Friday 09 August
OK so once again it’s been a while dear readers. Basically I’m not usually in a position to upload stuff due to some kind of internet restriction thing. I will try not to be so tardy in future. I think I’ve said this before. Anyway, let me take you on a journey. Back. Way back to when men where men and women wore bikini’s. Back to the good times. Back to the height of summer. Back to Mike Wallace in mid August…
…dooodleoop doodleoop dooodleoop doodleooooop…
Mike is a nutter. There’s a reason his facebook is Wildman Wallace. There’s a reason he gets called “naked Mike” at The Pink Palace. Today he’s going to attempt to extend his craziness credentials by jumping 25 feet off a bridge in Mostar, Bosnia. Apparently it’s the done thing and has been for centuries. Mike throws his loopy hat into the ring.
Mostar is a beautiful little medieval sort of town, world famous for the ‘stari most’. That’s ‘old bridge’ to you and me. Destroyed in the recent civil wars and rebuilt in 2004, young men raised in the area have been flocking to this bridge to throw themselves off it as some kind of rite of passage. Or to prove who’s got the biggest balls. Future girlfriends and or wives would be waiting as this test of manhood was displayed. It began some time around 1664. Mmmm. About the same time Kronenbourg started plying their wares isn’t it? Coincidence?
Mike, ever one to enjoy throwing himself off things, has been dreaming about this feat since he was twelve. It’s definitely one for the scrap books if he pulls it off, and in spite of 30 odd years of jumping, he opts to get a little training in first.
“You can’t make mistakes at that height” he enthuses.
You wouldn’t make any mistakes if you don’t do it I ponder, while his wife Kathi is quietly wondering if Mike’s recklessness is going to put him out of commission sperm wise. Regardless we heartily back him as he hands over his 25 euro fee.
Now the fee isn’t just to jump; it’s tradition. You’re part of the Mostar dive club if you pull it off, and boys can jump anytime they like so long as they raise the fee for the club house. This they do by standing on the precipice of the bridge, cap in hand, asking for donations from tourists. Of course in high season they’re not waiting long, and before you know it we’re watching some foolhardy local kid drop off into the chilly depths below. A perfect swallow dive. Or drop really. A swallow drop. Mike is practicing on the ten metre board a short way down the river.
In the meantime I’ve been stung by a bee on my big toe and it hurts. I’m walking around barefoot as my shite fake brand flip-flops (the last remnants of that hell-hole Kavos) are threatening to chew my feet skin to the bone. I’ve never been stung by a bee before. I look down and expect to see my foot gushing blood for fear of stepping on glass, but I only find a little stinger lodged into my throbbing toe. It hurt I tell you! Honest! I’m whining about a bee sting as Mike is standing at the top of a 25 metre bridge.
Kathi and I wait with baited breath. The crowds are gathered. Not many tourists do this, and I believe at one time they weren’t allowed. Woe betide you if you jump without paying the fee either. Mike cuts a lonely figure towering above everyone on the ledge, curly locks flowing with a welcome breeze like a ginger Christ. A hush decends. My camera runs out of battery. Fuck he’s going to murder me.
Luckily Kathi’s on hand with her iphone as Mike steps off the bridge.
“Luckily Kathi’s on hand with her iphone as Mike steps off the bridge.” Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
It’s over in three seconds. Mike expertly slips into the water to a chorus of cheers from the masses. Surfacing with a huge grin and fist pumping the air to show he’s survived, I can feel our collective relief as Mike swims for the shore. One off the bucket list. He’s the 687th person to do it since the bridge was built and signs his name into the books with pride. I can’t help but feel admiration for his antics. I’ve often wished I had the bottle to do the things that Mike thinks nothing of. Apart from getting my junk out in public.
Later I’m standing at the spot where he stepped off and looking down. It’s a long way. It was actually 28 metres due to the water level, a fact that Mike takes understandable pleasure in knowing. I’m contemplating if I could pull it off. Could I do it? Shall I give it a shot?
Fuck no I get scared stepping off a curb.
Well done Mike you crazy bastard. Long may you put my timidness to shame.