We've made it to Split, Croatia, today!
It's a wonderful city, reminds Misha of Venice, but I've never been there, so it reminded me of Lviv - Lviv with the sea.
At first, I felt very disoriented: I'm too used to Turkey, haven't been anywhere but Turkey in the past decade, and here, before we got to the Old Town, the scenery was more or less like the Çanakkale area - and it's all South to me, of course, the awesome Mediterranean, the Promised Land! - but the language was so different, and I understood even less of it, because my ears, obviously, thought they'd be hearing Turkish once abroad...
Our first coherent conversation in Croatia was with a cab driver, in English - about football: the UEFA Euro 2012, which we are hosting with Poland - and which could've taken place in Croatia and Hungary instead, if we hadn't won the bid.
The driver also told us about last summer's wildfires here: on the way from the airport, it's hard not to notice the dead, black forest in the distance, at the feet of the mountains that wall off the seaside area. Very sad and scary.
The Old Town is, as I said, wonderful, but we were very upset to discover too many homophobic writings on the walls of the old buildings. I had read about the assault on the gay pride parade in Split just a few weeks ago, but seeing the hateful leftovers all around us was still very unsettling. I wish I didn't understand Croatian at all - the way I don't understand Turkish: I would've preferred to remain ignorant and more idealistic, and I feel terribly upset (though not surprised at all) that this amazingly beautiful place is suddenly so transparent - and that some of it looks so similar to our own part of the world, which is also filled with hateful schmucks.
I'm falling asleep as I type now, so here are the photos that I took today - both of the good things that we saw and of the bad:
Unfortunate to see that a downturn in the economy didn't translate to a decrease in spray paint. It always comes in waves. The taggers will go nuts for awhile and then it will all get cleaned up and then it will come back. The worst part is that it's not the least bit creative. Just stupid phrases, often in English.ReplyDelete
And yes, the BCS slang for "gay" is really one of the worst.
Where did you see that tea house? I hadn't ran across that in any trip to Split, although admittedly, my last stops there have just been to make ferry or bus connections to somewhere else. I haven't really wandered the town since 2004 I guess.
It appears you're enjoying the country so far though.
Neeka! That photo of the rooftops looks so much like the view from my old house down the hill in Sultanahmet, right down to the waterstain on the wall. So strange and funny. I hope you are having fun, but I miss you guys. xoReplyDelete
It is so sad to see the bigot and homophobes in Croatia and Ukraine as well. When we all accept ourselves as we are?ReplyDelete
The really sad part about the anti-gay graffiti is that Split used to be a very popular destination for gay tourists. That is back when Tito was alive, but even before Tito, Split was popular with gays.ReplyDelete