SARAJEVO, Yugoslavia -- The Yugoslavs are really putting out the welcome mat for their 24,000 Olympic tourists, opening their homes and even learning to fry eggs American style just to please their Western guests.
'Our Yugoslav hosts have really been superb. They moved out of their house, but come in and cook a meal for us every day,' said an awed Dawn Michael of Cape Cod, Mass. 'They've really taken us under their wing, like an aunt.'
Visitors staying in the apartments of Sarajevo's 450,000 residents have been stunned by the hospitality, the ever-present smiles and the willingness of professors, engineers and security guards to change sheets and towels daily and fix breakfast for foreign guests experiencing their first Winter Olympics in the Communist world.
There are a few oddities, of course, like hot milk for cold cereal, raw bacon, coffee like sludge and the local 121-proof plum brandy called Slivovitz for breakfast.
But the compensation is seeing how the Yugoslavs live, many in high rise apartments with beautiful old Oriental rugs, pictures of the revered Tito proudly displayed, some with TVs and every appliance while others have only the bare necessities.
Dave and Suzy Baker of Grand Rapids, Mich., are spending the week in the flat of a retired woman professor, age 72, near the Zetra rink.
She made scrambled eggs for them the first day with chips of raw bacon.
'The next day I showed her how to cook a fried egg for us, but she didn't have a spatula to turn it over, so we had to use a knife and a funny spoon,' Mrs. Baker said, laughing. 'The kitchen reminds me of a kitchen in the 1940s.'
Bill Abbott and his wife Marion came from Roswell, Ga., to share a flat with their friends Mark and Lisa Darling from Darien, Conn.
'We came not knowing what to expect, fearing the worst, but even though it's not stateside standards, the people have been fabulous,' Mrs. Darling said.
When they asked for breakfast cereal, their hosts looked puzzled, but there it was on the table the next morning.
The Darlings laughed too about their 'hospitality package' for Sarajevo that included a full color brochure of Yugoslavia's nudist camps. But there are also bad points to the local scene.
'People are happier here than West Germany for instance, but the city looks abused,' said Abbott. 'There are no pretty areas. The buildings are all gray. Even their dress is drab. And I'm surprised they're not all in a detoxification center, they drink so much Slivovitz.'
Michael and Michele Dunn, who grew up in Wichita, Kan., but now live in Ausberg, West Germany, are paying $37 a night for a bedroom. In the living room sleep the father and grandmother. Mom and the three kids have moved out during the Olympics.
'This is probably the apartment of a fairly upwardly mobile family in Yugoslavia and it's very clean, but it's kind of depressing. The entire city is,' the Dunns said.
'The apartment is dowdy, with cheaply made furniture by comparison with the rest of Europe.'
On the whole, however, visitors like Mrs. Darling are delighted with Sarajevo. 'There's no way Los Angeles can duplicate the hospitality, the ceremony,' she says. 'Everybody has just been fabulous.'