Blowing into Split and hiding from the mankinis


Phone rings at 7:10.  They haven’t unlocked our connecting door yet so it is Noelle seeing if we are ready.  Need to be in Theater to be sent out for walking tour at 7:45.   Crud.  Turn on fast mode.  Do everything needed to get ready, sharing one yard square bathroom w/Cristina.  7:25.  Realize, no time to eat breakfast.  7:30. Unpacking purse and packing beach bag.  7:35.  On mission to get up to 9th floor, get beach towels, fill water bottle and get fruit. 7:40. Discover towel stand isn’t open.

Have to traverse pool deck to reach Windjammer food place.  Wind is crazy and snatches hat right off head.  Lunge for it and it hops away.  Lunge. Hop. Lunge…  It’s like a Woody Allen movie.  Cliché but almost magical and am giggling and wishing girls could see how silly this looks.  Finally hat gets wedged between two lounge chairs and I save it. 7:45

Get water, bananas and apples. 7:46 Rush back down to 4th floor theater.  On wrong side of boat.  Can’t ever remember what is difference between starboard and the other board. 7:48.  Run into Theater and they are calling out the tour numbers.  Look for girls.  Don’t see them.  Wonder if they’ve already left because they predicted I’d be late and said they wouldn’t wait for me.  Would they really leave me.  7:49.  Girls come strolling in.  I confess no towels.

We walk down to the number caller outer and she gives us round purple stickers with “6” on them.  We decide to make a dash into our room again on the way out to get towels.  Get them hurry outside and are still only the second family to make it to our line up.

Don’t get huffy about being chumped into showing up early.  Patiently wait and are rewarded with adorable Croatian tour guide in white pants, blue tunic and fashionable blue wedgies.  She tells us the incredible history of this much occupied and invaded ancient place.  Things we have no idea about.  And then we are in the center of the old town which happens to be built around the original 1700 year old castle.   It is amazing not only because of how old and at times almost perfectly preserved it is (“The Cathedral is the Oldest Intact Building in the Entire World”).  But because people are still living in and all around it.

We had planned on being dutiful students for two hours.  We are enchanted and awed and entertained.  Say bye and go to open market.  Buy two baskets of raspberries.  Go to pastry shop.  Try to buy many good things.  But nope.  She doesn’t take euros or credit cards.  Their money is called Kunar (or at least that is what is sounds like).   Decide to eat back at ship.  Smuggle berries thru security.  Do our business and leave ship again headed towards beach.

Walk up around hill on charming narrow road.  There it is! Beach! Wind still whipping.  Rent white loungers.  Chair guy says umbrellas come with chairs but it is too windy.  Get settled.  Wind feels good as counteracts warm sun.

Girls complain about mankinis.  Men to the left of us are doing yoga poses on one leg– in mankinis.  Man strolls past us with big tummy almost completely obscuring front of his mankini.  White one with blue waist band.  Stripes.  Stars.  Black.  Pink.  We are in mankini-land.  Tell girls to get used to it.

Am reading but also looking.  Have been watching pattern plus stripe mankini guy two rows away and to the side having battle with beach umbrella.  He puts it up and sits down under it.  It blows over.  He pops up and puts it back up.  It blows almost over.  Puts it back up.  Blows inside out.  Fixes it.  Finally wind has had enough.  Blows so hard that the cloth part of the umbrella is whipped completely off leaving only the skeleton of shiny metal spokes standing.  He tries to put the cloth part back on.  Eventually gives up.  Closes up metal parts and wraps cloth part back around it.  Pretends to make it look normal.  Walks it over to pile of umbrellas and hides it underneath so chair renter guy won’t get mad.

Plan to stay at beach until we are ordered to be back on ship.  Wind eventually dies down.  Even with an umbrella, we’ve had enough mankinis for one day.  Head back to ship an hour early.