I happened upon a group of people last night, distingishable largely by their somewhat alarming hair and the distinct impression bathing had fallen by the wayside somewhere along the line. In one young man’s case, the two seemed to have a causal relationship. We got to talking – or, I got to pouring them beer and became an unwitting conversational participant. As they chatted and I poured beer and occasionally fell into their discussion, I learnt they were on a tour through Europe. They had started in Spain, given each other hair-cuts, and driven, in a convoy of vans, to Athens, where they’d parked their vans and taken a ferry to Ios. From Ios, they’d come to Santorini of which they had seen approximately nothing, the interior of their hotel notwithstanding. It stands to reason they have seen a similar amount of each European country they have thus far found themselves in.
From Greece, they will begin to make their way to Oktoberfest, where the tour will end. It will end with each van nominating a member to participate in the Centurion – 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes without vomiting or wetting one’s pants – interspersed with funnels of whatever liquid a superior authority (read: someone who participated in the centurion the previous year) deems appropriate. Liquids recently ruled out are blood, faeces and semen. Urine remains an option.
Following the Centurion, they will assault Oktoberfest.
Before long, and just a little bit after they told me, excitedly, about the grand finale of the van tour, they were joined by some pals. One pal, a small girl with an extraordinarily loud voice, hastened to tell me that this year’s van tour were ‘timid’ compared to years gone by (apparently this is a grand Australian/Kiwi tradition, dating back 25 years) and it wasn’t fair that their tour was judged based on the behaviour of others’. She was genuinely hurt that campsites were refusing them entry, upon sighting the convoy of vans. Shaneo (serial killer moustache, peroxided thatch) backed her up; ‘like, last year, they were eating shit. I heard that and I was like na, na, I’m not into eating shit.’ Small Girl nodded solemnly. ‘A bartender in Lagos said other years have caused like 10,000 euros of damage in one night. We don’t do anything like that.’
Their mothers must be so proud.
She continued, ‘this year, there hasn’t been anything too bad. I mean a couple of pelicans, but that’s about it.’
Naturally curious and at a general loss as what to say beyond, ‘I would do more than refuse you entry if I was a campsite owner and saw your line of white vans pull up to my gate’, I enquired as to what a pelican is. A pelican, it transpires, is when someone lies down and opens their mouth, and another person stands over them and vomits. The dual aim being to projectile into the prone person’s open mouth and for said open mouth to provide a pelican-like vessel for the vomit.
The most obvious question, is why. Beyond that, why Europe? Why not just get in a van, drive into the middle of Australia and barbecue your own shit there? Why bother spending thousands of dollars to motor through Europe, smearing faeces, vomit and your nation’s reputation at each stop? You’re not seeing anything beyond your own accommodation because, presumably, hours in the van are spent sleeping, drinking or coming up with stupid rules like ‘you can only point with your elbow’. You’re not learning anything beyond your own capacity for alcohol and mortification. When you return home, or to London, where you’re doing your obligatory two-years-visa-stint, you won’t have seen anything beyond each other’s arses. All you are doing is acting like a dickhead and making the rest of us who choose not to do piss beer bongs in the middle of a campsite, global jokes.
So, I am begging you. Go home and eat shit somewhere the rest of the world can’t see you.