Now it's time to add parking lots to the list of things that have taken me off guard.
I've been at fault for 2 car accidents in my 12 years of driving. Both happened in Croatia. Both occurred while driving slower than 3 MPH. And both car accidents were in a parking lot.
Now, I realize I am the one at fault. Not Croatia. I understand that. And I've taken full responsibility. But if you are an American driver who learned how to park at Wal-Mart, just know that things are different here. Parking often involves sidewalks - two tires on, two tires off. Parking is often very hard to find. The lines are extremely narrow. Your car will get scraped by someone else's door.
And people often double-park.
Our good friends the Wilsons came to visit right at the end of the tourist season so we decided to take them to the coast of Croatia.
We made a plan to visit one of their college friends who lived 2-3 hours away. Because of the fact that between the 3 couples we have 6 kids, we found it adventageous to plan ahead. On Thursday, we decided to make the trip Saturday. We would leave the house at such-and-such a time so that we could make the right ferry, that would put us in Split by such-and-such a time so we could see the city but make it back on the ferry by such-and-such a time so the kids could get to bed at a decent time. Our plan was foolproof.
Until Saturday morning when I went to the car to pack some things before the trip and found that a van had parked right behind us making it impossible to leave the parking lot. That wouldn't have been so bad except that the van belonged to 1 of 40 fishermen who were already competing in the annual island contest and were spread out along a kilometer of rock on the water.
I stood and looked at the van in disbelief. Are you kidding me?!? You park right behind my car and then go and participate in a competition in which you actually have to sit there the whole time and wait for a fish to attach itself your string?
I walked back trying to hold my composure and found a judge. He was surprisingly very pleasant when I told him the situation with my less-than-perfect Croatian. He promised to find the culprit. And he did. It just so happened that Mr. White Van was near where we were talking. He agreed to move the van as soon as we were ready to go. And he did. And we made our ferry. And we had a great day.
So why did I get so frustrated?
Because I'm still not used to it! I would like to be able to pull smoothly into a wide parking spot, take care of my business and be able to leave without any issue. I guess I'm a typical American who relies on ease and lots of space. Often that's not the way it works here though.
I know it's a small thing. It really is.
Almost as small as the parking spots in Croatia.