Oogie and I get back in the tiny elevator and take it to the fifth floor. Down the hall and just before our door we can hear the ruckus from the birthday party. I go knock on the door. A tall thin dude opens it, “Yes?”, “We’re from next door”, “Ok”, he’s keeping the door half closed, “You told us to come over to the party?”, “I did not say this.” Oogie is getting a bad vibe from this and is tapping my elbow in the ‘who cares, let’s bounce’ way. But then we hear one of the girls, “Who is it? Let them in” and she runs to the door to see, “Ohh it’s the neighbors! Yes, yes, come in!”
She leads us into an apartment slightly smaller than the one we have. Maybe just a one bedroom or studio even. “Please take off shoes here”, we add them to the pile and she takes us into the open kitchen/living room space. “Our neighbors are here!” and the room cheers and raises their glasses. It’s not a banger, per se, just 4 girls and a couple of guys cranking pop tunes and getting schmammed. But they are in good spirits and happy to see new people.
The hostess takes us to a table with tiny glasses, unknown alcohol bottles and mix. I recognize zero things on the table. “Please, please help yourself to drink.” I take one of the mini 5oz cups that they’re using for drinks and put something that I think might be vodka in it.
A lithe girl dressed all in tight black glides over to help. She could be a model. She takes my glass, “Here, let me make you a drink”, “I’ve already put vodka in it”, “Well, you need more” and she doubles the contents, reaches over and grabs what looks like a 2-litre bottle of energy drink and tops it off with just a splash to fill the cup. This girl is definitely not from here, not with those eyes. Maybe Serbian? “Ahh great, thanks”, ‘Where are you from?”, “From Canada”, “From Canada?! You are so lucky! Justin Bieber is a God! Ohh Drake too. Drake is a God!”, “And let’s not forget Nickleback”, “Ohh come on, now!”, <imitate Bieber voice> “Is it too late to say soooorry”, “Ohh oh very good! Cuz I’m.. missing more than just your boooody.”
Seems I’ve found a true Belieber. With this lyrical connection made she starts getting a little handsy. “What is your name?”, “Kobra”, she slaps my arm, “No it is not. Cobra is not a name. It is a snake. This is not true”, “Haha my name is Jonathan”, “Mine is Chiara. Nice to meet a Canadian. Jonathan”, “Chiara. And where are you from?”, “I am from Bosnia. I apologize for my English, it is not very good”, she seems to honestly believe this but it’s incredibly good, “Actually it’s very good. Sarajevo?”, “Yes, Sarajevo. Do you know?”, “Yeah, we were there….”
I finish my tiny toxic cocktail and Chiara takes it and fills it right back up. Same proportions as before. “You are in the next apartment?”, “Yeah, just right there”, “Let’s go see”, hmmmmm shit shit shit, “Ahhh we have a friend in there who’s really sick”, “Oh reeeally?” There’s a haze of shimmering lights and crackling static hovering in the air…
It quickly dissipates as the hostess comes over to make a drink beside us, “Your friend says you are from Canada?”, “Yup”, “So fun!”, “Who’s birthday is it?”, “It is mine”, I raise my tiny mind eraser, “Happy Birthday to the Birthday girl!” and everyone cheers and then launches into some form of birthday song I’ve never heard before in another language.
“Are you also from Bosnia?”, “No, I am from Greece”, “Oh whereabouts?”, “Thessaloniki. Have you been?”, “Greece a few times but never there. Beautiful country. How about them?” and she points around the room to girl 2, girl 3, guy 1, and guy 2, “Bosnia, Bosnia, Bosnia, and Albania”, “Oh wow. That’s quite the mix. How do you all know each other?”, “We are all students here. At the university.”
Chiara is now trying to get pics with everyone so I offer to take some of the bday crew. They’re a funny bunch. “And you and you!”, “Yes long arms, long arms. Good for selfies!” We snap a bunch of pics with the birthday girl. Her name is Amanda.
I make a point to talk to one of the dudes, fearing Oogie and I are spotlight stealing with our foreigner novelty and possibly being cock blockers. I don’t know the social hierarchy here. Doesn’t seem to be the case though, that’s nice. The guy from Albania is actually from Kosovo. I tell him we may get down that way on this trip and he’s super pumped. Starts telling me about Prishtina and the people. He’s very proud when he speaks of it, I love it.
While we’re chatting, the Bosnian guy comes over too (they both have crazy names I’m too ignorant to know how to pronounce). He’s from Sarajevo as well. I tell him that we’ve been through there, Mostar, and some other places in Bosnia and Herzegovina a while back. “Wow, really? Did you like it?”, “Oh yeah, we loved it. Great city and food. Good countryside. Our buddy almost pissed on a landmine”, “Haha oh no!…”
I get stopped by the girls on the way to the drink station, “Selfie selfie!”
I make another calamity in a mini cup and one of the girls comes over to change the music on the little blue tooth speaker. “Fuck all of this pop music”, “Hah yeah, switch it up”, ‘Who’s your favorite band right now?”, “Lately I think it’s Depeche Mode haha”, “Oh yes, very good band. But what metal band?”, I do a double take of this little girl. I wasn’t expecting that at all. “Archspire”, “Archspire? Never heard of this”, “Technical death metal band”, “Oh! This is my favorite”, “Really?”, “Yes yes, it is the best”, “Well put it on.” She’s already looking it up, “Relentless Mutation?”, “Yeah anything off of that will be good”, “Involuntary Doppelganger?”, “Haha yep, that’ll do. Impressive pronounciations.” She let’s it play for a few seconds (instantly getting scowls and middle fingers from Chiara and some other girl in white I haven’t met yet), “Holy fuck. They are amazing!”, “I know, right?”, “No really. This is so amazing.”
This Bosnian girl’s name is also Amanda, like the bday girl. She is super into metal and starts showing me vids from all of the festivals she’s been to this year. She gets right to the front and scores guitar pics and sticks all the time, she has a collection. “You could start a museum”, “This pic is from Sepultura…”
She says that they are media students in the university here. She keeps going to festivals and passing in metal show reviews and media as all of her assignments. Tells me her dream is to work for Rolling Stone. Her passion for it is undeniably there. It’s nice to see some drive and goals.
I’m also blown away by this girls vocabulary. “You guys all speak English incredibly well”, “Oh thank you. We learn some of our courses in English. I think that helps, yes?”, “Apparently so.” She wants to keep talking about metal and asking me about bands. I throw out some staples that I thought she’d already be listening to, but nope, never heard of most of them. Mastodon. No. Baroness. No. Nile? Oh yes, Nile is incredible. Opeth. Yes, yes. Nachtmystium. No. Deafheaven? Never heard of them. Huh. She does seem more progressive, death metal-y. She opens a notepad on her phone and gets me to write them down. “I will listen to all of them.”
Chiara and the girl in white are doing cutesie shit on the half-bed in the room. I start making fun of them, “For the gram, girls. Do it for the graaaam!”
Of course then I get pushed into the middle of them and Amanda is making fun of me now, “For the graaaaaam!”
We get back to our drinks and Chiara introduces me to her mini glam friend, Melissa. “Really, we should exchange Instagram”, “Yeah sure”, I have a major brain fart, “Hmmmm Oogie what’s my instagram account called?”, “I don’t fucking know”, go to my profile and it says distancefromnormal. Me is stupid head. These drinks are strong. “Oh fuck sakes, yeah yeah.”
“We want to make roadtrip for her sisters birthday. To California. We could meet you”, “Oh that’d be sick. You could stay at my place on the way through. Who’s your sister?” They look at me like I’m an idiot, “Amanda, dummy. You were just talking to her”, “Oh the birthday girl? I thought you were Bosnian”, “Are you making fun?”, “No! Ok, what am I not getting here? (shit, how strong are these drinks?)”, “Amanda, who loves metal. You just talked. That is her twin sister”, “Yes, we are identical twins. I’m glad you don’t see it hahaha”, “Ohhhh holy shit. Yeeeeah. Wow! No, I totally hadn’t noticed that, I’m soo sorry”, amazing what makeup can do. These two are just laughing at me, “No no it is good. We are very different.” Glam posh and hard core metal, what a combo. “Oh I definitely see it now, though. The eyebrows for sure, and.. well.. everything else too haha”, “Ohh no! We should not have told you!”
We all exchange Instagram accounts and become besties for life.
A couple more teeny tiny time bombs and Oogie and I are feeling preeety good. Fun group in here. Everyone starts mobilizing to head off to some 90s party. Grecian Amanda has a sudden epiphany, “OH no! It is garbage time. Please, please, the garbage!” Ok, ok we help gather up all of the garbage around the apartment. I thought this was just a polite way to get guests to clean up after themselves but I think it’s actually full on garbage day.
We collect all of the trash in the pad and put our shoes on to go out. “Trash Paaaaarty!!!”, “Yeeeeeah trash party!” Oogie and I are both carrying armloads of garbage. Comical situation. “Well this is an unexpected twist”, “Best trash party I’ve ever been to!”
We jam it all in the hanging cans on the street posts. This can’t really be how trash day works in super-efficient Austria, right? Whatever. Trash Parties are awesome.
As our posse starts down the street we’re walking beside Chiara and Melissa. Chiara looks at us with narrowed eyes, “What kind of girls do you like?”, seems like a set up. Oogie hesitantly says, “Ahhhh.. Smart girls” and these two both scrunch their faces up, “Ewwwww boring!” Haha wrong answer Oogie! “How about fun girls?”, “Yeaah! Fun girls!”, “Whoooo Traaaash Party!”
We stop at another apartment building. Chiara and Melissa run up to the door and buzz it. Nothing. Bosnian Amanda is confused, “What are you doing?”, “Seeing if Arturo wants to come”, “You stupid bitches! He lives over here, not there” haha and she pulls them over to the next apartment building’s main door.
While they’re checking on Arturo, the Amandas start describing him to us. “Oh he is super smart”, “Yes, and the best dancer!”, “You need to hear his accent”, “Where is he from?”, “Spain”, “But his English is perfect!” Wow, they’re head over heels for this Arturo dude. I think they said he’s been to the moon? He sounds like a super hero. But over the intercom he tells Chiara that it’s a school night and he’s staying in. “School night?”, “Yes, we all have to go to class tomorrow”, “Wow. Impressive.”
Suddenly they hear a voice from another balcony. It’s one of their friends yelling hello down to them. All the girls get so excited, “Ohhhhh Hi Anna!”, Bosnian Amanda leans to explain, “She’s a legend!” and the group of them goes into a song on the sidewalk about Anna the legend. Drunk chanting up to the balcony where she’s dancing to it and laughing. Wowsers, what is going on here in Innsbruck? Mad friend respect out in the streets.
Oogie and I are completely lost at this point. No idea where the girls are taking us. We’re not in the old town, we’re more in the modern area of town. We get over to a concrete building, what looks like a law firm, and go down a back alley. There are people spilling out of an entry way with a stone spiral staircase into a basement club. Super long line to get in. We can hear the music pumping up to the sidewalk. I can feel the heat coming from the place. Melissa and Chiara go to investigate.
They return to get us and pull me by the arm. I grab Oogie and we form a chain. We go down through the throng of people on the stairs to the front. They pull some Bosnian hot chick magic and the bouncer just lets us through in front of this huge line. Ok, sure.
The place is jam packed with folks making it Nelly hot in here. They’re blaring remixes of 90’s tunes like C&C Music Factory and everyone is dancing like crazy (which I find funny because no one here looks like they were even born in the 90s). It’s a fun club with good lighting, multiple bars and cool murals on the walls. We post up for some G&Ts.
“Wait a sec, don’t you have one of these?”, “Oh yeah!”
Grecian Amanda comes to collect us at the bar. They’ve found a good table just off the dance floor with a bit of space away from the sweaty throng of people.
We go rounds on drinks and take turns on the dance floor when a good tune hits. I talk more metal with Bosnian Amanda and hear about her classes and whatnot. Spice Girls ‘If you wanna be my lover’ comes on and I throw down and sing every damn word of it. The girls are laughing their heads off. We rap battle on Humpty Dance, Baby Got Back and Bust a Move. It’s about as classic a 90s night as you can ask for and the tsunami of tiny vodka energy drinks from earlier fuels it perfectly.
Things get a little splotchy near the end and I lose everyone on a trip to the bathroom. Did everyone leave? I find Oogie upstairs and outside. “Food?”, “Yeah I could do food.”
We start walking but have no idea where we are or where we’re going. “What happened to the girls?”, “They said they were going to Chili’s”, “Haha what the fuck? Chili’s?! Like boneless hot wings Chili’s?”, “Hah I don’t know”, “You wanna go to Chili’s then?”, “I dunno, have we worn out our welcome?” I pause for a sec and eye him up. Am I missing something? “Whaddya mean?”, “Well we’re total strangers. Been with them all night and now they’re gone without us”, “Yeeeeah ok ok.’ Hmmm maybe he’s right. Things seemed totally fine all night though. Naaah it’s cool, maybe just over-analyzing. “Ok, well I don’t know of any other place still open this late and I think food would be good. And following the locals for after hours food is always a good bet”, “Alright, fuck it, let’s do it.”
I start making durn-da-durn-da-durn-da-durn sounds. “Haha what’s that?”, “Like Pepé Le Pew. that skunk from Disney”, “Ohh shit that’s creepy”, “Yeah, girls are running away through the dark streets of Innsbruck and we’re just slowly walking like ‘durn-da-durn-da-durn-da-durn'”, “Ok fuck that, we’re not going to Chili’s”, “Hahaha I’m just messing man. I looked it up and it’s on the way home anyways. Might as well.”
We get to Chilis and it ends up being a kebab and pizza place.
The girls are inside and they yell at us when we walk in and invite us right over to sit with them. They’re all in declining states of drunkeness and danced out, end of the night lethargy. Snarfing down wraps. Can’t believe they have class in like, 5 hours.
The food is good. Instead of a wrap I get a big salad with tons of veggies and kebab meat on account of being drunk and unprepared when the guy asked what I wanted. Turns out it’s excellent. Perfect after hours fare. Always trust the locals.
We wind things down with the birthday crew, thank them for a super fun night, wish Amanda one last Happy Birthday and bid them adieu. They get up to give us hugs, “We’ll follow your trip on Instagram”, “For sure! Let us know if you get to California”, “Yes yes, we will! Good niiiiiiight!”
Oogie and I stumble through old town to the bridge to the boardwalk to the park to the apartment. We sneak in so we don’t wake sick MacKay and take a beer to the patio for a night cap.
“So… Innsbruck is pretty fun”, “Sure is. Best Trash Party ever”