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On modern-day pirates, past glory and mouses

August 9, 2009

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The pirates were nowhere to be seen and apart from fortress, the old town showed it had been through better days. At first, the town looked a bit sleepy, but after a few days, we realised there was perhaps a better word for Senj’s sleepiness. 

Numbness. It is not something that looms above the horizon, or depresses you while you are there, but it lingers somewhere in the air, somewhat discretely, and waits to be discovered. The town’s industry collapsed and if it wasn’t for the tourism, it would probably turn into one of those gloomy post-socialism/post-war/post-privatised economy outposts. But it is not. What you can see is that it will not be able to materialise the potential it has, at least not anytime soon. In Senj, the decay that makes little Adriatic towns so picturesque, is stripped of its romanticism like some of its grandest buildings of their facades. No mysteries or charm behind the cracks, just decay.

Odd graffitti

Odd graffitti

But I don’t really want to ramble on about the men-only clientele of local bars that sits around in the mornings, drinking more than just a coffee before lunch and talks about football scores and football-related glory days stories all morning. If there is something piratish in these modern-day Uskoki, it is the frequency of swearing when they speak. But then again, one should also consider the swear-words they are using.

10:30. Temporary out of office, you know where to find me. Every day.

10:30. Temporary out of office, you know where to find me. Every day.

The most frequent one – and it was one I haven’t heard for a while, was: “Jebo te miš.” Literal translation: “May the mouse fuck you”. There are other variations, such as “Fucked a mouse” (jebo miša). In spite appearances, it is not a strong swearword and is used instead of phrases like “damn”, “I’ll be damned”, that’s terrible” or similar. Or just casually slipped into conversation. Like in “May the mouse fuck you, have you read the article on…”.  Not your typical pirate talk, huh?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 10, 2009 2:17 pm

    Great post.

    It always amazes me how quickly some places go into decline. Here in Australia, European culture has only just recently gained a foothold and our (European)culture isn’t old enough to have been through the ups and downs that places like Croatia has.

    We here in the land of Oz have only seen things go up and I think that’s why we travel so much. It helps bring us back down to earth and gives a better sense of perspective.

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