As for the people pressed against the front gate, they're waiting to buy half-pound pouches of chopped tobacco for $6 apiece. An hour later you'll find some of them reselling the bags at double the price -- after removing a cut for their own cigarettes, of course.
The nightly movies
The longer the siege goes on, the more people try to return to their prewar routines. Sometimes this proves fatal, as was the case for the shoppers killed at the crowded market. But by the next day more shoppers were back.
In the past year, after an initial downturn, the city's birth rate has been rising again. Seamstresses are in great demand to meet the growing clamor for wedding dresses.
Those who can afford it, in an economy where the average salary is about $1 per month, have returned to old diversions.
Dozens of coffee bars are open, along with a handful of dance clubs, video poker parlors and pool halls. Bridge clubs and chess clubs still meet. A local soccer team works out in a gym. There are dance lessons for children. Two theater groups perform. There's even an army band -- you can hear one of its trumpeters through an open barracks window as he struggles to stay on-key.
At the Apollo Kino, one of the city's two movie houses, a sellout crowd of 150 (at 30 cents a head) recently eased into the theater's folding chairs for the 4 p.m. showing of "The January Man," an unremarkable suspense film.
It takes about a gallon of black-market gasoline, at $75, to keep the theater's generator going long enough to run both the daily showings on a VCR hooked to a large-screen projection machine. That leaves no power for heat, and the audience wears hats and heavy coats.
When an usher switches off the room's single bare bulb, the audience immediately falls silent. Sarajevo may have the world's best-behaved moviegoers, and it is soon apparent why.
Up on the tightly stretched tarpaulin that serves as a screen are scenes from streets without snipers. People walk without worry. Buildings are neat and undamaged. There is electricity, luxury, food. It is everything the audience once had and wants to have again. No one even whispers.
For those with more money, there is the Club Yez, the best restaurant in town. Owner Adam Yez opened the place last fall in a basement bomb shelter, a considerable aid to digestion during heavy shelling.
The restaurant has a cozy fireplace and a piano player, a woman with a sweet but strong voice who sings right up until 10 p.m. curfew. The waitresses start you off by asking, "Would you like a cocktail? Gin? Whiskey? Martini? French Cognac?"
It is impressive until one orders a gin and tonic and she answers, "I'm sorry. No tonic."
Still, the place has meats, vegetables and spices that don't seem available anywhere else. There's even lobster. A dinner for two runs to about $60, or, about five years' pay at the local rate, although the lobster alone is $70. They'll take Deutschemarks, or U.S. dollars. No credit cards, and certainly no local currency.
The locals in the restaurant are often being treated by U.N. officers or foreign journalists, and those paying their own way are immediately assumed to have unsavory connections.
On a recent Friday evening, the singer ended a string of tunes in English (including an unfortunate rendering of "Feelings") by breaking into a love song in her native tongue.
As she sang she looked over her right shoulder toward a corner table, where the silver-haired Kemal Monteno sat. He's the guy who wrote the song, a local favorite who has endeared himself further by choosing to stay for the duration of the war.
Mr. Monteno, the guest of two Belgian U.N. officers, joined in the singing, then took over the tune altogether as the piano player and everyone else fell silent. When he finished, everyone stood and applauded, some with tears in their eyes.
Some Sarajevans share a morbid fascination with the large weapons holding their city hostage, and on clear nights the shooting can assume an eerie, unsettling beauty. With the Milky Way spreading out over the city's darkness, distant explosions bloom on the horizon like heat lightning. Tracer bullets flare in red arcs. Observers find themselves gauging distances by counting the seconds before each boom.
In offices around town one regularly comes across tables displaying fragments of shells and bullets that have landed nearby. Mr. Sefik at the cigarette factory has such a display.
So does Dr. Faruk Kulenovic, director of the trauma clinic at Kosevo Hospital. He has piled his office coffee table with large, heavy shards of foot-long shells, and smaller chunks from other projectiles.
He picks up the jagged tail section of an exploded mortar shell and says, "This one fell just a few weeks ago on the roof. More then 20 have fallen on this building."
He hefts another twisted strip of metal and says, "One of these creates approximately 6,000 pieces of shrapnel, so it is obvious they are only trying to create as big a massacre as possible."