Kings of Medicine

Trip Start Aug 14, 2010
Trip End Sep 12, 2010

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
Where I stayed
Montenegro Hostel

Flag of Montenegro  ,
Sunday, August 22, 2010

Montenegro, specifically the town of Kotor, has inspired me to write a fairytale - a variation on "The Princess and the Pea", it will be entitled "The Princess Who Slept on a Giant Thumping Speaker".  How exactly was I inspired to write this story?  Well, last night was of course the biggest festival of the year in Kotor, Boka night - so the entire Stari Grad became one giant nightclub, with one of the busiest squares being right outside the hostel.  There were at least 4 or 5 bars in the immediate vicinity. 

The windows had to be opened for air circulation, as it seems like the night time temperatures here don't drop below 25 C until 3 or 4 AM - but not like that really mattered, since the bass was pumping so loud that the building shook.  Ear plugs really did nothing, other than muffle the sound slightly enough such that it became a single jumble of noise, and the individual sounds could no longer be distinguished from one another. 

Worsening things was the fact that tonight's festival meant that the Stari Grad's clubs stayed open extra late - normally the bars shut down at 1 AM, but not this evening.  The music was finally switched off around 3:30, and the screaming of drunk patrons continued until about 4 AM.  Finally ... sleep ...


Perast - described as the Pearl of Venetian Baroque, you can call it whatever the hell you like, because it's such a gorgeous spot that whatever words you can think of wouldn't be good enough.  The entire 25-minute drive north from Kotor to Perast was phenomenal, but Perast was even better.  The guidebook made no mention of any beaches in town, but one thing I am learning about Montenegro, albeit a bit late, is that you should ALWAYS have your swimsuit with you, and ALWAYS be prepared for a dip in the Adriatic.  Forever so cool and inviting, the torrid Montenegrin sun slowly but surely nudges you ever so closer to the precipice of a dive into the sweetest, most refreshing paradise ...

For all it's tackiness and cheese, Budva was still, as Kelly would put it, hella fun and had its beautiful moments and locales - but heading north into the Bay of Kotor, it keeps getting better and better.  You constantly ask yourself if this place is real, because you can't believe such beauty exists in the world.  Are your eyes actually seeing what's in front of you, or is it all just an illusion, the most intense and stunning of dreams?  That feeling of joy and elation that has been building within, will it last, or will you one day wake up to find that it didn't exist, that all you have left is this emptiness inside, a shadow of what you thought was the truth, merely a wisp of something you thought had meaning but in the end, meant nothing at all?

Life can be full of illusions and half-truths - this is exactly what makes travel moments like this so amazing and so special.  It's proof that there is something good out there, something with meaning, something that holds truth, something worth searching for, something that makes life's trials and tribulations worthwhile.  Perast is one of those places where you can say to yourself in all honesty, that yes, it does exist and yes, it can be found. 

Anyway, enough of my BS philosophy - time to stuff L'il Buddha in the backpack and shut him up!  What exactly did I do in Perast today?  Well ... nothing, really - having a cold drink at a beautiful beach-side bar, strolling around, wishing that I had worn my swim trunks.  Having a so-so lunch while lazily staring out at the Adriatic, a lunch that somehow tasted just a bit better each time you smile at the beautiful moment you are basking in ... 

I definitely could've used a nap after returning from Perast - but on the drive, seeing beautiful spot after beautiful spot along the coast made me go back to the hostel, in order to change for the beach.  Dobrota, Ljuta ... these were two little towns I'll have to one day return and visit.  I only had a couple of hours on the beach near Kotor but that was enough - sufficient time for a couple of dips into the water, drying off, then heading up to the ruined fortress that ever-so-vigilantly keeps watch over Kotor.  Needing a bit of sustenance before the ascent, I noticed a little old lady selling tasty-looking fried pastries - I walked up to ask what was inside of them, but she only glanced up at me for a second, before scurrying away.  What?  Do Montenegrins only want to look at us Chinos from a distance, not wanting to get too close to us?  It was probably actually quite a funny moment to watch from afar.   

I purposely waited until 5:30 to start the hike, as the temperature had ever-so-slowly started to drop just a touch, and the sun was soon to dip behind the ridge on the other side of the bay from Kotor.  The timing was fortuitous, such that the moment of arrival at the top left just enough light to take some decent pictures of Kotor and the bay below, and allowed for the descent to be completed in shade.  Having said that, it was still a scorcher for the first half of the hike to the top, as there was still enough sun to roast my flesh.  Arriving at the top was actually a bit anti-climactic, as there were many better vantage points with better lighting for photos on the way up.

Ended up grabbing dinner at a place called Evergreen with Anna, not because of its convenient and lovely location just outside of the hostel on a scenic square, but because they offered a 10% discount to hostel guests.  The food was a tad lackluster but hey, we saved 10% (This offer valid only on food purchases, regular price on alcohol applies).  I regaled Anna with my tale of encountering hostel sex last night, and she burst out laughing - apparently she had returned to the room at 10 PM last night, and found it odd that the couple had already killed the lights so early.  But after hearing my tale, it suddenly all made sense to her ...  

The stories behind other people's travel motives are quite often the most interesting part of this aimless wandering known as backpacking, especially because many backpackers are kindred spirits.  Case in point - Anna's originally from Poland, but has been doing a Ph. D in molecular biology in Amsterdam.  Two years into it, she realized it wasn't what she wanted to do, but figured she should complete the remaining two years.  A career in science is always a good thing to have, after all.  As she is putting the final touches on her thesis and is getting ready to defend it, her thoughts are turning to an entirely different career, though she doesn't yet know what it would be.  Perhaps something with languages, but definitely not something technical again.  Hmmm ... sounds like somebody I know ... 

Conversations like that are always enlightening, and it helps you to understand somebody else's viewpoint when assessing your own thoughts.  Comprehending the motivation behind your own feelings isn't always easy, because you can't distance yourself from the situation and remain objective, you have too much invested.  But hearing somebody else discuss their hopes, fears, and thoughts can provide insight into your own mind, and help make some sense of the jumbled ideas bouncing around inside of your brain.        

Balkan Chino Count:  13
.  The Asian population in Montenegro exploded today, with another 6 walking around Kotor's Stari Grad.

Late Night You-Tubing Moment:  Came across a killer acoustic version of Placebo's Kings of Medicine.  Easily the best song off their latest CD, the original version has a beautifully simple piano harmony, and an interesting use of trumpets.  They rocked this live version, which has some subtle differences - their dark and depressing music has always been good medicine for me.  One day seeing them play live is high up on my list of things to do before I die, but it'll be a long time before that happens, as their lack of popularity in North America means they never tour here.  One day!  

Kings Of Medicine

They're pickin' up pieces of me
While they're pickin' up pieces of you
In a bag you will be, before the day is over
Were you looking for somewhere to be
Or looking for someone to do
Stupid me, to believe that I could trust in stupid you
And on the back of my hand
Were directions I could understand
Now that old buzzard Johnny Walker
Has gone and ruined all our plans
Our best-made plans

Don't leave me here, to cast through time
Without a map, or road sign
Don't leave me here, my guiding light
'Cause I ... I ... wouldn't know where to begin
I asked the Kings of Medicine

They're pickin' up pieces of me
While they're pickin' up pieces of you
Lying on ice you will be before the day is over
It's a case in point baby
That you never thought it through
Stupid me, to believe I could depend on stupid you
And on the tip of my tongue
Were, words that always came out all wrong
'Cause they were drowned in Southern Comfort
Left to dry out in the Sun
The noon-day Sun

Don't leave me here, to cast through time
Without a map, or road sign
Don't leave me here, my guiding light
'Cause I ... I ... wouldn't know where to begin
I asked the Kings of Medicine
But it seems that they've lost their powers
Now all I'm left with is the hour

Don't leave me here, to cast through time
Without a map, or road sign
Don't leave me here, my guiding light
'Cause I ... I ... wouldn't know where to begin
I asked the Kings of Medicine
But it seems that they've lost their powers
Now all I'm left with is the hour

Don't leave me here
Don't leave me here, oh no, oh
I wouldn't know where to begin
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: