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Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Who works, make mistakes - but this is a monumental one

Written by  Jan 28, 2023

There is a Croatian saying that I particularly enjoy “who works makes a mistakes.” It is very true. Mistakes will happen. However, hard you try and in whatever field you work we are all human. Whether that’s a multi-billion-dollar industry sending astronauts to the moon or a non-profit charity. Nobody is perfect, however much you think you might be.

On the flip side some mistakes are avoidable. And this is a story of one of those.

When I first read this headline I though it must be a very early April Fool’s joke. Or was it somehow lost in translation?

The headline in question was - “Exploring Dubrovnik: A City Not in The European Union but Closely Connected to It.” It was a headline that left more questions than answers. Was it an old article? No, just a few days old. And if we aren’t in the EU how can we be closely connected?

Was it in a weird newspaper? Again no. It appeared in Malaysian Digest a company with an annual turnover of between 2 and 5 million dollars.

Intrigued I read the article, and almost immediately I wished I hadn’t. I haven’t edited anything, here for you is the paragraph about Dubrovnik.

“But is Dubrovnik in the European Union? This question has a complicated answer. While Croatia, the country in which Dubrovnik is located, is a member of the European Union, the city itself is not part of the EU. This means that travellers to Dubrovnik don’t need to worry about exchanging money for euros or following the same customs regulations as other EU countries. Nevertheless, Dubrovnik still has a close relationship with the EU and its citizens enjoy many of the same benefits as those who live in the union.”

What?!? Or rather WTF!?! None of this makes any sense.

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And then I got to thinking. What will potential tourists from Malaysia think when they turn up in Dubrovnik? So could say thankfully that we don’t actually get many tourists from that part of the world so it will be a small problem. But if you are one of those tourists it is far from a small problem. Of course I wrote back to Malaysian Digest for a comment, or rather I wrote a rather stinging email pointing out their mistakes.

Here is a brief transcript of that email. - So let’s run through this short paragraph with the correct info. “But is Dubrovnik in the European Union?” – answer YES. “This question has a complicated answer,” – answer not complicated at all, Dubrovnik is in Croatia and Croatia has been a full member of the EU since 2013. “While Croatia, the country in which Dubrovnik is located, is a member of the European Union, the city itself is not part of the EU,” – answer, see previous answer. “This means that travellers to Dubrovnik don’t need to worry about exchanging money for euros or following the same customs regulations as other EU countries,” – answer you do need euros in Dubrovnik, and you have to follow all customs (and indeed visa) regulations of other EU countries. “Nevertheless, Dubrovnik still has a close relationship with the EU and its citizens enjoy many of the same benefits as those who live in the union,” – answer, see all of the above answers.

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Needless to say I am still waiting for a response from the Malaysian newspaper.

I have to add that these weren’t the only mistakes. How about this one – “Despite the fact that Croatia is a member of the EU, it is not yet a member of the Schengen Zone.”

Again this article was published on the 19th of January this year, almost three weeks after we had joined the EU border-free zone. So sorry, once again, to all the Malaysian tourists who turn up in Dubrovnik this summer and find a whole different story to this article.

As I have said we are all human and humans make mistakes. But this takes it to a whole new level.

I would struggle to write an article about Kuala Lumpur, so I don’t. But having lived here for almost 30 years I think I have a pretty good handle on the comings and goings in Dubrovnik and Croatia.

Do I make mistakes? All the time. Because, to hark back to my enjoyable Croatian saying, I work. But I’m pretty sure that if I’d have written this text it would have been my biggest mistake. A simple 5-minute stroll through Google would have given this journalist all the answers.

I just feel sorry for that tourist from Malaysia who’ll turn up this summer with a pocket full of Kunas and then spend the day at FINA changing them.

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to

 

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