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četvrtak, 9. rujna 2010.

What The "Fjaka" Are You Talking About?

There was a bunch of stuff I wanted to put in this one, but , alas, only so many hours in a day, as the saying goes. So on that note, this one was passed onto me, and I thought it witty, humorous and a pretty good story that defines the basic premise of the Croatian philosophy and word "Fjaka".

Regarding my own personal addition to this little story, I guess the basic premise behind being a little "fjakast, is basically about putting things in perspective. Not always getting caught up in the mad rush of daily activities and always concerned about "stuff" and getting more "stuff".  If coming to coastal areas of Croatia, in this case the city of Split, from a metropolitan North American landlocked/skyscraper type city, then once arriving, smelling the salt air, the sights, the people, the instant relaxed feeling less all the mega traffic and dog eat dog mentality,   a persons perspective changes.  Having your shoes shined for Monday morning at the office, hair trimmed so your hair isn't touching your ears and  making sure you leave early enough to beat the lineup at the Starbucks so you can get that muffin before Larry does, becomes much less important in the greater scheme of things.  Sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the flowers. In a way, I would classify it as almost like Yoga, but with tanning or drinks and better scenery than having to look at the butt crack of some guy stretching in front of you.  I added a vid at the bottom that sort of gives visuals about what I and the message of the story below are alluding to...

*NOTE - (Fjaka is pronounced 'Fyaka', and Dalmatia is the coastal region of Croatia)

Evening at the Riva, in Split Croatia

An Explanation of the Philosophy of Fjaka


The story goes like this:

There was a rich American tourist staying in town. Whenever he would look through his hotel room window, there was a young man with a fish-hook sitting under a palm tree, fishing. He could see there weren't many fish in his fish pail. One day, the American decided to ask him why he wouldn't try some other place for fishing.

"Why would I go away from my house? And my palm tree?", asked the guy.

"Well," said the self-assured American," I bet you would find there are more fish outside this bay. You could catch more fish then."

The young man slowly nodded and then asked, "Why would I do that?

Well, you could catch more, not only for yourself, but...," the American pointed out, "You could also sell it on the market!

Shaking his head at the thought, the young man posed, "And why would I do that?

The American, certain he was dealing with a true lunkhead and wondering why he even tried to raise this youth's standard of living, replied "Well, one day you could buy a small boat and go to the sea where you could catch more fish."

The young man, now singing the same tune countered with another "And why would I do that?

On the edge of his last exasperated nerve, the American sighed with, "Well, you could sell it on the market. And you could get a loan. And then buy a real fishing boat and real nets. And then catch a lot of fish!"

Sensing the advice-giver's state of nerves, the Dalmatian flipped one more, "And why would I do that?

Oh! But this guy is thick! Must be that baking in the sun all day had fried his egg of a head. Pointing out the obvious, he said, "Well, you could finally buy a whole fleet of fishing boats. Make a huge business of it."

Once more, playing thick, the young man inquired, "And why would I do that?"

"No wonder this place is so behind the times", thought the American. "I'll have to spell it out letter by letter to this guy. "Well, you could soon become rich. So rich, you could go to a deserted place and do nothing! Just sit and rest the whole day!"

Beaming, the Dalmatian leaned back on the tree, spit itn the American's general direction and checkmated with, "Well, that’s what I’m doing right now!"

This is the concept of fjaka, which is the concept of life in Split.

The concept of fjaka tells you not to do anything that is not necessary, take a lot of rest under the palm trees or in numerous cafes. Whatever you do, make sure to stop at noon to take a real lunch. (Under no circumstance is fast food a part of a real lunch). And take a short nap after the lunch. If anyone asks you to do anything, you’re free to say, Look, "Malo sam fjakast". (I’m a little bit caught by fjaka) And this is enough reason to continue with resting.

(Note that some people you deal with in tourist offices, hotels or restaurants are not being rude to you nor especially slow as you might think at the first place. They are just living according to the concept of fjaka.)

Some daily summer footage from the old historic section of Split that helps describe the concept of feeling 'Fjakast'.

Around here we also have something that is a local version of "Fjaka", but it's called something else, I forget what.  Just a few examples of some scenes of local area "Fjaka", as one can see it's very nice and quaint and all, but different and it's just not quite the same......

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