This is from an October 2000 letter from Belgrade, on my first visit to the city after Milosevic lost power– and my first visit since the NATO bombing.
When someone asks “do you want to see the sights” he really means “sites,” the places hit during the NATO bombing. Like in Pristina, the tour points out how accurate the bombing really was. People mark time “before bombing, after bombing” always pronouncing the second “b” in bombing. And when people ask “how has Belgrade changed” they expect me to cite the most visible of the sites, the tall building next to the Hyatt where TV Kosova was located, or perhaps the military headquarters down town, the Interior Ministries, or the Radio TV Serbia building. But to me the city looks remarkably intact. So I answer, “There are more McDonalds’s than there were before,” which to me is truly amazing given the bombing, the sanctions and the trashing of things too publicly American. Close to the former American Embassy is a “McBurek” restaurant, which has the same gold and red colors and a familiar typeface logo.