Monday, 19 July 2010

MaKedoNia MaSsiV

On the shores of lake Ohrid, just before sunrise, a building from the socialist era overlooks the pebble beach. It used to house the holiday homes of the Partei elite, now its hollow rooms echo with the past over the placid waters of the lake. A few Scot's pines cover the area between the beach and the building, planted to provide shelter and shade during the hot summer days. The building is enveloped in darkness but from time to time a fleeting flicker of colour bounces off its angular shape.

Tonight water bottles glow with unnatural light; some are scattered on the beach, others, held up in the air, shake in time with the base sound reverberating through the small bay. The usual silence of the place is a broken fantasy. It is not croaking frogs, or the low call of some nocturnal bird one can hear, but the repetitive boom of highly amplified electronic music.

A few thousands are shaking to the rhythm or standing about transfixed by the djs weaving their magic over 3 separate stages. Isla and I are among this crowd, exhausted but blissful to have finally found a proper party. Of course, like so many things on this trip it all happened quite by coincidence. 20 minutes fresh into Macedonia we stopped by a couple of policemen to ask for directions. We were looking for a campsite and one of the man pointed down a track. Having seen some signs advertising a campsite shortly before we deemed the information plausible, but, differently to what we were expecting, the place we found was not ideal for sleeping the night away. It was the first major party allowed in Macedonia since 3 or 4 years.

After a day sweating up and down mountains one might not feel too inclined to spend a sleepless night, but we had such a strong need for social contact that tiredness did not really feature as a valid excuse (and it never should). So we remained at the party. Well, actually we went off to set up camp some place else, ate at a restaurant, showered and groomed ourselves and then went back to the party. But these are all minor details.

Some of the music played by the local talents was excellent, in particular Mirko Popov a top Macedonian dj. Timo Maas was also good and spun some excellent choons. At some point a chap approched me and asked for a light. I did not have one so I smiled and shook my head.
He went off, only to come back shortly after. He was tall and obviously went to the gym often. He was only wearing jeans and a white t-shirt, but they were well fitted. His hair was short and he had an expensive pair of sunnies over his head.
“Actually I did not want a light, and I approached you for a different reason”
“I am a very bad man”
“I was wondering if you wanted to have sex with my wife”

A small jetty jutted out of the shore and ended in a 8x8m platform. There were cushions on the floor and white drapes hung in the still air. People were lying or sitting, dangling their feel over the water, silent or chatting, some asleep or passed out. The night was changing into the new day to the tune of some suitably nasty dubstep mixed into some woman chanting a melodious indian raga. I was still happily skanking away and Isla was starting to flag, but we had agreed to stay until the sun rose over the water. And slowly, very slowly, the horizon was awash with luminous shades. Over the distant mountains the day opened its radiant eye and blinded us with its glorious stare.

A few hours later we woke up gasping like fish out of water. In the bright heat of the tent we were simmering in a puddle of our own sweat. Luckily the sun graced us and soon hid behind the quivering canopy of an aspen. A soft breeze lulled us back into our well earnt oblivion.

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