Belgrade 2

Sep. 13th, 2007 07:47 pm
fivemack: (Default)
It's grown on me, or perhaps it's just that you look at a city differently after thirteen hours of sleep in a bed on legs than after three in one on rails. I spent the afternoon wandering around the centre; the Parliament, three parks, several gold-mosaiced churches including the huge Sava Temple which is not yet finished, and is large enough that several JCBs are working on different bits of construction under the great dome, and the vigorously hagiographic Nikolai Tesla museum, with Real Demonstrations made mostly of brass and illuminated when active by foot-long lightning; also a walk across the two bridges and along the Danube-bank park at dusk.

Perhaps fittingly for Tesla, the Unique Fountain To A Design Of Tesla outside his museum doesn't in fact work; it's supposed to be a mighty symmetrical waterfall driven by an enormous impeller pump, but the water actually descends in a dozen singularly unexciting separate trickles. There's a lovely series of letters between Tesla and Tiffany's (as in breakfast) concerning the design of the fountain, in which Tesla's replies never bear any relation to Tiffany's requests but are much more of the form 'behold! I have another completely different design, which is twelve metres tall / can support a three-foot hollow aluminium sphere on a column of water / is lit by four colours of discharge lamp; see blueprints enclosed'; Tiffany's requests get testier, and the final letter says that the matter has been referred to Tesla's attorneys.

According to the museum Tesla invented alternating current, radio, X-rays and two kinds of death ray; I think the first of these is conventional belief and the second was confirmed by the US Supreme Court after an endless litigation. Brass models of the death rays are not on display.

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