|I hear my friends asking, they're asking, "Michael/hey Mike/yo Stupid, where are the photos of this allegedly lovely Shangri-la-de-da called the Wonderful Island of Rab?" To which my gentle reply is, sod off. My camera died. Something about the battery bay not holding a battery anymore. We talked.
So...some highlights for those of you who have not graced these comely countries.
Rab is a sizeable island out in the Adriatic that is bald on one side and green and hilly on the other and in between people glow a mysterious orange that is believed to be healthful. Picture a tour bus filled with, um, enthusiastic professors and grad students as it crests the hill approaching the coast and the Adriatic comes into view. A huge "Aaah" fills the bus and I know exactly what kind of conference this is going to be...there will be a photograph of a matronly Hungarian prof making the rounds on the internet very soon, courtesy of my friend Seb. Let's just say she appears to be selling twin loaves of bread. Offering them, actually.
The hills of Croatia (literally, "land of cheekbones") are a cavalcade of mustard yellow rocks. Years of bratwurst-swilling Germans flocking to the coast discarding their buns have apparently taken their toll.
Highlights of the conference: Brigitte Halford's presentation on her analysis of Canadian "teen talk". The recorded voices of young Victoria males and females was hilarious, but it got even better when a young Canadian grad student, Adam, asked a series of questions. In fact he made a series of statements which sounded like questions, because Adam was unconsciously "up-ticking", using the upward inflection Canadians so often use. This was richly amusing because Adam is one of those serious-faced male undergrads with a full head of carefully tousled hair who never smiles when he's surrounded by a bevy of cooing undergrad women because he's too busy auditioning in his head to be Kerouac or Derrida. And Prof. Halford had just finished talking about the prevalence of up-speak in Canadian adolescents...Adam, welcome to post-grad teen purgatory, dude. You earned it.
Then there was tiny Edwina from Dublin, whose presentation comparing the Quebec film "C.R.A.Z.Y." with a Neil Jordan film was pretty patchy until she inadvertently blurted out the word "blowjob" when trying to describe shotgunning a spliff. That went over well. I must try that sometime.
At the dinner the co-organizer, Eveine, shocked us all by answering my polite question of how a Frenchwoman had come to live in Croatia by telling us this wonderfully romantic tale of meeting the love of her life at 13, waiting ten years and then following her heart and picking up lock, stock and Gitanes and moving to Zagreb. Nice story. Kind of like Jason's. And Sebastien's. Lucky fellows. Who's missing from that list?
The hotel had two swimming pools, a couple of cafes overlooking the sea, a fitness room, and a mascot. I didn't know about the mascot until this friendly Slovene-Croat guy Tomi started following me around. Including to the gym. At 7 in the morning. Now that's a full-service hotel! Fortunately Tomi shifted his mascotting duties to some women with florescent hair which complemented the blonde streak in his mane nicely.
One more short entry to come (I promised! No I didn't! I'm confused! I'm using exclamation points for emphasis!). Tomorrow I head for Nis, where I won't have so much map-making to do. But that's tomorrow, and this is tonight, and there are two Slavic women in this net cafe who are so intimidatingly, casually beautiful that I'm using up all my dinars til my pockets are empty or they throw me out.
Ta-ta for now...