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New Europe

Day Twenty-one: Dubrovnik to Durrës

The Adriatic Paradise 
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Our hostess on the Adriatic Paradise. No-one dared ask her for a cup of coffee.
Michael Palin - New EuropeThe crew of 'Adriatic Paradise' is an odd bunch, consisting of two slightly surly men in their late thirties, and a mysterious and glamorous woman in a low-cut dress, high heels and a black straw hat who we assume is the waitress/hostess we were promised.

'She is Nada,' says the captain, which seems a bit hard, until we realise that this is her name.

At lunchtime she fixes some beers, but totally ignores us after that and spends the afternoon out on deck taking more and more clothes off until she's wearing only her black straw hat. None of us dares ask her for a cup of coffee.

Captain Neven sits behind the wheel, usually on his mobile phone. He's from Zagreb, the Croatian capital, and spends the summer running a boat charter company with his brother and the winter singing in musicals and light opera. Last year he was Judas in the Zagreb production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which had a fifteen-day run. This is apparently quite good for a foreign musical sung in Croatian. In the former Yugoslavia there were much better prospects for shows like this, he says, when five countries shared a language and there was five times the potential audience.

In the afternoon a rubber dinghy, which doubles as the ship's lifeboat, is commandeered for Nigel to take some shots of the 'Adriatic Paradise' in full sail. Unfortunately the dinghy is half-full of stagnant seawater, which, as it's dragged over the side, spills through an open porthole and onto a suitcase of fresh, clean clothes, which an hour later I discover are mine.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Twenty-one: Dubrovnik to Durrës
  • Country/sea: Croatia
  • Place: Dubrovnik
  • Book page no: 53

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