Saturday, 12 March 2016

Where did my English go?

Me: *reading the squillionth building sign of the day*
Me: Oooo department for technical listening!! *puzzled yet excited face*
Her: You mean sound. It's the audio-visual department of the university or whatever!
Me: Ohhhhhh! Sound!! There's an English word for 'technical listening'?!

See also 'pleasure harbour'. My continuation of Englishloss continues and at some point over the last few days, I've lost my few remaining marbles. The irony is, my English vocabulary departed just around the corner from Zagreb's polyglotte institute. So if anyone sees my scattered ooodabdabs lying around, can they be posted to Split? Carrier pigeon would also be fine.

This was obviously followed by another senior moment in La Struk where I was doing a Dan Brown with some mysterious codes.
Me: UO, er UO1, and UO2? Eh? What's UO in Croatian?
Her: That's a table number.
Me: Uoooh! D'oh!
Still, I wasn't the one who kept pouring bad vinegar over my dinner. Or stubbing my already sore big toe on flat pavements. Or giving us both hysterics in scholarly bookshops over books about flies liking poop. Honestly what a pair of specials.
The helpful owner of our rented flat had picked us up from the initial confusion of Zagreb bus station. Very much in large city mode, I'd assumed that the place was huge and required public transport at all turns. So I was dreading the solo return trip from the kolodvor autobus, so I made certain mental notes regarding landmarks. The building itself was utterly charmless and on the day it opened, I hope the architect struck himself/herself off the professional list.
Very shortly we were in quiet suburban streets, yet according to google maps, we were only 20 minute walk from the main town square. This was when I realised this was no ordinary capital city. The apartment was large, clean, tasteful, and perfect in everyway - I decided that this could easily become home for a month and a plan will be hatched when I have access to a computer.
We offloaded little and large baggage and trammed it into town, avoiding the local boys messing around at our tram stop. We touristically failed to pay and hung on for dear life as it careered off down the road. Alighting at the main square, we had arrived in the grand metropolis of Zagreb, so we went in search of beer and ćevapi. Not that we are food obsessed or anything.
We managed to get entirely distracted by shops and arcades along the way. But I now know where to get a full set of fake diamonds to go with the electric blue fishtail gown, not to mention tiaras, belly dancing face and body chains, and synthetic hair pieces. I can feel a new image coming on. Not that they'd have appreciated it in the large pub we found - it was all very sturdy and real beers in there. The sausages I ordered were to keep me going til the following morning!
Despite the drizzle, my guide gave me a whistle stop tour of the city, including tracking down her friend's new cafe, and a lovely place to have tea and cake. I had plenty to do when I was wandering around alone on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. She had plans to see other friends in the evening so after dropping me back at the flat, she went out. I was more than happy to have a hot shower, then sit in my massive bed, reading, relaxing and catching up with people at home. The flirty one had been living up to her name in Versailles.
I had a strange moment that evening when i just wondered how the hell I'd got here. Thinking about the incredible journey across Europe, the avalanche of words and linguistic isolation, and just the complete randomness of stuff. A conversation with a well travelled type brought me back to planet earth - if you want something bad enough, you make it happen, with a touch of luck and a grasping of opportunities.
Anyway after a brief exchange with the sociable one, I assured her that I wasn't hungry and was content to be alone. I was simply glad that she was spending valuable time with her friends and their newborn. Everyone should have a taste of the special kind of Lou crazy. Truly, she has made the past few days really great - and we hadn't even experienced the ice cream parlour from heaven yet! That was to come...

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