Thursday, October 05, 2006

fish champion winner

I've spent the last few days in Győr, hanging out in a house of seven guys and some of their friends. I've got to watch a bit of MTV, VH1 and Viva and I must say that the new Robbie Williams is a like the new Dj Shadow (WTF? Is he serious?). On Monday night we had a nachos night, with about 10 people partaking in the feast. On Tuesday, I rode to Pannonhalma, only to miss out on seeing the inside by about 15 minutes. Oh well.. It was a nice ride and I got to walk around the monastery grounds and see the old parts of the building. The views were pretty cool, especially with the late afternoon sun and hiding around the back I found a new sporting area with fancy red bouncy AstroTurf. Later that evening we all went out and danced until about 4 to mostly bad Eurotrash music. The highlight for me was when some Hungarian 80s and 90s music played, and everyone in the room linked arms and started singing much in the same way Khe Sanh would have been sung at the Central Districts Football Club after winning against those snooty Roosters. One very weird thing happened though. A guy dancing in the crowd in another group of people came up to me and asked me in English if I was Dan. I said yes, and he got huge smile and asked me if i remembered him. I didn't, but my involuntary polite response of "yeah sure I do.. um... mate" slipped out and I never got to the part of how I know him. He then introduces me to his group of friends, with me shaking their hands and looking over my shoulder giving one of the Christines a "What the fuck?" look. Random. I still can't remember if I played table football with this guy on Sunday night or if I met him at Sziget and took his photo or chatted to him.

The ride from Győr, Hungary to Komárno, Slovakia

Sometimes you can follow a river. Sometimes you can follow your heart. But most of the time it's best to follow a map and directions from locals. What a balls up.. Lets just say I swore a lot to myself today, occasionally pulling out a few of my new Hungarian words (Korva, Bosznak), to express how pissed off I was at myself. Here's the deal. Peter suggested I follow Highway 1 (the less busy of the roads that pass through Komárom/Komárno), but after my experience with other Euro highways, they don't allow bicycle traffic on them and finding an alternate bike route can be a difficult, if not impossible task. So I decided to follow the small river which ran past the front of the place I was staying at in Győr and follow it until I reached a bridge somewhere further along. After riding about two and half hours (60% in gravel), I reached a small town called Vének and realise I'm starting to head back west. I check the map and see that Vének is on the wrong side of the river and that to cross it, I have to return to pretty much where started from, cross a bridge and then follow Highway 1 (just as Peter suggested). I swore at myself for about 10 minutes and flirted with the idea of riding back into Vének to see if there was a footbridge to cross to get onto Highway 1. After deciding that this was a waste of time because it wasn't on the map, I headed back to Győr via a much quicker path, found my way back to the main bridge, rode past the place that I had stayed at and followed the dedicated bike track running parallel to Highway 1 out of town. I'M A DICK. I had lost almost 3 hours from my ride and I had added another 40km to my trip. Anyway, on the way back out of Győr (about 15km), I was still pretty pissed at dan murphy, when half way through an internal telling off of myself I rode past a sign pointing out a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to Vének. Double shit. Not only did I not listen to a local's suggestions, I also didn't listen to myself. I did however, listen to a whole bunch of Ianto Ware's music. I hope he finishes his studies soon and writes some more, because it's well suited to riding the back roads of Eastern Europe and I've got a whole bunch more riding to go.

I rolled into Komárom around 19:20, about two hours after I said that I would be there. I try and give my host a call but I have no luck with the public phone or skype. It was dark and I only saw a couple of signs pointing out the way to find the bridge border crossing into Slovakia and Komárno. I eventually find my way there and park my bike where the border patrol guards point. One comes up to me and points at the trailer saying something in Hungarian. I shrug and he repeats the question in German: "Kinders?". I answer "No sorry... Haven't met the right girl yet." Stupid Australian humour lost in translation. So I hand over my passport and he spots I'm Australian. He grumbles and shouts across the border station something in Hungarian and then "kangaroo!". I start to laugh, and everyone has smiles on their faces. One of the other guards gives me a hard pat on the back, and says with a big smile "Rex Hunt. Fish champion winner" while he mimed fishing with a rod. I got a couple of stamps (with one on the plastic covering of my passport holder, which the guard rubs off and laughs but doesn't replace), I get a thumbs up and a "Yibbida yibbida" from the fish guy and as I walked away with my bike I focused my thoughts on how to contact my host. This thought process was quickly interrupted by saying "Dan?", and my host Joli emerging from the shadows in front of me, holding out a hand to be shaken. She had tried to contact me via email earlier, but had given up and had gone for coffee with a friend. She had locked her bike up earlier this evening to the railing of the bridge near the border and was now returning to retrieve it. After spotting me and my bike coming through the checkpoint, she took a punt and guessed it was me. Joli is a 51yo child psychologist and has hosted 5 people previously, most of whom were making the same bike journey I'm doing.

Tomorrow I get to visit Eurotown, where part of central Komárno has been converted so that each building represents a different country. Should be a lark.

1 comment:

Eleanora Martinez said...

Geez! Dan sounds like an amazing day! And all I've done is admire the weather, have a chai and long chat with a friend and contemplate a job application - wished I'd spent it getting lost in Hungary or wherever!

BTW I have a mix CD that I made for you ages ago when you suggested people should do so because you were soon to have a vaguely permanent address . . . Well, maybe I missed that bit but I still have the CD - brought it back with me . . . so if you can come up with a place for me to send it let me know.
One needs all the cycling music one can get! And while I can't really vouch for it's quality I find it amusing and catchy - sometimes one or the other, sometimes both if you're lucky.

vevpaw ?? word verification! Barrel of laughs

Tonight I'll be at Kowloon!!! Oh the pleasantries of A-town