Messner On Tour
Messner returns to a continent where: * people don't go to the toilet on the street (Asia) * they don't call girls Sheila and boys Bruce, when it's not even their name (Austrailasiaiaiaiaiaia) * they don't have the efficiency of the Inland Revenue in every walk of life (South America) Yes, he returns to good ol' Europe where he met up with his old muckers Ben and Jon in Barcelona (pronounced Barttthhhhelona), both of whom had been there for 2 days and left me with the smallest fold up bed in the world, which I'm sure they had shipped in from a Romanina orphanage especially for purposes of strong form. Here we had 4 days of banter including the new game of 'dancefloor olympics'. This new 'sport' was put to the test in a trendy R n' B club where the young hipsters marauded around trying not to smile at any cost, in case anyone should accuse them of having fun. Their looks of laid back indifference turned to frowns though, as 3 lovely and normal English guys took it in turns to perform javelin, high jump, shot put, horse jumping, 100 metres, hurdles, cricket (not sure how long that has been in the Olympics) and tennis. This was also accompanied by a full warm up and warm down session that was undertaken with as much vigour as the main events themselves. So after leaving Barcelona pretty much as we found it, I continued alone to my French friend's, Claude, place in Perpignan (France). I went via the Salavador Dali museum which I went to 15 years ago and wondered if it was still as weird. The answer is yes - the man is stranger than a tap dancing squirrel wearing a tuxedo and answering to the name of Shylock. So a few days in Perpignan, where my host showed me the local vineyards and nightlife. Here I discovered that my GCSE French has fallen below the standards I could never perceived it could get lower than when I was 16. Then it was on to Chamonix and sharing a dorm with two 60 year old geordies with a gregarious disposition, and the worlds most boring man from Nottingham. On hearing that I had been around the world he asked me "How did you do your laundry?". I had the last laugh though when I made him go down a hill in a luge, he fell out and ripped all his clothes. The fact he was bleeding as well only added to my macabre mirth. Into the belly of an iron snake I climbed, and was regurgitated out into the gaslit streets of gay Paris. Here I was met by my old amis mademoiselle Annette Bozorgan. We painted the town red by going looking at graves in Pere Lacahise and watching the worst band in the world! Qu'est que c'est? So farewell to Anni and where next on this impromtu shoe horn across the continent? Why St. Malo and the ferry to Jersey of course..... (Insert theme tune from Bergerac as appropriate!) So arrival in Jersey, which is actually a jolly nice place. Beautiful beaches, nice weather and the home of my good friend and supporting character in the first 3 months of these pages - the Himalyan goat himself, Mr Richard 'Bonnington' Gaskell. The next 5 days were a bit blurry, my reasoning being the choppy one hour ferry crossing rather than the marathon industrial latherathon that ensued. Richard's brother was also here and he addded more comedy texture by missing his plane and crawling through a graveyard at 4am in the morning. All exceedingly lovely and handsomely normal. And so it ends - the plane back to blighty. Tear in the eye, lump in the throat, thousand yard stare, misty flashback ensemble of the last 12 months, cut to gatwick airport......