Published: May 24th 2009May 20th 2009
After meeting Ivana at the bus station we returned home and shortly after I passed out. For the first few nights I had trouble sleeping at nights and the mid-afternoon 4 hour naps didn't help. When I was awake Ivana and I were walking around Dugave, trying to get familiar with all of the area. It is in Novi (new) Zagreb which isn't all that new, but was built about 30 years during the communistic times of Yugoslavia. So all the buildings show "Equal Opportunity" in the way they are made. It is an interesting contrast from the things we are used to. They are all pretty bland and all fit a lot of people, but they are beautiful in very socialistic way.
When I met Ivana in Ljubljana she was with her friend Nela and the Saturday after I arrived was to be her birthday party in Generalski Stol a town about an hour and a half away from Zagreb. Nela was going to drive us in exchange for us to help her prepare food and decorate. We made sandwiches and prepared a table outside. We chatted as people arrived and then walked down to the river Mrenica. We
canoed up and down the river for a little while and ran into a rafting group. Ivana and I spent most of our time talking to a student of medicine named Violet. She was one of the only people that was happy enough to speak English. At this time my Croatian was beyond awful. It is still bad but at least I can make simple sentences and order.
Ivana has a family house in Generalski so after we canoed we walked out to see them for a bit. I still have not gotten used to the heat here. It seems like I am sweating all the time. I found it like a dream when my dad told me it was still snowing in the mountains back home. Ivana failed to mention to watch for snakes and was a little scared when I nearly stepped on one. Luckily it was one of the nonpoisonous ones. But from that point on I was very cautious. Generalski is a very small village. Everyone knows everyone and they all say hi to each other, and it hardly seems like a town. There is are a few roads running through it but grass and
trees make it appear like a paved logging road, and the houses are in little clumps and very old. It is not farm like, but it is not city like either. I am having a hard time describing it because I'd never seen anything like it before. It seems old though. And most of the buildings, if not really old, look traditional and old. Ivana's family was really nice to me, even though they spoke no English and I spoke no Croatian. Her uncle joked and said he was going to make me fix the roof with him and the aunts insisted I drink beer. Teta Maca (Aunt Maca, the aunt whose flat I was occupying) showed me her rooster and kept talking about how beautiful it was. Ivana told me to be careful as the rooster was especially angry all the time and was known for attacking people. We returned and played badminton at Nela's. Nela drove us home and we made plans to meet up later that week and see a movie.
We met up with Nela and her boyfriend Daniel, not far from our apartment, and saw the new Star Trek movie. It wasn't as bad
as I thought it would be, but it wasn't exactly my favorite film. The most interesting thing about the movie was the theatre (haha). It was like our theatres with giant seating sections. There were about half the amount of seats and the chairs were more like real (but comfy) chairs. And they didn't go up in rows so steeply. The night was pretty good.
We spent a lot of time going to different markets looking for cheap strawberries and assorted vegetables to make new dishes with. One day I decided to make home made tacos for Ivana, since the Mexican community is so small here (I don't think there is one). I tried to hand make tortillas, though they came out a little awkward. I also made salsa, which I remade again for when we bought tortilla chips. The slasa came out tasting really good.
Ivana and I also went to a museum display on colors. It involved the history and etymology of the basic colors. There were displays on how color dyes are made and how color has changed symbolic meaning over.
There are more photos below