“Give my name. You will get 10% discount at restaurant.” A toothless man exclaimed, opening his arms to corral Julia, Sasha, and I. We desperately needed a map, and I quickly debated whether interacting with this stranger was worth getting one of the crusted maps plastered together in the fishing net slung on his back.
Luckily, Julia made the executive decision of ending our interaction with the gum-grin-baring man and continuing on our way into the heart of Split, Croatia.
The ground was slick with polished stone, and the harbor air hung around in a salty state. Tourists were everywhere, and we fought past them to get to our Air B’n’B accommodation. Unfortunately, I led us in the wrong direction by about a mile – which can feel like ten when you’re lugging around backpack the size of a child strapped to you. To be fair, I was mapless. After combing through dodgy alleyways, and knocking on four incorrect doors, we finally found our “luxurious 2 bed studio” aka a stuffy dungeon-like room with a rock hard couch advertised as a bed and a questionable heater hung above the sleeping space.
At least we made it to Split with relatively no problems. The only incident that occurred on our way was small moment where we got on the wrong bus after our short ice cream stop. Luckily, our bus driver kept an eye out for stray passengers and led us back to where we belonged – with him, on his bus, with all of our things still on it.
The next day, we ventured to some cliff-diving rocks and went for a brisk swim. I’m not usually afraid of heights, and tried to coax fearful Sasha into jumping off.
“I just imagine a huge pool of blood coming up – or my skull cracking.”
Erm, yeah. I’m not usually afraid of heights, but I didn’t appreciate her imagery. We both jumped in, and no pools of blood or skull cracking ensued.
Split has amazing food, and I was lucky enough to dine in top-end restaurants for bottom end prices. If you go here, definitely splurge a bit on the food experience! I tended to eat the Mediterranean ravioli dishes, but apparently the seafood is delicious as well.
My best friend was traveling around with a wealthy man, who happened to book a hotel reservation at Le Meridian. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for us) they wouldn’t be able to make the reservation, and thus transferred it under my name. My new crew and I arrived sweat-drenched and probably a bit smelly, and it was immediately obvious that we didn’t belong in a place like this. Our attire fit the likes of caves, hostels, and Skid row – not a resort where people walk around with logo branded luggage. No matter though, because it didn’t take long for the ladies and I to bee-line to the pool area and relax like royalty.
Turns out, the reason Split was so tourist-infested was because a massive rave was taking place nearby. The girls and I bought tickets and decided to join in on the festivities. Ultra – here we come.
Ravers from far and wide came with flags tied around them. It wasn’t the usual “candy obsessed” rave scene that I had experienced at home, and I must say that the lack of neon clothing made the atmosphere a bit less exciting than your run-of-the-mill American rave full of pill-popping life-lovers.
Immediately, I used the large anonymity of a crowd to pull pranks on Julia. For every guy that walked past us, I gave him a flirty touch or poke directly in front of Julia. Each guy would look back and either wink, start dancing, or try to give her a little kiss.
“What is up with all these guys?”
She was completely oblivious to my ploy – and I carried it out the entire night.
Other highlights of Ultra include getting picked up and launched into the crowd by a group of boisterous Australians, finding a girl’s extremely cracked iPhone and returning it to her (she did not care whatsoever that there was chunks of glass falling out of it), and watching Sasha squirm in horror as a guy said, “You’re pretty. Want to make baby?”
On our way out, we saw people who had a bit too much “fun” and were subsequently passed out face down in the sewage puddles oozing out of the port-o-potties.
We missed our bus stop on the way home and scaled the side of the road, that happened to be a casual cliff with a 400 ft drop into the ocean. We sprinted when the cars were sparse, and clung to the side when they’d pass. By the time we got back to our hotel, our hearts were pounding with adrenaline pumping through our veins.
In the morning, my best friend and her wealthy friend arrived. He immediately summoned for the doorman to collect his things, and began rambling on about the state of Egypt.
“I don’t know why everyone complains about Egypt. At the Four Seasons, everything was fine… we had everything and didn’t even need to leave the resort. The only thing dead around there was the nightlife!”
The day before this statement was made, over fifty people were killed in the riots protesting the Egyptian government. Needless to say, I didn’t take a great liking to him despite his hotel room generosity.
Sleep deprived, Sasha, Julia, and I spent our day lounging at a restaurant planning our next move. I logged into my couchsurfing account, and a host living on a yacht showed up in the results. Would he be available to host us? We sent the request and awaited his response.
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