Tales of Croatia. Part Three.
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Continued from part two...
On Friday we went into town for a traditional dinner at a Croatian restaurant, which was heavy and delicious. I had some form of goulash with potato dumplings and beef in a paprika based sauce. Afterward, we took a taxi to a club called Jabuka, (Yaw-Boo-Kuh) which means 'apple'. Upon entering, I realized it was a kind of alternative dance club with gothy kind of girls everywhere. We stayed there until they closed, around 5AM. Most people would not believe I was American. One girl would not believe until I showed her my ID. While I know very little Croatian, the little I DO know, I have a good accent with, so they usually assume I am faking being an American. Which is funny.
We went into the center a few times but didn't explore too heavily during the rains. Then, they had a festival start in the main square of all of Zagreb. This square is huge and is called Trg Bana Jelačića. Trg means 'square' and 'Ban' is a Governor, so it's got a statue of Josip Jelačić. The square is huge, like two blocks by five blocks or so.
Trg Bana Jelačića
We went there Friday and it was crazy. There's a band there called 'Hladno Pivo' which means 'cold beer'. Esad is good friends with them, having grown up in the same area and gone to school with most of them. When we arrived in the square they had a really large concert going that was extremely loud. We took the tram and could start feeling and hearing the band quite some distance away. Upon exiting the tram in the square, there were thousands and thousands of people at the show. Very crowded. We got up close by the stage and the singer was singing and said hello to Esad during the song. The crowd went wild and knew the lyrics of all of their songs. They're very, very popular in the whole country. So, they'd stop singing at certain points and the audience would sing the song. It was largely punk or pop punk, very fast, aggressive, yet happy. There was a large-ish fountain in front of the stage and all the younger people were jumping into the fountain and thrashing around.
Trg Bana Jelačića
As I stood there looking around at the crowd, it struck me that they were far freer than we in the States at this kind of show. In the States, they would not have allowed the kind of leaping into the fountain for fear of injury. It was shallow. And, there would have been cops and metal detectors and people afraid of backpack wielding bombers. Not here. I didn't see a single cop until the show was over and people dispersed. And, there were beer vendors selling beer outside and nothing was fenced off or anything. We stood there and enjoyed the show and then went and got beer and walked toward the backstage where Esad visited with the band guys. They called us later that night to come hang out, so we met up with them at a nearby pub/cafe for some drinking.
Trg Bana Jelačića
So, we went to a cafe called Limbo and met up with them, meeting an entirely new group of people to hang out with. Beers, conversations and the usual madness followed, until the club closed. We then went to the same club on the River Sava that I had gone to on my first night in Zagreb, again closing it out as well. I met this great girl named Tina and talked with her most of the night. She works for an NGO, helping the cause of human rights. She was complaining about the corrupt nature and inefficiency of the NGO. She eventually hopes to go work for another NGO which is doing better work. She and I hit it off immediately and it was fun to talk with her.
After the club closed, we went to someone's apartment and continued drinking. I met a woman who writes for a soap opera in Croatia and we traded stories about the bullshit nature of TV and film as a business. Eventually, we went home at 8:30AM. The sun was fully out and people were out and about, walking their dogs, strolling around and starting their days as we wandered home in a drunken stupor and collapsed into sleep.
End of Part 3.