My Croatian (hrvatski) “Angel”


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What a day! But hard work and the help of that little “something” so many of you don’t believe in turned it into a GREAT day!

I left you off at the Maraschino Cafe with my last post. I had an expresso and a Beck’s there and still had no food as I headed off to find an apartment. I had already struck out on all my other resources, so feet to the ground was the prescription, carrying my heavy laptop case the whole time. It was a sunny day with the temps over 90.

I walked all over the place. Some young guys on bikes suggested looking around the stadium, which was nearly a mile away, which I did. Nothing. When I came upon a group of residential high rises (looked pretty crummy from the outside) and couldn’t find a rental office, I stopped at a pharmacy to ask. For those women out there who like to make fun of men who won’t stop to ask for directions, I must have asked 6-8 strangers today, without knowing their language, where to go, where to look. I guess desperation can do that to a guy. Those buildings, BTW, were owner-occupied condos, not rental units. I even walked to the bus station where I came in the day before (the $17 cab ride to the hostel) because I was told their was a community bulletin board there. Nope. So it was time to head back, but first I needed a couple of things at the grocery and I definitely wanted something to eat.

It was hot. My shirt was soaked. Perspiration was dripping from the bill of my cap. My feet hurt in my new Adidas. My legs ached. Finally, I made it to the main road that runs into the bridge crossing over to Old Town. I had walked this road several times during the day when I was trying to find a computer repair store. There are a half dozen cafes, two barber shops, a couple of bakeries and butchers, and some other retail. The cafes/bars are small rooms inside with a bar and a few tables, and a few tables on the sidewalk outside. It seems everyone goes to these places for coffee in the morning and a beer or drink in the afternoon.

Anyway, as I walked down the street on the way to the grocery and a restaurant on the

Anita, my Croatian angel

ocean drive, I decided I needed a beer.  Any place would do, just make it a cold one. So I took a left into the Gin Bar & Cafe. There was no one there except the bartender, a young woman with her short black hair done in a punk rock hairdo. And did I mention, she spoke perfect English.

In Asheville, my daughter and I talked several times about things happening in my life that some people call coincidences or just plain luck. Kim and I have a different spin. When I moved to Costa Rica, I almost immediately found someone who helped me find an apartment in Quepos. When I moved to Jaco, I met my Costa Rican “angel,” Jack, two days after I arrived. To me, these were not coincidences, but rather the result of some sort of mental energy that has, through my life, created similar circumstances that guided me through my life. Scoff if you want, but it happened again today.

I worked my butt off trying to find an apartment, with no luck. I was determined to try again the next day, and the next, but was already considering moving somewhere else as an option. I was drenched in sweat and didn’t know this bar also offered free Wi-Fi. The bartender, Anita, was quick to help when she heard I was looking for an apartment, which she recently did herself.

With her help, we found a local Web site of apartment rentals, all in Croatian. FYI, Bing doesn’t translate Croatian but I have a translation widget on my laptop that does. But I didn’t need it. Anita also turned the bar TV to a local Web site that also listed rentals. That wasn’t enough for this “angel.” She found three apartments on the island, in Old Town, within my price range, described them to me, wrote the information down, in English, and then offered to call them for me, since the person on the other end might not understand me. She used my Skype for the calls. Two of the apartments look good and Anita said she would call again tomorrow (Sunday) to set up appointments that afternoon. I plan to be at the cafe for coffee and pastry from the pekara (bakery) next door in the morning.

Anita even pulled out some street maps to show me where the apartments were, recommended some restaurants for dinner and showed them on the map. I stayed for a second beer and we had a great conversation about Croatian life, etc. Now guys, don’t get the wrong idea. Anita is a 22-year-old university student working two jobs (the other is on the island applying fake tattoes) to pay the rent and tuition. She speaks German and English, , in addition to Croatian, of course, and understands French. She’s an intelligent young lady and has a wonderful personality. I told her she’s my Croatian angel and explained what that meant. We exchanged contact information (including this blog) and I told her I was going to be around a lot for help. She loved it.

After a second beer and great conversation, my computer was fully charged and it was time to find dinner. I stopped at Giardin’s on the water, per her recommendation, and had a Jack and the veal medallians (with french fries – they didn’t offer pasta). It was good, and I was famished, but I’m sure there are better, more local restaurants.

It now looks like I will be able to get an apartment on the island, which I never even considered because I thought the rents would be too high. But since the university is located there, the rents are fine. This means I will be very close to the Adriatic and to daily fishing. And if the apartment I rent doesn’t have Internet, I just have a short walk to Anita’s bar to get online. I’ll let you know how the house hunting goes tomorrow.

When I returned to the hostel, after a very long additional walk, the landlord was outside and I asked for and got two to five days more on my room.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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3 Responses to My Croatian (hrvatski) “Angel”

  1. 2bagsandapack says:

    Hey Chris,
    It happened again today. See next post. Jethro Gibbs would never believe all the coincidences in my life.

  2. I’m a big believer in forces that go well beyond “luck”, especially when it comes to travel. I can’t count the number of people that appeared in my life, just when I needed them most. I quickly learned to make it a point to provide the same help to others once I got the lay of whatever land I was in. Twenty years later and I still keep my eyes open for lost tourists or pass-through residents needing some help. Anita is not luck for you. She is the byproduct of how you’ve lived your life.

  3. gracepmc says:

    Hooray! I’m a big believer in those angels — and you found one. Good for you. Think Adriatic. Enjoy.

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