There is something raw and exciting about a graffiti covered derelict old skate park. Now let’s be clear, I don’t skate. I never have skated; but, I have many times thought that if only I had grown up in southern California (and were 10x cooler than I actually was) I would have skated. So I married a woman who is from southern California…and she does not skate either, even though she is way cooler than I am. And now my hopes rest with K and M as it is a kid’s duty to fulfill their daddy’s unfulfilled dream of being a skater.
So, we have purchased the pads, the helmets, and enough skate boards for each of the male members of this family nomadic…but we have not quite been able to learn how to skate. We have tried, many very short distances on a tennis court or basketball court until I got a bit too ambitious and confident with my skills and gravity quite easily put me in my place, flat on my back with my head ringing.
Now, the skate boards lie in a closet waiting for us to magically learn how to use them properly someday. Here in Skopje, we have decided to explore a few skate parks with much safer scooters instead. Luckily for us, Skopje has a wonderful recreational space that runs right along the Vardar river through the city. Periodically, public exercise stations are available to use and there are two skate parks. Both skate parks are well tagged, and it is very clear that “Brains are the new Tits”. These skate parks are dirty, grungy, and wonderful spaces for kids to lose themselves in imagination and visions of skating wonder. Layers of spray paint overlap each other across every surface, broken glass collects in dark corners, and empty cellophane chip bags from midnight hoodlums blow across the jumps and bowls. And quite naturally, these skate parks are fast becoming our favorite places to go on the weekend.
Our favorite park is just near the very nice looking and always unused outdoor rock climbing wall that is located on the river just west of the City Mall. This park features two large bowls, one with rails and stadium steps and the other a classic dry pool straight out of L.A. in the 80s. There is a nice track that wraps around the two bowls with some platforms and ramps to gain speed. The other skate park is closer to the stadium, just near the Kinder Park. This park is all about the ramps and jumps and is currently a bit too much for K and M.
If you are in Skopje, and you know how to skate, give a shout out as our boards are still waiting for someone to show us how to use them.