Monday, May 15, 2017

The Dalmatian Man

Vasu Reddy from Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

In my early days of international travel without the mobile, internet and still on road maps and local telephones, I travelled to the old Yugoslavia several times.  When I last visited the Yugoslavia, it was still under Milosevic rule.  I worked the markets in business development for telecommunications, and a beeper was a fancy gadget at that time.  In my many trips to Eastern Europe and travels to lands where I spoke none of the language and many times crisscrossed the world, all I found was support and help to work effortlessly.  Those were the days documenting anything was not as it is today, so only memories of the many wonderful local partners (friends) that remain with me, and their friendship.

I did spend a reasonable amount of time working on Yugoslavia (never got to see a license).  From staying on the Danube in an old fort overlooking Novi Sad, to cross country trip in a Volkswagen from Belgrade to Zagreb, and many wonderful places and people, who remain fresh in my memory.

My travels allowed little time for sightseeing.  Only time to look around was when the local partner made the time to drive around to see the attractions quickly.  In those days, I could not venture out on my own, simply did not have the ability to google as we do today.  You were 100% dependent on the local partners.

One of my trips included a visit to Dalmatian Sea, via Zagreb (now Croatia).  I have purposefully left the names out of the local partners.  The government contact who I was supposed to meet and work with was available only in a weekend.  I was already in Europe and I agreed to spend the weekend, with them working.  I travelled to Zagreb, check into my hotel, and then leave my stuff behind to go to the weekend cottage on the Adriatic Sea.  We briefly spoke of what I was trying to accomplish and working on the deregulation of telecommunications, and then got on a little (single) motorized boat.  Although apprehensive on getting on the ocean on such a small boat, they four of them let me put on a life jacket, and we set off with food for the weekend, and me into unknown.

Luckily for me, the sea was calm.  The four-other people on the boat had never seen or met an Indian person, so they kept me fully occupied with questions, and me responding to each of them.

Check the information on Dalmatian Sea  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmatia

You could look thru the ocean, may be 100 to 200 feet or more and see the ocean floor, white rocks in the blue of the water.  If I am guessing you could see the ocean so clear, it was amazing.  I even saw some dolphins checking the boat out.  If I was brave I could probably reach out and touch them.  I thought they were either tracking us, or showing us the way to the island where we were heading out.  Our destination was an island rock, which simply showed up in the middle of nowhere, and it was steep up hill.  I had no idea on how we navigated to the right island, as there were many that looked similar, and later when we needed some supplies we headed out on the boat to the general store on another little island, and we got back without getting lost.  All the islands were similar.  White rocky islands popping out of the Adriatic, and you can consider the blue ocean as deep as it could get.  Blue and white rocks.

I was happy to have made the trip.  The family was fantastic after they got over their initial Indian curiosity.  They all spoke English so we shared good vibes, and only minutes into getting to know each other, got to like each other.  It was trip I did not plan, but was glad to have made it.

Going back to my main look at the Dalmatian Man.  While we were going into our weekend place on the island, I was observing guys with fishing poles on just about everywhere, and when we went out to get the groceries from the nearby island’s general store, same thing again.  Guys happily sitting and fishing.  I asked my host, what’s going on and why the men happily fishing?

The answer was they simply fished for making lunch or dinner, and they came back again when they needed.  No pressure of work, no pressure of travel or no worries about anything in general.  Probably looking at my face which displayed wondering about the Dalmatian Man, the question to me was why are you doing what you do; work all the time, travel all the time, worry about the world and what’s happening, and everything that I did to live my life.  My answer was simple so that I could work hard and provide for my family, and relax.

With a grin my host asked, what do you think these guys are doing?

Many years after this experience in the Dalmatian Sea, and the wonderful Croatian Family and their hospitality, the whole life revolves around feeding a little stomach and having a roof.  There was very little effort on the happy people of the Dalmatian Sea, who were happy just to be where they were, and there I was running around and chasing the work that did not even exist.  I have often wondered, and I continue to wonder why?

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