boringvsfunny

Which side of me will win?

Lunacy has found me, cannot find the ‘Bakery’

My last blog entry might have seemed a little bit downbeat, in a way. It was all about stuff that went wrong or, more to the point, stuff I’d done wrong. But don’t worry, everything’s all right. I just did so much stupid stuff it seemed worth cataloguing in one fell swoop. To redress the balance, I shall tell tale of what I got up to on Friday, the day after I arrived in Slovenia. It’s all very upbeat, I assure you.

I wanted to come here well in advance of the course to give myself some settling in time, but I specifically chose to come before the 22nd June so that I could see Skindred play in Maribor, Slovenia’s second city, about 100 miles to the east of Ljubljana.

Seeing Skindred is always awesome, but I really loved the idea of seeing them in Slovenia. Plus, I’ve known the band’s drummer, Arya, for over 12 years now (and know the rest of them a little too) and was looking forward to seeing a familiar face so far from home.

His wouldn’t be the only familiar face I’d see though. I’d also arranged to meet up with Peter, who I first met at Metalcamp 2 years ago and who lives near Maribor. You can find plenty of pictures of and stories about Peter elsewhere in this blog.

I called Peter from Ljubljana at about noon, and I think he might already have been drunk. He told me to get a train not to Maribor’s main station but to Pekarna, a district of Maribor where he knew of a cheap hostel I could stay at.

My requests to go to Pekarna were roundly met with confused stares from a variety of ticket window ladies, first at Ljubljana and then later at Maribor’s main station. This might be because I wasn’t saying it properly – I’m not very good at rolling my Rs and in Slovene, if you don’t roll it, it might as well not be there – but then it might also have been because ‘pekarna’ means ‘bakery’. Go to your local train station and say, “Bakery. Bakery? Bakery! Baker… rrreee!?” – or maybe like James Hetfield singing Battery, “BAKE-AAH-REE!” – at the ticket window. See what happens.

Eventually, I got on a train and sat in seat 66, which someone had dutifully added an extra 6 to with a marker pen. I’d have taken a picture but my camera’s BATT-AAH-REE! had been the first to die that weekend.

I did suspect Peter was winding me up about this elusive ‘Bakery’ place, but I did eventually see it on a map. I don’t think I ever actually went there though. I certainly didn’t get a room there. I ended up giving up trying to follow Peter’s increasingly drunken instructions and got a room in the city centre, which was quite nice but too expensive. The Tourist Information Centre told me it was the only hostel nearby, which turned out not to be true but… pfff… see what I said in the last blog entry about people who’re being paid to be helpful.

Anyway, finding Peter himself proved almost as difficult as finding his so-called ‘Bakery’. He brilliantly insisted we meet in a really big park, which we each criss-crossed for what felt like hours without catching sight of each other once. Eventually though we were united and Peter introduced me to his friends Marko and Klemen. They gave me beer. I like them.

When the beer ran out, we went to the flat of a chap called Gregor (whose photos I have shamelessly stolen to illustrate this piece), picking up more booze on the way. There were lots of drunk people at the flat, half of whom seemed fascinated with watching terrible music videos on YouTube, while the other half seemed fascinated with me. My Englishness and my tallness both being of particular note.


Most of the new friends I made on Friday, this time at a bit more of an angle.

One girl introduced herself as Gaja. I responded in kind, telling her my own name.

“Gavin?!” she said, seeming offended. “I’m not a man!”

“No. Gavin is my name.” I explained as gently as I could, to much mirth from the assembled throng.

Gaja was later seen sitting on the middle of the kitchen floor, claiming she just felt like sitting there for a bit, that was all. A sure sign of proper drunkenness, if ever there was one.

Then there was the whole tallness thing. I’m asked how tall I am. I say, 6′ 2”, which I think is about 186 cm. I am then asked to stand up in order to prove this claim and this causes some excitement as I prove to be just slightly taller than the tallest Slovene in the flat, whose name is Matic, although he tells me it’s Turtle. He doesn’t have a shell. At least if he does, he’s not wearing it. It is rather too warm for that, I suppose.

Anyway, at this point, everyone nearby chips in with their opinion of how tall I am. Their estimates vary, but all agree that my own claims were wrong. This is the curse of being tall – everywhere you go, people ask you how tall you are, then tell you you’re wrong. Not the worst curse of being tall, mind. That would be banging the top of your head on the underside of an open kitchen cupboard door. Fuck, that hurts. Worse than a punch in the goolies, I swear.

By the way, the Slovenes say 6′ 2” as 6.2, but I don’t correct them because I’m not an English teacher yet. Peter remarks that he doesn’t know about feet, only inches, mainly through his extensive knowledge of pornographic statistics. At this point I suddenly exclaim,

“Wait! When we were saying 6.2, we were talking about my height, right? Because my dick is bigger than a 6.2!”

There is much laughter, especially from the ladies within earshot.

Women might want us to think they’re all gentile and not fond of crassness and crudity but believe me, wherever you go, it’s always the girls that laugh loudest at a good knob gag. Always.

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