Tuesday, September 8, 2015

4 Countries in 48 Hours: Part 1

It was pre-dawn when we left camp for Croatia via a taxi that never came. We bore super sized headaches thanks to the Kilo, and the three hills of hell stared us down.  Lucky for us, someone stayed out later and got more intoxicated than us, given they were just now returning to camp via taxi while we waited for our no show. We hopped in as they stumbled out, and off we were. Croatia, more specifically Dubrovnik, awaited us.

The trip from Santorini to Athens and then to Dubrovnik went surprisingly smooth. Even the airport shuttle into Dubrovnik was easy. That should’ve been our first clue that we were in for it.

We de-boarded the shuttle into the masses of people that milled around the city of The Game of Thrones. KJ and I were sweating. Massively. I had been lugging Bertha’s little sis who I’ve dubbed “lil’ Bea” (short for little Beatrice, obviously) and my also very overweight backpack since Greece. What I didn’t know, is that it was about to get worse. So very, very much worse.

To save money, we were staying outside of the old city, in Lapad. We needed to take a bus. We bought tickets for city bus line 6 in a hurry, since it had just arrived. If we knew anything, it was that line 6 was the one we were supposed to ride. 

We got on the bus with about 28376482734 other people who hated us, and our large bags.

There wasn’t a dry body in the house. Sweat poured from every soul on that bus. It was about 96 degrees out which made it approximately 107 on the bus. No one was safe from the sweat. 

KJ and I had been sweating since about 5pm the Tuesday before, so we were pretty ripe. Packed in like sweating sardines and didn’t have the faintest clue as to where to get off the bus. We counted 6 stops and that seemed about right so we birthed ourselves from the depths of the bus onto the pavement of a gas station. 

“I’ll ask the man in the gas station if he knows.”

I approached Gas man inquiring of our hotel’s address. He pointed up a hill. A large, steep hill.

“Should we take a taxi?” I asked, wiping my brow. (Do people wipe their brows?)

He looked at our swelled backpacks. He looked at Lil’ Bea. He looked at me, dripping in sweat…and told us:

“No, you walk, 10 minutes.”

Well. If you insist.

I took a deep breath of stale, humid air and heaved my pack.

8 minutes in my hair was drenched and I was wiping much more than my brow.

We must be close if it’s only a 10 minute walk.” I stated.

12 minutes in sweat drops that started by my head have made their way down my back and through my bra, to my bottom region.

It must be just up this next hill?

20 minutes in I’m sweating in places I didn’t know I could sweat from.

Let’s ask this lady at the bus stop

28 minutes in I’m fairly certain no shower will help me.

Are we meant to go up all those stairs?

35 minutes in sweat drops are obstructing my vision at an alarming rate.

Gas man lied.”

38 minutes in I’m positive I’ve run out of liquid and am now sweating the Greek yogurt I had for breakfast. Yesterday.

Can’t. Go. Any. Further.”

42 minutes in we arrive  (with no help from Lil’ Bea) in front of a non-descript building with a terrace that somewhat reflects the photos from my booking confirmation.

I think I might die.”

And if I didn’t, KJ may murder me in my sleep. Booking fail.

I’d like to say that what happened next is that we were greeted by a lovely Croatian who whisked our bags up the extra stairs, spritzed us with a cool mist, offered us a refreshing welcome drink, and showed us to a gloriously air conditioned room.

What happened instead went something like this:

-We climbed the stairs up the terrace (me twice on account that Lil’ Bea was being a big bitch). 

-Not a person in sight or any indication of how to check in.


-A miniature old lady appears seemingly out of thin air.

-I question if maybe she's a ghost.

-She doesn’t speak a lick of English but somehow still finds a way to point out how sweaty we are.

-Old Croatia shows us up the most narrow set of stairs to a hallway. The hallway mind you, is the most fantastically air-conditioned hallway I’ve been in. So you can imagine my surprise when she opens the door to our room and it’s a WALL OF HEAT.  

Now, I knew we’d be sharing a bathroom with some peeps; but a communal air conditioner between three rooms, that resides only in the hallway?!  Old Croatia bid us adieu, leaving us confused and sweaty. 

How were the others faring in these conditions?  I was about to have my answer.

“I gotta go to the bathroom.”

I found it at the end of the hall under the lone cold air unit, where another of the rooms’ door was wide open. My eyes caught a glimpse of a couple in their underwear lying on their bed.  Oh. So that’s how it’s done. We just have to lay on our bed in our skivvies with the door wide open for all to see, to be cooled off.

I pondered the ridiculousness and just as I concluded peeing I realized we had bigger problems here. There wasn’t a square of toilet paper to be had.

I informed KJ of the current events.

“There’s an Italian couple laying in their undies with the door wide open to cool off. They didn’t care when I walked by. Also there’s no toilet paper in this whole god damn piece.”

KJ promptly answered with, “There’s a lot of bugs.”

The next 3 nights were going to be interesting ones. 

We needed to get some sleep in our sauna because tomorrow... we’d be getting drunk with some Monks for the day in country #3: Bosnia.

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