Don’t Worry, Be Happy in Zagreb, Croatia

Throughout my trip, transportation has been the portal where things have gone most awry. I boarded an extremely crowded and run down train headed towards Zagreb, Croatia, and pushed past the flocks of fellow backpackers. Wandering through the compartments, I simply took an open seat and sat down next to a young New Zealander. Little numbered papers were taped above our heads, and others looked in to glance at them. When nobody was peeking, the New Zealander and I ripped our makeshift seat numbers down and crumpled them into a ball. Better to be anonymous than seatless!

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Hopefully long enough to get off of this train.

Things got a bit tense a few minutes into the ride, when three Australians came into the sweltering hot compartment and demanded their rightful places in our seats. The New Zealander gave them a bit of sass, and a group of Spaniards on the floor began whistling “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It served as the background tune for many situations – when border control stamped our passport, and then proceeded to step on people – stamping shoeprints in passengers’ bodies as well. When one of the Aussie girls had a cigarette ripped from her hand. When one Spanish girl passed out face down on the floor. And finally, when one person resorted to going to the bathroom out of the window. After 7 hours, I was glad to get off and embark on a train-free adventure.

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Is there an unspoken rule against posting unflattering pictures of strangers?
Is there an unspoken rule against posting unflattering pictures of strangers?
Floor squatting singing Spaniards
Floor squatting singing Spaniards

I expected Zagreb to be a run down hub that travelers used just as a transport site and was excited to see that – especially being a capitol city – Zagreb was extremely nice! Unfortunately, I only stayed a night in the quaint city.

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A not-too-busy city center
A not-too-busy city center

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I immediately latched onto the small clique that formed within my hostel. Two fellow American girls, Sasha and Julia, were in my room. We joined forces with a few others and went out for the night to a club called “Peppermint.”

The girls and I danced on a secluded patio, and were only interrupted by a small Belgium boy with an unfortunate case of halitosis, contributing to an ever-lingering aroma of vomit around him. He awkwardly pelvic thrusted one of the Australian girls against the wall, and she had the same look that Bambi gave after Bambi’s mother was shot. I felt really bad for her, but at the same time, was glad it wasn’t me.

Perhaps it was just the night, but Peppermint seemed to attract the creepers from all distances. A group of about five British boys with popped collars came up and started chatting with us.

One took a seat beside me.

Him: So, what’s your sign?
Me: Scorpio.
Him: That’s cool.
Me: Yeah, it’s the sign that’s the craziest… like 95% of serial killers are Scorpios I think.
Him: [unphased] Wow… that’s interesting… I’m Leo, that means we’re likely to be good together.
Me: Or likely that I would kill you.
Him: That’s the 5th thing you’re going to do to me. The 4th thing you’re going to do is cuddle me, the 3rd is going to be kissing me, the 2nd thing you’re going to do is hug me… the 1st is…

At this point I made a very obviously disgusted look, and apparently giving a visual appearance of complete repulsion wasn’t enough to deter this disheveled-collar fool. I clicked my phone to a picture of my boyfriend, and the Leo bolted off into the crowd. Interesting that the existence of another male works better than implications of violence, no?

Sasha, Julia, and I really hit it off and they seemed to be the type of girls I would love to hang around. We made plans to embark on the rest of our Croatia trip together, and left the next morning for Split. Zagreb was only a short pit-stop for the rest of my Croatian travel, but I was happy to find some great people move along with.

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sasha and backpack
Sasha and her backpack trek to our next destination: Split, Croatia.