Pest to Split
This morning we endeavored to get our car from the tray, with the token and a bunch of bills too large to fit the machine. I ended up having to run back to the hotel for change and then guess where the car would come out by pacing up and down each nearby street to find the underground driveway, while Josh waited for the door with the tray that the car would come out from and find me. This complicated process set us back a few minutes on our long journey out of the country.
The highway down to Split was wide open double lane 130 speed limit with many tunnels through the mountains, up to 5.5 km long at once. It was scenic like driving to Fernie, then changed to be rocky like Spain or Peru. Though nothing went wrong with the car during the 7 hour trip, I somehow managed to lose the ticket for the toll road, so when we got close to the end and had to pay our fare, the booth dude was polite initially and friendly until he learned we didn’t have it, but as I searched for the ticket and the line behind us backed up he got a little more ferocious, until I gave up and he charged us DOUBLE the toll fare. So, moral of the story, don’t lose it or you will pay 60 euro’s for your road trip. Then shortly after we pulled out on our way I dug deep under the seat and found it, along with my visa card. Nice. Grr.
We arrived in Split around 3 and at 27 degrees it was a great time to check out the beach. If you can call it that. I heard great things about Croatia’s beaches, but this wasn’t one of them, I hope. It was a very shallow bay surrounded by cement retaining walls, and a bit of sandy beach in the middle. But, have you ever seen the photos of China’s beaches where it’s so crowded you can’t see the beach? It was kind of like that, and there were about 300 people knee deep in the water splashing, and playing a strange game with a ball, but no one was really swimming. It was like a cross between Vietnam (crowded and dirty with garbage lying around and no one actually swimming) and a timewarp from the early 80’s (where the swim suits were overly neon, or board shorts were tight and floral, and banana hammocks rocked a good chunk of the population, and girl board shorts are unheard of). It wasn’t comfy, or inviting but people were stretched out on their towels on the concrete reading their books, and the bushes nearby smelled of urine.
Some local kids were cliff jumping just outside the bay, off a 25 ft ledge into 6 ft of water or less by swan diving into a belly flop and pitching their bodies like tents and curling at the last second so as to enter the water shallow. Me, thinking this was the dumbest idea since the clothes they chose to wear, wanted to get away before someone else on my travels became a quad.
We wandered around town this evening, had some pizza for dinner at once place, then relocated to another place on the water front for bevies. People watching here is fascinating, and really truly time warp is the best way to describe it. I said to josh when we first arrived, “if the people dress like this, you know the food will be cheap” and its true. So far, we’ve seen fag tags (shaved head with a long piece left at the rear), mullets, awful florescent legging shorts attached to a skirt (had one at about age 9), stone washed jeans (same age), hair with a bun on one side, and curly on the other, colored jeans (‘91), doc martens (’93), very high waisted jeans, and the list just keeps going. After we were in Paris and Spain we saw fashions about a year later, but if these trends are on their way to us, look out! Just the clothes in the stores (in Eastern Europe in general ) seem so different, and maybe the best way to describe them is poor quality (thin material with weak colors). I have not seen a single item that I would wear, let alone, buy. I may bash the clothing, but the people (except the toll guy) have been very friendly and speak English like the rest of the countries we’ve so far encountered.