Friday, 21 August 2009

Sailing Croatia: Dubrovnik - Mljet

The Croatian coastline is lined with more than 1000 islands. Strangely enough, I didn't see 1000 Island Salad Dressing anywhere, but that would be too obvious, ne c'est pas? Of these 1000 islands, only 20 or so are popular with tourists....the rest are tiny and largely uninhabitable (unless you're a contestant on Survivor - hey, Survivor Croatia! I'm e-mailing that one to Jeff).

Anyway, Mljet - and I must include a sidebar here: Eastern European spellings are dof in the extreme. Basically, they accidentally forgot to put vowels in, well...OH, THEIR WHOLE COLLECTION OF LANGUAGES, but you say the words as if the vowel was there. So Mljet is Mil-yet. Easy, yes? I know, I threw my hands up in surrender many times as well. Where was I? Oh yes - Mljet is the southern-most of the larger islands, dubbed thus by the trusty Lonely Planet guide book: "the most seductive island in the Adriatic". Perhaps the author of so sweeping a comment was caught up in a torrid romance at the time of writing, the strength of which robbed him of his senses. Mljet was voted far and away the most pointless stop on our trip.

To be fair, the whole damn island is a National Park, so if you don't hire bicycles and cycle around it, you are restricted to about a kilometre of harbour front with a few restaurants and bars, none of which make cocktails. Seriaaas. No cocktails on the waterfront. It's like no sunshine in summer - completely at odds with natural law. We were quite keen to cycle around the park and swim in the two big lakes, but after we only docked at 5pm and found the entrance to be 90 Kuna a head, excluding bicycle hire, we decided it was fairly pointless. Instead, we hit up a local pizzeria for some amazing pizza and some extremely awesome camel piss wine. Our refined saffa taste buds were by now getting used to the idea of ordering cheap local wine in half or full litres instead of bottles. It was a third of the price, and as the bottled wines weren't that great anyway, it made more sense - especially after the third glass when your taste buds went pleasantly numb, and it could really have been camel piss for all you knew.

So nothing much happened in Mljet. We had dinner, took some drinks down to the "beach" (concrete slab on the other side of the harbour, complete with empty kiddies tidal pool) and took silly photos of each other. Mljet, however, was where we found out about The Smelly Fish Incident.

HippieChick is a lovely girl, but definitely not the best of cabinmates. She could usually be found out and about til all hours of the morning, blithely letting herself in and out of the cabin in a state of inebriation to fetch unidentified objects, attempting to bring her squeeze from HMS Cockfest back to the room for a cuddle (and here met an icy refusal from Tee, not once but 3 times) and generally disturbing the calm seas for her patient cabinmate, Tee. But even Tee had enough with this particular incident. HippieChick, being a hippie, is able to live on a very frugal budget. She also had a month and half of travelling in front of her when she first arrived in Croatia, so going out for dinner every night was not an option. She would often go back to her room and eat something she had bought at port that afternoon for dinner, while the rest of us sampled local cuisine.

On one of the first couple of days we were given fish for lunch. Very nice, spiced fish, served whole with wobbly little fish eyes staring accusingly out at you from the silver platter. Not everyone was a fish fan, and there were quite a few untouched fish left over. HippieChick saw an opportunity, and slipped one into her handbag, for later snackage. It must be said at this point that the fish was only wrapped in a napkin, and the rooms have no refrigeration facilities. It was also around this time that HippieChick got sick - a little gift from Tee who had started the trip recovering from a nasty cold. Thus, she couldn't smell anything. Tee however was on the mend, and could smell everything.

Later that evening, Tee commented on the slightly fishy smell in the room. That night they slept with the windows and door open, hoping that the room just needed some airing. The next morning it wasn't any better. We spent the day up top the roof in 35 degree heat, and Tee came down late that afternoon to the overpowering stench of rotting fish in her cabin. She searched high and low - in the bin, in HippieChick's luggage, under the bed - but to no avail. The aroma lingered on. That night the room was almost unbearable to sleep in, but HippieChick, blissfully unaware with her stuffy nose, slept like a baby while Tee tossed and turned, pillow hugged tightly to nostrils. It was only the next day - nearly a full 48 hours later - that HippieChick dug in her handbag to get something and discovered the rotten fish. Mortified, she told Britney and swore her to silence. Britney, who is about as good at keeping secrets as Perez Hilton, promptly told Tee and the rest of us, and for the remainder of the trip, HippieChick was shredded mercilessly and every fish joke in the book was worn out repeatedly. She was not amused.


angel said...

Well if she's going to be thick enough to stash cooked food in her handbag, then she deserves to be ragged at every opportunity.

angel said...

You still recovering?