One of the highlights of my day here in Štip is the taxi ride to and from the university where I work. I love watching as we wiz by signs, buildings and houses. It makes it even more enjoyable to speed down the roads listening to fast paced Balkan songs or popular songs from home, like Rihanna’s Where Have You Been. I can see the whole city in a matter of minutes from the backseat of a taxi cab. There’s lots to observe too. Looking at the billboards along the road helps me practice reading in Macedonian.
According to my friend Daniela, the most common way to get around Štip is by taxi or walking. Taxis are very cheap here. You can go almost anywhere in the city for the same as one to two US dollars. Lots of people share taxis too. This helps make the taxi fare less expensive.
Earlier today I shared a taxi with a man on my way to the city center. He and the driver spoke in Macedonian about all the languages they knew. From what I understood they could speak German, French, Greek and Turkish but not English. It was fun to listen to their conversation in Macedonian while we traveled from my university campus to the center of town. Both of them were very surprised when I told them in Macedonian that I was an English language teacher! I enjoy sharing taxis with people because it gives me another opportunity to practice using Macedonian.
Lots of the side streets are much, much smaller than typical city streets in the United States. This is probably because the city layout was planned before the invention of the automobile. Cars still get in and around on these narrow streets, but the cobblestones and winding, zigzagging paths seem to be better designed for walking, mopeds, and small cars than for big SUVs or trucks. This isn’t true of everywhere, but it seems that the within the actual city of Štip, the roads are designed much more narrowly.