…and then comes the afterparty

4 January 2011 § Leave a comment

The blind spider marches on!

Or rather, he crawls on and into the mouths of dragons and such, in company of cats with likewise missing eyes, the fighting kind that makes lemonade in Croatian castles while lying in the sun, avoiding the old ladies who lean out of their windows while the tourists pass on the great wall of Old City Dubrovnik, smiling and waving her towels, long dry by the warm winter sun. The New Zealander and I lie on the tallest battlements overlooking the sea and behind us, our flat, which we got for three days at an 8 pm bargain Kevin Spacey would be proud of. It just happened to be on Ulica Bernarda Shawa, one who said something about Dubrovnik being ‘Paradise on Earth’. I do not think I would disagree.

So three days of relaxation, wine, sun, swimming in the sea, and it culminates in one supremely international moment, which happened to be midnight on 31 December 2010 – an American and a New Zealander drinking Mexican tequila in an Irish pub in the bowels of a Croatian castle.

More on that drink later, which I was very impressed by, despite Nardia’s insistence that no one she’d had try it ever liked it. We put away four or five each two nights in a row and I didn’t feel a thing in the morning. But Boris did. The poor spider went blind for all the alcohol! And how many others might have on that fateful night, after the sirenian sea organ and before that soulcrushing visit to Sarajevo – one night in a city where, despite the rubble some once called buildings, there are great pieces of art being painted every day, and the piles of aerosol cans next to them to prove it.

This is not a lonely planet, and the museums are in the streets! The spider called it a riot as he spied on the U.S. Embassy at six in the morning in the haze and darkness, but no one heard him. He was intent on getting up to Budapest, because he was feeling suicidal and crawled into the dragon’s mouth, against his better judgement. But the dragon had no taste for polyester, or whatever blind spiders were made from in the 90’s – yes, he’s got some years on him! – and did not bite down.

No, we were fortunate enough to find the labyrinth underneath the castle, and I think my life is better for it, though Boris was unaffected – the darkness in the caves where Atilla the Hun planned his attacks or the secret planning place of the cold war, the grotto and the endless fountain of wine (we enjoyed that one, but the music was maddening! how long can one stand paradise before the monotony drives us insane. we left Dubrovnik just in time, apparently, to find the cold and frostbiting air of Buda and Pest (and Margaret Island between them!) fresh with fog and laden with mattresses in doorways. We could have been there. We will be. We were.

Remind me this, good people of the world: there is so much music to be heard, and my excuse for not recording my aural excitement had something to do with a broken car in the far and frozen north – what sort of useless complaint…? I would sooner travel without a camera than without an audio recorder, an H2, an R09, a Sony , a Tascam, anything! again. The gypsy music must be heard again, the opera performance underground next to burger king. The train rocking back and forth, going much too fast, headed straight for the Big Dipper, that pattern written on my hand behind my new years resolutions and the time to catch that train…polaris is below the horizon, and we’ re headed straight for it. Find the leaky faucet, it’s spewing copper and platinum!

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