Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bohemian tourist

I'm getting wise,
and I'm feeling so Bohemian like you,
It's you that I want so please,
just a casual, casual easy thing.

- The Dandy Warhols, just because I like the song

I'm in Bohemia at the moment, in a little town on a bend of the Vltava River called Cesky Krumlov. It's one of those places you've got to visit because everyone keeps telling you how great it is. And it's not bad. It's a tourist trap, for sure, but the buildings are very attractive and the castle is very grand. There's a nice, unhurried ambience about the place. It's the kind of town where you can spend an afternoon quite pleasantly on the river bank with a beer in one hand and a book in the other.

But you know, I probably could have lived a full life without having been here.

This morning in Prague, I had a talk with this guy who's spent his holidays building a youth shelter for under-privileged kids. Interesting stuff. When you're travelling around, you've got this kind of impenetrable cloak of self-absorption. I mean, you're on holiday in this strange place, and you start to think that everything revolves around you. And you kind of close your eyes to things that don't fit into your holiday space - like poverty, and homelessness, and racism. I remember being hounded by gypsies near the Brandenberg Gate, and thinking at the time that it was a real imposition on my part to be asked for cash at a time like that. 

It's that kind of selfishness that gives tourists a bad name, I suppose. 

And in the spirit of whiny introspection, I stink. If I stand on the wrong side of a stiff breeze, I can catch a whiff of myself, and I stink. I'm not entirely sure what it is. I suspect it's the hair - it's turned lanky and greasy under the beanie - but it's got to be something more than that. I reek of stale sweat and unwashed skin. I'm embarrassed to be within two metres of anyone. I should take a shower, but I'm down to my last pair of jocks and it costs $20AUS for laundry. 

Which means that I'm going to smell like a wet sheepdog until I get to Vienna. It's oddly appropriate - after all, when in Bohemia, stink like the bohemians do. And there's no one to please here.

And the Arsenal beat Everton 3-1. Yep, we love the Arsenal, we do. 


Anonymous said...

Nice to hear you are enjoying the Czech Republic. Ces and I enjoyed it too when we were there, although the service at restaurants was more swift than usual.

Your sister in law is very indignant about your description of her time in Germany. She wrote lots of great stuff about an obscure East German poet. She could possibly have been the world leading authority on Hans Magnus Enzensberger. In fact, she still may be.

Anyway, I think you should get washed, have some clean clothes, and get a hair cut, but that's just me.

Got an email from Dad. They are in HK and will be soon in Australia.

Hope things are OK and that you can still buy stuff in Australian dollars

Your brother.

Anonymous said...

By the way, does anyone else read your blogg now?

Your brother.

Connolly's agent said...

I get about 10 hits a day. It's a bit irritating because before the name change, I was getting about 100 a day and rising. Guess "antipodean-gooner" isn't as catchy as "fucking arsenal". Oh well.

And you can tell Cecelia that, since she never said anything about Heidelburg, I had to use my imagination. And all I've got are a bunch of Aussies who swarm through the pubs and bars of Eastern Europe like locusts. I hope Hans Magnus Enzensberger was worth it.

Yes, quite like the Czech Republic. Wish I could spend more time here - would like to see Moravia and Plzen, and should've spent a week at least in Prague, but you know, gotta keep moving.

Connolly's agent said...

I guess people have a glance at it whenever they remember me. Which is increasingly rare, I suppose, but that's the way it goes.

I don't know. Kind of writing it for myself, anyway. It's nice having a bit of a travelogue while I'm over here - the problem with travelling by yourself is that you get these thoughts that you really want to share with someone, but there's no one arsed enough to bother listening.