Patience is a virtue

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 01, 2006

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Flag of Croatia  ,
Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Rijeka is the Croatian word for river although in this case I think it more refers to the fact that the city is a port. That is about it too...just a port. I flew into Rijeka and I get off the plane on this tarmac that looks like I am the flying doctor or something. The terminal was a tin shack about the size of a normal house and if I really wanted to, I could have dodged customs by simply walking around the side of the terminal. There was no fence and no security. I collected my bags and walked to the passport control dudes and they were SMSing their buddies it seemed. When I passed them my passport, they put down the photo, flicked through the book to an empty page and stamped without even looking at my photo or anything - quite a farcical security systems. Customs was a little more gruelling than that: I had to walk past a dude who was looking out the window smoking a cigarette. I was worried for a while that I might be turned back and put on a plane to Germany...

So I had eight hours to wait until my overnight bus to Dubrovnik would be leaving and so I thought I'd make the most of my time in the city seeing as I wasn't going to be spending the night there. I put my bag into storage and went walking. The whole city apart from living quarters was simply a shopping strip and the port where the cargo ships came in. It became immediately obvious why this city wasn't given much credence in my Lonely Planet guide.

So I walked up the shopping strip and looked for an internet café. It seems that the only place was about 20 minutes walk from the bus station. By the way, bus station has an awesome name in Croatian "Autobusni Kolodvor" Yes! I LOVE IT! Haha. When I got to this internet café I logged on and talked on MSN for a while, but half way through I managed to convert the 20Kn an hour into Aussie dollars. It comes out at about $5.00 an hour, so I quickly stopped using it!

So, back to the Autobusni Kolodvor to wait for another six hours. THE HUMANITY! I didn't have a book either and there was no place where I could find anything in English, so I had to sit there listening to my iPod, knowing all the while that the 6-hour battery had to last me a 12 hour bus ride down the coast too. Quite the dilemma. I decided to entertain myself without the ipod by watching people walk by. There was this insane freak there who would walk up and down yelling at people about something. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I couldn't understand what he was talking about. He started yelling at me and then the guy next to me told him that I couldn't understand him. Suddenly his rage was turned upon my neighbour. After about a two-minute shouting match, they had each other in a wrestle threatening to punch each other. In the end the young dude threw his hands up and said enough is enough and walked off, wishing me luck.

For the record, I converted 200EUR into Kuna on my first day, which came out to be 1400Kn, but I was quickly disappointed with my new-found wealth when I had to pay 315Kn to get to Dubrovnik. "There's a hole in my pocket, dear Liza, dear Liza...".

On the bus ride down, I met this crazy Russian girl who had these crazy business ideas. One of the more amusing ones was her plan to make a new breed of apple. This apple, she decided, would be called "Apples from Heaven" and people would buy them because of the name. However, it is not just the name. These apples would really be the best apples around. I won't go on about her, but to say that she was good entertainment for the whole 12 hours. The bus ride was unsleepable because of the crazy-winding road that goes down the coast. It basically follows the shape of the cliffs and the bus drivers are mad, so they do it at break-neck speeds.

So, that ends this blog, my next will be about Dubrovnik. Over and Out.
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