There are no stories of Bolivia. Stories of Bolivia were created, tales of meeting old friends, writing songs, playing music, of encounters with boxing kangaroos, hot springs and forrested mountains; but they evaporated without trace in the cyberspace between South America and Australia. So they were recreated, this time on paper so that they could be mailed on arrival in Romania - less fashionably technological but infinitely more reliable, you would think.... But you could not be more wrong.... Read on.....

One Pair Of Underpants in Prague

Written on the spot, without editing, in a internet laundromat in an outer suburb of Prague.
It's an epic drive, for even the seasoned Broken Hill to Adelaide chofer of years ago. Switzerland left behind in the smoke (the poetic kind) of our zooming Renault Clio. Right hand drive, slim streets where instant claustrophobia exists as the norm, the ever diversionary sights of spectacular Alps and cowbell clanging cows. Even the driving rain and the 200 kilometre madness on the German autobahn couldn't dampen the driving frenzy. The excitement of crossing middle Europe on horeseback.

Across the land of the world cup losers we dribbled, all the time wanting to press the electric windows button and let out with yet another viva Brazil shout.

And even the border crossing into the Czech Republic seemed too easy. A smiling male version of Martina Navratilova and not even a peek at my Bolivian soiled passport.

After a goulash stop, an hour into Czech mate land, we cruised on into the amazing Prague. I'll save on the internet payment time by sparing you a typical description of the architecture of Prague, the horse drawn carriages, the statues, the painting (frescos and alfresco dining anytime you want), the Bohemians on every corner. I'm going to meet your needs, to know more, on the underpants part of the title.

First night we (Subhan and the terrible pooosome, err, twosome) found our way to a hotel in the outer suburbs. Next day we thought we'd pack out of that overpriced hovel and go to one of the agencies in the city centre who miraculously find you a hotel for half the price that is being asked for by that very same hotel if you walk in off the street.

Midday, parking in a crowded street in Prague seemed innocent enough.

We came back four hours later to find the back window smashed, everything I called a possession (except the clothes I am smelling in!!) had been removed. Gone walkabout. Non existant forever more. Caputs! Awol.

Ten seconds of complete silence (to commemorate the feeling I had at the moment of realisation)............

2 seconds, 4, 6..... 8.....

After all these years of travelling, it had finally happened. All my notes, instruments, clothes, camera, recorder, microphones, shaver and toothbrush, tapes (luckily only the blank ones as I had posted the recorded ones off only two days before from Switzerland), my new flute made by Juan, the letter given to me to deliver in Czech by one of my fellow musicians, my towel, shoes, etc.etc. etc. etc...... all gone.

I couldn't help but wonder what the mo fo's thought of my whirlie when they pulled it out. I couldn't help but think of my mouthbows, South African flute..... what would they do with such objects? And plastic pan pipes, a notebook full of pictures I had drawn, my nyanga notes from my time with Joel in Albuquerque, my language books for Romania. It was an odd collection of things.

So I called the police. Was then subjected to police who had probably seen so many victims of robbery that I seemed like some sort of charicature of all western tourists, to a long wait in the police station. Two hours waiting for the translator, who breezed in and tried to make me feel bad cos she was working past her designated finishing hour, more forms.

I then left feeling quite bewildered. Trying to navigate through the twisted streets, full of one way and no entry signs written in unrecogisable heiroglyphics, I suddenly came up behind a tram to find a policeman waving a nasty red dot at me! Apparantly I was doing something very naughty for which he was trying to extract some personal finance from me. I saw the chance for a little bit of Latin drama. I had learnt many things in Bolivia.

Fourty minutes to navigate one kilometer meant that my bushman self image had taken a battering.

Next thing I know, having parked to find a telephone to call the insurance maze of quagmires and answering machines, I return to find the car has some huge metal gadget attached like a loving crab and a note from the Czech police saying I've been very naughty again. I was so glad the secret police had been long abandoned as this meant they probably wouldn't know of my previous misdemeanors.

Anyways, it was a personal low point after such a huge success in Bolivia. Sitting here without underpants on, waiting for my one and only pair of underpant to dry in the laundromat dryer. Unshaven, teeth unbrushed, shirt reeking of togetherness too longness. This was an adventure and an opportunity to take another left turn. Or maybe in my state of lack of possessions I would consider joining some weird religious sect and grow my back hair long!!