I woke up yesterday morning thinking I would get a ride down to the bus station and catch a bus to the costal city of Rijeka, my first of many destinations. My host was driving into the city (we were in a suburb of Zagreb called Zaprešić 15 km outside of the city) and said I could ride with him and one of his collegues. We got to his work (an autoškola), and he started explaining to me how to get to the bus stop closest to us so I could get to the bus station using public transit (I lived here for a year of my mission, so I know it pretty well). After chatting a little bit with some of his collegues, we found one of them was going to be passing the bus station, so he would give me a ride. I got in his car, and after a brief convorsation, ha asked me, ˝Where are you going?˝ I was confused. ˝To the bus station,˝ I replied (thinking, ˝Duh˝ in my head). He asked again, this time clarifying by asking to where I was taking the bus. After establishing that I was going to Rijeka, he said, ''Just a minute, let me make a call.'' He hung up the phone a minute later and said, ''You can come with me to Rijeka, I'm going there today.'' What luck! that's $30 I don't have to spend on a bus ticket. ''Will it be a problem if we go in a limo?'' I laughed, as Croats like to joke about stuff like that (me thinking he was talking about his own, slightly sub-standard car we were currently in). I said that was fine and off we went. We got dropped off a few minutes later in a shady back alley somewhere in the largest city of a country of 4.5 million people. It was pretty typical of any big-city shady back alleyway, complete with abandoned storage units, dead mice, and gruff-looking slavs puffing away on their $1 cigs. My newfound friend, ''Đimi'' (Jimmy) went into a warehouse and opened a huge sliding door. Behind the door, was a stretch hummer limo. Seriously. No, really, I'm not kidding. I'll post pictures later. Anyway, so instead of paying $30 for a smelly stuffy bus ride, I got limo service for free. Wud up.
I got to Rijeka after an uneventful ride (as uneventful as limo rides are, at least) and passing lots of curious drivers. When we got to Rijeka, we drove the limo right up onto the harbor next to a stuper trendy cafe and fired up the flat screen that rises up out of the trunk. It was to advertise for a Fatboy Slim concert coming to town some time in the near future. Anyway, I parted ways with Jimmy and the two other random Canadians who came with us and made my way to the church. It was very surreal to be walking around a city I served in without a companion, in street clothes, and without an appointment or something to do. I got to the church, and luckily, the elders were there waiting for an appointment. I had taught 2 of them, so it was a nice little reunion. After dropping off my stuff I ran to a store on the nearby Korzo (the main pedestrian shopping drag) to get the cheapest possible cell phone to use while I'm here. $25 later, I was connected. When I asked for the cheapest, most basic cell phone they had, they delivered. I'll post a picture of that later, too (my card reader isn't working, so I'll need to figure out some other way to upload my pictures).
I made a few phone calls, and got an invite to lunch at the Kušen's for Frutti di Mare, my favorite (seafood risotto). After eating WAY too much, we went back down to the church for aktivnost (which flopped... just like the good old days!). Ema and I went to see Clash of the Titans in 3D, then strolled down the Korzo (which I had done many a time in my days as a missionary, but never at 11 PM). We saw a little different crowd than I was used to. It was a completely different world. Girls in mini skirts and 4 inch heels, guys that epitomize the Croatian word ''šminker'' (pretty boy, basically), and even a few ''ladies of the night''. It was quite the eye opener. We got home around midnight, and I crashed on the Kušen's couch bed in the living room. Now, it's 12:30 in the afternoon. I woke up about an hour ago (yes, I slept for almost 12 hours, I'm jet-lagged, get off my back). Today is Croatian Labor Day, so we're getting ready for a barbecue, and nothing is open. Lucky me. So far, the adventure is awesome.