Saturday, March 28, 2015
Summer 2005: Searching for Beefcake in a Slovak Water Park
"Couldn't we take them to a museum instead?" I asked. I'm not big on sliding down waterslides."
"It's got more than that. There's a Jungle Cove, a Wild West Town, an Adventure Cave."
"Like Disneyland? Gross! I lived in Los Angeles for 13 years, and only visited Disneyland once, and I hated it. Does a Slovak Mickey Mouse come out to shake your hand?"
"Tatralandia has something that I think you won't see in Disneyland," Doc said with a sly grin. "A thousand Eastern European men in Speedos."
I never thought of that! I had already gotten a glimpse of Slovakian endowments in Kosice. "Ok, I'm in."
Eastern Europeans love water parks. There are three in Slovakia, and AquaPark Tatralandia is the biggest, probably the biggest in the world.
You go in through a Wellness Center, like a well-equipped gym with hot and cold spas, 16 steam rooms, massage, exercise equipment. The ads showed muscular guys getting massages, but inside were mostly middle-aged women.
Next came water slides called The Galaxy, The Fire Slide, the Sun Slide, and the Splash, occupied entirely by children, while their parents, fawning heterosexual couples, lay on deck chairs at the Tropical Paradise.
"Um...hot guys in Speedos?" I asked.
"They are around. Keep looking."
The little kids were occupied in a castle with a dozen water slides protruding from it, a Safari Adventure, and an Old West Mining Town, where you could mine for "gold" (I did that as a kid, too, at Mother Goose Land in the Quad Cities).
We pressed on past water slides called Amazonia and Niagara, a place where you could practice Free Falls, a Monkey Slide, an exhibition of paleolithic artifacts from a nearby museum, and lots of restaurants.
"Um..have you been here before? Did you know about the lack of beefcake?"
Doc shrugged. "Last year there were some muscular guys."
Then we turned onto a Sports Pool, where you could play water polo, and an entire university team was splashing around! Gems of Eastern European manhood everywhere!
The northern part of the park was devoted to non-water sports: archery, shooting, tomahawk throwing, soccer, oversized chess. And it was crowded with single men in their 20s.
It made sense: people in their 30s and 40s were often parents who had to supervise their kids, and by their 50s and 60s, they were ready for the Wellness Center. But the guys at the peak of muscularity just wanted to play Sports.
While wearing Speedos.