New Euro Adventure

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Subj: Zagreb Stroll-a-‘bout

Date: June 2, 2005

Day two in Zagreb.

Time for a stroll around town. I go bouncing out of the hotel and as I pass the lobby, Chuck Berry’s on the radio—“a reelin’ and a rockin…’ Good ol’ Chuck Berry.

Hey, what’s up with him—hope he didn’t die or something? Probably barely hangin’ on—sittin’ in some retirement home somewhere…

Need to find me the perfect euro cafe for starters. Got my map and headed into the plaza across the street. And, whom do I run into? Hare Krishnas. Haven’t seen them in ages. They used to be all over LA LA land. In fact, weren’t they were living at the airport? Whatever happened?

Maybe it’s the outfits—they oughta try a few marketing tips from the Scientologists. Imagine what several celebs would do for Hare fundraising.

Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Jenna Elfman—all wearin’ pink jamies prancing around. Doing the Hare conga line while banging tambourines… Hell, I’d donate money to see that!

Zagreb Hare’s are a bit more laid back. It is early—maybe they need a cup of joe also. Suppose I could ask them café info except they’d wanna sell me a book or invite me to one of their “free” feasts. Adios Hare dudes.

This city is plaza happy. Plazas everywhere and its wonderful. Wandered thru the new plaza and headed over to the old plaza named after Josip Jelacic, a Croatian who, among other achievements, defended the country against Turks. O those Turks, the name is synonymous with trouble.

Anyway, Jelacic plaza is kinda cool—major metro stop with everyone scurrying about.

LA is plaza-less No plaza in LA LA. Actually, we have plazas except they’re for cars AKA: parking lots. Hell, for that matter there’s a plaza in front of every mini mall. Maybe we should re-name parking lots as auto plazas—Porsche Plaza, Clunker Plaza…

Saw this euro-looking coffee shop. There three men crunched up at a little table all on cells looking like former KGB agents… or extras from a Soprano’s episode.

Business types making deals I suspect—not unlike the Sopranos!! This place will do fine.

I get my ultra hi octane coffee—sit, absorb the local color and chart out the day. Zagreb’s my fourth east euro capital.

It is impressive—just under a mill in pop. Here is the political, cultural and economic center of Croatia and there’s a buzz. You can feel it.

Went wandering around with my deer-in-the- headlights look checking the place out. I do like architecture. The Neo-baroque National Theatre…

Buildings define space—establish scale. I’m always in awe. New or old, I never get tired of how urban canyons make me feel.

Zagreb has plenty of both. The buildings are just amazing, reminds me of Budapest.

A very cosmopolitan sorta place. Eclectic with how the buildings old and new work together.

Interesting how they do billboard style advertising without billboards… but with style.

They wrap buildings in printed see-thru canvas advertising whatever. Way more stylish than the billboard mania of LA LA land.

 

 

Thousands of gargantuan size billboards built on huge tubular columns.

They’re so oversized and all over the LA landscape—totally ugly - ugly - ugly

I give this place credit—they blend capitalism and style in areas where it matters.

Don’t know what it is but there are times I just don’t wanna see museums or churches. Just wanna look around and see how life is lived. Check out the people and see what I can see…

And one thing I see for sure is they got some really tall people around here! This one fellow comes down the street and he coulda stepped right over me!

 

There no tour buses in
Zagreb, the Info center has
maps for a walking tour.
Sounds good.

Found myself on self-guided walking tour and I found myself spotting the little things…

 

I hit a street sign, which surprises me—Frankina Roosevelta. Yup it’s FDR and he was quite a hit in Zagreb back in the day. He knew Serbia and Croatia would never get along and should be independent counties. Took a while not to mention one messy little war in the ‘90’s. Doubt you’ll see any Georginka Bushka streets around here any time soon.

 

Around the corner it looks they’ve done a statue to another American icon—fat people. Talk about the middle age spread. Turns out he’s Croatian poet—Marku Marulicu.

He lived during the Middle Ages and created the term psychology. It does have a poetic ring to it, I suppose…

Then there are things you’ll never see in LA—like cars that make sense. Sure they got plenty of larger cars but nothing like what we do—Hummers and Escalades… They drive small and smaller.

Then again I wonder what that walking redwood drives. Doubt you’ll ever see him in one of the little dwarf cars they got around here. His knees would be smashed up against the roof.

Then there are things you’ll see in any county at any time—mom and daughter getting together gushing over the little one.

Centuries old bond that only a mother and daughter know. They were going at it just a few minutes earlier. Whatever issues there were between them—they’re gone … a least for now.

Started feeling guilty I wasn’t checking out the Zagreb art scene. This city is full of museums. I started hitting ‘em up as they crossed me path. Contemporary—classic—modern…

There was one museum in a former synagogue, which was a little weird.

Loved the show by Croatian artist Josic Vanek. A very haunting self protrait for the poster. Gotta get a poster.

I think the classics do me in. One after another, floor after floor… All I really want is a bench.

Sad to say but I probably won’t be going to the Louver anytime soon.

It all starts looking the same—Kinda like window-shopping. Plus my feet—maybe it’s the shoes…

Speaking of which I’ve noticed they do like looking at shoes in Zagreb. Everywhere I go, people lookin’ at shoes. They have shoe stores like LA has wanna-be actors.

So glad I spent all that time shopping for shoes before I left because this place is shoe store heaven. Lots and lots of little boutique shoe stores.

 

I asked a couple people and they didn’t know why, they just like shoes in Z land.

I wanted a pair of dress sandals for black jeans and couldn’t find a pair in LA. American style men’s sandals are very sport or beach orientated.

They are big, clumsy looking with straps and whatever else they got stuck on them. Maybe l’ll find something here—god knows I could use something a tad more comfortable…

 

 

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