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Fri Aug 15 2014: Life in Pula


Funeral for Neda's mom

The last couple of weeks have been very busy, arranging Mirjana's funeral and getting all of her affairs settled. I wished I could have helped, but the language barrier meant that it was faster for Neda and Goga to do all the work themselves. I stayed with Tea and we watched movies and played video games together instead.


I taught Tea how to play the guitar. She was inseparable with the instrument after! :)

A night at the drive-in

Neda's always told me that growing up her parents never took any pictures of her. Since she was a younger sibling, there were tons of pictures of her older sister. Neda recounted bitterly, "I guess the novelty of having kids wore off after the first child..." Marcia, Marcia, Marcia...

While cleaning out her mom's apartment, we found a treasure trove of slides and we fired up an ancient, rickety projector (all it was missing was a hand-crank) and made an evening out of it with the rest of the family. There were *TONS* of pictures of Neda! Seems her dad had transitioned from making photos to making slides during Neda's childhood, and since Goga was going through her teenage Too-Cool-To-Hang-With-The-Family phase, all there were were slides of Neda hiking, Neda playing with the dog, Neda in the garden, Neda by the marina...

Her entire view of her childhood was changed overnight!


Rediscovered childhood memories: Neda at the fair

Bullitt the blue sky

Dog Update: Nera didn't stay with us for very long before her cuteness factor scored her a permanent home. I missed the soft patter of her feet on the kitchen floor while I was typing up blog entries on the computer. :(

One afternoon, Neda came home from grocery shopping and announced, "Gene, we have a visitor!" Normally that was my cue to put some pants on. But into the kitchen came another black, furry four-legged friend! "I found him by the marina, he almost got hit by a car. Can we keep him?" I looked at the dog collar around his neck and replied, "We should probably try to find his owner?" "Yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll do that too..."

We put out a notice on all the social media websites that Neda was hooked into. There were many replies reporting sightings of him all over Pula ("Oh, I saw him at the market five days ago!"), but nothing from his owner. In the meantime, since there wasn't a nametag on his collar, I got to name him! I called him Bullitt. :) He was very different from Nera. Not quite as smart, but rambunctious and mischievous. He wanted to sleep on our bed and couldn't seem to remember our home when we went out for a walk. He kept tugging on the leash even when we were outside our apartment. Dumb dog.

It was over a day when the phone rang insistently. A worried voice on the other end meekly said, "Um, I think you have my dog". Neda replied, "If you want to see him again, meet us at the park in 30 minutes". I think she wanted to add, "bring small unmarked bills and make sure no one follows you". Neda wasn't going to give up yet another dog without a fight!

Bullitt's owner met his dognappers later that afternoon, and Bullitt walked over to him when he was called by his real name, Max. Seems that Max gets let out every day to roam the streets and he always come home at night. He lived right behind our apartment which was why he was always straining at the leash when we were coming home. We totally kidnapped this little guy from his daily routine! When Max didn't show up last night, his owner frantically searched the Internet and found our posting. He seemed very relieved to see his dog again.

While walking away dogless, Neda whispered to me, "I think Max would have been better off with us. Did you see how hesitant he was leaving us?" I replied, "Yeah, I think it's called Stockholm Syndrome..."


The pebbly beaches of Lungo Mare

Lungo Mare is a scenic, windy road that follows the shoreline. Cyclists, joggers and strollers take in the natural beauty of the area. The rocky coast is strewn with the occasional pebbly beach along the bays, which are very popular hangouts with both locals and tourists. It's where Neda used to spend her summers, sun tanning on the rocks with her friends.


Having a drink with fellow Croatian bikers!

We have motorcycle visitors in Pula! Neda is member of a Croatian motorcycle forum online and we've been posting our blog reports there. When they heard that we were in the country, Danko and Nives rode into town to pay us a visit. It was really nice meeting other bikers and and we got some great tips about riding in Croatia. They told us that they were headed to Albania in a few weeks, and we were very interested in hearing about that! We really miss our bikes, which were probably somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean right now.


Wishing farewell to Danko and Nives

Salsa dancers in front of the Temple of Augustus

3D-Mapping

The tourism board of Pula puts on many events throughout the city in the summer. One of the more interesting ones is are a series of short 10-15 minute computer animations projected onto the old buildings in the Forum.


Taking a shortcut through the dark alleyways of Pula

Cranes of the shipyard in the distance as the sun sets on the shores of this old town

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