There are times in moments of silence where you suddenly remember a particular time. I probably am remembering this point because I’ve been doing work on my Croatian-based script again, but still it’s something that was pretty great to be witness to…
As I was sitting on the express bus from Split to Zagreb that takes the new highway, thus shaving off three hours of the trip, I looked around. Everyone in my party was asleep. Jenya, my mom, and definitely Chris were completely out. Others on the bus were the same way. Five hours is still five hours and after 30 minutes or so of the Croatian coast, you’ve seen it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful thing when you’re standing still, but the bare, grey rock turns to a pulpy mush as the bus flies past it all.
I too was getting somewhat tired of watching it, yet couldn’t sleep as is regularly the case when I’m in motion, whether it be bus or plane. But even still, there was a growing tension for me as we started climbing the switchbacks that ran up the increasingly steep mountains. At first there were small tunnels we’d pass through, maybe 10-20 seconds we’d be in the tunnel and then out again, bathed in the shimmering glow of the bare, grey rock. The time in the tunnels got longer and longer, but still the rock was always waiting on the other side. Then suddenly we went in to another tunnel and we stayed there. It seemed like and eternity, but was really only ten minutes or so. Yet, to be in a automotive tunnel for so long was amazing to me and I’ve even been through the Chunnel via train.
We kept going and going, encased in stone and concrete. The tunnel was straight and the entrance had disappeared in to a speck of light that seemed insignificant to the artificial lights that lit our way. Then, in a sweep of motion that was as fast as we had entered, we left.
The bare, grey rock was gone. In its place, a lush carpet of evergreen trees spread out before us, uninterrupted except by the road we were on that cut through them like a blood vein of humanity. It was amazing, like traveling between worlds. Of course, it was lost on everyone I was with who woke up around there and thought the change had been gradual, sleep skewing the perception of how great the change had really been.