Sep 3:  Ostrog to Budva

A booming voice at reception woke me at an unknown time.  My room was on the second floor but near the stairwell that went down to reception, and there was a gap above my door that let noise in.  I heard that same booming voice last night till 10pm, when reception closed.  You're locked out if you're not in by 10pm.

The guys came back to my room at 6:45am, got their bags and went out to breakfast.  I resumed sleeping till 8am.  Best night of sleep so far.  Bro, this was the call.  The guys claimed they also slept well at the Upper Monastery, but Buz had a light in his face the whole night.  And really, if you're up at dawn, you didn't sleep well.

I wrote this in the journal here but I don't know where it was supposed to go chronologically:  Back at the pension in Sarajevo, I had a problem getting comfortable with the pillows.  Sue said she had the same problem, and solved it by putting her head between two pillows.  I wanted to say "those aren't pillows", but I assumed the reference would be lost.

I headed to the cafe for breakfast and took a few pics along the way...

The valley again.

Upper Monastery.

Upper Monastery and our quarters (bottom right), so you can see how far we had to hike.  It was more up than far.

I got to the cafe and found everyone else there.  We still had some time so I had an omelet.

The minibuses arrived (with our bags, which we'd left at reception to make things easy) and took us back down to the other side of the valley to the bus stop (just an apparently unsigned trash-strewn island where two roads met).  On the way down, Buz reportedly saw a car with a New Jersey license plate.  We took a 3-hour bus ride to Budva, the "Montenegrin Miami".  Along the way we made several stops in what looked like a decent-sized city.  I thought it was the capital Podgorica (aka Titograd) but Gorana said it was Cetinje.

View from the bus as we descended into the Budva area.  Budva is actually the more distant town on the right.  I don't know what's in the center.

We arrived at the hotel, I'm guessing most of us showered since we couldn't at the monastery, then went out for an orientation walk with Gorana through the walled city.  It felt somewhat inauthentic because the walled city fell down in a 1979 earthquake and was rebuilt.  But I think they used the same stones, so it's not like Warsaw where the old town was recreated from new materials.

Just inside the walled city, I took this photo for Elias, because it's the same image of Mozart that's on a postcard Elias sent me from Salzburg, which is still hanging at my desk at work.

From here, 7 of us went to the beach.  There's a beach right outside the walled city but it's not very good...the better ones are a very short walk to the right, and a longer walk to the left past the other end of town.  We went right.

Old town to the left.  I'd do this statue over the Little Mermaid any day.  I mean if they weren't made of metal, and this one had a vagina.  I think the Little Mermaid in real life would have some kind of nasty scaly reproductive fish-organ down there.

We arrived at the beach (Plaza Mogren, which costs 1 to access, so as to keep the riffraff out).  A few went for a swim; I hadn't brought my gear, but I did get my feet wet.

I told some people at work that this trip would include my first partial immersion in a sea (the Adriatic, as opposed to an ocean, lake, river, etc.).  Here it is.  My feet aren't really that small; they're partially buried in the pebbles.  It's an illusion like Lenny Randle's missing hand.

Plaza Mogren.  For your orientation, old town is on the other side of that rocky area.  To the rear and over a series of metal footbridges was another beach that Charles and I checked out, nearly identical to this one.  I noticed that my feet were being abraded clean up the metal, rocks and pebbles we were walking over.  I also noticed way too many bare hineys on children.  Jen kept pointing out bare boobs for me but I did not see them.

After we left the beach, I headed back to the hotel, first stopping by the Internet cafe.  Boners were still 1 point out but finally ahead of Bang Bros, who had been in 1st place for much of the season.  And after some deliberation, I sent an e-mail to my boss calling in sick for Monday the 10th.  I always request vacation days to cover the actual trip, and then depending how it goes, I typically need recovery time afterward.  I'd been sleeping well and not drinking much on this one, so I figured a day was sufficient.  Checking the news, I read that LA was having a heat wave, and it was 108F in the Hollywood Hills, which is near me.  There were power outages and I worried that my TiVo would be reset, or that my apartment would overheat from the modem that I had to leave on so TiVo could update itself.  [When I got home I found no such problems.]

Back in the hotel, the hook thing on the back of my right sneaker broke.  I couldn't walk around with it that way, but fortunately I had my Swiss army knife, and cut the thing off with a surprisingly sharp blade.  That's why I bring the knife on trips.

I'd posted a note inviting everyone to meet for dinner at 7:30pm.  Eight people showed up; Gorana was ill and we didn't know where the other 4 were.  He headed out toward Mediteranska, the main promenade.  On the way we ran into the other 4, who I think had already eaten.  My note says 7 of us went to Oaza, and I forget who #8 was or why she left.  Gorana had recommended Oaza, and I recommend it here.  I had 5 giant garlicky prawns and 3 1/2-L beers.  This was easily the best meal of the trip so far.  The restaurant was crawling with pussy galore.  Cats.  Does Jay Leno still do the Pussy Galore joke in his standup act?  And what about "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV"?  "Hey pal, I seen your're not even an actor!"  That's gold, Jerry.  Gold!

Another non-chronological item in the journal here:  Sue likes beer, and also vivid things like brought colors and sago palms.  Veronica, on the other hand, is a big fan of toilets.

To bed 10:30pm.