Sunday, 15 February 2009

How time does fly!

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Jayne Torville and Christopher Dean winning the gold medal for ice dance at the winter Olympics and there was a commemorative programme on television which brought back memories of that night. The games were held at Sarajevo, a city I have driven through. This was just after the end of the war in Bosnia when I went with an aid convoy organised by our Lions district. We drove through Sarajevo to reach a refugee collecting centre near Visegrad. I remember that the refugees directed us to a hotel which had been built for the Olympics and which was, they said, the best in the area. We had to stay overnight as we had been unable to unload all the aid on the first day. I've found the entry in the team's log book:

Depart the camp, Oliver leading us to the best hotel in town. Actually, it's in the mountains a few miles from the camp. Getting back across the wooden bridge is even more of a problem for Roy and in the end the guardrail has to go. Pass a hot spring on the way and dream of steaming hot showers! Hotel looks magnificent, built for the 1984 winter Olympics, perhaps? Remember Torville and Dean's nine perfect 6.0's for their Bolero routine? Won't let us have rooms for the evening only, so we book 2 twin-bedded rooms for the night. Katy and Manda will sleep in one, Sue and Bill in the other. Roy, Tony and Brian will stay with the vehicles. At least we can all have a hot shower and a decent meal in the hotel. Some hope! The hot water is the tepid side of cool - and that's when you can get any at all. Still, some are brave enough for cold showers. Reception want passports for the four sleeping in the hotel. But where is Bill? To get things moving, Brian produces his passport, so Bill and Sue end up as Mr & Mrs Slater.

We ask directions to the bar and are sent to the far end of an enormous dining room. There must be tables and chairs for 200 people. After a few drinks we repair to another section of the dining room where something seems to be happening in the way of serving food. Tables are laid up and there are local people scattered around. We gather that we can sit where we like, so we do. The waiter comes and takes our order. Then bedlam! A man dressed as a nurse (psychiatric?) screams at us and we gather that he wants us to leave. Can't think what we have done wrong - or is this a case of the patients running the asylum? Two or three of the locals tell him to stop making a fuss. "No problem", they say. At least, that's what it sounded like. However, we decide to withdraw and sit at another table in the posher part of the restaurant where we were eventually served with almost cold meals. Katy's was hot, but only because the waiter forgot to order hers. We decide that the hotel is being used as a treatment centre of some sort and that the other part of the dining room was for the patients only.

Leaving the restaurant, Roy leads the way through the 6 foot gap between a pillar and the wall, only to find it's not a gap but a plate glass window. Roy's OK and the window is undamaged, but Roy's glasses fell to the tiled floor and one lens is smashed.

Monday, 28th October

0030 Katy wakes with a terrific thirst. Doesn't trust the tap water, so goes out to wake Brian in the camper for a bottle of water. Night porter sees her coming back and thinks she is due to be a patient before long. Much leg pulling for the rest of the trip! Bill had thought to take a bottle with him, so he and Sue were OK when they too woke with terrible thirsts.

0600 Roy, Tony and Brian start to move stuff from the artic to the Leyland in order to speed things up later. Halfway through, the nurse from last night comes and asks if all this is for him. What brass-necked cheek.

It was quite an eventful trip and maybe I'll post some more of the log book one of these days.

No comments: