Still touring the Polish/Czech border and between cycling and guzzling beer like a tramp, there have been visits to ‘resorts’ – camping sites with pools, tents and Polish people furiously arguing with their children. Or perhaps they’re playing with them. It’s hard to tell.
Ever the Sherlock Holmes, my PRACTICAL SILESIAN WIFE believes you can distinguish an affluent resort as there are pistachio shells under the benches instead of cigarette butts. Where I’m currently writing this is full of the latter, sticking to my feet, making me imagine I’ll get toe-cancer if I don’t move.
The unforgiving, bastard, summer-sun, places me under a giant umbrella, between the bar and two medium sized swimming pools. It’s 9.30am and already families are up and about. One is having a breakfast which comprises of a basket of chips, except for the father who’s chain-smoking huge, bent cigarettes. In common with the other ‘resort-men’, he has morphed into a pregnant, middle-aged Korean woman; his eyes narrow, his large belly easily carrying twins, and his man-boobs drooping and sad as if they know they’ll never be caressed by a secret lover under a Tahitian moonlight. He and his wife are taking turns to berate their child, shouting the word ‘smeerch’ at him, which in Polish could either mean ‘stink’ or ‘die’.
Beyond them, three other Korean She-Men are holding court at the Bar, smoking, coughing and laughing, in that order. There are four pints of grey-coloured beer in front of them – ah, the breakfast of champions! One man attempts to blow up an inflatable swimming aid, this brings him two millimetres off a coronary, which his friend instantly cures by thumping him hard across the kidneys. It’s nice to know such medical expertise is close at hand.
By 10am the pool area starts to fill up with women and children. The Polish women are in the main, lithe and attractive, each marked with tattoos seemingly designed to bring attention to their reproductive or waste disposal zones. Most are ferrying large inflatable animals – there’s a giant tortoise being inflated right in front of me, the woman working the foot-pump with manic intensity, giving the impression her right leg is possessed by a Parkinson’s-afflicted demon. Of course being Polish, she’s multi-tasking, simultaneously shouting ‘smeerch’ at her children and killing a wasp with a pink imitation Croc shoe.
Throughout all this, a giant She-Man has been lumbering around the resort calling out the name ‘Magda’ over and over. Flip-flops on his feet, basically two slices of yellow bread with a plastic thong asphyxiating his big toe. He’s wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Pussy Patrol’ and I know that the tiny, tiny, part of me which admires his t-shirt must be crushed without mercy.
‘Magdaaaaa!’ He sounds so forlorn, I feel it behoves me to offer help.
‘Are you looking for your daughter?’
‘Your daughter -she’s lost?’
Suddenly a little dog runs from behind a caravan and jumps into his arms – Madga – whom the man starts kissing with a little too much intensity. Well why not? French-kissing a pet terrier is what holidays are all about.
Next and last, a father and son start playing table tennis. The father is on a mission to crush his son’s spirit, playing with the fury of an adult who came last in every sporting competition of his youth. Somehow my laptop has become their net and I give them a rueful smile – this is how dehydrated Irishmen do confrontation – the father stares back. His unspoken message is imparted, one I imagine in the voice of Ivan Drago from Rocky 5;
‘I must break you…’
The heat, the wasps, the passive smoke – these I can just about handle. But Ivan Drago with a table-tennis bat?
Time to go.