Robin Hood and Tarzan Walking thru the Forest
Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
191Trip End Aug 30, 2010
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Such was the nature of the scampering about that Ian and I partook during our 3 days in Dubrovnik. Ian is an incoming Junior at UC Santa Cruz whom I met waiting for the ferry from Bari, in possession of a mandolin and a propensity to whistle, most commonly the theme from Disney's Robin Hood and, to occasionally mix things up, the banjo duel from Deliverance. He was a breath of fresh air from the typical Aussie type whose favorite conversation piece is how much he drinks and gets laid.
That role was filled for the duration of the ride by Justin, who arrived at the port shortly after I did - a genuinely fascinating guy when he's talking about running his own business (property development), martial arts (his parents are both black belts) and a month spent at a temple meditating (he no longer swats mosquitoes, even as they're biting him)11.5%. Still, I did enjoy sleeping and waking up on the deck just as we pulled into the harbor at 7:30, which I'd last experienced on the Qingdao to Shanghai ferry when I was 16.
Ian had read good reviews about The Backpackers Club, which I had already prebooked, so I called them to pick both of us up from the port. A short wait and drive later we pulled into the house, where the matron - undeterred by the fact that she knew only my name from the reservation - welcomed us with a jubilant "Hello David! Hello boy!" as though we were prodigal children returning after a long absence from a dark, distant land (substitute dark, distant with hot, expensive and it's not far off the mark for Western Europe). As is my tendency, I forgot her name right away, proving doubly embarrassing over the days in light of her practice of greeting each guest by name every time she saw us, regardless of whether she had anything more to add
She shunted us to the kitchen table for some of the best damn French Toast I've ever partaken (I'm not just speaking from the POV of groggy, hangover hunger either - each consecutive morning I took 3 massive servings), then clucked that we should go downstairs to sleep until noon. It's astonishing what a difference it makes to stay somewhere that feels like a home and not a business; those 2 hours were the best sleep of my trip yet.
The afternoon was spent checking out Old Town, every aspect of which is delightful except for the port, where the waft of seafood is more tempting than anyone on a budget should ever be subjected to.
The evening and next day drifted by uneventfully but idyllically, consisting mostly of trekking our separate ways between the hostel atop the hill and the promenade and pebbly beaches below. There's not terribly much to see or do in Dubrovnik once you've hit old town, which is not as negative statement as it sounds in light of the terrible pounding I subjected my feet to in Rome
On the third day, Ian and I were joined by Alice, an Aussie who had parted ways with her friend Josh that morning, and Tristam, also Aussie, who can go on remarkably little sleep, to find a jumping point yet another Aussie had told us about the night before. It wasn't hard to find, Ian having passed it the previous day and being marked by an upturned shopping cart in the shallow end, and we spent the better part of an hour clambering up to and diving down from the 20-foot crag over the pool. An overhanging tree provided the best if not most stable launch point, which only Ian and I were foolhardy enough to attempt in wet sandals (though I have every confidence James would have were he there).
For the latter part of the day we took the ferry from Old Town to the nearby island of Lokrum. About half the small island was closed off so we couldn't check out the old fort, and the botanical garden was even less interesting than that of Valencia but for the butterflies fluttering over the some fallen cactus fruit. But the main draw was the rocky far coast that are excellent for diving and sunning, and the tranquility of having no development.
The most ..
The idea was to use my truncated, 5 foot length of rope to do a tarzan swing, pushing the rope away at the apex so I could land clear for the remaining 20 foot drop. Apparently the physics of pushing away a weighted length of rope near its base is that it returns pretty quickly. The slide down the length of rope was bad. Hitting the branch at the bottom crosswise across the back of my thighs was worse. I suppose it could have been worse - unthinkably worse - if it the branch had been oriented lengthwise, but it was enough that I barely registered the full backflip induced by my legs being caught on the branch that took me the last 10 feet.
I am told that the rest of the island is nice too.
NB: We did not capture the rope jump on video. If some passer by did, they probably sent it in to Croatia's Funniest Home Videos.
NB: Maelcum, a bit Rastafarian character in William Gibson's Neuromancer, always refers to his first person as "I and I", as in "I and I can hack the airlock but from there you have to jack the system manually". I keep hearing echoes of that character each time I reread "Ian and I" above.