“The best days of my life.” I read that in an introduction of a book yesterday and it got me thinking. That statement can only be made in retrospect. To be “the best” you must go beyond those days and onto the other days that make up your life. So we can only see our “best days” by looking backwards. Have I lived “The best days of my life”? I don't know, perhaps, some were pretty great, but I tend to be an optimist so I have high hopes for the days ahead too. Of course you can argue that the 7th and 8th decades of life are more commonly associated with morbidity and death than with great personal achievement so perhaps I have lived “The best days of my life”. I guess that could be a little depressing but there is another way to look at it. The pressure is off. I've done it. All I need to do now is make today pretty damn good. Heck, I can do that and if I have time I'll look back and see if I can figure out which of those days behind me were, “The best days of my life”.
Omis Croatia. I suspect if you google it you'll read a lot of great things about this little town and its rock climbing, rafting, canyoning and sandy beaches. Most beaches around here are pebble, not sand. But google is not how I learned about Omis. I heard about Omis from a ships captain back in Split. He grew up in Omis and when I asked him if he could recommend a small town on the coast where I could settle for a while he immediately nominated his hometown.
Before I started this trip I figured that after five weeks of traveling and arranging transport and lodging every few days I would appreciate a chance to settle down for a couple of weeks in a quiet little writers garret. Pre-departure I thought that would be somewhere in Istanbul but when given a choice I always choose the smaller town over the larger and when you throw in a five minute walk to a sandy beach the decision becomes even easier. But this is a popular tourist area and prices are highest this time of year. I told the rental agent what I wanted to pay for a room and that I would extend beyond four days for the right price. We looked at a private room with its own bath and a window facing the sea. After the owner, a grandma who spoke only Croatian and German, and the agent talked for a while he turned to me and said that I could have the room for the price I wanted if I would stay for ten days. That sounded so awesome I felt like giving grandma a high five but I figured that would be a little over the top so instead I just shook her hand. She appeared happily surprised by the handshake and equally pleased with the business arrangement.
“Sports Bar”, I have always laughed at the idea that hanging out at a bar could in anyway be associated with sport. But today I was walking the streets of Omis in the midday sun in search of a Sports Bar. I needed a fix, not a drink but to watch a stage of the Tour de France,(TDF). Sure enough, two of the six TVs at the Hattrick Sports Club were tuned to EuroSport Live and the TDF. It was noon on a Sunday so only two Hattrick regulars were there working on their half liter curls, neither seemed interested in cycling. I ordered a cold Karlovacko and started curling with the regulars.
On my way to the Sports Bar I stopped in at one of the outfitters offering rafting, kayaking and canyoning. I had never gone canyoning and it sounded pretty exciting plus it included lunch. The young sales woman was delighted I was interested in her products but I could tell she was not so sure I was ready for canyoning. She said, “Come in, I show you pictures”. She emphasized, “there is no boat with canyoning. You must wear neoprene and helmet to protect from cold water and rocks and you must wear closed toe shoes, no sandals. It’s adrenaline.” She showed me pictures of people climbing with ropes, body surfing rapids and mentioned something about a 40 meter waterfall. Then she said, “You need to be strong to pull yourself up the rocks, we don't even let children under eight do this. They are not fit enough.” Then she paused and slowly looked at me from the top of my white hair down to my dusty Merrill boots and in a voice filled with doubt she said, “I guess you fit enough”. Reflexively I checked her out from her long brown hair down to her pink open toe sandals and concluded the flaccid armed, broad beamed sales agent was not ready for canyoning either. “You need to be strong to pull yourself up the rocks”. I told her that I needed to think about it a little longer and I'd get back to her. The truth was I had already made my decision, all I need now is a pair of closed toe shoes. I'm going canyoning!