I wish I could say that I’m a person who never relies on superficial appearance when it comes to choosing others, but that would be a lie.
Chelsea and I disembarked from our ferry in Pula at the wee hours of the night. We had been gambling on the fact that old ladies would swarm the ferry as they had in Dubrovnik and Zadar whilst yelling “ACCOMMODATION! ACCOMODATION!” in high pitch squeals.
A lanky, tall, elderly woman came over to us and nodded toward a neighborhood. As if to say, “you come with me… and eat this apple my dear” The wrinkles around her mouth embedded a permanent scowl, and my gut uneasy.
Behind the grumpy looking woman stood a short, plump, and smiling elderly woman. Her sign read, “Acomodatin.” With a sign like that and looking like the doppelganger of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmother, Merryweather, I knew she was our woman.
When the mean-mugger noticed that Merryweather had taken her business, a geriatric version of a catfight ensued. Fists and voices were raised, concluding with the lanky woman screaming “MALTAAAA!” and giving me a firm SLAP on my shoulder. As I massaged the red handprint forming on my arm, I felt assured that Merryweather was the right decision. However, even though Merryweather did not speak a word of English, she somehow managed to shake another 50 kuna out of our wallets for our stay.
Pula is great for all of the ruins embedded into the city, but is swamped with tourist shops.
Chelsea and I decided to ditch the crowd that had accumulated in Pula due to the annual film festival that takes place there, and head straight to the beach.
Smooth white rocks replace sand in Pula, so be sure to bring a few towels as padding! We dipped ourselves into the cool sea, and saw two Croatian boys working at a table in front of a ton of water toys. Luckily, there are perks of being two female travelers, and the boys gave us unlimited play time on the water toys for the price of a half-hour.
“My name Dario” The brunette told us, eyeing Chelsea up and down in a slow, predatory stare.
“Nice to meet you, Domino.” I answered. While it may be passive aggressive to call somebody the wrong name when I knew his right name, I didn’t like the way he visually preyed on my friend.
After our swimventure, we bought tickets to the movie festival against Chelsea’s will. She was sure that Dario would buy them for us ahead of time.
“That’s so presumptuous to think a guy will just automatically buy your ticket… I don’t think that’s how it works here.”
Sure enough, Damio met up with us at the Pula Arena with enough tickets for us and himself in hand. I could see where the night was headed, and saw that as the third-wheel, I was driving into a disaster.
If you dream of seeing the Coliseum in Rome, definitely add Pula Arena amphitheatre to your list. Unlike the Coliseum, Pula’s Roman structure remains with all walls intact – forming a complete circuit. It’s a phenomenal place to view a movie, combining modern feats of technology with ancient architecture. If there is one thing that stands true about all humans across time, it’s that we like to be entertained.
Croatian movies for the most part seem to be two parts slapstick comedy and one part irony. This is a bit confusing as all of the Croatians I met on my journey seem to be quite stoic. Perhaps culturally, there is a distaste for tourists in Croatia, who cause a ruckus with their raves and yacht trips up and down the shore. Still, tourism is a main source of income for otherwise unemployed Croats.
Domino tried to talk to Chelsea for the majority of the movie, causing me to hush his flirtatious giggles.
“Sooo… you like to make party?”
“Maybe we make party over at my house after?”
“Ok maybe we just do bar dances.”
Eventually, Dario left us in peace and quiet. I wonder if he ever did find somewhere and someone to make party.
On our last day, Chelsea and I decided to bring out her banana suit. I’ve mentioned before that Chelsea tends to travel heavily, and packs exclusively the nonessentials.
We put on the banana and posed in front of the Arena. When that got boring, I tied the purse strap around her neck and pretended to walk her like a dog. People took double and triple takes, and one fellow even yelled, “AYE!!! CUCUMBER!”
In the morning, I said goodbye to my best friend/pet banana. We hugged, happy that we got to experience some part of our European adventure together. I bussed my way to the airport and took off on a plane to Frankfurt-Hahn, where I would be meeting Mortiz’s family for the first time – without him.