I'm on holiday, and so is my psyche

There’s nothing like having time to reflect on life’s big questions — such as why Croatians are so tall

By Simon Round, August 12, 2010

Part of the reason I enjoy holidays so much is that they give me time out to reflect on what is really important in life – a respite to let my thoughts wander to subjects and places far removed from the normal workday existence, as the waves lap onto the shores of the Adriatic.

Therefore, like Byron, Hemingway and Greene before me, I have decided to share some thoughts and reflections from abroad in the hope that I may have distilled something of the true essence of the human experience. Here is a selection of my journal entries from Croatia's Dalmatian coast …

How come now that Croatia is in the free world, the passport officials are still clearly communists? I must look up Croatia's war record.

No-one here has heard of Shreddies, so I am eating tomatoes for breakfast. The tomatoes here taste much more tomatoey than at home, but the cucumbers taste exactly the same. I wonder why that is?

No one told me that Croatians were so tall. Jews, who after all originate from only a few hundred miles the other side of the Mediterranean, are all a foot shorter. It seems so unfair.

If Hemingway wore flip-flops, how did he get rid of the blisters?

I have decided to use this holiday to synthesise as much vitamin D as possible by means of sunbathing. But how will I know when I have a full tank?

Adrian Chiles is half Croatian. Revealingly, no one has heard of him here.

I have just looked up Croatia's war record on the hotel computer. Hmm. Perhaps I should have gone to Serbia instead… or maybe Macedonia.

I am trying to work out whether the European Athletic Championships coverage works better in Italian or German. The German pundits are standing up in the studio with laptops in front of them – I think this is supposed to make them look more dynamic. The Italian commentators are talking very loudly. The French seem to be winning a lot of medals.

Among the tips for travellers printed by the Croatian tourist board (including the tap water is safe to drink; the local currency is the kunar…) is the rather more esoteric "do not overestimate your capabilities". Good advice I think.

The fact that my back has turned bright red might indicate that I have reached my vitamin D ceiling.

Interesting that the hotel food is communist but the prices are capitalist.

Don't bother watching BBC World News unless you happen to be a business person living in Singapore. The yen is down, by the way. I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing.

I wonder if Hemingway wore flip-flops on his holidays. If so, how did he get rid of the blisters?

I have just eaten Greek salad followed by pizza. Geographically, I am situated between the first and second course. I am feeling quite centred.

A Croatian woman has just won the high jump at the European Athletics Championships. I am not surprised – everybody here looks like either a high jumper or a shot putter, and many of them are strangely reminiscent of Adrian Chiles.

The Singapore dollar is up against the yen and the euro. Dollar rallying against sterling. More business news on the hour.

There are very few Germans here yet the towels are still on the loungers every morning before eight o'clock. I am beginning to think that the Scandinavians were to blame the whole time.

Last updated: 3:55pm, August 17 2010


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