reminded me of something that I had been noticing all over Bosnia, there are no female dominated spaces. Sure, the ngo I work at is primarily staffed by women, but the confines of human rights association are not the same as the city’s public.
I have lived in male dominated societies before, both in Morocco and Tunisia there is a very historic divide of the public space belonging to men and the homes being the domain of women. However this has changed in recent years, and even in the most masculine of public spaces (hookah bars and street cafes) in Morocco you will see at least a few women, usually on dates, but still they are there. And there are all female public spaces in Morocco, they are rare, but they exist. However in my time in Sarajevo I have yet to see a single public space that has been dominated by Bosnian women. This opens up more questions for me, where do women congregate? Are there any spaces here that are truly female dominant? Why or why not?