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Published on September 24th, 2011 | by Asa Spades

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Road Trip To Malmö II: I Drove All Night

Editor’s Note: Read Part I here.

After saying goodbye to our kind hosts, the four of us piled up in Pixies Renault Twingo and off we were to Sweden! It was my turn to drive, and I really had to get used to Pixies car. For one, I couldn’t for the life of me get it started. Yes, you read that right, I couldn’t even start it. When I finally managed due to Pixies loving, ever patient instructions, I found I couldn’t get it in reverse. Yes, again I admit to my lack of skills.

Long story short, it took us some time to get going, and it took me more time to get my eyes semi-adjusted to the dark. As Germany has actual hills –opposed to the flatlands of Holland I know and love- the poor Twingo sighed under our weight and had a hard time getting uphill and getting into gear. Admitted, I had to discover what she liked best when it came to gear shifting and pushing down the gas pedal, but the poor thing had a hard time, as had my fellow travelers who had to sit through various interesting speed levels in which I tried to enter the big world of German highway speeding.

At some point it all clicked, and I happily drove from coffee stop to sausage bar, slowly but surely coming closer to Sweden.

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Trying to stay awake for the trip, we soon found ourselves sharing stories, from the hilarious to the embarrassing, from the touching to the scary. If anything, we got to know each other much better, and being the romantic I am, I do believe friendships for life have been made during that car ride.
A little over an hour before we got to Puttgarden harbor where we would take a boat to Denmark, Pixie took over the wheel, and everyone could bask in the silence that followed, as I immediately dozed off. Ah the joy of a silent Asa…

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By the time we entered the boat we were all crazy from sleep deprivation, resulting in us cracking up over the silliest of things, and much to the annoyance of other people on deck, constantly trying our fake Swedish accents. Yup, we were tired alright.

At 10.15 we arrived at Baltiska Hallen in Malmö, where Pixie and Furrr had just missed the beginning of the Ref and NSO meeting. Bambi and I, not knowing where to go, decided to follow them to the last bit of the meeting, figuring anyplace where we could sit and not think for a little was paradise. But as it turned out, this was just the silence before the storm.

The Battle of the Nordic Light, First Day

After the Ref and NSO meeting was done and the hugging started (It’s what happens when Derby people get free time, they spread the love. ;)) I realized I had less than an hour to get ready for announcing the first bout. I was stinky from the drive, high on sleep deprivation and all I really wanted was a shower.

Lucky for me Swede Hurt, who organized the whole event and still had loads of things to take care of, found the time to direct me towards Handsome Joe Hanson who was the perfect host. He directed me towards a shower, got me coffee –moooore coffeeeee, I was turning into a shaking sleep deprived idiot by then- water and soothing words, and in a Jiffy I was ready to start announcing.
Working with Handsome was a breeze, we had loads of fun, and from the reactions from the audience I think so had the audience.

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The day flew by, the three bouts were awesome to see and report. I completely loved being a part of this awesome event. Never once did I feel tired, bored or distracted. Again being so close to the action turned out to be an awesome experience that taught me a lot. I guess in or close to derby you never stop learning.

After the last bout, Bambi, Pixie and I found our designated host Go-go Rillah, who directed us to her house. She had just moved in, so her house was pretty much stuffed with cardboard boxes, for which she kept excusing herself. The three of us assured her that there was no reason for excuses. We were very honored she would have us, and soon enough she got us set with beds, sheets and I even got an interesting plush toy to sleep with…

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Go-go took us to a falafel joint, some five minutes walking from her house. When we entered the restaurant we realized we all were starving. Dinner was yummy, but it also did me in. Go-go, Bambi and Pixie decided to go to the after party, but agreed to drop me off at Go-go’s house first so I could sleep. By this time I was so tired I was on the verge of tears, so this was a very wise decision.

While getting ready for bed in the bathroom, where I hadn’t closed the door, I heard keys in the front door. I swiftly pulled my pajama pants up and stuck my head ‘round the corner to see who was coming in. It was Go-gos boyfriend. Relieved that I managed to get dressed just in time, I introduced myself and made my way to bed. Where I soon fell into a much needed, deep, deep sleep.

The Battle of the Nordic Light, Second Day

I woke up with a hoarse voice, swollen eyes and hair like a birds nest. Yup I’ve obviously slept deep. Slowly but surely the house woke. We all took showers, got hot coffee from Go-go’s boyfriend, had some bread with very good cheese –Pixie and I were smitten- and got on our way for the first bout of that day.

The sleeping had effect and I felt like a million bucks, Handsome was awesome as ever as was Dusty Minefield, player for Malmö who announced the first bout with me. The games were fiercely played and very exciting to watch. The music this day was courtesy of Paulina and DigiDroid who I can seriously recommend for any derby bout. They totally felt the game and chose their music accordingly. They were able to make musical jokes, be courteous in music and knew when the sound levels should change. I was one happy camper.

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Roaming around the venue between bouts I stumbled on the cutest kid ever in a Mötorhead shirt. And being Asa Spades, I HAD to take a picture. And yes, I tried to steal the kid. But daddy wouldn’t have it. Understandably.

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The last bout of the day I got to sit back and enjoy. It was awesome! I couldn’t possibly have asked for a better closing of this awesome event. Luckily DNN was there both days, so you can watch it all in the comfort of your own home. 😉

When all was over, the entire audience and crew joined hands in helping tear down the floor. It was heartwarming to see everybody lend a hand and thus making sure Swede Hurt and Vix Viking didn’t have to do all that work all by themselves. All in all a very harmonious end to an awesome event. Big ups to Swede and Vix for organizing this!

After a quick drink and saying goodbye to some of the players that had to get going in order to be back at work in tome on Monday, we left for Go-go’s house. But not before catching Handsome Joe Hanson on his bike, with a well-deserved beer.

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We took Harry, a referee from Stuttgart with us to Go-go’s home, where Go-go and her boyfriend treated us to delicious home-made pancakes. I bet we had the best hosts there were that weekend. So accommodating and relaxed, I cannot thank them enough.

After dinner Bambi, Pixie and I got ready and wearing our custom made ‘She came to the North’ shirts (Thank you Pixie!) we stepped out and went to the after party.

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As it was Furrrocious’ birthday, we tried to bum drinks of off people in order to celebrate. Not to much avail, but we had loads of fun trying. We later moved to another venue that Fist F*cker, a player from Malmö had arranged. Her friends were DJ-ing and the derby party was ON!

After an hour in there I felt really tired again, and found Go-go who was also planning to go home, as she had to work the next day and get up at 7. Bambi decided to join us and Pixie said she would come in later; she had way too many people to talk to, and was still on a roll.

Last thing I remember was waking up to Pixie coming in around 4. But I fell right back to sleep after that. Dreaming of girls on skates.

The Battle of the Nordic Light, The Road Back Home

The next morning we took it easy. Got up late, showered, cleaned our messes up and wet on our way. Pixie would drive the first part. Before we even left the street, I noticed something sitting on the front window. Was it? Yes it was. A parking fine. Great.

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We decided to pray the Malmö authorities would never find out where Pixie lived and tried to forget about it. The way back to the boat in Denmark seemed longer than on our way in. Or was it just that we were tired?

On the boat we got sausages and fries –very expensive ones at that, but hey, if you are the sole provider, you can drive up prices like there’s no tomorrow, right? – trying to soothe our tired bodies.
Once in Germany, Pixie and I traded places at a gas-station, and we found an eighties radio station to accompany us on our race home. Somehow I had gotten the knack of driving the Twingo and as it was daylight my eyes were okay, so I stepped on it and raced –as far as is possible with a loaded Twingo- getting us closer to the border.

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When darkness started to fall Pixie took over again, and I figured it was time to find out whether Bambi, Furrr and I could still catch a train home from Eindhoven. After just crossing the German / Dutch border we found out we had little over 30 minutes to get to the station. If we wouldn’t make it, we would be in trouble, as we all had to work the next morning.

Bambi and I even had our annual reviews scheduled for that day. Sleeping over wasn’t an option as all our clothes were smelly and not work clothes and all our files and stuff were at home. While the three of us held our breath and silently prayed, Pixie, like a real trooper stepped on it. Hard.

Two minutes before the train rolled in, we got to the station. We ran out of the car, shouting goodbyes, leaving Pixie with a good mess of stuff on the floor, as we emptied her entire trunk trying to get our luggage. We ran to the platform and made it just in time. Due to this rushing I hadn’t been able to get a train ticket, as Bambi and I still panting explained to the train officer. He was obviously in a good mood and not put off by our smell, and he let me stay on the train without paying. Awesome! An hour and a half later I finally got home, where M. awaited me with some midnight sushi and wine. Home sweet home.

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