234. Sleeping Pill Theme Park

Magic Dreamland! Obviously superfluous to my needs

I know what you’re thinking. Surely you didn’t take a sleeping pill and then go to a theme park? That’s just ridiculous!

Ridiculous it is. And it happened. But it was totally unintentional and not at all recommended! Trust me to find myself accidentally high as a kite in a theme park.

After days on end of copious amounts of touristing by day, and the obligatory exploring of the social scene by night, my body decided enough was enough and it was going to force a break out of me. I woke up, after a fun night of the Viennese social scene where I had once again ignored the signs and decided I could power through, feeling like I had been hit by a truck. You know that flu-ey feeling where your everything hurts? That was me. Plus a splitting headache and some serious nausea. At first I thought maybe it was just a ruthless hangover, and accompanied the Wolfpack to the local kebab stall down the road from the hostel. Halfway there I had the spins and was feeling like I really needed a sit down. Just looking at the faded pictures on the menu made me want to vom. The extreme heat that day didn’t help either. So I decided to jump off the culture bus and sit the tourist activities out for the day and go back and rest. I also decided I didn’t have time to be sick, with such a short itinerary in Vienna, and that it was time to bring out the big guns.

Usually, when I’m not feeling so flash, oranges, or delicious pulpy orange juice does the trick. Given their acidity levels and the fact my stomach wasn’t too flash, I’ve no doubt the effect is 99% psychological, given that’s what mum used to feed me as a child if I got sick, but I don’t mind – however it works it works! After a stressful 10 minutes trying to read the labels at the local convenience store and determine, with that Austrian I don’t know, what was alternative brands of Fanta and what actually had oranges in it, the man behind the counter worked out I was clearly in distress and came and sorted me out. Definite knight in shining armour.

Next stop was the pharmacy, where “can I have something with pseudoephidrine in it” didn’t really go down too well. But upon close inspection the woman behind the counter mumbled something along the lines of “yeah you do look awful” and handed me a box of colourful pills. I had so much hope they would fix me I didn’t even bother being offended! All I wanted to do was go to sleep and wake up feeling good, but the sleeping part wasn’t really working too well. That was when I remembered I had aquired some sleeping pills from Dad’s stash. Thanks Mr G!

Then, next thing I know (which in my state, took me a long time to ascertain), the culture bus had come back early, and I was being told a new plan had been made – because it was so stinking hot, the wolfpack were off to a swimming pool they had “heard about.” Despite being in a bit of a state, I still managed to have some FOMO going on (fear of missing out) and I thought, actually, it is ridiculously hot in here, maybe it would be nice to sit on the edge of a pool and have my feet in the water. Having taken a sleeping pill (luckily only a mild one) and my cold and flu’s only 2 hours earlier, it would have been a much wiser decision to stay put, but in that state decision making wasn’t exactly my forte!

As it turned out, GPS vs Android Maps vs iPhone maps became quite the debarcle in the car, and this apparent swimming pool was nowhere to be found. Instead, when we jumped out of the car in what was meant to be the swimming pool carpark, there seemed to be some kind of theme park going on. It turned out to be Prater, quite the famous attraction in Vienna. We thought maybe it was nearby, but our efforts were fruitless. Once we were there, the rest of the team, who were far less delirious than I, thought it would be fun to check out the rides. Luckily, it isn’t the pay a huge entry fee kind of theme park, rather you just pay per ride. So for me it was a very cheap adventure, as just being around all the lights and music and colours was thrilling enough! I did go on a token “horror house” ride which ordinarily would have been very gentle and tame, and joined in the bumper cart fun which consisted of me not really moving all that much and being quite the target! I guess there are worse falling asleep at the wheel scenarios than bumper cars.

How I was seeing things

A final observation of Prater, which to the rest of the group who weren’t battling a sleeping pill, was a really cool spot to visit, with some huge rides I didn’t dare go anywhere near, was that it seems like a lot of the attractions are privately owned and there’s a fair bit of carnie competition, because there were multiple versions of each type of ride. Either that or I was seeing double.

So many bright colours

The braver ones, about to become as nauseous as I was

Crazy giant swinging arm ride

Balloons!

Ironically enough (at least I think so, Alanis Morrisette made me really confused as to the true meaning of ironic), I am currently hoeing in to the last of that same box of cold and flu’s. Pro’s of my nannying job: having a job. Cons: having to enter a primary school AND a kindergarten each day, a hot bed of viral infections. And the buggers seem to be immune to whatever’s going around so it’s just me that’s gone down! This time though, I’m laying off the sleeping pills and working on an appropriate amount of bedrest!

Wee spot of animal cruelty – no carnival would be complete without it

233. The Best Soundsystem In Europe

The largest speakers, or loudest, or best soundsystem, I forget which one, are supposedly found at a nightclub called Flex, on the riverside in central Vienna. The most hilarious thing is that the club itself is actually pretty small! I tell you, those bad boys are really loud. Well out of proportion there!

We went in search of this place, with some dubious google maps directions and an even more dubious cabby, and at last we were thrown out of the cab “Pretty sure its down there” and pointed toward some stairs leading down below a bridge, not seeing or hearing much partying at all. We saw a few people headed that way, and thought “seems legit” and followed. At the bottom of the stairs was what looked like a large beergarden, minus the garden. So really a whole bunch of people at picnic tables, and a bar opening out. This can’t be right, we thought, its really quiet. Eventually we spotted the door, with the glittering “Flex” over the top and realised that upstairs must be the pre-game area. Once we got downstairs our suspicions were confirmed – the drinks were significantly more expensive downstairs than up.

Inside, it was loud, like don’t even try to shout at eachother loud. To get a drink you had to point and gesture wildly and then drink whatever the bartender gave you because it was just too difficult to try to tell them it wasn’t what you wanted. The order of the day was some particularly grimy dubstep, and you definitely need to be a tad inebriated to enjoy a night of that at serious decibels! Many, of course, had taken that to whole new levels, and there were definitely a few crackpots on multiple combinations of not so legal stimulants. One of which came up to me and tried to bite my shoulder. It was weird. Mum and Dad you’ll be pleased to know those self defence skills came in handy!

There were a couple of weird, old guys, pulling out some nutty dance moves. This one was my favourite.

Wait no, that was Rob. This guy:

He was cutting shapes so intensely I couldn’t even get a decent photo.

A further observation, as is common with drum n bass/dubstep gigs, was the male:female ratio was well off. Uncomfortably so. I’m usually not bothered by that sort of thing, but I was very close to requesting an escort to the bathroom to make sure I got back again OK! On that note, some pretty nifty bathroom decorations.

All in all though, a fun night and definitely worth a visit. And for anyone keen to check it out but nervous about the volume, get some free earplugs while you are getting your cheaper drink upstairs!

232. Wake Up In Wonderland

After a cheeky car nap between Prague and Vienna, I woke up to this view out my window:Best. Wakeup. Ever.

As it turned out we were in one of the most magical places in the world. There was a water park, dragons, knights, a giant aeroplane with a restaurant in it, and LOADS of duty free shops! There was also a casino nearby – the place was the very definition of fun for all ages. It was a huge series of shops, bars, restaurants and theme parks to leave the kids at in the no-mans-land that is the border between the Czech Republic and Austria.

The highlight was definitely lunch in an aeroplane. And not just any aeroplane, but a safari themed plane that appeared to be from the 1960s. If there was a flight involved in Fear and Loating in Las Vegas, I’m pretty sure this would have been the plane. This face definitely summed it up:

Other exciting things included a GIANT GLOBE!

A MINI WATER PARK!

CASTLES AND DRAGONS!

And a delightful collection of incredibly cheap duty free stores. There were even hair salons and other such beauty parlors. And to top it off, some really wierd products on sale:

If it weren’t for the photos. I could well have believed I was having an incredibly strange dream…