Updated: Apr 13, 2021
I’ve had the opportunity to work almost in every country I have visited. Whether it has been with the proper legal procedures, volunteering or other means (don't ask) these jobs have always had a strong impact on me.
Some of those jobs have been great experiences that have taught me life long lessons whilst others have been
a complete waste of my time (looking
at you Quebec) but between these two extremes there's one that will have
a place in my heart for the rest of my life, one place that will always be my “home away from home”, a place where I learned so much and I gave everything in me. That is the time I spent working
at the Old Town Hostel Kotor in Montenegro.
A Swiss, a Mexican and a Colombian walk into a Yacht
I have many stories of this place and the people in it, I will eventually write them all for you, but one of the best has to be the time a Swiss woman, a Colombian yacht crew and I sailed all the way to Hvar, Croatia on a drunken night. Names will be changed or omitted for security purposes.
One night I was working whilst we had a bit of a party in the common room (as we often did) when I met a girl from Switzerland who we will call Gretel. Blonde, blue eyes, extremely beautiful, nice and funny, we hit it off and drank all night together to the point of making out a bit. We decided to take a walk through the Kotor harbor, the thinking here was that it seemed like a romantic idea and it will also help us sober up since we had too much rakia, none of us was capable of anything. I am still surprised we were able to walk all the way without falling.
Anyway, I have no idea why I thought singing was a good idea, so I started singing some Mexican mariachi. "Singing drunk? You really aren't smart, are you?" I hear you say, but it actually worked in my favor! For some reason Gretel did like it and that motivated me to continue my non-at-all melodious singing. I’ll like to point out that I knew she was lying to me, there's no way anyone can ever like my singing, it sounds like a flamingo being violated with an eggplant.
Let us continue, there was this yacht docked in where four people were singing some in Spanish and, coincidentally, one of the songs they were singing was the same one I was singing. Such a weird moment to hear Spanish after not hearing it for so long. We got invited on board to drink with them as long as we didn’t take any pictures, why? The yacht wasn’t theirs. Turns out, they were its crew.
And so The Saga Begins
While the owner of said yacht spent three days in a nice hotel in Kotor, the crew was allowed to drink and party inside the yacht as long as they didn’t bring anyone on board. No pictures, no evidence, no crimes committed, take note kids. We came on board, to my surprise they had something that any Mexican would be exited to see: Tequila and a Guitar. Gretel jokingly and cutely asked me if I knew how to play, the real answer is no, I’ve tried to learn millions of times but I can’t, problem is I still know some cords to mariachi songs and I really wanted to impress her, thus my drunk answer was “Of course yeah!” so I tried horribly to play said guitar.
Thinking back to that day I’m quite happy there's no evidence of my singing or guitar playing. Anyway, everything was going somewhat smoothly when I jokingly said to the captain “we should take this baby for a spin, maybe middle of the bay? Skinny dipping?” When I said that I didn’t expect the captain to do it, but he did. He took us to the middle of the bay and at this point Gretel got scared, yet she kept enjoying the music and shots while I was going full Latino next to the Colombians. Dancing and dropping references to our culture until Gretel and I retired to the deck to be completely alone. The time for us to "indulge ourselves" (so to speak) had come.
Oh Captain my Captain, Where are We?
I woke up next morning half naked next to Gretel, we were using a deflated life boat as a cover for some reason but that wasn’t the real problem at hand as it seemed that the "floor" was moving. The yacht was sailing! I managed to get dressed and went to ask what was happening, the crew members were still drinking whilst apparently waiting for us to wake up and keep partying. As I accepted a mimosa I made my first question "Where are we going?" the answer came at the same instant I stopped talking: "Croatia! You said you wanted to go to Hvar because you've never been."
The fear I felt at that moment can't even be described. I translated every word as fast as I could to Gretel who also shared on my fear instantly. Neither of us had our passports or any ID with us, I only had my phone and it had no reception. Gretel was safer than me as she is a EU citizen but Mexicans are allowed to stay within the Schengen zone a total of 90 days between intervals of 180 days. In other words: three months in and six months out is the rule. At the time I had already exceeded by 90 days, you could understand my preoccupation (Croatia is part of the Schengen zone).
When we arrived I was told by the crew to go talk to the Immigration agents and explain everything since drunk me said “My Serbian is pretty good” (it isn’t), and yet I tried. The agents found my whole story tremendously funny! I did not leave any detail out (including the fact that I was trying to sing to impress a girl) thus they let us park the yacht as long as we left before day’s end. We kept our promise and left before the evening came taking with us the memories of
a Latin party in a Montenegrian Yacht at the cost of Croatia.
It was an outrageously illegal adventure but I loved it! Hvala puno!
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