From Atop
the City
Walking the walls.
October 1, 2007

Four years have passed since I was last in this city. I love the sense of familiarity. What I don’t totally love are the masses that
are here now that weren’t here years ago. Don’t get me wrong – I was assuming this would be the case. But it doesn’t make it
any better.

Nor do the high prices…

I found a room within the city walls for $40 US a night for one person. I remember last time I was here Alicia and we paid $25
US for our double room. Now I am just one person and it is $40 US. At least the women of this abode are very sweet. The one
woman refers to the other woman as ‘Mama’. So I am sharing this place with Mama and the other woman (whose name I don’t
know). The funny thing is that Mama looks close to the same age as the other woman.

Even though I was eager to head out into the town, Mama sat me down in the kitchen to have some water. Here I
was…drinking some water…barely able to communicate…and staring at the underwear that was on a clothesline just outside
the window next to me.

Welcome to a different Europe than I was just in!

I knew I wanted to walk the City Walls again. This is
the way to take in the beauty of Stari Grad (i.e. the Old City). I have no
doubt that these walls will continue to be well-preserved considering every person who does this walk contributes 50 kunas to
the cause.

But it’s worth every kuna.

As I was taking a self-portrait of myself, somebody asked if they wanted me to take my picture. Of course I don’t turn down
offers like this.

And then it would turn out that I had a new buddy for the day. Anatole from Sydney. He is doing a sailing trip that takes them
to a different place in Croatia every day for a week. Just a bit earlier today I was in a brief funk. I just got to experience
something as incredible as the Matterhorn with someone else…and now it’s back to experiencing things on my own. But once I
met Anatole (or I should say ‘Toly’), I now had someone to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ with. I also had someone to take a picture of me here
and there whenever I wanted – a nice bonus!

We wrapped up the day with a bottle of Posip wine. Chilled white wine on a warm day while sitting in an outdoor café? Not bad.
Toly was fun company and probably even more fun after we were done with the bottle of wine. The plan is to meet with him
and his crew later on tonight…


I ended up not going on the pub crawl. I couldn’t imagine drinking much more as I was in that ‘coming down’ stage from the
bottle we drank this evening. I attempted to meet him at the time we said…but after 15 minutes had passed, I decided to call it
a night. He said he would probably be late and they would already be a few hours into drinking at that point. And I knew that
he would
eventually show. But I wasn’t about to wait and wait and wait. I felt a bit bad about not being there since we hadn’t
exchanged emails addresses yet so that we could swap pictures from the walls with one another. But I was there at the agreed
time and stayed longer. So I really shouldn’t feel bad, right?

Anyway, I had some viewing entertainment at dinner tonight. One thing was at my expense; the other wasn’t.

Of course I was dining outside (how else are you going to do it out here?). My waiter came up to me and was trying to tell me
something but I couldn’t understand. He was looking below the table. Out of instinct, I raised my legs. It was a good thing, too.
A second later a rat would scurry out from underneath my table along the narrow street. The two tables of people across from
me were laughing…and so was I. Situations like these make me so proud of myself with how less squeamish I am these days.

The next situation proved to be more entertaining to me. A table of five people probably a bit younger than me. A Canadian
girl (with absolutely the most annoying voice I have heard in a long time – a high-pitched whiny, very loud voice) who was
talking and talking and talking…and swearing like a sailor while doing so (I counted one time where she used  5 f-bombs in one
sentence). Somewhere along the line she offended the American girl (what she lacked in the annoying factor, she made up for
in the ‘way too sensitive’ category). Now the American girl wasn’t talking to the Canadian girl and the Canadian girl was trying
to get back in her good graces (but failing pretty badly). The guys were just sitting there practically laughing at what was going
down. I think the guys were English – my guess is that this bunch just met at some point during this trip. But they were
coupled off which probably made it a bit odd for the guys as their girls were now fighting with each other right in front of them.
But as I said, they were too busy trying to contain their chuckles to be concerned about that. After doing a bit more
eavesdropping (though they were being quite loud so it didn’t take too much effort), the American girl was almost crying. The
comment that set her off was when the Canadian girl said something along the lines of one of her friends one time doing
something to the American flag. As an American, I could see maybe wanting to voice an opinion about that. But to sit there and
start tearing up, telling the girl that she was done with her and didn’t want to talk to her any more, then getting up and walking
away? The Canadian girl was now venting to the guys at the table saying that it wouldn’t bother her ‘if someone told her that
about her flag. After all, it’s just a piece of material.’ I actually disagree with that – it is
far more than a piece of material. Flags
are all about what they represent. But anyway, if someone was having this conversation with me, I wouldn't cry and run off
about it. I guess it’s good to see that there are still Americans with a lot of pride for our country? Or maybe she was just trying
to find a way to cut ties with the annoying Canadian girl? Who knows. I didn’t have a book with me and this was just the type
of distraction I needed while waiting for my food.

Oh! I also realized something. I don’t think Mama is actually the one lady’s mother. I think it’s a term of respect as she clearly
works for Mama. I saw her cleaning the hallway floors today and this is when the revelation struck.
Back to Croatia.
View of rooftops from the city walls.
Another view above the Old City.