Walden World

The wacky and wonderful tales of Beth's and Catherine's global adventures. And all things Walden too.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Cousin Vinko

"Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me..."

We arrived in Dubrovnik the 'Pearl of the Adriatic' excited as here, finally we had booked accommodation in advance, and this from a trusted source: our many years travel agent at an agency in Toronto who had booked us flights for years. Her husband is Croatian and they had stayed at the apartment of his childhood friend. She insisted that she set us up: it would be great! Private huge apartment in the heart of the old town, private bathroom, own kitchen laundry and a great view to boot!

I had visions of a gorgeous loft out of an IKEA ad! So excited were we that we almost left Mostar and our great pension one day early to relish in our lush surroundings.

Having no reply from the apartment proprietor we stayed the extra day in Mostar and came to Dubrovnik yesterday. Upon arrival I again tried to call their friend, Mr. Jurassic. He answered and apologized; he hadn't read his email and would pick us up right away at the bus station.

He arrived some minutes later, carrying our luggage to the car and told us of the two apartments he rented out to tourists. We arrived at our location and followed him down winding pathways to our apartment.

We climbed the stairs and he unlocked the door. I must say, both C and I were a little disppointed! While not as bad as our grandma's house in Zagreb ie: it didn't smell of sewer gas or cabbage or mould, it was a little run down and filled with weird old stuff. However our own apartment and what a view. He brought us into a medium size room he unlocked with a bed and side bed and small couch. He opened the window and we looked down into old Dubrovnik. We then retired to the kitchen and he pulled out some dirty glasses and offered us homemade Sangria from a old Dr. Pepper bottle. I looked around at the usual Papal photos and the alarming pictures of the owner in full battle fatigues posing with a really, really, big machine gun in a Rambo pose, complete with "headband thing". I then noticed his fatigues hanging from a hook in the hall.

"Do you live here?" we asked. "Ah no...I live here in the winter, but when tourist come no, I have my own place downstairs with a gymnasium" He had a "tan" and was kind of built up..."ok I thought"...we sipped the Sangria from our dirty cups.

He then asked us for our money for the three nights of the apartment, in advance. I didn't have it on me having come from the bus station "It's ok, I come tonight and you give me the money or to my cousin who lives next door"...

We sat in silence. He turned on the large satellite TV that was stuck in the corner of the kitchen: "I like to watch sports and to gamble" His eyes were fixed on the TV I turned to look and saw a picture on the screen of three men in very sexual poses with their pants down masturbating in fatigues.

Awkward conversation about a kind of pod and what you call it in English ensued. Suddenly the door opened. A young man walked in. "This is my cousin!" We were introduced and in the cousin walked into the bedroom next to ours.

"Ah your cousin lives here....?" I said smiling. "Well yes... he just has a room and is not here, always at school". "And you don't live here?" "No I come here sometimes to clean"

C and I dutifully finished our Sangria and went to our "room". "I am sure the cousin has his own room and uses that other bathroom down the hall, we'll just deal".

Now don't think I can't hack sharing bathrooms, in fact I have hostelled it many times, however C was ruined from sharing facilties after Amsterdam when two German guys we shared a bathroom with got blotto on beer and hash and then puked all over the toilet and later caused us to evacuate at 3am after they set off the smoke alarm trying to light up a joint. "No more shared bathrooms!" was C's only insistence thereafter on our travels.

Out we went, coming back about 10:30 pm. The proprietor opened the door. He was there in the kitchen with the cousin, and what appeared to be a very old streetwalker. They were all drinking in the kitchen and watching the satellite TV.

"Hello this is my friend" he exclaimed pointing to the heavily made up, chubby woman, in what appeared to be strange red lingerie wear who kept change in her dirty bra. I paid up and we went to our room. They stayed up, in the kitchen, drinking and watching TV.

The next morning one could here people coming and going. I finally ventured out to use the toilet we thought was our private abode. I opened the door, some blonde woman was standing there putting on make up. I closed my door. C lay in bed. "What's going on" "There is some woman in the bathroom"... she lay on the bed, silent for a time.

"Is it the same woman from last night...the prostitute?" "No it is some blonde I've never seen before". She sighed, resigned to our lot.

I assumed maybe the cousin had a girlfriend. I again opened the door, the blond was startled..."It is ok.." She then ran back down the hall and disappeared into a another closed room, talking to yet some other woman who was concealed in there.

By the time we had crept out to take showers I counted six different shampoo bottles in the "private bathroom".

Again last night we returned. Mr. Jurrasic was again sitting in the kitchen watching TV. "Oh I just come now to clean" he said. We went to our room and he continued to watch TV into the night.

This morning again, the sounds of people coming and going. I awoke and went to the bathroom. Catherine followed and insisted on scurrying in behind me as the cousin, or some other guy stood in the hall. "They'll think we do everything together" I cautioned C.

We returned to bed and when we got up to leave, Mr. Jurassic was again there. This time with a beach bag in hand ready to go swimming. "I just come to see and go swimming" He said smiling. "When is he going to end this fiction that he doesn't live here?" I asked C.

We look forward to tonight to see who next will be visiting enjoying our little kitchen party. Mr. Jurassic no doubt will have just arrived, as we enter, just to do a little more cleaning.

Note: Mr. Jurassic is entertaining prostitute again this night...seems not concerned that we think he lives here. Prostitute is dressed up in a coat.

Post Script:

Mr. Jurassic finally jettisoned all semblence of fiction the next morning, the day we were leaving, by wandering about the apartment, shamelessly, in his underpants. This was followed by an obvious long hot shower in our "private bathroom", while we crept to and from the toilet. We then noticed that the door of his bedroom was now wide open allowing him to pace freely between his room to the TV in the kitchen, all the while, clad only in simple, Balkan underwear.

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