10and5’s resident existential astrologist Rosa Lyster and photographer Jarred Figgins are currently traveling through Croatia. Check in as they give us weekly updates about Grasevina, stuffed bears, sea urchins, and more.
We arrive in Zagreb but our bag does not. What can give a person more of a profound sinking sensation than standing at a baggage carousel in some tracksuit pants and realising that your bag is just not coming? Everyone else’s bag? Yes. Yours? No. It is so terrible, and the fact that this happens to everyone does not make it any less terrible. Both of our things are in that bag. We both need our things.
The woman at the lost baggage counter is cheery and brisk. This happens all the time! She tells us that our bag will soon materialise, and that it will be delivered to us by another brisk and cheery Croat. By tomorrow morning, probably. We will have our bag again. Hmm. Will we? One of us is optimistic, but the other one, the one who likes to worry about things that are completely out of her control, feels that the bag is gone. The bag is dead.
It’s hard to feel too sad about it, though, because Zagreb is immediately and obviously the best. Flowers everywhere, and strawberries and tomatoes. Cheap wine and bread and so, so much cured meat. I’ve never seen so many nuns in my life, or so many old men with eccentric and time-consuming limps. All the young women have incredible hair. The dogs are plentiful and well-behaved. All the little kids are carrying instruments or playing catches with very serious expressions on their faces. Many stoical babies. Everyone smokes. Everyone likes to eat pastries all day, and stand on the corner and drink what I think is yogurt. Everyone likes to wear an adidas tracksuit and have a weird backpack that says something like “Cuddle Addict” on it. I love it straight away.
Still. The bag is gone, and so on our first morning in the city we must find a payphone and call that nice lady at the airport and say Please. Our bag, please. We need it. There is only one functioning payphone at the flower market near our flat, and it is being vehemently occupied by this man. There he is, exuding a strong and confusing energy, wearing a signet ring and shiny little loafers, and looking as if he is going to be on the phone for the next 50 years. His suit is purple. His voice is loud. He is some kind of advert for continental Europe. He is gesturing furiously and giving whoever is on the other end of the line an extremely hard time. He talks in capital letters.
Finally he puts the phone down and turns to us both and says “I AM SORRY. I AM SORRY. BUT MY BAG. I HAVE LOST IT.” We say us too! We also! “YOU HAVE LOST ALSO YOUR BAG IN MUNICH?” he says. We say Doha. “I HAVE LOST MY BAG IN MUNICH. MY LIDDLE SANDWICHES BAG CONTAINING MY MEDICINES. I HAVE PUT IT DOWN AND THEN I HAVE LOST IT.” We say sorry, that’s terrible. His medicines. “THE MAN I AM SITTING NEXT TO? HE SEE ME LEAVE MY MEDICINES AND HE SAY NOTHING. I CURSE HIM.” We say wow. “I CURSE HIM. I CURSE HIS NAME. I PRAY TO JESUS AND TO THE MADONNA THAT I MAY NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN.” His ears are going the same colour as his suit.
He is smiling, though, the whole time. We are too. He talks and talks and waves his hand around and cannot seem to shake the impression that we too are coming from Munich. I like him a lot. I hope his name is something like Abelard. I hope he finds his medicines.
He leaves, eventually, after wishing us luck about thirty times and praying to Jesus and the Madonna that we may all find our things. We phone the airport and the nice lady says yes! We have your bag! We leave the flower market, so happy, and I try to take a photo of some tulips and an old woman in an adidas tracksuit rolls her eyes at me, and that’s our first morning in Zagreb.
All photos by Jarred Figgins @ormsdirect