Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hop Swiss Part Four - This kind of moment is only on loan



Our suspicions that the hotel staff had taken against us were confirmed, not just by the paranoid listening for desert approval from the waiters, but because we had been promised a treat, if that's not too strong a word, in which the staff (and presumably us) would participate in an end of trip talent show. I have no idea what this talent show would have included (certainly not making custard) but at the last minute just when I was about to get out the straw boater and prepare to join in, it was rather politely suggested that we might like to sample the delights of the local pool instead. In other words, get out of here you stupid Kilwinning kids, you are polluting up our wooden hotel of mystery. No pinball for you. It was suggested with a little too much force and so much force that the pool was talked up, so much that you'd have expected an Olympic style pool with mermaids and waterslides and lakes of chocolate to wade in, rather than a swimming pool with faintly alarming warnings about veruccas on the door in German and techno blaring through the change rooms. When we got there, it was the Swiss equivalent of Mommy and me night, so we had to share the pool with several mewling spewing infants, and one of our party called Ben who was desperate to locate a kickboard to hit people over the head with. I'm not entirely cut out for swimming, and it was unlikely the pale white Ayrshire swimming bodies would entrance fair Interlaken maidens, especially considering they were either with a child or carrying a child (lazy fucker was eight, you'd think he'd be walking by now) and their husbands formed an intimidating corridor of suspicion and strangely fabriced shirts along the pool deck. However, I did manage to isolate one middle aged beauty from the herd as we say in my part of the world - her name was Gaby, she had eyes (which was good) that you could lose yourself in, she had a skintight swimsuit, she had a body that put Elaines to shame, she had a gorgeously disdainful way of saying Ayrshire, she vaguely knew that Paula Abdul had gone off the boil, and she was interested in me. Yes, it was illegal, but we could have talked for ages, such was our mutual interests...if only her kid hadn't been violently ill over the shoes of a particularly pompous fraulein (who wears a fur coat to the pool?), and in the interim Ben hadn't emerged from the deep to hit me over the head with a kickboard (he didn't find it so funny when I choked him with a lane rope) and give me a mild concussion. And so like a Hobart nightclub at 3am, our potential (again deeply illegal) blossoming love had been torn asunder by a combination of vomit, concussion and pointless violence between friends. If someone had played OMC, it would have been my future all mapped out. I didn't even get to see Gaby leave, as she was whisked away by pool security with her wretched offspring in toe. As I looked across the pool, I thought I saw her blowing me a farewell kiss, but it turns out it was concussion induced mirage, and the fat lifefraulein girl in the tight red shorts was just blowing a whistle. She threw Ben out of the pool, and we all followed, unwinched, undressed, and freezing cold, back to the hotel for another night of guess who burped around the dinner table...

I had been determined that I would take one positive out of Switzerland, and had I managed to finagle a cheeky snog off a surprisingly hot middle aged woman, well, this tale might be very different. Unfortunately, all that happened was the pool made me incredibly ill. I had super conscious of not putting my head underwater, since I figured that putting a completely shut down ear underwater wouldn't necessarily be a good idea. Sadly though, such medical dilligence didn't apply to my TB shot - to wind back a bit, I was convinced to have a TB shot by a medic who told me that Nelson Mandela had TB and if it wasn't for his shots, he wouldn't have lead South Africa to greatness. I didn't want to be about to lead Scotland to independence from The Yenglsh and come down with TV so I said roll up my arms and make me patriotic. Sadly, at some point it had got infected hence (you guessed it) the loss of hearing, the lack of balance and the vomiting into a crisp packed on the mini bus. I didn't realise at the time that it was infected, so I jumped into a swimming pool with nary a concern and didn't put a bandage on it, and instantly fell ill and within weeks had a 20cm hole in my arm. On my last day in Switzerland though, all I had was a nagging itch and the feeling I'd forgotten something. There was a determination in all of us that we would enjoy our last day. They even let Colin out of sedation to go and have a wander around. As I walked around Interlaken for one final day in blistering sunshine, once more past the indifferent cows who now I looked just seemed to be wild cows without any kind of owner, I thought to myself that I owed it to myself to go and have some kind of crazy Swiss adventure. Sure, I thought, I could go home with epic tales of woe, custard and robbery but...and just as I was in the middle of the kind of speech you hear at the end of Disney films, one of the cows fainted in the heat, and just went straight over onto it's back. I looked around and no one else was there, which was kind of when I realised that I hadn't involved myself with the group enough, and spent too much time on my own. Not that anyone else had involved themselves in the group, as when I went into town I saw one of my travelling companions, a girl called Ella (ey ey ey) who liked denim a little too much, and as a result she was incredibly sweaty and looked puffed out like the girl who works in Big W, but a lot thinner. I decided in the spirit of companionship to start a conversation with Ella (ey ey ey) but her mood was sour. Even though she had a bag full of delicious chocolate treats, had bought an expensive and gleaming watch and had spent most of the week sneaking out of the hotel to go and chat up (that's one of way of putting it) the baggage boy Irfan, and yet, in one of natures most beautiful settings, she felt compelled to tell me with a scowling face what a shithole it was. And she was from Beith (little Ayrshire joke there). And she was getting some...and she had perfect hearing...the woe, I felt, was mine alone to feel...

Luckily for any Beithugees who found pure streams and rolling fields not to their liking, the time for us to leave had come. Our final group breakfast was, somewhat surprisingly, made and prepared by Fredrik, who we hadn't seen since the custard diplomacy debacle early in the trip. Urs had long since abandoned us after we failed to appreciate the nuances of his "ski...me" joke. As soon as he came out of his kitchen with his chefs hat and his imposingly manly moustache, we were concerned. I wouldn't say he was jolly as he dished up his idea of breakfast, but he was certainly indifferent, which was a step up from the boiling rage of earlier. I wasn't eating because I wasn't well, and because he had decided to send us on our way with porridge, after all, what is a more stereotypical Scottish breakfast than porridge? Unfortunately, and perhaps it was deliberate, he had once again completely botched it, and I'm assured that it tasted far more of egg than any porridge really should. I was never so glad to reject a breakfast on the grounds of racial profiling in my life. The strange thing was, no one complained, so terrified was everyone by the rejection of the custard, that not a drop of this horrible eggy porridge was wasted. Still Fredrik seemed happy that his breakfast had gone over well and actually smiled. It might have been an evil smile, but it was definitely a smile. Never complain about a chef I say. I decided to leave everyone to their breakfast have long abandoned any kind of Partridge family dreams that we would all get on the bus together singing with Rubin Kincaid leading the way. I mean our bus driver was called Dave and he smelled of gin for one thing. As I went up to my room, and stood on the balcony where Colin had had his fit, I swear off in the distance I saw Gaby, just for a fleeting moment, but she was getting into the car with a man and looking distinctly unhappy. The man driving the car looked like Irfan, so that just made things worse. As I stood on the balcony, a strangley melancholy Colin came into the room and said "who's the bird", and I presumed he had seen Gaby as well, and I could have poured my heart out to my heavily sedated companion, oh I could have poured my heart out to him, poured us both a glass of mini bar Pepsi and told her about the connection I h...but what would be the point? Instead, I said it was Gaby, and left it at that. Craning his neck in the direction of the car, he said "nice tits" and walked away. Although he was entirely right, it wasn't the intellectual stimulation and understanding that I was looking for. The Gene Hackman was next into the room, and he said absolutely nothing, except to swipe the last Toblerone and tell me that Colin was a spoon...oh, for a sympathetic ear...well, a sympathetic ear that wasn't hissing I guess...

With a suspiciously sore arm and an ear that continued to sound like the beginning of a Max Headroom sketch, having to carry my suitcase down the stairs past staff giving each other high fives that we were leaving was not the way I wanted to end my holiday. I had such high hopes when I left the BP station at Kilwinning, and it felt like none of us had seized the day...none of us had seized anything, well, I'd seized a potentially arm threatening infection, Colin had seized a large amount of class A drugs and Ella (ey ey ey) had seized Irfans...um...anyway, as I was dragging my suitcase down to the bus and it's distinctive smell of gin, I realised that the staff at the hotel were engaged in a bit of argument. It was a heated argument, as one of the Germans had fists cocked and was ready to strike. I shrugged it off until I distinctly heard the phrase "Nintendo"...Nintendo? What, like the one in the staff room where I had been secretly sleeping and stealing the cigarettes? I hadn't broken it had I? The staff hadn't gone to have a cheeky game of Goldeneye and it hadn't turned itself on? I turned my good ear to the conversation, which was in German and broken English. From what little I could gather, there was definitely something wrong with the staff room - what, I'm not sure, but it definitely involved the Nintendo and something to do with a slit in the couch. Slit? That definitely wasn't me, it was possibly the security guard. Then the word cigarette came into the conversation...now that definitely was me, I was so stressed I gone through about fifty Malboros the night after I was snowballed alone. If I'd had my proper hearing I would have missed the conversation because I would have had my Walkman clamped to my ears listening to the KLF and Hammer (he dropped the MC in 92) but this was definitely something I needed to pay attention to. The campest of all the hotel staff, a man who could make the most manly activities look camp (he could dig a ditch or chop down a tree with a hip swish) then said the phrase "security tapes"...oh shit. Yes, there was a security camera. Of course there was. And I was quite probably on it, stealing their pina coladas and dismissively critiquing their television. And who would have thought a little breaking and entering and theft and casual television criticism would have been illegal huh? Anyone? I was in a sense a little bit lucky because it was our last night, and just as the argument threatened to involve an all in review of the security tapes, Urs wandered past with chocolate on a tray and everyone calmed down and had a good old laugh...to this day, I wonder if anyone ever watched tapes and realised I was stealing sponges...sweating, and incredibly nervous, I boarded the bus with a heavy heart, an anxious heart, and a heart that was beating at about 200mphs because of the infection. The Gene Hackman bounded onto the bus, smiled as he sat next to me and said something akin to Switzerland being the single greatest country he had ever been in and he'd had the night of his life, and to a quiet murmur of indifference and the odd pelted Fruit Cream, we were off down the mountain, while I stared out the window, hoping for one last glimpse of Gabys bountiful bosom, and trying to work out exactly what the hotel staff were miming in the direction of our bus, and specifically, at me...

And that, incidentally, is when things went horribly wrong...again...

11 comments:

the projectivist said...

for godsakes, were there no responsible adults there to oversee that diabolical arm/ear infection?!

i really don't like porridge. frankly, there's not a lot to like about it. it's lumpy - like something that you should have whisked and sieved thoroughly, but you were distracted by an info-mercial about steam vacuums and the next thing, you turned around and it's full of big, stodgy lumps and your guests are about to arrive, but you still haven't done your hair, so you think "fuck it, this will have to do!" and you chuck it into your grandmother's best china bowls and scatter parsley artfully around the edges.

yeah. it's just like that.

Jannie said...

What!! Things will go horribly wrong again?

"Corridor of suspicion," I liked that line a lot. And "Disney spseech a the end of a movie."

Gaby's with Hackman, I do believe.

Kris said...

My year nine school trip to Canberra (yes, Canberra) ended up with three pregnancies and a number of police citations over shoplifting.

I might add that none of the babies or thefts were anything to do with me.

Horrid things, school trips.

Baino said...

You mean there's more? As MC Hammer would say, "You can't touch this!" (I didn't know he dropped the MC) Brilliant Miley!

Miles McClagan said...

No, as far as I can remember the only adult I can remember is the PE teacher who was shagging a student and who beat me at table tennis...no one else...porridge is meant to be Scotlands #1 breakfast, but it is shite...never had it with parsley though, and my Grandma used her best china bowls for angel delight...

I do wonder what happened to everyone, if Gaby escaped the clutches of her sadness, what happened to the Gene Hackman...it's funny to think of...

They are bloody awful, I had to come up with inventive illnesses to get out of two of them. This time though was a bit worse...I had a genuine illness...no one got pregnant, although Ella almost did...and I was obviously the only thiever...

He dropped the MC in 92, when he did Addams Family Groove. A long forgotten rap about the Addams Family. That was before he went religious and before he went gangsta...

Mad Cat Lady said...

I'd forgotten Max Headroom - I loved that show - this is sounding distressingly doom laden - like a lemony snicket book - unfortunate events of McClagan - 20 cm! that's big! could you see the muscles working through the hole?
(WV: rhosemar - ??)

Leona Raisin said...

Since you mentioned the Partridge Family in your post, [Ye Sad Sun] was a Partridge and also on "L.A. Law." Here's her birthday anagram game.

squib said...

Porridge is actually very nice if you sprinkle sugar on it and cover it with single cream

Oh another instalment! This is a bit like 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' :)

Kath Lockett said...

It's great that Gaby had eyes, Miles, and so perceptively like you to have noticed that!

Top post my friend - I'd like to know how, maybe in the year 2033, you'll be reviewing your life from 2008?

Aunty Evil said...

Is it wrong to admit I don't ever want this story to end?

But, I suppose it must...

One day...

Miles McClagan said...

Max Headroom, I wonder if that'd still be funny? You don't see any Max Headroom DVDs...interesting...it was a pretty doom laden week, and it was a hole that was black and goeey, and then it was just a scabby hole...not good!

How many anagrams are there for Bonaduce?

I can't see any way porridge would be delicious...that and haggis, things I'm not proud my nation produced!

That's an old Lano and Woodley joke....she had eyes...which was good, cos the last girl I liked just had skin, it was a bit weird...2033? I'll probably still be waiting on my sports teams to win and lamenting how no one uses an IPOD anymore!

I just wish I'd stayed there more than a week...it could have run and run! Damn not keeping written notes...