Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Gokwe Kid - Rogue Rhodie on a Roller: Part 19. It's 0.7 Celsius and the German Polizei await me.

Before I continue – I knew I had taken a picture of that petrol forecourt and the bum burner ride. The reason I couldn't find them was that for some daft reason the pics were not in the correct order either on the phone or the camera.

Firstly, the barriers were a complete joke. I had a look at them. Made of flimsy plastic, they wouldn't have stopped even me on a roller ploughing through them. I was just amazed because in all my travels, stopping in thousands of petrol stations in dozens of countries, this was a first.

Secondly, here is the bum burner. This is not the one that turned my arse into a rubber impregnated version of Kentucky fried chicken, but very similar. It shows you the sheer lunacy of attempting to go down such a thing at full whack without braking AND then actually standing up and running down it!

Looking at the picture, it is obvious I am out of sync by 24 hours. This is actually taken just over the border. The flags are Bavaria and Germany and the monster is called 'Bobbahn'. Not that it makes any difference to the story...

Day 27. Sunday 24th August - Continued

As usual the distance planned and the distance covered didn't add up as equal. I had enough of this nonsense and as the gauge again hovered at 'empty', I swung into a petrol station. I parked up and went straight inside to see if they had hot coffee. I was a shivering wreck. Until I warmed up there was no way I was going to attempt put a hose into the tank. I could see me shaking so much I would land up spraying everywhere.

What you have to understand is that you can't just stick the nozzle in and pump away. The first time I tried this just after purchasing (now, gritting teeth, when I rewrite this entire journey I will explain how come I landed up with it) the roller. The tank is a fraction over five litres. So what happens is the automatic shut off stops after two and a bit. So what you have to do is keep the nozzle out of the tank and pour it in till it starts overflowing everywhere. At this point, getting the cap back on is tricky because when you click it in, more petrol is sprayed onto your arms and face, thus having a fag put on delay for a while.

Using the coffee as hand warmers, after two I stopped resembling a human tuning fork and asked the bored babe behind the desk not if she was horny but where was Horni.
“About 800 metres down the hill.”

Okay, still, since I was here I might as well and now cursing, stripped for the umpteenth time the roller down, filled up, loaded up and putted through the town. I had looked up on the internet exactly where the camp site was (turn right just before the bridge), but after the last experience I wouldn't have been surprised if I would spend another tank of juice wandering around fruitlessly.

But lo and behold – there was a sign! Praise the lord, and after a very bumpy click, parked up at reception just as... yeah, it started to rain. Sheltering under the porch, eventually some bird in her forties rocks up, opens up and I book in. I pass over my photocopy of the passport. She is happy with that. (I doubt she will be happy in a day or two when the police turn up – hah-hah), and I spot two blankets sitting on a couch.

I ask her in English (this was the weirdest thing. I am just five clicks from the German border and she preferred to talk English, and very well actually), if I could borrow them for the night because otherwise she would have to call for a hearse in the morning. I was starving and asked where the next supermarket was. I was told they were closed. That was odd it - was only 5.30pm. But, luckily there was a pub come restaurant on the camp site.

Fine. So I sat under the porch smoking away and hoping the wet stuff stops long enough for me to pitch the bitch of a tent with the broken rod. Eventually it does and shivering again, wander into the so called pub. What a bloody disaster. It was open air. Covered - as in a roof, but open to the elements as howling winds, more rain lashing around and so little lighting I went almost blind trying to read my book as I supped on a cheap pint.

Clientèle were minimum. I had reached a rather interesting part in the book 'The Classic Slum', where it explained that my ancestor’s from my mother's side would stone, burn, beat up and trash the small shops of the Jewish immigrants from my father's side. Really cheer up stuff as I shiver away and force feed myself the wonderful cuisine of deep (stinking) fat cooked freedom fries and microwaved 'schnitzel'.

There was no way I could put a cheer into me so crawled into the soaking pit, fully clothed, wrapped the blankets around me and lulled myself to sleep with my teeth chattering an old lullaby from days long gone by – 'Rise 'o voices of Rhodesia'.

Day 28. Monday 25th August.

What a pisser. Everything was soaking. The poor 'old' roller with no name looked a mess. All the stickers had leaked. Almost none were recognisable. She was dirty and dripped water everywhere.
I sighed. In theory, bar another bizarre incident, we would be home today. As a Rhodesian, I am not into the Chinese very much, not that it stops me buying their stuff. A bit like the Jews hating the Germans but drive Mercs and Porsches. That little machine had not let me down. It was even clever enough to warn me that she needed oil – and soon.

It wasn't raining. But the tent was soaked and considering its spine was snapped, I thought of dumping it – but, if something went wrong (sod's law), I gambled that it was better to strap the soaking stuff onto my now very weary horse. Enough is enough.

I had thought of spending a couple of days checking out Passau, but with the Boss hinting that it was time to stop farting around and rock up for work, I planned the shortest way home. So I hit the road after returning the blankets. Oddly, some bloke in a camper van thought it great fun to inform me that he was amazed I was alive as the night temperature had dropped to 0.7 C. Cool hey! Hardcore Rhodie!

Well, within ten minutes I was at the 'border'. Oh-oh. Besides the usual el-cheepo smokes and booze shop on the Czech side, this was a nothing. There was a new building of 70% empty shops, and a restaurant announcing 'Under New Management'. I looked at my watch. I needed to kill an hour before I crossed. So with the last of my Czech dosh, I reluctantly ate some micro waved (still cold in the middle) spare ribs and concluded that since I was the only punter, they would be closing shop soon; shifted the rest on tobacco, and at exactly 12.30 pm, taking a mother of all breaths – I crossed the border...

If I was to be stopped – all hell would break lose. (To be continued.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Gokwe Kid - Rogue Rhodie on a Roller: Part 18. Fruitcakes and burnt bums.

Day 27. Sunday 24th August

I awoke to find that I was actually not a bloated corpse floating around in the river and promptly getting sued for killing the fish with alcoholic poisoning for nibbling at their free breakfast. In fact – I was in my tent,but after some confusion about where the stupid zip was so as to get out and to release several litres of gut rot I had consumed as well as the recycled dog's dinner I had cooked up the night before, I looked out.

I started going into a panic attack. I could hardly see! The rocket fuel I had drank with such enthusiasm at the jamming session had destroyed my eyesight , along with my mind. There was, like, hard core cataracts over my eyes and all I could see were these ghostly images wandering around in circles making strange sounds and flapping their arms about as the approached nearer.

Luckily, before I started screaming and releasing my pent up abdominal poison into my skants, the adrenalin kicked in and I realised it was just some serious fog/low cloud and the spectres were
actually the loonytunes (who had all gone to bed drugged out their gills but sober) , were now wide awake, wandering around lost and grunting/shouting in Czech “WhereDaFukRwe?”

I didn't fancy explaining that actually they were so lost they would struggle to find their brown eyes to wipe. Still, I knew where mine was and it was due at any second a serious going over, so I wandered off to the place where you get rid of bad things.

Returning, I was not impressed. The fog was lifting but my new fans had decided to use my tent as the centre of some weird magic circle. Grabbing MY nutcase pills, coffee, milk, sugar, cup and the stove, I gapped it to the verandah. Burning my finger whilst trying to stir the mix, I peeped at them and wondered when the whistle would get them in some form of order before they started chanting “Death to the pig.” 

When the whistle did go off, they were then gathered in some form of crazy legionnaire’s square and were put through a keep fit routine that consisted of waving arms and legs about. I thought this a bit odd as most of them did it in their waking hours, or for all I know, whilst asleep. Then off they went into the fog and soon disappeared into the surrounding forest of soaking wet pine trees. I presume it was their morning stroll to work up an appetite for breakfast.

Whatever, I used the opportunity to pack up pronto. Man, it was cold and I had on just about as many clothes as possible, making me look like the Michelin man. My jeans and shoes were covered in mud. Everything was damp and smelling a bit. I didn't care. One more night and then I would be in my cosy pad.

With everything packed, I started to load the scooter, which, whilst a routine, was still a formidable 30 minute task, when lo and behold – the foggy heavens, knowing I must hit the road, decided to give me a taste of drought prevention. And how. Just for good measure some hailstones the size of coconuts were thrown in to make the whole scenario of a lovely summer holiday a picnic in the Antarctic.

Time wise, I wasn't that bothered. On paper (as in stupid useless map), I had 80 clicks to the border. From experience gathered so far – double that, work around three hours plus one. Plenty of time as the Argos bought el-cheepo Sekonda watch creeped towards 11.00am. Then I burst into giggles. My warped brain likes to change lyrics of songs and one line from Mac Author's Park had just popped into my head – 'Someone led the fruitcakes out into the rain...', because I just realised they hadn't returned.

After an hour, it stopped, I finished loading my trusty scooter with no name and started the last part of the Czech adventure. Much to my annoyance, with the distance covered going to fetch petrol and beers in the local town across the bridge, plus stupidly missing the turn off, I had wasted half a tank of juice, so reluctantly 30 mins later pulled up to top up. I was getting sick off this performance.
But what cheered me up was the strange set up of the forecourt. I have never seen anything like it.

It was - like the entrance to a parking zone. Only difference you didn't need a ticket to get through the boom. You paid for the gas and then the cash babe would hit a button and let you out. Weird – must be a lot of skellems around ('bad people' for none African readers). With the roller I could have easily done a runner. Yeah, not that I would get far and all for what? Three pounds worth of petrol!

So of we go. Scooter hitting a maximum of 17 kmh an hour as we climb, climb, climb. At one point I thought I might have to get off and push (no chance), as at snail's pace I overtook two push biking Canadian couple in their early fifties, with proud maple leaf flags sown onto their packs, as they PUSHED their two wheelers up a gradient that most Everest climbers would shit themselves with fear. I reckon, coming from Canada, they must be used to it – but why spend all that money getting here to torture themselves through countryside similar to their own? Nuts.

I was also alarmed with a strange clattering noise that appeared to come from the scooter just as we passed a skiing resort. Actually, it was my own teeth. There was no snow yet, but I reckoned judging by the fact that I think my bladder had a frozen block of urine inside it, I must be cruising around 35.000 feet at temperatures below ultimate zero – I reached some pinnacle and it was all down, down, down. I gave the scooter its head. Considering it had taken two and a half hours to crawl 40 clicks (not planned), it was time to catch up. The machine went berserk, almost sensing we were heading home.

Despite I was freezing and damp, it was rather exhilarating doing 63 kmh on a scooter legally registered to do a maximum of 45, but with the heavy load I was carrying, turning some of the extremely sharp bends made me prudently use the breaks after I twice nearly ended up doing an almost perfect replication of the final scene of Quadrophenia. Namely – a scooter flying off the end of a cliff.

Then as it was sort of flattening out, I came across some tourist resort which had one of those 'things'. I had to pull over and contemplate. No idea what they are called, but they should be banned. This huge contraption is a sort of dry sledge run. You sit in a daft little 'sledge' with a brake handle between your legs and off you go having a great time. The problem is – I had done this once- 25 odd years ago in Austria. Dressed in shorts and T-shirt. After the first few boring bends – I decided to do this hard core. I laid almost flat on my back, and just like they showed on the TV during the winter Olympics, I soon gathered some serious speed and using my body as counterbalance was soon going like a demented rocket. Man this was so cool, till...

The fact that I didn't actually manage to leave the half tube of fibre glass covered in rubber matting was amazing. The plunge would have definitely killed me, but I did manage to do a sideways 360 degrees. Two things then happened. The dumb sledge, back on its wheels, less the driver, was more than happy to follow gravity. Meanwhile, I had landed on my ass at about 25 kmh and was astonishingly using the back of my thighs, bum cheeks and elbows as some form of brakes, leaving skin and blood behind me.

Not understanding the gravity of the situation I was now in – (this bit is really insane) – I jumped up and started RUNNING down the chute, howling at the bloke in front of me to pull up. I will never forget the poor kid's eyes of terror as my sledge piled into the back of his, and him stopping and observing a man dribbling blood from his arms and legs running up babbling incoherently!

Thanking him in whatever language, I climbed aboard and carefully wandered the rest of the way down. By the time I arrived at end station – yeah, the pain had hit me, so hard that Danny, that was waiting for me said - “You bloody idiot. What have you done now?” There was a first aid hut. I mean, what kind of pleasure ride was this that needed a manned 'save your life' crew? I was in a bad way.

I was popped onto my stomach and had my shorts full off skid marks removed. (External ones, hey!) The bloke asks me how many times have I gone down their tube of insanity.

“This is the first time,” I mumbled in a delirium of pain.

“Congratulations! We normally get idiots like you after they have at least tried the run twice. Now, unfortunately, the track is full off rubber granules that come from smart people braking. About a quarry's worth is now inbedded in your 2nd degree, burnt skin. They are full of bacteria, and faeces dropped by numb skulls, such as yourself. In other words – so you will not die of lock jaw, I must swab them out with 100% alcohol. Sadly, we are not registered to use morphine, and I regret to tell you, since you also broke another record of wearing just shorts, the area of damage is so extreme, that I suggest you bight on this stick. Try not to vomit and if you pass out – be grateful.”

What happens next is hard to describe. The last time I felt such pain was at my birth when I was dragged screaming and kicking out of my mother's womb by a giant pair of pliers and the swine who did it saying -

“This one looks like a bad 'un. Are you sure you want to keep 'im? I could toss him into the bin with the placenta. No one the wiser. After all this - is the NHS.” (My mother stupidly refused the obvious.)

I nearly fainted. Then for good measure I was coated in some purple/pink stuff, and helped back into my shorts, I staggered outside into the loving arms of my wife with a wide legged stiff walk of a scarecrow who had accidentally slipped off its perch and had fallen on a huge carrot now inbedded in its brown eye (now painted). Actually, since she was now in the arms of family and friends laughing hysterically...

Back to the present....

Yeah, with my buttocks twitching in sympathy, we hit the road again. Destination – Horni Vitavice.
I had looked up the local camp site. Turn right just before the river. Again, with the gauge touching 'E', I pulled up, and after the usual performance tanked up. Upon paying I asked if I was near. Yeah, two clicks down the road...

(To be continued.)