Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday was nice, lines to get in weren’t too bad and we caught a bit of good music. The thing didn’t really start until Friday. Friday, as I mentioned, was rough. It was cold and rainy. We tried to brave the weather and watch some music for a bit but it was pretty brutal. Even our shelter wasn’t keeping us dry. We ended up retreating to Marks large tent and playing risk for most of the day. As Matt put it, “if I didn’t have it on good authority that it would be nicer tomorrow, I would have to pack it in.” The weather did have it as clearing up on Saturday and it was right. It actually cleared up just as Karena showed up on Friday night. Just in time for PFunk.
Well, almost in time for P Funk. We got to the field, set up our area and I headed into the crowd to start dancing. I think George saw me coming b/c as I went out there, he stopped playing. Doh! Luckily, the next band, deep banana blackout was very funkified as well. They were also doing a James Brown tribute show so they played a bunch of JB covers. Sweet. The weekend has turned around.
Saturday started off exactly opposite Friday. Just as Friday was cold and dreary, Saturday was beautiful. Sunday too. I spent the rest of the weekend dancing, hacking and throwing a Frisbee around. Carmel brought her hoops again so their was always a party of people hoping around our group. Really made for a great weekend.
Driving back, Matt and I got into the wine (Carmel was driving). Then when we got back, Carmel could join and it got to be a bit messy. I caught a cab to my Newark hotel around 1am and was out again at 6 for my flight. All this made my flight a bit less productive than I hoped but it was still a winning weekend.
London weather held true as usual. This is the third trip in a row I have returned from Beautiful sunny weather to London only to find I need a jacket and umbrella for days. Ugh, this is killing me.
The next day was skydiving. A work colleague was having a bachelor party that involved jumping out of a plane. This was something I was very keen on doing for years but had largely forgotten about. This seemed like a good opportunity but I was still unsure. The tipping point was when Mason, another work colleague and veteran of 1000s of jumps, said, “if you do this, you will smile about it for a week”. Ok, how can I resist.
The whole episode took maybe 20 minutes in the plane and 10 minutes in the air. It was great fun but not a new hobby. The most amazing part, for me, was that initial feeling of leaving the airplane. You are high enough that it isn’t so much a heights thing but watching the plane, your lifeline, speeding away from you was curious. The freefall lasted about 20 or so seconds and then we floated down for another 10 minutes or so. Slide on your ass in for the landing and you are done.
And since we had to drive out to East Stroudsburg, PA for it, we even got cheese steaks (or pizza steaks in my case).
Headed up to Seneca falls NY to see two great people get married. I drove up and got stuck in terrible traffic so I missed the initial boat cruise. This driving stuff is for the birds. On the way up, I decided I had to find another way back.
I beat the boat party coming back by only about 1 hour. Another big plus to the weekend is that J was going to be there. We met up briefly that night but none of us had a lot of energy, and Jeremy and Michele were pretty lit by this point.
One amusing anecdote of the evening came when Michele’s brother and friends ran into some ignorant hick who started mouthing off. It eventually degenerated into the hick saying take your ‘dominican bitch’ and get out of here. The, I think amusing, rejoinder was “hey, we’re niggers, at least get your racial slurs right”. The guy didn’t really know what to make of that and the confrontation was broken off shortly thereafter.
The wedding was great. Hot but close enough to the water not to be too bad. Sunny, no rain. Fun party through the night and everything I saw was great. It didn’t surprise me that the Andrasiks have some cool friends. At some point, somebody gave me a hat.
Stayed up all night and wasn’t feeling great after my 2 hours of sleep. The day before I had purchased a plane ticket back from Syracuse. I could have done train but I thought I would be going on the wine tour and wanted to leave later. I arrived at the airport hoping to catch an earlier flight. Turning the car back in, I got a nasty surprise. They doubled the rate on me b/c I wasn’t returning to the same location. So much for Avis being flexible. Since I had already bought the plane tix, there wasn’t much I could say. I returned the car and went to the air line. No way to get me on another flight. Slumming. I checked my bags for my flight and headed to the gate anyway. Pulled up a piece of floor and got some sleep.
I was awoken a few hours later to the news that my flight was cancelled. Apparently it rained a bit and cancelled all flights. Sweet. After talking to the airline about options (we can get you out on Tuesday), I headed back to avis to see if I could get a car. I met up with a couple guys and they had just rented a car and were driving back to the city. Long story short, I ended up paying an extra $200 to drive my same car back to ny. At least the other guy drove.
The wedding was still worth it.
We toured around Novi Sad and Alexandra pointed out the major sites. Most interesting though, was talking to her. I couldn’t determine whether she was having trouble with her English or she was just uninterested in what we had to say. We would try to respond to her and at least half the time she would cut in and start talking about something else. She was involved in the artist scene in Novi Sad but it sounded like she was more of an organizer than an artist. We did get an interesting view of the rest of Europe from her. She thought that the locals were unfriendly compared to the rest of Europe. Well, compared to western EU. She mentioned that the Croatians were ‘evil’ with an unsettlingly casual racism. She didn’t like ‘hippies’ as she called most of the festival goers but she was into tarot and seemed to appreciate the hippy ideals if not the hippies themselves. Despite these odd points, she was nice enough to take us on a locals tour of the area, showed us the outside of here house and her dogs and spent the afternoon hanging out. That definitely seems friendlier than most of the other Europeans I have met. We parted ways to go to the festival and she mentioned that her friend would want to meet us so we set up to meet the next day.
We headed back for a nap before the show and then headed in for the night.
Lauryn Hill was first up on the main stage. In what was apparently her modus operandi this summer, she fucked up the whole stage. She didn’t come on until nearly 2 hours too late. As I hear it, she wasn’t even there. I hear rumors of her in other shows this summer refusing to play because some of the backstage staff had the audacity to talk to her and other such nonsense. When do you cross that line as a performer and become completely divorced from reality?
Basement Jaxx apologized for coming on so late with something like “.. we would like to apologize, the previous performer held up, nah, the reason we are on is b/c we have been waiting 2 hours for Lauryn Hill. We are sorry and here we go.”
Basement Jaxx had a good show. I didn’t realize he had become a band. He used to be a DJ. The first half of his show was a full on show with him basically being drums and keyboard (from the dj booth). The show lost some momentum in the middle when he switched over to his classic DJ stuff.
We wandered a bit and saw some other shows before heading back to see Snoop Dogg. The main stage was way to small to hold the crowd and we were forever away. Ever since he split with Dre, Snoop just ain’t Snoop so we didn’t even stay for the whole show.
Spent the next day in the park throwing a Frisbee around and reading. Met up with Alexandra and her friend Marianne. We chatted a bit, her friend was more interested in the ‘mainstream’ culture and seemed a bit more open minded. Alexandra told our fortunes with playing cards but she didn’t have her books so she couldn’t read all the cards. I think she got mine backwards and told my past instead.
We made our way into the concert to see WuTang. The sound wasn’t so good and by this time we were pretty low energy. 4 days of this was beginning to get to us. Sunday night was the night for the locals though, complete with fireworks.. Most of the foreigners had left so the mix was much different on this night. We finished off our drink tokens and wandered. Found a cool café at the Happy Novi Sad stage.
We headed back around 2 to try to get some sleep before our early departure the next day. It was a bit tough, the locals were really partying. We had two competing brass bands on either side of us with the locals hooting and hollering. In a way the hooting reminded me of a Mexican fiesta.
We roused ourselves around 7 am to find a cab. The locals were just starting to leave, they do know how to party. We were getting a cab to the bus station but we had some extra dirhams and decided to have the guy take us all the way to Belgrade. Nice countryside. One more adventure on the books.