on the last august evening I sat at the local cafe known as Starac, Old Man (and the Sea). I picked up a newspaper and a cheap summer romantic paperback. it is entertaining to a certain level but mostly incredibly boring. the usual summer-by-the-beach literature. this little town that I call my home is made up of less than two thousand people. the beauty of Starac is that it is kind of the centre of everything. locals and tourists come there to have a cup of coffee in the morning as well as a glass of wine in the evening. it is always busy. I chose my spot in the middle just as the sun began to descend. everything glowed in orange, red and yellow; people stopped by; laughed; talked; children drove past on bikes; everyone bathed in sunlight. summer makes people happy; summer makes me happy and particularly in croatia.
countries of the mediterranean are blessed with an atmosphere, food, people and culture that can be found nowhere else in the world. I guess what I missed the most and never realized it, was the mentality of these people. warmer, easy going and with nothing to worry about. two glasses of bevanda made me feel warm, I walked barefoot to the marina, taking photographs along the way. the moon is young tonight. in its first phrase and could be seen while the sun was still out. looking at it I thought it was the symbol of summer. it is my permanent association with my grandmother, in a way.
I walked around, choosing my yachts and thinking of life, thinking of where I could end up one day. but still I am convinced that this is the place I will always come back to. the locals were playing balote, just as always. I even recognized some of the players. it is strange for me to think that some people never move anywhere in their life. it is one of the things that will forever remain unfamiliar to me. I bought ice cream to keep me company on the way home and spent the rest of the night sitting on my terrace and starring into deep darkness that is the night sea. it fascinates me the way light reflections move on the water; disturbing the stillness of everything around, living their own life. and then I thought, maybe I am my own reflection.
and tomorrow it is september.
a quiet night. the deep bay of rogoznica appears to have frozen in time. the bridge between two small islands; the marina; occasionally a house here and there with its light on and street lamps are the only sources of light of the last summer night. for me the most fascinating are the stars above me. it is something I miss too often in hong kong. it has almost been a month since I have left and to my surprise I don’t think about returning at all. many things have changed in the life of this village as well as mine yet coming back here always brings the same emotion: I am home; home like nowhere else in the world. I have grown up here; began my first friendship that in a way lasts until today; this is my childhood. the top terrace is mine I spent most of my time here. during the day it is a perfect place to gain a tan, during the evening it is ideal for dinner and at night it only makes me write, observe and remain quiet in a way that I can be nowhere else. I feel myself calming down; everything around me is slow and still. after a single day it feels as if I have been here for a month. because daily habits would not change.
I wake up early in the morning, just as the sun reaches the top of a close hill, I prepare my coffee with a tall glass with brown sugar and milk. it tastes differently here; it is almost sweet. I don’t eat in the morning; I read a book instead. but here my preference is a local gossip magazine. I am always away and I have no idea what is happening with the locals so I find this semi-literature highly amusing. then I go for a swim across the bay; back and forth it takes less than an hour. walking back up the hill to my house is a better exercise than going to the gym. I do this seven or eight times until the late afternoon. after only one day I can feel my body changing its shape. despite the ice cream, sweet cookies and domestic candies. I have missed all this food and I am not trying to limit myself. I drink milk straight from the bottle, forgetting about the mustache entirely until I feel it come off as I jump into the sea half an hour later. I chat with the locals who still recognize me but sometimes I am just pretending I know their names, too.
I am looking forward to going to the fish markets this week, spending some time at a local cafe with the others, walking through the marina choosing my yachts, riding my bike through hidden streets to see the sunset at open sea and generally spending as much time swimming as I can. it has been two years since last time and honestly it has been too long.
Favorite things in Prague of summer two oh eleven.
1. Endless and repeated walks in Kampa Park.
2. Mulled wine served in glass.
3. Café Velryba; translated as Whale in simple English.
4. English bookshop Shakespeare & Sons.
5. Walks through the woods.
6. Bike rides around the White Mountain neighborhood.
7. Meeting once again with long lost & forgotten friends.
8. Sleeping on couches and sleeping in different places every other night (not to be confused with the habit of Wan Chai whores)
9. Taking the tram no. 22 (also known as the death tram) at 3 am.
10. Franz Kafka related venues (there is even a Franz Kafka square)
11. Finding a copy of Karel Capek’s book translated in Korean.
12. Gin tonic with a slice of cucumber instead of lemon.
13. Prague hot dogs. Similar to NYC ones but different. Equally as tasty.
14. Going to cinema on a rainy afternoon (this is perhaps universal but I haven’t been to the movies for such a long time!)
15. Crossing the Charles Bridge three times a day and not finding it strange.
16. Becoming a regular at Gloria Jean’s Coffee and getting 50% discount.
17. Walking around Vinohrady (Vinery) neighborhood; all the streets are lined with trees and are named after European cities and countries.
18. Stone pavements.
19. Slowly remembering the layout of the city and locations within.
20. The fact that it would have been the twentieth year of living in Prague but it is not.
on the way to the airport in a few minutes..
on the day of my arrival to central europe it was eleven degrees and it was raining hard. in the last two weeks we’ve gone through autumn, spring and finally summer. today it is more than thirty degrees, sunny, hot. but the humidity is missing and I am feeling okay. at the moment I don’t have a permanent home so I am moving between friends’ houses. sleeping on a couch or in a sleeping bag has never bothered me. in fact, I love the spontaneity and I don’t mind. I have abandoned the piece I started writing in textedit at the airport terminal in istanbul and instead I placed my attention back to notebooks. I keep buying cheap paperbacks at shakespeare & sons my favorite bookstore located at the heart of kampa park. yesterday I purchased kipling’s kim. immediately I wished I was in india. I cannot stop the train of my thoughts, I cannot stop wishing I were on the road constantly, always moving between neighborhoods cities countries continents. there is a traveler’s cafe on the right side of vltava; they promote themselves by offering a free drink to anyone who has passport stamps from four different continents. only I keep forgetting to bring my passport with me. only I keep forgetting where I am from.
I am writing this in a study room in a summerhouse in southern bohemia not far away from prague in czech republic in central europe in – words have been pouring out of me the entire evening and I am unable to stop. this is the first weekend in the last two weeks that I’ve stayed in the same place for two days. my mind is already restless. but. I am enjoying my time here. in the middle of woods and forests, riding a bike before dinner that consists of pancakes with marmalade and a cup of hot tea. every time the clock rings I jump up. I am never ready for it. I have been listening to music and writing for three or four hours now, my eyes are getting tired, my neck sore. and I keep thinking of the future, of my future journeys, of endless hours on the train, of all those words I haven’t written yet. in front of me is a notebook that I’ve been scribbling notes into. train departures, currency conversions, flight dates, story ideas and outlines of perfect sentences that are yet to be. and all I am thinking that this is what my life is supposed to be like. living out of the suitcase, writing, embracing the restlessness. because that’s who I am. one thing I love the most about being away from electrical devices is time that is all of a sudden free. I can read for hours, I can take pictures, I can write, I can go for a bike ride, I can wander, I can visit places I haven’t been to yet, I can visit places that are so familiar, I can have a glass of wine. without feeling guilty. and tomorrow is another day.