Well today was my last day on the MS Naval, I woke up at 6am, (which I absolutely couldn't believe) of my own accord in a lot of pain from the various injuries I has sustained as a result of last night's antics, but not actually hung over and feeling really good. Now the debate, about whether or not to go back to bed for the extra hour before my alarm went off or to get up. I decided to get up for no other reason than the fact that I knew the passengers would all be hung over and the showers (which are communal on this boat) would be free.
I had an amazing hot shower and washed my hair and then set about inspecting the damage. Joey, the crazy American was asleep on the back of the boat, but other than that it was fairly minimal. We set sail for the island of Korcula at about 8am, my new home. This is where I'm moving. I had loved my time on the Naval, but after what seems like three years without a home, without a room or space of my own I was gagging to see my apartment on the pretty little island.
I went down to breakfast, though not before realising my thongs were missing. Maybe I left them on Mlini? I thought to myself. Who am I kidding…they could be on any boat in the harbor after last night. It seemed they definitely weren't on my boat though as, as soon as I mentioned my missing footwear all the sailors immediately started to look for them for me. God love them. I explained it was ok, and not to bother as they were cheap shoes which were easily replaced. The fact that I couldn't remember where I had left them was really bothering me.
I had my breakfast and shared my tale of the missing shoes, and no hangover with some of the passengers who got a laugh out of it. I hadn't been that drunk, I actually remembered taking them off in my cabin before I had gone to bed. In the end I went up for a better look and found the missing thongs in my Sail Croatia satchel…why they were in there, no idea. At least the mystery was solved.
At around 9:30am we arrived as the island of Korcula and I met Dunja who was waiting for me on the dock. This is going to be my flat mate and the girl I'm working with until I start with Med Experience in July. Dunja is from a Bosnian background and speaks the local language, but has lived most of her life in Perth. Her family emigrated during the war when she was eight years old. We gave out briefings on our respective boats…well I had given mine before I had come into the port I also had to give another welcome speech as everyone who had joined in Dubrovnik had joined at all odd hours and this was the first time I had them all together. It was pretty rushed as they were all hung over, eating and not really listening.
Dunja did the speech on Mlini, the boat I had been on last week and then I joined her on that boat for a chat and so she could show me the plan for the Buggy and Kayak excursions for the day. Bobo was already making her a drink when I arrived. It was 10am. Dunja immediately asked Bobo to make me one, and while I initially hesitated, I decided that what Bobo was making looked really good and I may as well have a drink with my new friend. We sat and drank the cocktail, which seemed a bit like a Mojito with sugar and crushed limes, quite refreshing actually.
We chatted, all the while Bobo flirted shamelessly with both of us, cheeky bastard. I walked around the deck and found Toni ankle deep in the water by the dock, cutting up and gutting small fish. I was glad I wasn't hung over at this point. Shta Ima? Said Toni looking up at me with his piercing blue eyes and a cheeky grin on his face, which I now knew meant "What's happening?" Nishta, I said, "Nothing" the only way I knew how to respond.
Another two boats pulled in of the six Dunja and I would have to look after, Novi Dan and Maestral. We were still chatting and drinking and didn't even notice the boats pull in; the Captains had been told to call us when they were twenty minutes away, but had failed to do so. It was not panic stations to get our stuff together and go and give out Korcula talks on board the boats. I had nothing rehearsed for this so I just kind of had to wing it at this point:
Welcome to Korcula guys! I said in a loud voice, The biggest party in Croatia, now met with loud whooping. Korcula was the fabled birthplace of Marco Polo, who was one of the world's greatest travellers, he travelled overland from Venice to Beijing! (Kind of like me) The islanders are very proud of this fact, so everything here is named after Marco Polo! If you're looking for something to see, there is the main church called St Marks and the old town looks a bit like Venice, with lots of Venetian lions and Italian renaissance architecture. (End history part of talk before everyone falls asleep.) To get into town, you must take that road (points) up and to the right. PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW THE SIGNS! The signs are for cars because it is a one way street, the road down and to the left is a road to nowhere. Just a little bit about the plan for the rest of the day, at 4:30pm you will have your kayaking excursion and at 9am tomorrow morning the buggy excursion. Tonight, we have booked you a dinner at one of our partner restaurants, I will come and collect you for it at 7:45pm, our special Sail Croatia deal is that you get a whole pizza and a beer for 55 kuna. After that, we will all be going to Dos Locos, the best party in town, to party with the crazy owner who gives everyone free shots, (again met with loud whopping at the mention of alcohol) and then after that if you guys haven't had enough we will go to and after party and a really cool club called Gaudi where you can party until 6am or when your boat leaves whichever comes first.
At this point I now asked if anyone has any questions or wants to book bike riding for tomorrow and I sit in the salon on this boat writing out vouchers for about twenty minutes before heading back to Mlini where Toni makes me what he calls a weak coffee. It's of the Turkish kind so it's consistency is a bit like mud, I drink it to my surprise, without sugar and it is really good kind of a dry dusky flavour. I am now alternating between alcohol, coke and coffee. Toni sits down at the table opposite me, grins at me and again asked, Shta Ima? I just grin sheepishly back at him. I really need to learn some Croatian.
Nikki, the rather insane owner of Dos Locos has now turned up to take us to the apartment. I have a truckload of stuff to take. Apart from my life in a collection of several bags, I also have a printer and a bike to take up to the flat which is about 4km out of town. Just because Nikki has arrived, doesn't mean we are leaving. He stays and has a coffee with Captain Gordon and the boys for about an hour. Bobo makes Dunja and I another cocktail. I ask him for a liquid cocaine, but alas he is out of absinth.
We load up Nikki's car and then drive into town and get dropped off. Dunja needs to get some kind of permit to drive on the island, something that doesn't concern me, as yes, I know it's bad, but I STTILL can't drive. Which no one here I tell seems to believe. This is why I have the bike. After we get the paperwork sorted we head to Gaudi's for a "Business meeting" with Antonio. Who has told us to come and see him for coffee, or should I say "coffee". I have learned now, that when a Croat business owner asked a tour leader to come for "coffee" it means, come to my bar where I can ply you with alcohol and we can talk business. Sure enough Antonio brings us shots while we are sitting on the walls in the sun overlooking the crystal blue ocean. It starts to rain and we move into the café area of the bar, where we discuss the fun we are going to have and provide our clients with over the summer. Glow in the dark body paint and foam parties…..this is my business meeting for the day.
Nikki collects us again and this time we drive to the flat and I unload about half the stuff I have managed to lug all the way from either Split or Dubrovnik….or the insane amount I have brought from Sydney, including the clothes I had brought for the extreme cold in Russia which never eventuated.
We drove through the country side of the island came out at the apartment block with the green shutters that last week Janice, had pointed out to me. We have a ground floor apartment, as soon as I stepped in the door excitement just took me over. I went into the first room on the right, Dunja said, this is your room. My room. My room! I just couldn't stop repeating it. My room. I finally have a place to call home, where I do not live out of a backpack or have to get up and pack up my life every morning. I can put my underwear in drawers, my toiletries in the bathroom and my teddy on my bed. I'm sure by the end of my rant, Dunja must have been wondering who the hell she was sharing the apartment with. Some Gypsy vagrant, who is easily impressed. "Easily impressed." This is becoming my reputation of with the company.
We only have about forty minutes to get changed for tonight before Nikki gets back to collect us to take the boats to dinner. Penelopa and Navigator have now arrived at the other dock in town, Tonci (Big Daddy) who works on Penelopa is going to take his group to dinner, which is a huge favour as Dunja and I are now looking after six boats and upwards of one hundred and fifty people. This means that I will have to stay at this dock and wait for the passengers from Navigator to get back from their buggy excursion, meaning Dunja will have to get the other boats to dinner. The passengers get back at about 7pm and I need to run back from the other port, where, Mario and Raiko have gotten my bike down from the top deck and I am now pushing it towards Nikki's restaurant. While I am pushing it up the hill in my clubbing outfit, I overhear Bobo telling the passengers on his boat, that I'm his girlfriend and one of them asks, Why is she pushing a bike? Why indeed. Cheeky Bobo, oh well I'll never see those people again, so what does it matter.
I get back to Navigator and all the guests are in the shower trying to get the mud off themselves from the buggy excursion. I now have to float around the boat and try and tell them all what the plan is individually, which will mean I need to stay here until 8:15pm and waste roughly an hour I really don't have. I manage to get them all together and take them to Nikki's place, where I leave them all in the capable hands of the restaurant staff. I go into the kitchen area and Nikki asks what he can get for me, I'll have a mixed pizza please Nikki, Is that all he asks. Yes please, I just need to eat quickly. I attempt to eat my pizza quickly at the bar, Dunja is rushing past me delivering orders and helping the waitress out. Tonci finds me and quickly Shaghai's me into coming and eating at his table with some of the other Captains.
I agree as I'm obviously in the way here, I sit down and also at the table is Mario, the captain of Aurora the mega yacht I was helping Janice with last week. HEY MARIO! I exclaim arms outstretched, with an ever so slight Italian accent. The other Captain is from another company and doesn't speak much English, but has a beautiful singing voice and sits there singing Aria's in Italian. We have the best table in the house, I sit and eat my pizza overlooking the Adriatic amongst the olive trees, picking at a plate of cheeses and listening to the singing of the captain and manage to relax for a bit. Nikki sits down with us and offers me a drink. Can I PLEASE just have a coke, I say, knowing I will not be able to get something non-alcoholic. (I don't really like drinking with dinner) Tonci smiles, fuck off he says and laughs. Nikki looks at me in disgust. Mario tutts. Bloody Croats. I relent and ask Nikki for a beer. I've now finished my meal and need to get back to business.
My next job is to take the company photographer to Gaudi's to meet and greet the owners and to take a few shots. His name is Kai and we walk to Gaudi's and I text Antonio to meet us there, telling him the club will most likely be featured on our website. Kai has a look around, I tell him this place doesn't really start happening until 2am, which is met with a surprised look. Everyone comes here (i.e. we heard everyone down here) after Dos Locos closes. We say goodbye to Antonio, who kisses my hand and I tell him I will see him tonight.
I walk Kai back to Maestral , on the way meeting Toni and Zvonne who are on their way to the club. I have to collect a few things from Naval and give back my room key. I say goodbye to my guys and tell them I will see them in a week. I try and heard them down to Dos Locos and then try to do the same with the Maestral passengers. I then take off the Sail Croatia shirt, which I have put on over my pretty clubbing top and head over to Dos Locos myself. I say hello to a few people I know and sit with Dunja and have a few drinks. I see Toni at the bar I walk up behind him and poke him in the ribs, he turns around and gives me a big grin, Shta Ima! I say. He gives me a big smile and rambles the answer on at me in Croatian to annoy me (He speaks perfect English) Eventually, asks me again, Shta Ima? I reply in English. Drinking, and hold up my Jack Daniels, which of course has been on the house.
A song I like is playing and all the passengers from Naval have now arrived, so I take up my place on the stripper pole. My guys seem surprised and start cheering me on. I get down for a bit, but it appears I have no choice I must stay on the pole. I eventually manage to "escape" the dance floor and I meet Jimmy the security guard who has been charged with looking after Dunja and I. If I hadn't felt like a celebrity before I certainly did now. I have a minder, someone who comes up to me and asks, Is this guy bothering you Kristina? If it's a yes, he is ejected from the club. I come out of the club and am accosted by a group of English guys, apparently my pole dancing really is that good, I have a fan club it seems. I find some of my guys who all high five me and begin to try to convince me to get back on the pole. On the pole! On the pole! They all chant at me. The three hundred people outside join in with them. ON THE POLE! ON THE POLE! Who am I to deny the masses?
I go back inside and get back up on the pole, everyone cheers. The place is now packed and I'm dancing around a pole and everyone is chanting my name, Kris-tin-a! Kris-tin-a! Really good looking guys occasionally get up on the pole with me, dared to by their mates and proceed to take their shirts off and try to get me to dance with them. I'm a good sport, I'll dance with (or for) anyone. The DJ actually starts playing a bit of rock, Bon Jovi, followed by Kiss, followed by Rebel Yell by Billy Idol. I go mad, I am dancing on a pole to music I actually like and everyone is chanting my name. In the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more, I sing. Kris-tin-a! Kris-tin-a!, the crowd chants. With a rebel yell, she cried more, more, more, I sing and swing off the pole.
It gets to 2am and now it is time to heard everyone down to Gaudi's, this isn't hard. I leave and the hundred or so people who are left at Dos Locos follow me to the next club. I enter Gaudi's and give Antonio a fist bump and get up on one of the poles at this club. This is now serious business, this is THE place to be on this island, and the place is full of guys who look like models, I am now sandwiched between two of them on the pole and one guy is sitting at my feet. Their mates are taking a photo, I wrap one leg around the pole for good measure.
Alas being famous has its consequences and Jimmy (my minder) has found me and insists that Dunja and I are to be driven home. I get in his car and we collect Dunja from Dos Locos, she looks a bit worse for wear and a bit tired. I'm still charged and am disappointed to be leaving the club. Jimmy drives us back to the flat, which unfortunately we are not staying in tonight and we drop off the rest of my stuff, pack a bag and head off to Novi Dan which we are sleeping on tonight so we can hitch a ride to Mljet tomorrow.
We arrive at the boats, and I leave my guys a note in brightly coloured markers and post it on the mirror In the salon: "Bon Voyage! Enjoy the rest of the trip. Travel Safe & Party Hard! Love Kris. x" I clamber across all the boat decks to the last boat in the line up and crash out in the guide cabin with Dunja. I think I'm going to like it here.