The three of us hit the railway station and said bye-bye. Doug was relieved to discover that I wasn't really abandoning our plans and would meet up with him and Dave in Geneva in the near future. In the mean time I had another rendez-vous to manage in Interlaken so I hit the rail network again. That was basically a side-trip although I did split a couple of beers with an old ex- WW2 Fallschirmjager guy and his wife in some cafe. Even though he used to be a "dirty Kraut" I shook his hand. He held the Anzacs in Crete in very high regard so I didn't even let on about Colonel Klink.
I made it to Geneva. Hmmm, what to do? First of all I booked a bunk at the local YH and cast about for food and drink. Not far away was a cafe which sold cheap ham sandwiches and large glasses of beer. Perfect. After eating and downing a few 'Schlossen I started thinking that Doug wouldn't know where I was so I got up to leave. Doug was at the bar ordering beer.
"Better make that two." was my advice to the silly Canuck, adding "Be quick about it."
Always take the opportunity to get something in, no matter how small it be.
"Suck my cock!" I'd beaten him. That was always his standby if he could think of nothing else.
We then settled into some catch up and pre-planning. Dave was due in later so we needed to have the semblance of an idea ready for him. His birthday was the next day. We decided to go shopping. Doug had already checked in so it was a case of finding a supermarket, stocking up on some provisions (beer, bread, cheese and cold cuts) and hang out for Dave. By this time we'd grown the crew by a couple of Americans, one of whom, Chris, seemed to be a bit thirsty. He reckoned he was in for a "big night with the boys".
Eventually Dave fronted up so we took off to a nice little park and ate and drank and drank until the beer was gone so we started bar hopping. We were pretty messy by curfew time so we made it back just in time. Young Chris was stuffed. He'd thrown up the white flag an hour earlier but had hung in because of a couple of teachers from Melbourne we'd started chatting up. Unfortunately they were both either newly wedded or engaged (silly bints) and staying in a local hotel while their husbands were working some overseas travel scam as employees of the Federal Department of Trade or some such nonsense. Bastards.
The white flag wasn't the only thing Chris threw up that evening. I'm glad I wasn't in that room.
The next morning we hit the Fruhstuck Express and guess what? Bread roll and jam with milk coffee. Chris The Yank looked very ill so we asked him if he wanted to come for a beer. He politely refused so Doug 'n' Dave 'n' I headed off to the Canuck consulate so that Doug could get his new passport. After half an hour of looking at crap mags Dave and I got bored so we headed off to the nearest bar to wait for Doug. Took him an hour. Them Canucks aren't quick. Council of War time. It was Dave's birthday and we had to figure out somewhere that:
- was reasonably cheap for booze
- we wouldn't be hassled by curfews
- we could get a decent feed on the cheap
Hmmm. We checked our guide books for cheap doss houses in Geneva with no luck. I opened up my Eurail map and saw something very tempting within a couple of hours train travel.
"Whaddaya reckon boys? Find a cheap pub to crash in and nosh up on some French tucker? The piss there is cheap and we won't have to worry about Fruhstuck Express."
Pretty much sold itself as a concept so we loaded up and headed off to Lyon. Why Lyon? My brother had once told me he'd had great pizza in Lyon and there's lots of cheap dives to hide in if that's your thing.
We decamped at Lyon and did a small piece of food and booze recon before booking into a low dive at extremely cheap rates. The room had two beds. Shit! I'm not sleeping with a drunk Pom or Canuck male. I do have standards despite what you may think. Well, sort of standards plus an overriding fear of latent homosexuality suddenly burgeoning upon me in the form of a pissed Brit or Canadian. We pulled the mattress off one so that there'd be no need to share another bloke's noxious farts or secretions. Then we headed out.
We looked at a couple of cafes and told Dave that it was our treat, his choice and what did he feel like. The 20 year old Englishman decided that pizza was good (what!!!???). He said he didn't fancy frogs legs or snails. We couldn't give a stuff really as it wasn't going to be our last ever chance to nosh up on French cuisine so we went along for the ride. Now, going to a pizza cafe in France may seem pretty weird and on the face of it that is correct. Deep down however there's always a need for pizza and beer. After this I was surprised at the number of pizza joints in La Belle France and couldn't figure it. Pizza. In France. Never mind, I guess its like finding a burger joint in Thailand. We even popped for a couple of half decent vin ordinaires on top of the Kronenburgs we were inhaling at a fast rate. The vino slowed us momentarily and we were well pleased with the pizzas. We took our time, realising that Dave was going home to Preston in a couple of days and this was one of our last hurrahs. Its a fact that when you're overseas and make new friends the experience is more intense. These guys were my new brothers (albeit temporary) and losing one of them did hurt. I mean, who was I going to take the sporting piss out of now? So we got a bit maudlin then ranged in on Doug for losing his passport in Montreux.
"Sure, mate. A hangover gorilla stole it, huh? Or maybe one of those trained monkeys? Yeah, that's aboot right, ay?" in my shocking take of a Canuck accent.
"Suck my cock". Ha! Got him again. I had to remind him of another thing,
"And a passport is far less important than a Fruhstuck Express card, ay?"
"Suck it twice." Ha ha.
We chatted and tried to engage some locals in conversation but our language skills were pretty fucking ordinary when we spoke English, let alone French. At least we tried and the locals appreciated our efforts, even springing for a bottle of bubbles for Dave's birthday.
We got back to our hovel at NFI a.m. and the night porter saw that we were still in the mood for a few beers. So we gave him a few francs and he came back with a box full of Kronenbergs. Top lad. He was originally from Senegal and was cool with our attempts to lure young lasses into our boudoir. Obviously at idiot o'clock in the morning with us looking like brewery refuse we had fuck all chance of romancing anything other than the cockroaches in the kitchen. No birthday sex for Dave.
The next morning we lurched about the environs, scarfing down croque monsieurs for breakfast and feeling like Doug's Gorilla Hangover Theory had been invented only for us. So we basically just hung out in cafe's and parks all day putting shit on each other and reliving past idiocies. We even booked a proper hotel to get a decent kip in the afternoon. That night was a simple cafe meal and not a lot of carousing. It was a funny feeling. No hijinks, just some straight talking and honesty about the fact that being pissheads who'd randomly hooked up we most likely wouldn't keep in touch with each other. We talked, sipped our beers and did our best to untangle a few knots of travel confusion.
The next morning we drank coffee and broke our fasts before farewelling Dave. Bye-bye. It was a bit sad and I never did catch up with him again although we did correspond for a little while, putting shit on each other's cricket teams and keeping up with life events. My guess is that by now he thanks fuck we don't live in the same country.
Doug and I were also parting but we had another RV lined up in The Netherlands in a student town called Nijmegen. Before that happens there's a couple of side trips to tell you about featuring a Swedish lass in France and some friends from Sydney on Il de Batz , or something like that. It was an island in northern France off the coast near Morlaix. Then there's Nijmegen and Namur yet to come.
Oh, and Bedes - I don't know whether we've actually met. Back in the 80's I lived around Rozelle and Balmain in share houses, bonging on and going to gigs. Played Indoor Cricket for our scratch team called "The Hottentots", worked for DSS and generally made an arse of myself. So if you remember a chunky bloke called Nick who fits that description it may be me. In the 90's I moved east and hung around the beaches there, and pubs around Central, Bondi and the inner west. Hopefully I've confused the bejaysus out of you because I reckon that's what this web thing is best at doing. That, porn, footy tipping comps and recounting stories of past deeds. Its good for fuck all else as far as I can tell.