Tuesday, August 30, 2011


There's a little shop up the street from us, and its elderly owner is an unfriendly woman whose face is like a fist with unsmiling lips, unsmiling eyes and a potato of a nose on it. We were buying ice-cream from her a few days ago, and she tried to guess where we were from by the language we were speaking.


No. Well, not really. Ukrainians.

At some point, I told her how lovely Croatia was.

She spoke Croatian to us, but I understood her response: yes, it is beautiful, but it is hopeless here, no opportunities.

I tried to protest: but Komiza is such a wonder, a paradise on earth, raj na zemlji.

And she said, with muted anger: right, come here in winter and see - there is nothing.

And I said that I understood exactly what she meant. Because, somehow, I did. Though I would still prefer to spend my winters here, by the sea, than in our part of the world, no matter what.

And then I thought that perhaps it was winter, not all those idiotic politicians, that was actually to blame for so many of our problems.

And I also realized that I would've probably heard the same desperately gloomy opinions on winter from the locals of the Aegean Coast of Turkey - more than once, during the three or four of our wonderful summer visits there - had it not been for the impenetrable language barrier between us.


  1. It reminds me of "Bezymiannaya Zvezda", that Soviet made-for-TV movie based on a Romanian novel, where a school teacher "Mademoiselle Cou-Cou" was telling Mona, a woman from the capital city who by accident found herself in a god-forgotten village, that come winter, "you'd howl from boredom."

  2. The islanders and those on the coast have always pissed and moaned about how terrible and empty it is during the winter, but they've made absolutely no effort to have any kind of economy then. As a cousin of mine in Zagreb said, "The sea is still the sea in winter" and as you noted, winter on the Croatian coast is a great deal more pleasant than it is up north, even in inland Croatia.

    They're quite happy with all the money that they make in the 3-4 months of summer weather as it's easy money, but anything outside of that is just too hard. Pretty much the same problem/attitude you see anywhere with beach tourism.