I am sitting between the buttocks of a naked statue and an ancient water pump and in the midst of, alternately, the smell of herbal cigarettes and fried pastry.
Croatian men have deep resonant voices that sound unreal, as in they don’t actually sound real, a bit forced or something. Women too have quite deep voices and I wonder where my own voice comes from, which I can project in a hall but not in a crowd, it kind of warbles weakly and peters out and people lean forward and say, what was that? But they’re always too polite to ask a second time.
Anyway, so I’m here on Tkalc again, same pub as the other night, because who can resist a mild spring night? I passed a sign on the way here, said it was 16 degrees. At home, my other home, Sydney, I would consider that cold. I’d be wearing all my woollens. But here I’m delighted! What a beautiful night!
And so I’m out, alone, being smoked on, sitting between a statue of a naked woman leaning out of a window – it is her buttocks that I am between, I mean, I’m not between her buttocks, her buttocks are immediately to my left – and an old pump – not a euphemism – to my right. And the warm voices of the men surround me, these big Croatian men with their neat beards and large voices and leather jackets, really just like out of a Bond movie! And the cathedral is lit up on the skyline and everybody, fucking everybody, is smoking.