Even in paradise, sometimes the starfish are unsymmetrical and the sharp rocks unforgiving on the feet. Today finds me off kilter and desperately prickly, leaving virtual lacerations on every poor unfortunate that comes into contact with me. I'm the human equivalent of a sea urchin, though whether I have the equivalent desirable squidgy orange female bits which cause them to be cruelly bashed open, is up for debate. We all have our stupid off days, in my case caused by the usual oversensitive overthinking, overexcitment and overindulgence. And now it is probably all over... Still on the bright side, over impetuousness has galvanised me into action. I'm going to Split with a stopover in Mjlet.
People keep telling me how beautiful Mljet is, and due to ferry timetable snafus last year, I missed a visit then. So with this and that in mind, I've booked a couple of nights in Pomena, which should allow a quiet day or so to explore the national park. I can then continue to Split on Friday. Someone said that there was a gathering with the usual chaos, as well as a trip to Hvar on Saturday. With family and friends on arriving Wednesday, next week looks to be shaping up nicely with lashings of positivity.
Which inevitably still leaves me pondering this rather mixed week. On Saturday I lost an opportunity for dancing due to vagueries in an address, and music clearly not being loud enough. I've moved apartments due to my landlord's accomodation logistics - although the large terrace is a plus, especially with a birthday party to organise - I've now got noisy upstairs neighbours. Admittedly I shouldn't complain, I've had a lot of restful afternoons and runaway naps which culminated in an astonishing 5am run on Tuesday. With photos as proof of this madness! As for the reasons for the other malaise; it will pass, it always does.
Moments of triumph include many culinary delights - finally creating the perfect olive bread after weeks of tough buns! I also enjoyed flavoursome stuffed peppers, as well as creating an orange and basil polenta cake. Less tasty, I had a couple of brushes with officialdom, one intentional, one accidental. I obtained my police certificate of registration, and then later in the week tutted impatiently at Croatian dignitaries when they interrupted my evening run. Finally, the other light this week was the daily revelling in the sheer beauty of the turquoise seas. A fabulously generous invite to Lopud for pizza took me out of my reverie for a spell, only to send me back with more dark thoughts; hurtling over an inkly oily sea with a golden moon for illumination - as temporary and illusive as any search for wisdom.
And then there were the stars.
Sumptuous abundance of natural beauty is becoming almost unbearable here. Everything is too majestic; colours too vibrant; sounds of the cicadas deafening; the balmy air and comfortably gentle sea cocooning and suffocating; the night sky too vast and awe-inspiring to contemplate. I've tried taming it with knowledge and a phone app, but that only serves to stress the impossibly large number of zeros around time, distance, and unknowns. Despite my rational insight, this had me reaching into my Renaissance history and the Greek philosophers. Finding analogies and reflections to suit human scale and informed wonder; crabs in cancer, stars in starfish, fleeting movements of surfacing fish firework with atmospheric singeing of rocks and space debris. Always returning to 'as above, so below...'
So what has today's exceedingly tongue in cheek conclusions been? After a day on an exclusive beach with mojitos and wine spritzers, I make no apology for the bitch within because she's making me feel a hell of a lot better.
The fatter the wealthy men, the skinnier the women accompanying them. The hairier the man, the longer the ponytail on the women. The skinnier the women, the deeper the tan and bigger the sunglasses. The more tattooed the man, the more sunburned he is. And some of the guys here have been wearing the same tiny speedos they were given as 10 year olds.
Watching expensive white fish being cleaned, descaled, and rendered palatable reminds me irrepressibly of the sleek, perfect 'class 1' women in this madly expensive bar. Their tiny pointed noses, high bone to selectively plump flesh ratio, downturned pouty mouths, grilled to perfectioned tans, and reflective sunglasses giving them as much personality as dinner. I guess some people would find them tasty...
Personally I prefer a nice flavoursome mackerel. Cheap and cheerful with a patchy tan. See I'm feeling better already. Paradise, with scratched legs and bedraggled hair, needs the prickles and insects to prove I'm here and not dreaming.