In South Africa shops have an abundance of natural and one hundred percent juices to purchase. In Croatia the options are limited to apple, pineapple, orange and grapefruit. Other juices, as my guests have described, are more like sugar with fruit flavouring. The lack of natural juices at the stores is a sort of metaphor for the lack of ‘juice’ in Croatia. By ‘juice’, I mean petrol or fire power. In Yiddish, it is similar to chutzpah.
The South African economy is driven by go-getters – people who drive a hard bargain and get things done. In Croatia people hang out in cafes to talk about getting things done, which will likely never lead to anything getting done. People can sit for hours to brainstorm brilliant ideas that nobody will bother to put into action. This isn’t necessarily always a product of laziness, but a tendency to pessimism which is an epidemic in Croatia. I am no stranger to pessimism, South Africans are the champions of complaints, but after the complaining people still work hard because they believe that they can make a difference or at least get recognized enough to be afforded the opportunity to emigrate.
One of the things South Africans love about Croatia is the low crime rate. Our country is known for its high rate of crime. My friend offered the following explanation for it once: Croatians won’t steal anything of value because if they steal something (like for instance a computer), they’d have to use it. So, the act of stealing would result in work and work is something people just aren’t interested in doing.
Croatia is overflowing with opportunity. However, those opportunities are not pursued by locals but are instead snatched up by foreigners.