Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Internet Cafes in Zadar Croatia: Bring Your Own Laptop & Plenty of Patience

Note to self: never ever ever leave your laptop at home in Serbia when you visit your husbands parents in Zadar Croatia for a few days. Do not think innocently, "They have oodles of Internet cafes in Zadar. It is a sophisticated place used to lots of tourists from around the world. You can work all day long at an attractive cafe by the waters edge, typing away in the most glamorous place possible. Just post your documents online and go, without bothering to heft that heavy old laptop on the 16 hour trip to get there in taxis, buses, trams, and trains. You do not need to lug your laptop across the border. It will be like heaven."

Note to self: I am an idiot.

Ok, I was not an idiot in one way. It is incredibly beautiful here, and yes I am sitting at a cafe by the water with soft music playing. They even have Pepsi Light! (The waiter did not want to bring it to me so early in the day. Coffee? Coffee? he kept on asking anxiously. "No!" I replied firmly. I am American! Bring me Pepsi! Bring me Two!")

Here is why I am an idiot: čćšđžćčšđćčšđčć.

Yeah. This Internet cafe, in a town so used to international tourism that street signs and real estate magazines are printed in both Croatian and English, only has Croatian keyboards. There is no apostrophe at all. None. They do not use it. The positions of the letters Z and Y are switched. It is very tough to find the exclamation point.

And, just try using the "at" symbol key. No one here could. It is on the keyboard, sharing a key with the letter V. But it is impossible to make it appear on your screen no matter how you push it or in what combination with other keys.... Last night I and the other Internet cafe residents mounted a joint effort, three different teams at different tables all working away on the problem. At last an English girl came up with a workaround. Go to Google, look up to "at# symbol, and then copy and paste it whereever you need. Brilliant!

One last thing. Since the last time I visited three years ago, serious cash has obviously flowed into Zadar. Construction cranes in every direction. Buildings and cafes and even the post office is all gussied up to reflect the Modern New Spirit.

Modern made incarnate here seems to be a lot of chrome, stainless steel, sheets of glass, and terrific lighting (the service reps at the postal bank sit behind panels that glow pale blue). However nobody I can see has created the true essense of modernity... technology. The modern veneer here at the Internet Cafe and at the postal bank are the same, just stage setting designed to impress. The Post Office Bank informed us, after we explained at length what an electronic transfer was (vs western Union which was their only apparent point of reference), that it would take at least 3 to 4 weeks for funds to appear in our Zadar account if we transferred them from our US Internet bank today.

And this Super Duper chrome and glass "VIP" Internet Cafe operates at what feels like maybe a 100k connection. I may be generous. This could be 56k. Yeah. I think it is.

So that is my experience of Croatia this time around, beautiful on the surface, but still rough behind the scenes. It has to change soon because the millionaires buying the new insanely expensive flats and villas are going to demand it. Can I afford to live here even if I sell my house in the US? Heck no!


Anonymous said...

Croatian keyboard and Serbian as well are using german keyboard layout, so just for info, @ - "Alt Gr" (right alt) + "v"... German keyboard has qwertz and english has qwerty layout... Next time just switch to english keyboard...

michel said...

Hello again,
Another workaround is to use charmap.exe ;-)

Anonymous said...

it's so obvious you don't like croatians. I can understand that considering that you're married to a Serb, so you've gotten his side of it. If you don't like croatians or Croatia, why stll come here and write about your annoyances?