Friday, 04 December 2020
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

When Brexit and booze collide at 35,000 feet

By  Oct 12, 2019

“Never forget that you have two ears and one mouth, so use them it that order and listen,” once said a wise old man to me. It’s strange the things you learn when you listen.

So I have just arrived back in Dubrovnik after an urgent family matter in the UK. As they said in The Godfather a million times, “The family always comes first.” And yes it is hard being away from the family in times of need but thankfully flight connections between my two countries are frequent, at least out of the winter.

And travelling alone you tend to bump into more unusual situations. Maybe people feel sorry for you, “look he is all on his own,” and just want to be friendly, I am not sure but I do know that you are never alone even when you are alone.

“God, I am really starving and could murder a hamburger,” said one of the ladies in front of me on the plane back to Dubrovnik. “Yes, me to,” answered her friend, “but I guess they don’t have a McDonalds in Kavtat (yes, all the English have renamed Cavtat) so we’ll have to go into Dubrovnik to get one.” I was just about to jump in when another friend shouted from the other row, “Yes, I heard that Dubrovnik has Starbucks, Subway and all those fast food restaurants.” Maybe she was confusing Starbucks with Ćele, Subway with Škola and the fast food chains with Tutto Bene?



It turned out that this rather large group of ladies were on a Hen Night, well Hen Weekend, in Dubrovnik. Which was obviously why one of them, well the bride to be, had been wearing a plastic blow-up crown like a queen since check-in. They had clearly made good use of the pubs in the airport before take-off and were now on a mission to empty the on-board drinks cart of all the prosecco. For sure they spent more on bubbly wine than they did on the plane ticket. Not so much easyJet as easyDrunk! Somewhere over the French Alps they decided to have a sing-along, rather like an English version of Mate Bulić, although the repertoire was Yellow Submarine and not Gori Borovina! I felt a nudge in my side, “Brexit can’t come soon enough,” smiled the lady sitting right next to me as the Hen Ladies were told to calm down by the flight attendant as they broke out into yet another verse of Singing in the Rain.

Yes, if you want to visit the one country in the world that isn’t talking about Brexit then visit the UK. With D-Day looming fast I had assumed that it would be the main topic of conversation, I was wrong. I thought it would have been as crazy as Boris Johnson’s hair, but far from it.

The best way to judge to mood of the English is to go to the local pub. It’s like analogue social media. And not once, even though I repeatedly tried to bring up the subject, was Brexit even mentioned. I couldn’t work out if it was a taboo theme or if people just didn’t care. “Oh, I just can’t wait for it to be over so I can watch something more interesting on the News at Ten,” said an elderly lady at the bar. “I am sick of bloody Brexit,” she added whilst sipping her pint. And that was it.




Generally, the standard of living is very high, the shops are full, the roads are flooded with brand new cars, everything seems to work just perfectly, so people just don’t care about the B-word. “I can’t wait to hit the discos in Kavtat,” my Brexit daydream was broken by the Hen Ladies who had finished arguing with the flight attendant as she stated that “we are coming into land so sorry we can’t serve you any more drinks.” The ladies were getting restless, and I was starting to feel sorry for Cavtat, the only dancing they would see would be at midday in front of the church in Cilipi, but I was pretty sure they weren’t after folklore.

And then came the typically British moment, “Kelly, did you remember to pack the tea?” – “Of course, and Yorkshire Tea, only the best,” shouted Kelly. “I only hope they packed condoms as well,” smiled the passenger next to me.   

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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