Another great meal I had while in Rymarov was "smazeny syr." This is fried cheese, and many Czechs eat it. They fry the cheese delectable and hot, and serve it on "rolicky" (small slim pointy Czech white bread). It was given to me by Radim's mom, and twenty-seven-year-old Radim - who'd studied English with me; who loves mountains, geology, and landscape photography, and might later visit me in Russia; who supports my ideas for the "romantic revolution"; and who cups his upper lip with his lower one like a frog when he's thinking - gave me a camera to replace the one I'd had stolen while in Greece. I also bought new jeans while in Rymarov.
I also got some advice. I was quite fond of one girl, but on one day things between us took a bad turn. My best Czech friend Klara Sigmundova told me, "Don't push things. Just let things go, and you'll see." It was good advice. I agreed. And things with the girl were restored to good. Unfortunately, though, I didn't heed the advice very long.
I was ready and off and weighed down with Klara's odorous pork sandwiches, when hair-less Ivo picked me up before the border of Slovakia. He was humble and excited and in his early-thirties. He told that Slovakian girls are the best. He worked with his father's meat-product company. But, he'd escaped for a weekend of bicycling and paragliding in the forested gum-drop hills of beautiful eastern Moravia. He thought that I really ought to come to the paragliders' annual "Sky-Opening" party. Why not, hair-less guy!? Slovakia could wait.
We drove up the side of a hill/mountain. And even the devil was there! That's right, Cert, my snowboarding instructor/paragliding enthusiast, was at the party, with a grizzled/groggy look on his face and his curly black afro. We were glad to see one another. "Cert zabije!" (Cert kills!) and "Justin zabije!" we yelled.
The excitement of Ivo created a myth around me as the "amerikansky spisovatel" (American writer). I befriended two fun dopey guys, turkey-voiced chicken-headed Otik and goof-up Dandy. Otik let me his kiss full-faced Zdenka, his girlfriend. Afterwards, I yelled, "Certa, uz piju!" (Cert, I'm drinking now!)
The stars came out, the night cooled, and the party of seventy paragliders moved around a big fire. Ivo was hard at work grilling sausages and steaks for everyone. When I think of him in this way, though, I like to think of him as "Mr. Meat."
He introduced me to some of his father's newest products, and he recommended the spicy-Mexican plump sausages. I took four, and three were pretty good. I dropped one on the ground. I didn't eat that one.
Cert was one of the first people to pass out from drunkenness.
I started to drink with Petra, a woman in her early-to-mid-forties. She had blond hair and white skin, but both were caramelized. She had a strong fantastic body, and though I often shivered in long sleeves and a coat, she wore a t-shirt.
She with her daughter had two handheld drums. It was beautiful when they played together. I joined them sometimes. And Petra kept bringing us beer and wine. And I would learn she's a calm, teasing, sharp-lipped kisser.
Cert reappeared, around four a.m. Otik and Dandy were telling me countless times how they love me because I learned Czech in four months. Cert said angrily, "Justin nezabije proteze on naucil cesky za ctyri mesici, on zabije, proteze on zabije." (Justin doesn't "kill" because he learned Czech in four months, he kills because he kills.) I thanked him. Cert zabije!
Otik and Dandy are cool too - and especially Petra.
She and I stood before the fire. Ivo had already asked her if she had space in her "pension" hotel room for me. By five a.m., I was tired, so she accompanied me to the room.
I'd been waiting for this! I was aggressively romantic all night. Once we were inside the room, I, as a celibate, aimed to get her to fool around with me but to not want sex. But, I hadn't masturbated in two months, not even an erotic dream in weeks, so we didn't fool around for long before the excitement became too much for me to handle. Damned biological reactions!
I suddenly became much less aggressive.
Petra may not have noticed, she seemingly wanted to avoid sex too. She said romantic things then went outside again to party.
Minutes later, a band of wild "pension hotel" boys - led by Cert and girl-loving Ivo - barged into the room. They saw Petra wasn't there and left me to sleep.
I woke early to hitchhike to Bratislava. Petra and I didn't say much of a good-bye. She just said I had to pay part of the room. (It was four dollars.)
It had been a good night. But, looking back on it, I realized that I often kissed Petra thinking of what we could do further together, and not thinking compassionately of who she was and letting the rest follow naturally. And she was a wonderful, beautiful person. But, she was dangerous for biology.
In a thankfully unrelated note, Jirka picked me up that morning. He drove a compact old car that looked like it wouldn't go forty miles an hour.
We went to Jirka's house, to wait for two guys he knew who'd be going to Bratislava.
Early-forties Jirka lived in the eastern Czech countryside beside a tiny road, next to his parents' old white barn and farmhouse. He owned and labored on twenty-four acres of crops, beneath hills.
I sat behind his square white house which emanated wise life. A quiet empty lawn sat before a young forest that barely encompassed a river. Jirka's silver-black-haired wife came out in the sun and spoke like she'd known me all her life but just not seen me in a while. Her sixteen-year-old daughter shared her hair and spoke to me as naturally as if I was the quilted decorations on the kitchen wall. Jirka's six-year-old son, also Jirka, was "special" and screamed if I didn't call him "Ranna" (crow). The middle child was named Hermina.
Jirka's wife, Ivana, said I could camp in their backyard any time. Jirka was gentle and sage-like. His life seemed ... I'd almost say, "perfect."
I'll try to write about Bratislava next time.
On the day I left Bratislava to continue through Slovakia, a nineteen-year-old Czech girl joined me in hitchhiking and slept in my tent. She didn't speak a whole lot, but when she did, she had a funny laugh like a burping toad.
Upon floating vines in a public garden, we fell asleep on our own sides of the tent. But, two hours later, we were both awake and she seemed closer. Wisely, I conducted a sequence of inching-slightly-closer experiments. Romantic brilliance! Soon, we slept beside one another, our young breathing floated like our bed, I with my arm around this girl whose breakable hair hung beautifully like dying winter leaves. It was great.
I pushed on with my stupid experiments. After some time, the girl, Elishka, said, "Nech me spat." (Let me sleep) She'd responded positively up 'til then, but I didn't know her well enough to know I hadn't annoyed her. My breathing sunk.
Throughout the next day, we met and chatted a few times. We were in an old colorful town between hills. A central monument had soaring colossal orange columns; statues of saints below, one of them pierced with arrows; the Virgin Mary floated high between the columns; and a sunflower sun was on top. Elsewhere, a tucked-away-behind-buildings-Roman-aqueduct-columns university was where Elishka planned to study ecology the next year.
We didn't find each other that evening to camp.
It doesn't say much for my hosting abilities nor romantic prowess that when a girl entrusts me to put my arm around her, I go too far and destroy her interest in me. I don't think "prowess" was the right word there, anyway.
All those flower-wielding romantic revolutionaries still have a lot to learn. I missed Elishka that night.
- Modern Oddyseus
Thanks to Andrea; Jirka & Veronika; Ivo; Jirka; Miro & Miro; Fero; and Martin for rides!
Much thanks to Albina, Igor, Nickie, & Katka, again; and Jana, Brano, Jano, Jana's Mom, & "Ricky" for the places to sleep!