Hungry, injured, hungover , tired and on separate flights, Jay and I flew to Split, Croatia. I was sitting next to a red faced drunk Australian going to Yacht week…Any other day I’d hate sitting next to a bunch of fraternity bro’s but we were in a plane so I had to follow my can’t have bad thoughts or the plane will crash mantra.
The Bro was equally scared of flying as I was. Together we came up with some pretty great worst case scenarios.
20 horrific minutes later, we spotted the sights of Split, and for a moment even my irrational fear of flying took a back seat in awe of the gorgeous view.
“There’s a crosswalk in the middle of this highway!”
What made my trip home different this time was just watching it all unfold from Jay’s perspective knowing how life is in Canada, and knowing what must be going trough his mind. I loved it.
It all started on the propeller plane Croatia Airlines uses to get people places. I remember someone telling me this plane is actually safer but I didn’t do any research on that and I refuse to believe it.
To get from the airport to downtown you can take a shuttle bus, local bus or just drive, but regardless of your way there you have to pass trough Kaštela, a cluster of seven small settlements where construction comes to die.
While they have it’s own charm they definitely give away the vibe you’re in Eastern Europe now (bitch).
People that live over there have a strange angst against paint and roofs on their houses, and a big problem with finishing that third floor they illegally started on top of the already illegal second floor.
I kept saying: “Trust me this isn’t it” and it kind of pissed me off that this is a first impression a foreigner will get once landed, but the view of the Adriatic Sea distracted me from entering a black hole of how-to-fix-Croatia thoughts.
That first week stepmom number 1 offered to host us while my mother got her shit in order (you can tell we are related).
The neighborhood stepmom 1 lives in was built in the 1970’s and the apartments were given to workers for free, so the aesthetic of it all wasn’t at the top of the list.
We have made it to the hood of grey massive lego block buildings, an abandoned furniture store and that one gym that gives off a tetanus vibe.
We were already late to a wedding but stepmom 1 said we have to have a quick lunch and then proceeded to bring out bread, prosciutto, cheese, olives, tomatoes, meat, pasta, coffee, watermelon, strawberries, figs, apples, another coffee, a cake, some wafers, and finished it off with “but you barely ate anything!”
Some confused showers later (Jays mini culture shock : toilets look like they have no water and you have to turn the water heater on before showering), Jay sat on the balcony while waiting for me to turn into a girl and saw some light crime develop.
A man wearing his civilian clothes pulled over in a police car, met up with some other man, took two large garbage bags from him, gave him a bulletproof vest, shook his hand and moved on.
It was time to be late for the wedding.
Got lost on the way (went to the wrong “Marina” – there’s two towns named the same), finally made it, sat down in shame but, with the help of wine,somehow got that next party wind to celebrate.
Not sure how many bottles of wine, six packs of smokes and about twenty heart to heart drunk conversations later; the sun started to shine and it was time to get a ride home.
We were now drinking from 6 pm to 6 am , for the second day in a row, on zero hours of sleep.
I would’ve made it fine if it wasn’t for the roads.
At first I held my ground trough the wavy roads of the Dalmatian Coast but on top of the Ciovo hill the streets are so narrow you can’t turn your car around. When this guy ( I have no idea who took us home ) dropped off someone there, the only way down was to reverse it all the way back.
“Stop the car!” All the bread, prosciutto, cheese, olives, tomatoes, meat, pasta, coffee, watermelon, strawberries, figs, apples, cake, wafers, lamb, wine, whiskey… all of it came out, I gave it all right back to Croatia. I was officially home!
Exhausted , we fell asleep the moment our faces touched the lavender scented pillows…