>my heart was hot within me, while i was musing the fire burned
>okay, i know this photo is super-small, and you’re gonna hafta squint to make me out, but this is the first released publicity shot of the cast of my reality tv show – i’m in the back row, 2nd from the right in the blue. there are 10 men and 6 women in this photo. there were actually 8 women, but for some reason, they have been photoshopped out of this photo (i remember when we took this photo, the 2 other ladies were definitely there). anyway, more details as they develop about the show…the premiere is still september 4th at 10:30pm on channel 4…. just thought i’d drill that into ya!
dubrovnik….last stop on the trip. as the bus from sarajevo swung into the blazing heat of the adriatic coast, i looked down at my beaten and battered passport . . . 67 stamps and none the wiser.
during the war for independence in the 1990s, the town was cut off from the rest of the world by serbian forces. a sea blockage and heavy artillery attack lasted for seven months and the town was systematically ruined even though it did not have any strategic significance.
today, rebuilt and restored, it is included in UNESCO’s world heritage sites.
the four sided outline of the old town, surrounded by its fortified towers and the stone bastions, lines the city walls. among the red roof tops it is possible to make out the aristocratic palaces, church spires, huge tureets and gates, the old port and new beaches. the vision melts into the blue of the sky and depths of the adriatic sea. in the distance is the lush green island of lokrum and the grand yachts and sailing boats.
the orange of the stone buildings changes tone in the setting sun, while the city walls look majestic against the navy blue of sea and sky.
dubrovnik is everything i pictured in my dreams. a marbe-stone-slab-old-city, encases in walls. damanged throughout time by marauding turks, earthquakes, 2 world wars, the yugoslav wars, but the people still thrive and the town still stands. saints and crosses bless the area. less people live within the city walls than 500 years ago. now it’s all business and cafes. then it was a community. the swallows own the old town. they fill the air with their swarms and squeaking hisses. i assumed they were bats at first. drink from d’onofrio’s fountain….the old aquaduct used to fill it centuries ago still seen on the walls. pharmacies from the 1300s, tourists from germany, finalnd, turkey. ancient churches funded by richard the lionheart. women who, angered by the need to become a nun when unmarried, set fire to the convent and ran away.
here in the city, everyone knows everyone. they’ll see you each day. they’ll know your secrets. they’ll confess to the priest. the priest will spread your misfortunes. dubrovnik is like an old village you can never farm. the rector is chosen at the end of each month.
i could write here forever amongst the swallows and bougainvilla and purple blossoms whose name i don’t know.
entering the city at dusk, the swallows swarm above your head, the sound is deafening.
but the people lick ice cream and pay no heed.
old streets, narrow and stoned, run up and down, some quiet, hiding their secrets in the slabs.
as i was taking this photo, this little girl suddenly turned.
she just looked at me, like she was feeding my pathos to the wolves.
i love this photo. i think i’ll hafta add this one to my list of excellent-estima-photos. how good a photographer am i!!!
i’m sweaty, that’s for sure. it’s fucking 40 degrees outside, even at 9pm!!!
singing their tunes for kunas and quarters.
d’onofrio’s fountain. the water is so fresh and clean, there is no need to buy bottled water. just fill up your bottles at the spout. and i did.
the main street, like a dragging strip with no cars, stretching across, a gymnast thoroughfare.
through the holes and turrets of the city stone walls, you can look out upon beauty.
george bernard shaw visited the city in 1929 and said, “if you want to see heaven on earth, come to dubrovnik.” i concur sir.
this was at the beginning of my stroll along the city walls. notice how i’m not sweaty and gross yet….just wait.
i look like a douche…but whatever.
how cool is that roof?! i know it’s just a roof, but it’s so awesome in it’s antiquity! i want that roof!!
notice the sweat-stains beginning to appear under ye old’ boobies? this is only the beginning…
WAIT! you know what i just noticed?! i’m wearing the EXACT SAME OUTFIT as i did in the publicity shot for the show at the top of this post….the show gave me that bikini, that blue top, and wrap skirt, actually….how funny is that!!!
sail away, sail away, sail away.
the gate to 1838. when you walk through, you know nothing has changed in 200 years.
small residencial streets rise and dip throughout the ancient city.
walls used to be needed for patrolling the perimetre. now, we take in the views and over-work our digi-cams.
i don’t know who F.R. is, but after hundreds of years, F.R.’s imprint still resonates immortally.
the sun bronzed my skin and whitened my eyes. i looked out forever but could only see you.
bells ring out my ears
another cool photo. i would sit on those steps forever, journalling and thinking about the men i’ve loved.
this old woman sat on my steps and knitted, thinking about all the men she’s loved.
okay, here we are at a state of saturation…notice the massive under-booby sweat marks now? a few minutes after this photo was taken, i sat in the shade and dripped as if i had just poured water over my head….i was so sweaty, it was almost oozing out of my skin, crying down my skin.
this ancient latin inscription above this door reads, “my heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned .” it’s from the 39th psalm of David. ironically, this door (now boarded up) used to be the site of an orphanage. unmarried mothers would be cast outside the city walls and bring shame to their families, so they’d leave their babies in baskets on a lazy-susan and hope no one saw their faces.
one morning in 1597, a priest awoke to the sounds of boys playing ball in the street. so angered was he, that he went round to the corner of the cathedral where their ball games were held, and carved this into the stone. in latin, it reads: Pax Vobis Memento Mori Qui Ludentis Pilla 1597.
translated it means: Peace be with you. Remember that you will die, you who play ball here 1597.
historians say it’s the first instance of ball games being mentioned in this region. a few years ago, the croatian football team entered into a tournament, carrying a banner with this saying emblazoned across it.
on my last day in dubrovnik, i decided i’d had enough of the whole museum-church thing, and took advantage of all the adventure opportunities the area offers. so i did a kayak tour! we kayaked to 3 different islands where we did cliff jumping, snorkelling, swimming, and cave diving! dude! i actually did cliff jumping! from like 25 feet up too! it was my first time doing that, and i was absolutely petrified, but i didn’t daudle, i just lept into the air and threw my body into the abyss of open space before the water swallowed me deep into its silence.
each time i plummetted into the water, #1 my bikini top would come up and #2 my left eardrum would smash with pain. i think the pressure of water rushing into it cleaned out some kinda blockage. i can hear a lot better now! anyway, i snorkelled through schools of fishies (that’s right, i said ‘fishies!’), crabs and centipede-like things abounded in the flowing petals of rock-moss. starfishes hiding inbetween stones. my hair and body swaying in the blue. i got my hand full of sea-urchins (can’t get that out of my skin, gotta wait for my body to push them out), and banged up against the rocks, and sweated so much that the salt from my skin mingled with the salt from the water, stinging my eyes.
azur waters, moutains watching high from their perches, fishes danced and jumped up as we paddled past.
where magenta turns to midnight blue. turquoise to sapphire to purple to black. i just floated face down, breathing through my salty snorket, and marvelled at the loveliness of the world. while londoners made long distance phone calls and stared at their computer screens all day, i flated in the richest waters, purifying my skin and singing whale songs in my head.
i will never be here again, i will never lap and swim and dive and paddle these waters again. in fact, this is probably my last backpacking trip through europe ever.
so savour these moments.
the sun had made its pass across the sky, and was changing from white hot to a warm orange.
then before i knew it, i was flying high above the plains of london.
back to a sadder reality.
this has been the best trip of my life.