Four mattresses laid on the floor, a few suitcases, flip-flops… and 1,000 euros (almost $1,500) for whoever stays lying down the longest: welcome to the lounging competition organized in a small village in Montenegro, where the four finalists have been lying in bed for more than 800 hours.
“I have been here for 34 days. “I get up when I get bored – I don’t know exactly when that will happen,” Lidija Markovic told AFP. It’s not so easy to stay in bed, the young beautician adds, “it’s mentally difficult.” We had three psychologists with us who couldn’t keep it up.
For more than a month, she, like her last three idle companions, has been taking part in the “izlezavanje” – “stay down for a long time” competition, organized by the tourist village of Brezna for the twelfth time.
The origin of the competition, explains the owner of the restaurant, Radonja Blagojevic, “the joke that Montenegrins are lazy.” The idea was therefore to create a competition that does not exist anywhere else but here. The 21 initial candidates include Montenegrins, but also Russians, Ukrainians and Serbs, he adds.
This year he is impressed by his candidates: they trample the last record, which was 117 hours or 5 days.
From their bed, Lidija, 23, Jovan, 33, Filip, 23, and Gordana, 36, hope to win the 1,000 euros promised to the winner. Even if it means making family, work or studies wait again.
Everyone had money as their primary motivation, but the lure of profit gave way to the desire to push their limits.
“I’m proud of myself for persevering. I am happy here, I am also proud of my family who supports me, of my husband who has been with the children for a month. He said to me: “You’re on vacation, lie down and make the most of it!” says Gordana Filipovic, who works in a nearby restaurant.
Their persistence has earned them the support of their friends and families, as well as great success on social networks. They also have the right to have their phones or tablets with them in bed – for example to read books or receive visitors.
Sitting down or standing up, on the other hand, amounts to elimination. With the exception of the 15-minute breaks granted every 8 hours – an innovation in the regulations: In previous editions, the breaks were shorter or not present at all.
Jovan Crncanin, 33, came from Serbia for the second time. Attracted by the price, he has now discovered a certain philosophy of laziness in his bed.
“I tell myself that if I get to the end here with the necessary mental strength, I will be able to translate this into real life and deal with more serious problems and situations.”