Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We couldn't make it to Greece, part 1

Friday, April 3rd.
Beautiful day in Vienna. I leave class, practice for an hour. Beethoven's Op 31 goes through my head, and the concert Nathan is planning. I would be in the middle. I'm only halfway memorized. I had the weirdest dream, that I was giving my senior recital in my high school auditorium, my sonata being at the same stage it is now, unperformable. I panicked, told my prof, and had to get in front of the stage to tell everyone to come back next week, that I wasn't ready. They clapped and were surprisingly fine with it. I then drove Maddy home, who lived in Maine, and she told me to not worry about him.

I met up with Zoe as I left classes, took a tram to Waehringerstrasse, before the market, and went into every shop. Bought a bathing suit, two scarves each, one for ourselves, one for our mothers. Zoe bought shades of seafoams and lavendars, I bought one the color of pansies (dark brown maroon with some hot pink and vibrant yellow) and one the color of baroque cathedrals (dusty baby blue and rose). I go home, open all the windows, make some chicken, turn on my music, start to pack, tape up my broken bag, eat lunch, dance, look outside, say goodbye, go down the stairs, on the tram, on the UBahn, past the buses, to the one going to Zagreb. We grab seats, spill our dinner, peel grapes, eat Girl Scout cookies, play "Infinate Questions," which is Zoe's version of "Twenty Questions" without the pesky number of questions allowed interfering with our obscurity. Mesh. Cow Spots. Zen Buddhism. Yogurt. Pepperoni Pizza. Language. Circus. Rose Quartz. Black Holes. Sonic Booms.

We arrive in Zagreb, withdraw what seems like a ton of money (700 kuna) but is less than 100 euro, take a cab and check into our hostel. Our room was blue with yellow stars, and we fell asleep watching "The Brothers Grimm." I vaguely remember seeing that movie with Kyle.

April 4th
Wake up, book our flights to Zadar that evening, pack our stuff, and walk to the trams. We walk through what seems to be a market, but is full of clothing. There are no malls here, as we discover throughout the week, only stands of polyester shirts, of Croatian soccer jerseys, of underwear, boxers, socks, tights, of mens button-up shirts and slacks stacked on tables. What happens when it rains? Maybe it doesn't here. Everyone else is dressed in jackets and pants, but we have on skirts and t-shirts-much warmer than in Vienna. Get to the center of town, and realize that it is the day before Palm Sunday. Explains why everyone is walking around with greenery, branches of laurels, whole palm fronds. We walk through a flower market full of alterpieces and daffodils and irises and buy miniture palm fronds, woven into a shape like an ear of corn and topped with a small cross.

At the Kaptol at the top of the hill, we go into the second, more ornate church surrounded by the archbishop's palace. A man who insists he's a history professor asks where we're from. When he asks Zoe a question and I try to answer when she struggles, he "Sshus" me, and I immediately wish the beam to fall on his head, followed by guilt for thinking that in a cathedral, and ending in apathy, instead focusing on the stained glass.

We get to the airport, eventually, and our plane takes off. But what is supposed to be an hour flight turns into longer, and we land in Split, 1.5 hours away from bus. By the time we get to Zadar, it is three hours after we said we could check in, and is past one in the morning. We give the address to the taxi driver, and are surprised when he drops us off in front of a dark house. When we called the hostel owner, we found out that
a) we were in the right spot, but
b) he did not live there, and
c) he was angry that our flight was canceled/switched/made three hours longer, situations out of our control, and
d) was furious that we woke him up and made him drive 45 minutes to let us in.

As much as I hate being the bitchy American (and it's something I've managed to keep inside most of the time), this made me furious. It was two in the morning. We were in a country where we didn't speak the language. We weren't purposefully late, and did everything we can to get there on time. There was nothing on the website saying check in had to be completed by a certain time, or to suggest that there was not 24 hour management as in every other hostel I've stayed in (as of then, seven). And while we're sorry we woke him up, what were we to do? Sit on his front porch until he felt like coming? When you run something like a hostel/hotel/bed and breakfast, that is your job. We didn't have any outlandish requests, no picking out the colored M&Ms, we just wanted the room that we reserved and paid for and were told no other details/rules about check in.

Needless to say, that night was awkward. Later, we all apologized, and I would recommend this hostel to anyone staying in Zadar (near bus stops, about 30 meters away from a GORGEOUS beach that was full of shells, cooking facilities, balcony, etc, etc, etc), as long as they had ueber-reliable transportation (we thought we had) and came during non-disputable hours.

More to come later.

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