Day 26. Friday 22nd August (continued)
What a sight for sore eyes. The average size of the woman made me wonder that perhaps a burka was maybe not a bad idea. Though I suppose it could get caught in the chain and snap a few necks.
Instead, they all had skin tight cycling shorts with some legs built to kick start a Saturn Five rocket, never mind a Jumbo Jet. My perverted mind's first thought was perhaps this was where a lick of lesbians (colloquial term – look it up) were gathering in this secret place after warming up from a ride.
The puzzling slogan about 'Slapper' was also soon dispensed with. I had misread it. Although in Czech, it was rather easy to conclude that this was a women's cycle club from a town I had passed through called Slapy, about 40 clicks to the north. My guess they had followed the river, taken all day (judging by the fact none of them seemed to be covered in sweat), and this was the evening's watering hole. I also noticed that not one of their bicycles had any form of luggage. This was solved as some nerdy, weedy looking bloke turns up in a car completely stuffed with bags of things women need when they go camping.
So chirping loudly, they were distributed amongst the various tiny wooden chalets and started queueing for showers. I decided to head to the bar/restaurant area, plug in my high tech stuff, and write up another diary entry.
After listening to Blondie singing a 45 minute extended version of Atomic twice over (I had her last night for dinner as well), with a bit of pidgin English and sign language that I suffered from various mental illnesses and the doctor had specifically warned me that Atomic on perpetual repeat would drive me insane and force me to set fire to their HiFi system, we needed to find a solution.
I also explained that I had all the necessary equipment to churn out some mellow vibes like Simon and Garfunkel and they didn't hesitate to let me take control as they studied my bulging eyeballs, twitching head and jerking knees. Job done and I settled down for some serious writing.
As the sun was finally beaten into submission by thickening clouds and the fact that the planet spins, a small activity disturbed my peace of beer and looking up English grammar, when two of the staff set up an amp, a couple of guitars and started jamming. They were good, and soon they were rewarded by an enthusiastic audience of exactly one person – me. Many of the songs I knew. I recognised the tunes, but the lyrics were gibberish. That was because the song book, Jon (such was the name of the singer), was using had all OUR music translated into their language. Such sacrilege. 'Hey Jude', certainly comes over rather oddly.
Sadly, after 90 minutes of me howling along to any recognisable chorus, the fun and games had to seize as the fat bottom bicycle girls had gathered on the veranda and started their own jamming session. Nerdy bloke had a guitar and to much linking of arms, the matching track suit lasses howled away some local folk songs and a few western hits. Some of them haunt me to this day as they certainly murdered them. It was beyond painful to listen to them turn what should have been a fine rock concert into 'Michael row your boat ashore' in a foreign language, with me thinking a ground to sea missile could solve a lot of problems.
But, before I decided to hang myself as an alternative to pouring hot wax into my ears, Jon and I started chatting. His English was limited and he didn't speak German, but I understood the whole picture of this weird and wonderful place. The original camp site, as promoted on the internet, had long gone bankrupt. A small group of friends and family had taken over. In fact, they had only started opening up to the public a month before. The reasons there were no signs yet was now obvious. The infrastructure could not cope yet. This was obvious by the fact the men’s toilet block was a building site, the now communal women's toilets had a huge turd swimming in a broken flushing toilet and generally, this place wasn't so much as run down, but being run up. Time and especially money, was the answer. But, I also clocked, for all the staff's enthusiasm, they needed not only some serious investment, but a proper project manager. It appeared all so haphazard.
Day 27. Saturday 23rd August
Rained all night. Overcast morning – I saw no point in going anywhere. What for? I like this place. The fat bottomed girls staggered around, as I brewed my coffee, and I gathered from the wailing that most of them were going to have a serious problems mounting their bicycles again due to a large consumption of brain rot they had consumed to grease the vocal chords.
After much “Oh, I have forgotten my brain and toothpaste”, they finally wandered off. Jon came over to me and under what was really starting to clear skies, parked a possie and started whittling some sticks into a point. I wasn't sure what the point of this exercise was but he explained that at any moment, the place was about to be invaded by people not sound in the head.
Literally, as we supped coffee, (or I think I had already cracked a tinnie), a convoy arrives. Jon says - “All you must say is 'Ahoy' – it is Czech for 'Hello', and everything will be fine.
Fine! What is fine? And why am I now seriously frightened? You know I cannot handle anything out of the ordinary. And then it became obvious – at least thirty people, all aged from late twenties to late fifties, and all lunatics. Completely off their trolleys.
And so, it is of course hard to describe the experience. I do not make fun of the mentally handicapped – I am one myself, but the whole scenario was bizarre for me.
Jan was pretty cool. I was nervous. Their 'leader' used a whistle to gather them around. That she was obviously well loved was shown by their enthusiasm. She distributed them among the cabins. I watched. I did not feel sorry for them. Why should I? It was clear that they were happy in their own way. Beyond recognising that they were 'different'.
I was fascinated and also a little perturbed. Strange, I have my problems but understand them and along with medication, can live an almost normal life; but these people, without help...
Just a few years ago, Hitler would have smoked them. And here they are, all happy. But – let me describe what I witnessed. Of course, what was instantly logical, is that they must be none violent, otherwise they wouldn't be here. One bloke, with a mouth of rotting teeth, as tall as Herman the Munster and just as ugly, held hands with a woman that had a massive tongue that she stuck out every three seconds. Anther bloke wandered around and every 15 seconds would shout and clap his hands. Another bloke sat on a bench next to me and looked at a small notebook and shouted out lines – regardless if he actually could read or not!
And the noise of them all! I split, wandered down to the restaurant and started to write. Lunchtime – they all rocked up. I couldn't cope and gapped it. Jon told me that they were having a bonfire jamming session that night. I thanked him and went down to the river. I needed to escape.
Confused. I just chilled and buried myself in the awful, depressing book 'The classic slum'. Charming thing to read about where you come from – hell on earth.
BUT, that night, when I wandered over to the bonfire, the loonytunes had gone to bed and I was to enjoy the best evening of my trip so far.
It was perfect. The music, the camp fire, beer, the stars – everything was a recall of times long gone and I thought that in a couple of days this whole adventure is over, but here and now – I was in paradise...