A large man, his belly hanging over his swimming shorts, gazes contemplatively into the crystal clear Adriatic before diving in with unexpected grace. Three children, brown as berries, play a mysterious game with beach pebbles. Some are stored in pockets, others must be secreted in a crevice in the rocks and a few deemed unworthy enough are hurled into the water. A flock of sea birds wheels over the six foot thick city walls, crying defiantly at the hot sun. A slender, kitten-heeled girl slips on the slick stones of the Placa and steadies herself on the arm of her beetle-browed, stormy-faced boyfriend. His concern for her shows only in the tightening of his tanned fingers on her elbow. The creased woman behind the counter at the post office sighs imperceptibly as yet another tourist blithely addresses her in English. Buses belch diesel fumes into the clean salty air as mopeds weave deftly between cars and pedestrians, who are sluggish from the relentless heat and the aural assault of the cicadas.
When night falls, the masters of the city reveal themselves. Yellow eyes glint and the sleek silvery tiger-striped sides of a million semi-feral cats flash past in the darkness. They ensure that nothing in Dubrovnik goes unwitnessed.