Monday, October 1, 2012

September 21: Coffee

On the eve of my first night in the dorm, I planned many things I needed/wanted to accomplish on day two. Jet lag is a bitch and I woke up in the middle of the night and spent four hours making these plans only to fall back asleep and wake up a noon. Oh well, I just cut the list in half:

Task #1 coffee (insert use of Croatian language skills here)
Task #2 Hair Dryer
Task #3 Train ticket for the weekend (I'm going visit my friend-same as yesterday, I don't know that many people here yet-in Rijeka on Saturday morning)
Task #4 Internet: to find place to live and get out of dorm as quickly as possible.

I met my friend again but this time I manage the tram all by myself into the main square (Trg Ban Jelećica) and grabbed a map from the tourist info center. We met and took a short walk to a seafood restaurant that was on ulica Nikola Tesla. Now I know what my heavy metal loving cronies back in Minnesota are thinking…Tesla, wasn’t that a sweet metal band from the 80s???? It was, but Nikola Tesla is also the pretty famous inventor of the AC electrical current (check out this oatmeal post’m going to make an awesome tour guide someday. I tried new kind of fish, the menu called it sea queen in English but in Croatian it is orada. I didn't know what either of these two things are, but wikipedia has since told me it is Sea Bream, a freshwater whitefish.  It was prepared as a whole grilled fish, but the waiter cleaned it for me before I ate it. It was very flavorful. After this I had my first cup of coffee at a café (kafića)-Hallelujah, the European know how to make coffee, it’s none of this watery brewed stuff I buy in America because I’m too cheap for espresso. A cup of espresso with a little bit of milk is 10 kuna, roughly $1.50. Awesome.  

After this my friend walked me over to a bookstore and pointed out an internet café, we said goodbye (until I was to meet her in Rijeka the next day!) and parted. I looked around the book store while, bought a cute little green moleskin notebook that has become my personal dictionary for all new words I’m learning and I left to find my way to the train station. After walking in the wrong direction, hoping on the wrong tram (I knew the right one, apparently I didn't care-must be the jet lag), and getting another one, I arrived at the train station to by my ticket to Rijeka. This was my first exchange in Croatian, I was so proud. Apparently it worked too because I’m on said train right now righting this post!

After this adventure I returned to a square that I was at earlier and bought a hair dryer, how exciting. Then I found the internet café where I managed to order a beer, ask for the wifi password, and begin catching up on the facebook I had been missing out on….yeah right, I actually spent some time looking for apartment (in case the closet doesn't work out) and emailing some friends. I had another beer and realized it was 8:30 and I was starving. I think my lose 10lbs in a new city because you don’t want to/don't know how to eat plan would work splendidly here if I stopped substituting beer for food. Anyway I found a place called the Bulldog and order another beer (come on, it’s me, would you expect anything less?).  I acquired a food menu and order a pizza, all na hrvatskom, small victory! When the pizza came the waiter moved  me into the bar’s bistro so I was way from all the smokers. There I made my first friend. He was an older gentleman and the waiter that spoke very good English but I tried to a little of my skills on him and he was immediately surprised... in the where the hell does an American learn Croatian???? I guessed the way I clearly pronounced the number 38 (the price of the pizza) was impressive (sarcasm here people, but every small step is a step in the right direction). He told me he was done speaking English then and we had a nice conversation. I told him I was going to be around for a while and I would come back.  I left feeling like the day was a small success. I managed to find what I need and speak the language a bit. I even had leftover pizza in my possession to eat for breakfast the next day and gave directions to a French tourist (only because I had a map and he didn't). As I  walked back to the main square (see below), rode the tram home, and recognized some of the sights on the way, I thought this really will be an adventure, but today was easier than yesterday and I’m sure tomorrow will be even better. Luckily, I have a data package on my phone was texting with my sister (Devon) about the whole thing before I fell asleep. I love technology. I packed up most of my stuff and fell asleep to prepare for an early morning train ride to the coast.

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