Friday, 18 October 2013

The Great Dubrovnik Pavement Conspiracy, part 1

Yes, another dodgy film title. And this one is the first of a two-part series... 

So I arrived in Dubrovnik, got on one bus, attempted to follow the instructions given by the hostel to get on the other bus, except that it seems that construction zones will always get in my way and confuse me. And one way systems will always complicate things.

And off to the Dubrovnik Backpackers. I went to check in, and a sweet old Croatian lady said "oh, you must be Anselm? Did I pronounce it right?" Homely. I liked the place already.

Half my kuna down, and I attempted to get into my room. And failed to work the lock. I got bailed out by Andrew, one of the other guys in my dorm. In a fashion characteristic of this trip, we worked out that we were hungry so wandered down to a local place for food, meeting the other dorm-mates (Alice, Niall and Tom) on the way. They were all coming to the end of their trips, and had gone to the beach. Best way. But Alice is from Perth, and they have better beaches than Dubrovnik. Who knows.

A good pizza down for what turned out to be very good prices for Dubrovnik (didn't stop me feeling stingy after Serbia and Bosnia though), we jumped on the bus to the Old Town, hoping that the 3000 people who had been getting in the way of everyone else all day had got back on their cruise ships and gone to get in the way of some other people somewhere else.

We'd bought a bit of beer for later too, which meant I'd run out of space in my bag and had to attach my flask to the outside.

It came loose, and was still on the bus when I got off.

I got back on, and rushed back through the doors before they shut.

I got out of the doors, but somehow missed the pavement and turned my ankle.

And fell flat on the floor.

Everyone noticed. Everyone. There were lots of people. And a few hot Croatian girls right by there as well. Bad timing. There was even a collective "ooooh". So I got up and tried to walk it off in some vain attempt to save my dignity.

I wasn't walking this one off.

Feeling faint and thinking I was going to throw up, I sat down somewhere and demanded water.

But that didn't do. No Old Town for me tonight. Back on the bus. I didn't feel good at all. I've sprained my ankles many times, but I generally felt horrific. What would this do to my trip? Anxiety is no fun, and I think it was all in the mind, but that doesn't change the fact that the black dog can still come and kick you down.

And then I pressed the button a stop early. Being British, and despite the fact I was barely able to walk, I just got off instead of trying to explain my mistake. Not the smartest idea.

Got back in and went straight to bed. Tried to sleep it off, but got woken up by the owner's son. "I think you should go to A+E". This is what happens when I describe it as "falling out of a bus" in an attempt to make it sound more exciting. No, it's a sprain, and I know what to do about it.

So off to Croatian A&E. Oh how glad I was that I'd visited now and not before the end of July, because I could now use my EHIC card rather than having to make some claim on travel insurance.

Croatian A&E is really efficient too. In. OK, go to this unit. Into that unit. Ask the receptionist where to go. Just go down here on the left. I was a bit confused, so used to the British system of waiting for 4 hours at a time, I sat down.

No, no, the doctor's ready for you.



But he didn't speak much English. This was going to be fun. First question: blah-blah-blah-blaaaaah-blah-blah. It was like some sort of smoker's mumble. I think he was trying to ask where I was from. I pointed at it in my passport to no avail, so got the EHIC card out. And then my driving licence.

Blah-blah-blah-blah- x-ray -blah-blah.

Blah-blah-blah-blah-doctor is coming-blah-blah.

He speaks English.

Phew. As much as I try to speak the language of the place I go, I generally get as far as please and thank you before my mind becomes full. "I turned my ankle and I think it's just a sprain" is a little too much.

Another doctor turned up, and his English was pretty fluent. He poked at the swollen ankle a few times and asked if it hurt (of course it bloody hurts, you're poking the thing!) and then got me to walk a few steps. Well, hobble. Then he determined that it wasn't broken and that it just needed bandaging up and icing and so on. Yes, I knew that already. I don't know why I came here.

Off he went.

The first doctor then wrote "25 kuna" on a piece of paper. You what? Oh, doctor's fee. But I thought my EHIC covered that? No? OK, I'll pay it. It's about 3€. I only have 100 though. He didn't have change.

Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah this is the contents of my wallet. Blah-blah-blah-blah how about you give me the 100 and I just give you 20? No chance.

Luckily the hostel owner's son had the change. Parking money apparently. To be fair, a small fee like that is actually a good idea - keeps people with a cold out of A&E while not being so big that it threatens to push anyone into poverty. But we'll leave the politics for another time.

The owner told me I had her really worried. She then proceeded to mother me, telling me to be careful, to bandage it up and to put peppermint cream on it. And probably some other stuff.

It's like having a Croatian grandmother or something.

Part 2 is here...

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