I slowly wake from a brief nap to the sounds of splashing and kids squealing in the water polo area just outside my window. My eyes adjust and the first things I see are the lace curtains moving gently with the sea breeze and the green-gold palm leaves fluttering against the pale blue Mediterranean sky. Today I swam down the coast the furthest I ever have, probably two miles round trip, and combined with a relaxing shower, the afternoon nap was inevitable.
Typically I only swim around a mile a day and spend the rest of my time enjoying my new found buoyancy by laying on my back and watching the colorful parasails drift by. Today each time I was about to turn around I would come upon a shimmering school of brilliant blue or lemon colored fish and swim with them a little further. Then I would find myself at the tip of a jetty where curiosity would get the best of me and push me to see what was on the other side.
Occasionally I will cross paths with someone on an inflatable raft but most of the time, in the blue water on the sea side of the buoy lines, it’s just me and the parasails. I’m not into tanning or laying on the beach but I can swim and float for hours. A questionable source told me that there were no sharks here and I’ve chosen to believe him. My main concern is sunburn and to ward off that I sometimes wear a shirt as I swim.
…A small boat just pulled up to the shore of a swim area with the bow filled with fruit. You chose the peach, plum or wedge of watermelon you want, he puts it on the scale, you give him a few kuna, then go back to your beach towel and enjoy it. He weighs anchor and repeats the process beach after beach, day after day. As a waiter told me yesterday he has only about three months to make his living so he works everyday from opening until closing. He seems to be telling the truth too as he has served me both my early morning coffee and late night meal. Tourism is Podgora’s main industry and by the end of October most things are closed up tight. After October some of the tour boat captains will return to being fisherman but for the service and retail employees there are few options. My landlord sighed yesterday while removing her plain white work shirt from the clothes line, “I wish I at least had a prettier uniform”. She is employed at a local market, but only for the summer.
Floating below the parasails I ask myself, “How in-the-hell did I get so lucky?” Hard work, investing in my education, taking risks, living simply, genetics, kind people, luck of birth…
“Let the sharks come, I’ve had my share of good swims.”