04 June 2008

Today's Dispatch from Zagreb

I spent this most of today at the Croatian equivalent of the FBI, sorta, and also in jail. Isn't this what most people do when they travel? It was actually very interesting. Well, for me anyway. Croatian jails are much nicer than American ones. I even had a really good lunch in jail. I had palacinke for dessert, which I haven't had since I was in Prague 6 years ago. They're basically crepes. In the Czech Republic they serve them with ice cream and fruit; here they come with jam or chocolate sauce. Mmmm. At the police, I was given a baseball cap with the national police's seal on it, which I think is pretty cool. Yes, strange things make me happy.

This afternoon, a professor took me on a walking tour of the old part of Zagreb. It's really pretty, and I took some nice pictures, which I'll have to post when I get home. We sat at a cafe and drank strong coffee. Very pleasant. I think tomorrow morning and Saturday I'll have some more time to explore, and maybe do a little shopping or visit a museum or two.

I'm liking Zagreb more and more. Croatians tend to crowd on and off of busses and in and out of doorways, but they're actually very polite. You hear people greet each other all the time; even the jail inmates offered smiles and a "dobar dan." (Which is the correct spelling, I think. You hear it a zillion times a day). Everyone is extremely patient with my lack of language skills. Most people seem to speak at least some English, and seem happy to use it. Several of them have even apologized for not having better English, which seems silly considering I'm the one who came to a country where she doesn't speak the language at all. And although the people I've met with are busy people, they all offer drinks and spend hours with me, telling me about their organizations.

I've had several discussions of US politics with people here, who are interested in Clinton and Obama. I learned that our beloved President recently visited Zagreb, and his security requirements basically resulted in them shutting down big chunks of the city. How embarrassing. He hasn't caused enough problems already, so now he has to go create chaos in countries he probably couldn't identify on a map.


Emily said...

Your trip sounds very interesting!

Here's an ignorant question: Don't they say "dobar dan" in Prague too? The words sound familiar.

Robin's Reports said...

I have really enjoyed reading your posts from Zagreb. You almost scared me when you said you were in jail, but then I realized what you do for a living. D'oh.

Why in the world was Bush in Zagreb? I wonder.