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Jamie and the Gentle Giant

Dubrovnik, Croatia

By Michelle Cox

        On Wednesday morning, my friends, Raine, Sarah, Megan, and I walked down to the harbor just a few blocks away from the ship in Dubrovnik.  We had bought tickets for an island tour the night before in Old Town.  When we found our tour boat, a big burly, beer-bellied man named Stravo helped us on board and welcomed us with a nice strong Rum and Coke at 9:30 in the morning.  We all toasted to a beautiful day at sea. 

            Stravo and Jamie were our captains for the day.  They kept us entertained for the day even though all the islands were deserted with nothing to do.  There were just four other Norwegian passengers, the four of us and of course Jamie and Stravo.  We all had a very nice day together and some good conversations.  In talking to Jamie and Stravo, they mentioned how during tourist season they would normally have fifty passengers on their tours per day.  Jamie said that he preferred to have days like these with only ten people on board because he feels like he is with family and he has an opportunity to talk with everyone.  I thought it was funny that he referred to us as being “family-like” because it made me think of Irena Plejic’s article “Fear, Death, and Resistance”.   Plejic talks about how even after the war the Croats still preserve the home life values in that they are always hospitable and the word home is only a material expression of an individual and their family.  I wondered if Jamie had lost family during the war and now maybe thinks of family in a whole different light, hence his reference to us being a temporary family for the day.  Neither Jamie nor Stravo mentioned the war at all that day and I didn’t want to bring it up, so I never learned of their war experience.

            Jamie was right, we were all very comfortable with each other and kept one another entertained as if we were a small family.  He even let us each steer the boat for a good portion of the day.  It was so nice to spend an entire day with such friendly and welcoming people.  Jamie and Stravo were by far the nicest Croats my friends and I had met during our visit to Dubrovnik. 

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