(A little something I wrote in 2009)
I happen to be in Zagreb, Croatia…and the ravishing Ivana is my city guide. The situation could hardly be improved: the city is beguiling, and Ivana’s sleeveless red frock swirls tastefully, tantalisingly around her thighs, appreciably above the knee. Her bob is rakishly tousled, and her lustrous eyes sparkle with intelligence.
‘Cherry liqueur?’ she asks, uncorking a bottle of homemade moonshine. Now we’re talking..
I’d contacted Ivana through an online travellers’ network called Couchsurfing.org. As a red-blooded male, with a healthy interest in attractive women, her profile picture had caught my eye. Now the site is by no means designed for sexual encounters, yet if I am faced with a choice of meeting a guy or a girl, which am I going to go for? Duh! And while I’m about it, I may as well message women a little younger than me, and easy on the eye.
I’d explained to Ivana that I was touring as crew with a rock band – U2, if you must know – and that I had a couple of days in Zagreb very soon. Could she enlighten me on the situation in the Balkans? And might there be a snog? (I kept the last bit to myself.) ‘Bring me some beer when you come down from the gig in Poland,’ was her paraphrased reply. ‘And did you know that Croatia invited the necktie?’ Hmm, interesting girl..
Beauty and brains: the perfect combination. Well, not if you spoke to some of my truck-driving colleagues. Ok, yes, of course I’ve had deplorable nights – both at home and overseas – when the latter has fallen by the wayside on a one-night stand. Oh, very well, and the former. But in general, when lust hasn’t reared its beastly head, I really do thrive on intelligent conversation. If a girl spouts streams of platitudes, or has a ghastly, grating accent, then I’d rather go home alone.
Lake Bundek Swimming
Ivana, however, fits my criteria to a tee. She proves to be a mine of Balkan information as we skip gaily along a smog-choked dual carriageway towards Lake Bundek. ‘The Croatian Parliament’s official language was Latin until the mid-nineteenth century,’ she says, and pauses. A beach pebble is digging into her bottom now. ‘I don’t know how to put myself,’ she fusses, jostling a buttock and smiling.
Behind my suggestion of visiting the lake was an underlying motive. In August, the temperatures are pretty fierce in the Balkans, and just a little sticky. Perfect, in fact, to be in skimpy swimming costumes. Ivana, though, in a display of poor sportsmanship, decides she is remaining dressed, and does nothing more than paddle at the shore. Boo!
As we loll back at the lakeside, I playfully drop stones down her top, wondering idly how the evening may pan out if I play my cards right. You can see why I stick with these rock and roll tours..