Saturday, October 13, 2012

For your eyes only.

I told you all that I was writing a piece on our trip to Croatia this summer. Its finally done. Here is a second sneak peeks at whats being published. I hope you all enjoy.

'Her waterfront apartment sits two stories up a five-layer building. The Adriatic Sea is blowing sand and salty humid air through the window and onto my naked body. Even at four am the sweet air is warm and I inhale it with a smile. I lay my head back down and return to sleep. The surf of the waves outside is drafting dreams in pastel colors. A loud "Boom" sends the heavy sound of nature rushing into the apartment. It's startles me so that I clench my fists like Rocky Balboa. I sit up straight in bed and look over my shoulder at last nights catch. Still sound asleep. I sigh with relief. She's spooning my body, even though I am not there and her long blondish hair is perfectly curled and laid out on the sheets above her head. The lightning storm that persists over the water outside exposes her neck and shoulders in flashes of white light like a photo shoot. I pull the covers over her, gently, and I walk out onto the balcony. It's thundering now, heavily. The roman gods are angry. They're playing war games and I have the best seat in the coliseum. I bend forward, leaning, placing both my tattooed forearms against the granite rail and watch.  The sea rises and falls in swells. Only in fractions with the bursts of lightning, but I can very well imagine all the drama of the darkened surf unfold before me, bathing in the blacked-out scenery. 

When I return to bed Vida is still sound asleep. As best she should be. She has an 8a project to send today. Ivan (pronounced E-Ban) and I are working an 8b+ extension to a monster forty-meter tufa line he put up last year. Rest beacons. I lay down in the off white Egyptian cotton sheets next to my partner and sleep comes quickly, the war of cracking swords and armor now slowly distancing themselves from us. My eyelids shut slowly, I snuggle, catching a glimpse of the suns early luminous effects glowing up the dissipating clouds on the horizon. My dreams of tomorrows' sun warm days and steep limestone walls are starting to take shape. I breathe in the spicy air through my nose one last time and fall fast asleep. Good night sweet prince, for this is Split, Croatia’s best-kept climbing secret.

Ivan picks us up at 7 sharp that morning with his motorcycle ( scooter ). He's stoked to have someone finally be up earlier than he is. He repeats this many times over the course of my stay in Split. Vida and I hop on to his wretched machine. Ivan guns the throttle and we take off on one wheel, Vida grabs at my t-shirt, her butt airing off the seat like a cartoon. I glance back quickly, watching the black tar starting to speed up under my feet below the scooter. Ivan inches his way into traffic. He takes a left, we swerve and nearly miss a pedestrian. He takes a right, Vida screams, just to be cut off by another taxi. That's twice in ten seconds. World records are being broken. The 78' Vespa is meant for one, but the three of us toting our daily climbing gear and without helmets is nothing short of an impending disaster. The motor on two wheels huffs and puffs up the hills and the slick tires, illegal even in Thailand, makes steering, ne, even stopping this devil missile machine a task in itself. Drivers honk and wave the international sign for crazy at us. Ivan carries small dried pears fallen from his garden tree in a small compartment under the steering bar. He throws them at cars once in a while. I feel like a moving target. At any moment we will either be pulled over by the police or picked up in scoops with shovels by the meat-wagon. Let's just please get some climbing in before this all goes haywire. 

We arrive and meet up with Stjepan (pronounced Step-Van) at the Markezina Greda crag around 1pm, just in time for the shade. Safe and sound, but I am still trembling and my pants do honor a stain for it. The two-minute hike leads to the wall that's nestled right in town, inside the Marjan Park national preserve. The rock stretches for about a hundred meters and the routes climb for about thirty. My coffee consumption over the past two days is enough to rattle and wake a small army. I'm ready. Stjepan fires off the warm up. Vida and I follow suite. Another superb 6b to the tick list. We do a couple other tip shredding moderates before my boys have to leave. Ivan works with orphans every afternoon at four. Enna and Goran aka Gogo show up with their son, year old Malik, like clockwork. I baby sit, taking a breather while my new crew of friends get warm. Gogo onsights "Roputine" 7c as a warm up, Vida makes the last moves look like the approach at the warm up wall in Rifle. Enna cleans it in TR, she's still taking it easy after the birth. Euros! 

Gogo eyes a new line Ivan put up last week. (Ivan Lisica is one of the most active first acsentionist in the region, and has been for over a decade, establishing more than a hundred routes, including most of the fourteens in the area.) We try calling him but there is no cell service, so we both shrug. "Ivan don't mind", Gogo says. The girls head downwall to climb with Malik. We stay back, the boys, now amped with testosterone and the quiet that it brings is eerie. After a couple burns Gogo fires the project with pixel perfection. Even shacking on the crux pinch I could barely hold on to. I buck up and take my revenge. I get up to the sloppy tufa and claw down. My feet move themselves, that's good, that's how it's supposed to be. Flowing. I scum with one knee, hearing Gogo heckle at my "American" climbing style. My right hand is slipping, no time to chalk. My teeth tighten, my shoulder stiffens at sixty psi and I throw to the crimp. It bites. Blood spurts out from under my fingertips, right on the hold and I can feel it. It's slipping. I let out a small girls porno squeal and I match with my right hand. Lockdown completed. I cruise to the anchor. My first 8a in Croatia.

The rope tightens and I'm down to solid soil in seconds. I'm still swimming in my daydream. My forearms feel like they took one to many Viagra tablets. How awesome is this place. We all look at my hands as I turn them over. Blood falls to the ground like off the fangs of a vampire after its first meal of the night. Vida is eyeing my fingers, almost with an erotic undertone. Could she be one of them? Enna sends it right after me, and Vida cleans the draws. Its about nine pm and Gogo calls it a day. We pack into the car and bomb towards the closest cafe for a beer and some nicotine. Malik is playing with my iphone during the entire drive and loves dancing to whatever track is playing on the speakers. Nothing short of magical.'

Feel free to comment. I love feedback. Thanks to Alana,Ivan, Enna, Goran, Sly, Mom and little bro for your feedback and helping to make this flow. The first draft was soooooooo fucking wrong.LOL

Copyright to Ulric Rousseau  2012


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