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Off topic: Internet in Kosovo, moving to Pristina for some time!
Thread poster: GaelSB
GaelSB
English to Spanish
+ ...
Apr 8, 2005

Hi everybody! Due to unexpected circumstances, I will be spending a few months in Pristina, Kosovo. I must admit I know very little about the place (only what you get to read on the papers,i.e., mounting tension, UN mission,inter-ethnic conflicts...). Are there any colleagues living there or familiar with the situation? More particularly, do you know anything about internet providers? Any tips? And in general, what about daily life in Pristina?
Thanks to all in advance!

[Edited at 2005-04-08 14:09]


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Silke Blumbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
English to German
+ ...
Kosova Apr 8, 2005

Dear Gael,

I lived for one year (2003) in Prizren, Kosova (now in Saranda, Albania), where I worked part-time as an internet-based freelance translator. It is possible to get a dial-up connection from post/telekom; user name and password are both ptk; ask at the post in Prishtina; it is a high tower in the main road when you come from Prizren or from the bus station, on the left shortly after entering the town.
However, this is a quite weak connection. I had a satellite connection from IPKONET. It cost 129 euro a month and about 400 euro the installation, which seemed expensive for me at that time, compared to Western European flatrates (I am a native German) - but it is much cheaper than in the province of Albania.
The service of IPKONET was very good, but the many daily power cuts , especially in winter, make a seriuos business very difficult (which is the reason why I moved to Albania earlier than I had first thought). During power cuts - in winter, if you are lucky, 1/3 of all the time -, you can go with a laptop to a café which has a generator; this has also good publicitary effects. And for the really long power cuts try to make friends at KFOR or UNMIK, who could let you work in their office.
Here are the relevant phone numbers from the yellow pages "Prishtina 2002" (there must be a current edition; it is also in English and very useful)

PTK Prishtina
Ndertesa e telekomunikacionit "Dardania", Prishtina
+381 / (0)38 / 55 00 00 or 53 53 53 or 52 71 47

I don't find IPKONET in the guide, but it is on the internet. This is the number of the representative in Prizren; I don't know if he speaks English:
Milazim Lushaj
+377 / (0)44 / 23 40 77 or 35 19 68
And here is the number of the service in Prishtina:
+381 / (0)38 / 24 80 30

There are also other companies in my guide, mail me for more information.
An alternative would be the new Albanian company StarSat International I have now for a month a satellite connection with, 280 euro per month (before I had phone bills of up to 700 euro because of the long distance connection to Tirana).
The cheapest alternative is to go to the internet cafes, which are very cheap: 50 cent-1 euro per hour!

Daily life in Prishtina? What are you going to do there, are you working there? Especially in winter it is quite challenging with the cold and the power cuts, but you are lucky to go in spring. Prishtina is the capital and as such has an interesting cultural life. The Albanians are the friendliest, most helpful and especially most hospitable people I know. This is the reason why I emigrated from Germany to the Albanian Balkans. They are very interested in meeting foreigners and are grateful towards the peoples which helped them become free. However, some of them, out of despair, consider a foreigner to be the solution of all their problems, be it a visa (e.g. through marriage) or an employment.
Go to Kosova with an open mind, get acquainted with the people (including the minorities), and you will spend an unforgettable time. In spite of all material challenges, my year in Kosova was the happiest year of my life so far.
Tell me what you would like to do and who you would like to meet. Writers, artists, journalists, activists, "normal people", ...? E.g. my best friend is a women's activist and operates a center in Skenderaj in Central Kosova (Drenica). Do you plan to travel around and need a place to stay or friends to show you around?
You can email me for any question you have: albtranslation@albtranslation.com .
And of course, mail me if you need an Albanian translation If you need practical help in Kosova, I can pop over from Albania.
When do you go to Kosova? I'll be in Prizren next weekend for several days and then again on May 20, because my fiancé is a KFOR soldier.
You will see that Kosova is much more than what you read in the papers, and much better than its reputation.
And if you stay longer in Kosova, please consider also to visit Albania, which is also much better than its reputation. In Albania there are much more archaeological and historical sites, but also the coast line has beautiful spots - like my Saranda, the "capital of Albanian tourism". Write me if you need info about the places, about bus lines and fares etc etc etc.
Mirupafshim ne Kosove! (See you in Kosova!)

Silke Liria Blumbach
Saranda Translations (SQ-GE-EN-FR-PT)
albtranslation@albtranslation.com


GaelSB wrote:

Hi everybody! Due to unexpected circumstances, I will be spending a few months in Pristina, Kosovo. I must admit I know very little about the place (only what you get to read on the papers,i.e., mounting tension, UN mission,inter-ethnic conflicts...). Are there any colleagues living there or familiar with the situation? More particularly, do you know anything about internet providers? Any tips? And in general, what about daily life in Pristina?
Thanks to all in advance!

[Edited at 2005-04-08 14:09]


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Marta Argat  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:01
Chinese to Ukrainian
+ ...
my friend's experience Apr 9, 2005

Dear Gael,

A friend of mine, a person with abundant experience and so many talents and interests, had been working in the place you are going to visit. I have reffered him to this topic asking him about his suggestions. Here is his letter:

"I lived in Pristina 7 months in 2004. When looking for an appartmet, I asked for Internet connection. There is DSL available -- only in Prishtina and only on several streets. I found an appartment in the center, close to OSCE building, for 400 euro/month + 100 for all bills, cleaning and laundry. Cable Intrenet was 30 or 35 euro/month. Good speed, reliable and unlimited traffic. It was from this provider: http://www.ipko.net

As for power cuts, my land lord had a generator and he switched it on during the cuts. It was powerfull enough to watch the TV or run a desktop computer, not both.

There is no such an easy cure for water cuts -- every night and sometimes during a day.

Here are some pictures from Kosovo, but I was not interested in documenting burned down houses or destroyed churches, so these pictures make a bit nicier impression than real Kosovo.

www.radamir.com/pristina

Be carefull with spelling of names of municipalities, cities, etc. Even the place itself could be spelled as Kosova and as Kosovo. First one, as far as I know, is more Albanian assuming it's a name of state, while the second one is in Serbian, probably more commomnly used. I heard the first one was accepted by US Dept. of State as official name but the second one is official UN spelling. Things are even more complicated for municipalities which sometime have two different names in Albanian and in Serbian like Fushe Kosove/Kosovo Polje. Now
the problem is which name should be first. Once UN was using the name of ethnic majority of the municipality in question in first place, but now it could have changed.

In general, these 7 months were very interesting, strange and a bit depressing at the end. After 2-3 months I start feeling some despair and even a short visit to Skopje (2 hours drive from Pristina) was very refreshing.

And it's also a chance to visit nearby countries which you'll probably never visit otherwise: Skopje (Macedonia), Sofia (Bulgaria), Belgrade (Serbia), Thessaloniki (Greece), Tirana (Albania), Kotor (Montenegro), Sarajevo (Bosnia), even Dubrovnik (Croatia) are all within one day drive."

Hope this helps. Regards,
Marta


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