This article originally appeared on VICE Greece
Dojran is a lake on the border of Greece and Macedonia – or to be more geographically exact: 27.3 square kilometres of the water's surface are Macedonian and 15.8 square metres are Greek. The Greek side of the lake is pretty quiet – when you pass it, you'll see little groups of trees, fishermen, and slow-moving employees of the customs administration on the border. When you drive into Macedonia, everything changes. The first village you'll pass is Star Dojran ("Old Dojran") and it's a bustling holiday resort for Macedonians who don't have the funds to spend their holiday in the turquoise waters of Halkidiki – the Greek region where more well-off Macedonians, Russians, Bulgarians and Northern Greeks go. At the Macedonian part of Dojran Lake it has been peak holiday season these past few weeks.
The murky waters of the lake are bordered by a concrete wall. Parasols and sun beds are set up on the hard, gravel beach, while some people spread their towels out on the sidewalk for a picnic. In Star Dojran, you won't see the luxury SUV's you'll see in Halkidiki – people here drive Ladas, Zastavas and Beetles. The town breathes nostalgia – there's an atmosphere of post-Soviet joviality and Balkan inventiveness. Most holidaymakers drink Greek frappés at 120 denars (€1.93) and spend less than 1,230 denars (€19.80) on a full grilled carp or roast chicken dinner for a family of four. There is an outdoor bazaar, vendors, a casino, a gas station and there's Ivan – who walks around town with a python on his shoulders. Star Dojran isn't a beautiful town, but what's the point of beauty when in this area, beauty only seems to be a question of money?
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