JAZ SEM JAN PLESTINJAK
Sent 13 November 2001 from Maribor, Slovenia
Dober dan, crazy Australians (and miscellaneous foreign persons)!
As predicted in my last e-mail, I am much more cheery this time around (I'm drunk). We are now in a cyber cafe in Maribor that provides FREE internet access AND cheap beer!!! About A$2.50 a pint. Oh yeah!!
Sorry it's been so long since I last wrote a proper e-mail to ya's. But it hasn't been due to lack of love - far from it!!! It's just been generally difficult to access the internet in this recently ex- communist/third world country. Tasha, I am of course joking. It hasn't been communist for 10 years now.
OK - currently in Slovenia, where they speak very funny. In fact, it's zelo smešno. You just need to able to speak using very few vowels and have a working knowledge of 'Grammar according to Yoda'. Some examples of words they actually use here are 'trg' (meaning 'square'), 'mrzlo' (cold) and 'prst' (finger). But it's not all squares and fingering in Slovenia. Heck, no! A useful phrase is 'Jaz hočem eno veliko pivo, prosim' ('I would like one big beer, please'). At least, I think so. As I said, the grammar's a little funny. 'Peš gremo lahko do Tromostovja' loosely translates as 'By foot we go can to Tromostovja'. Razumeš? OK.
Since I last wrote, we of course partook in the pleasures of Ok-shoba-fest. To get there, we had to rush across the continent of Europe, getting from Barcelona to Munich in 4 days, via Nice, Venice and Salzburg using the fab Busabout. Once there, not only did we 'fest on, but we stayed with the wonderful Baerbel. Thanks again, Baerbel, and good luck with those exam-y thingys (and sorry for any distractions we have inadvertently (or advertently) caused).
We then made our way back to Nice, via Venice again (gotta hate that) and the incredibly over-rated, architecturally incompetent Pisa, and hooked up with our Stray group, which was our next preferred method of gettin' around. We spent a day in Monaco to remind ourselves of our station in life and how poor we (and, let's face it, all of you) really are. Then on to the five wonderful villages of Cinque Terre (which means, obviously, 'five lands'...). I am determined to go back and live there one day, at least for a few years - one village in particular took my fancy. Dave - you also expressed an interest in living here, so if things don't work out with Natasha, I suggest you and I get married and settle down there.
Speaking of places I'd like to live (probably with Natasha, though), also up there are Zahara de los Atunes on the south Atlantic coast of Spain, San Sebastian (north Atlantic coast) or maybe one of them little villages on the mountain slopes of Austria.
Then to Rome, which was great and in which we had to spend an extra night as there was just too-gosh-darned much to see. Rock.
Then to beautiful Florence, where we ate over-priced pizza, ice cream (gelati) and $34 steak. Youch (note to self: prices are per 100 grams). Also went for a big walk around the hills and vineyards of Tuscany - I highly recommend it to any of you planning on coming over... We then headed from Florence to Slovenia, getting there in one day using 5, count 'em, FIVE trains and one car. Yes - it really happened!! But it was good once we got here. Slovenia really is gorgeous and the people are all incredibly friendly and offer much alcohol to Australians with alcohol problems. It also seems that they can't comprehend the word 'No' in answer to said offer of alcohol, resulting in dosti hangovers and Natasha's relatives all laughing at me.
While on the subject: Countries in which I have had a hang-over:
And while writing lists:
Things I miss from Australia:
People that understand what I'm saying
TISM (have they released the new album yet?)
Beat and Inpress
RRR and PBS
All of you
Fortunately, we've been able to hear Bardot while here (yes, really) so I don't miss them. They also have Seinfeld and Buffy IN ENGLISH (with sub-titles), so I don't miss them either. Incidentally, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is called 'Izganjalka Vampirjeu'. But of course.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has also been on, though I thought it was a new one, because it was listed as 'Indiana Jones in tempelj smrti'.
As I was saying about the Slovenians, though, Natasha's family have been really cool. They seriously have all been fighting over which uncle or aunt will have the opportunity to feed us, provide us with free lodgings, drive us around to various sites of interest (we are not allowed to pay our entry fees, either) and offer pivo to us that cannot be refused and that invariably results in pain and laughter.
And the food - o moj joj!! I'm positive that I lost a lot of weight before getting to Slovenia and now I can introduce you all to my own little mini-me. Again, 'No' is not an acceptable answer to an offer of food.
We went out with some of Natasha's cousins and their friends in Logatec about a week or two ago and, of course, was forced into becoming embarrassingly drunk. That is, I was forced into it, as Natasha went home early and I kicked on with her cousins. We ended up in some bar that seemed to be (to me) in a hut out in the middle of nowhere. Looks were deceptive, however, and it was zelo rockin'. Boštijan, one of Natasha's cousins (one of three that speak English), went around telling girls there that I was Jan Plestinjak - a famous singer here that many people have said I look identical to. This sent some of the women into a swoon and rushing over to me and asking me ... well, asking lot's of stuff. And this was where the illusion fell apart, as all I could say, in answer to whatever the hell they were saying, was 'Jaz sem Jan Plestinjak' - I am Jan Plestinjak. In answer to every question. This then became even more curious to them - the fact that some Australian was going into dodgy nightclubs in Dogdick, Nowhere and attempting to impersonate the country's most famous singer while only knowing how to say 'Jaz sem Jan Plestinjak' and that he would like a big beer.
Boštijan then told the DJ that his Australian friend was in the audience, prompting the DJ to froth at the mouth and put the most Australian song he could find on the turntable - in this case, it was Kylie Minogue's 'Can't get you out of my head'. Oh well, the girls got me to sing for them. And it was gooood.
Have also been to see Slovenia's somewhat belated answer to bad (but still so good) eighties hard rock bands ('Šank Rok', yeah, sign of the devil man) and went to a Ljubljana University Union Night. Shoba.
And so here we are in Maribor. Staying with Natasha's brother's family. Her brother is in the Slovenian army and is something of a war hero here - we spoke to someone else in the army who told us that her brother was the first person to fire a shot (possibly from a bazooka) in the Slovenian-Serbian war in 1991. Hard to believe this country was at war 10 years ago. I actually just read a book about the Balkans wars that was written in 1993 that predicted that the same things that had happened in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia may one day happen in Kosovo and Macedonia. I'd like to see that guy's footy tips, too.
Natasha's nephews are good value. One of them - Marko - is a real little shit. Very annoying and keeps playing tricks all the time. Needless to say, we get on like a house on fire and are learning a lot from each other.
Next stop: London. We've been EXTRAORDINARILY blessed by the good weather fairy so far on this trip, so we expect to get EXTRAORDINARILY blasted when we return to England. So far, since we left Australia, it has rained a total of THREE days - once in London (of course - and we were there for FIVE days, too - that's a one in five ratio!), once in Paris and once in the mountains near Granada in Spain. Oh, and it snowed here two days ago. And it's actually raining now, I must admit, so I guess it's now four days since we left. Still - pretty good so shutup.
We're flying with Ryanair from Trieste to London on 21 November. If anything terroristy happens, Mum and Dad can sort out the allocation of my CDs, guitars and porn (did I think that or write that?). Anyone who wants to catch up in England, let us know. We're hoping to stay with Dan when we first arrive (and I think he might even be aware of this). Dave - not sure if we can come across to Dublin yet - I'll let you know. Otherwise, we'll definitely have to catch up when you get back from the land of Oz. Bring us a slab of VB if you can. Just kidding - twelve.
Other semi-personal messages (I could reply individually...but I'm not going to):
James B - Venice was good, and, yes, jaw-droppingly expensive. And all that water kind of makes it hard to get around. E-mailed Richie a 'humourous' 'card'.
Aaron - good news about the Late Show - appreciate the update. Bring it around some time and we'll watch it.
Jo K - You are the king. You know that if I had been in Melbourne, there would have been FIVE people on that pub crawl.
Sekfy - too true, my friend, too true (and I have followed, and still am following right now (sip), your advice (which was: RILEY I THINK YOU NEED TO SINK MORE PISS)). Giddyup.
Natasha C - sorry couldn't make it to your b'day drinks at Bridie's. Maybe next year.
Amy S - work sounds fun. No, reeeeally. Please e-mail me your joint venture agreement when you get the chance. I reeeeeeally want to see it. Oh, and Natasha agrees 100% with your Harry Potter book review.
Jacqui C - see Amy's message regarding work and substitute 'joint venture agreement' with something else I would be facetious about.
Marg D - thanks for the updates and your TWO e-mails you've sent now (to me, at least - others were to 'Natasha').
Jo M - see you in London
Colette C - good work with the band. I'd like to try that dress on one day.
Juddie and all other people who have expressed jealousy - O-PROS-TI!!! (read that like a Slovenian version of Steve Martin...)
And Steve S - thanks for your drug induced hilarity. You are welcome to join us in our basement anytime.
People who send e-mails to me rock. 'Nuff said.
Yours in post-election depression (note the lack of poor 'erection' jokes in this e-mail - zelo classy)
love the rilestar
PS Please forward this on as you deem fit to people who may or may not know me.
PPS Although this e-mail is coming to you from firstname.lastname@example.org, keep email@example.com as my bookmarked e-mail address - all my e-mails to that address are being forwarded to here and I can forward them to another e-mail address if I want to change in future.
PPPS Not sure if I told ya's (actually, I'm sure I haven't, as I've only sent TWO e-mails) is that right towards the start of our trip we met Ron Hitler Barassi's nephew. Dead set! He told us heaps of insider goss - very interesting. Apparently the band got the name from when they were practicing in the bedroom or something, and one of the band member's mothers walked in protesting about the racket, and he replied: 'This is serious, mum'. Fair dinkum! He said he's on the front cover of one of the vinyl albums - his whole family is on there (and his dad has a shotgun in his mouth). Smešno.
PPPPS 'Š' may come out funny, but it has a 'sh' sound.
PPPPS If you don't want to receive these highly infrequent and inconvenient e-mails, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and nothing will happen (I assure you).