29 Jul 2007

Lyn's shocked, but I've been expecting this since day one. Of course, it's still only day two.

Like in Hvar, the legitimate campsite in Korchula is a punishing 3km out of town. There are no signs and no shade. While there's a water bus, one look at Lyn's face as we disembarked the ferry made it clear that further boats that evening were off the table.

We were under time pressure when we picked the site, but we picked it well: a clearing in the scrub on top of a hill, a kilometer from town. The views were spectacular, and the only noise was from the hotel tennis court separated from us by a low concrete wall.

Encouraged, we set up the tent and stashed the packs, using lime-green garbage bags because I hadn't managed to buy more black ones after losing the previous roll - perhaps they're too inconspicuous. Inspiration struck us and we piled some rubbish from around the site on top, creating perfect camouflage.

Nobody disturbed the site while we were in town during the evening, and we heard nothing during the night, so we decided to stay another day.

Encouraged, we don't bother to pack the tent up in the morning. So, of course, when we check in at lunchtime, it's gone. Only a single tent peg marks the spot, though the bags are mercifully untouched.

We guess, correctly, that the hotel next door has nicked it. The question is whether or not to go and get it. It's worth 1000 kuna - hard to walk away from - and more importantly, we won't be able to get another one out here. We're on public property, as near as we can tell. Lyn's having a hard time seeing the funny side, so I leave her watching the aqua aerobics at the hotel while I venture inside.

There follows a three-way bullshit session with the receptionist and general manager. I claim that it was public property, and that I couldn't find the campsite. They claim that they'd be liable in case of accident (probably false), and that the police were involved (definitely false). Eventually they told me to pay the "local tax" of 200KN. It's meant to be 7KN/person/night, but I know a deal when I see one. Negotiations here follow "firm reasonable", not "soft high" as in Thailand.

The weird thing is that they gave me a printout itemising the exchange rate from my emergency-reserve Euros, the actual local tax (14KN), and a general charge of 186KN.

Yes, when you bribe them, they give you a receipt.