"also, he is fat"

Mar and I just ran the gauntlet.
we got on a train last night Sofia, Bulgaria at 10:30. got off it again at 6 a.m. in Belgrade. got on another one at 8:15 to Budapest. then got off again at like, what, 4:15? that’s a eight hour trip, and it’s about 200 miles. jesus christ, man.

we spent the weekend in Sofia. friday, I don’t think Mar and I were digging it. but sunday reversed fortunes. Mar and I, growing frustrated with bus travel, decided to hire out the service the hostel provided: a real live English-speaking Bulgarian will drive you to whichever Bulgarian national historic site you wish to visit. fuck it. we were game.
this pisses me off, but neither Mar or myself can remember that motherfucker’s name. but he was cool as shit. something like “Stolye,” “Stonye.” either way, he was legit. his English kind of sucked, but he was friendly and talkative. friend of one of the hostel employees.
made small-talk all the way out to Rila Monastery, which is about 70 miles south of thie city in a mountain valley. swarms of tourists. my man driving like he had something to prove. the monastery, while beautiful, isn’t a long-term visit, and we after walking through it, checking out the ancient church and the serious-looking Bulgarian monks, we got in the car to come back. halfway out the valley, my man hits the brakes, hard. throws it in reverse. pulls off and down to a restaurant, which is directly next to a flooded, fast-moving river.
“I need to get drink. hokay?”
so we go in, we get a table, the three of us, and we check out a menu. I start eyeing a Coke. I say this. he looks at me, and goes
“I think you drink beer with me, yes?”
waitress arrives, he rattles through an order, and pretty soon he and I and Mar are drinking Staropramen, which is a Czech beer. cheap.
we all raised our glasses. “cheers,” he says, and immediately drinks about half the glass.
I knew, right then, that I was overmatched.
and he keeps ordering them. and I can’t keep up with the motherfucker.
either way, a bunch of Bulgarian finger food comes out, and we’re eating cold cuts and grilled chicken hearts, which are, uh, interesting. and the beer keeps coming. and we get to talking, and it turns out that he’s a professional stunt man for film companies that come to the country for its low production cost. Jean-Claude Van Damme? “he is … alright.” Steven Seagal? “he is ass. also, he is fat.”
so I got tipsy, and Mar took note, and we got to know him pretty well, and we listened to “gold digger” on his cell phone on the way back to Sophia. when he dropped us off, he told us “do not forget Bulgaria.” then he tore ass down the street. he moved Sophia up a notch.

later, as we walked back to the train station, this junkie singles us out for the obvious tourists that we are, and latches on. for being someone with an obvious drug addiction, he spoke English pretty well, which is intriguing; very few people speak English in Bulgaria, but this guy had a decent command over it.
“hey, I am just like you, you know, I sleep in bus station because it so hard to rent room is too expensive and I just want to go home, you know, I help you out and translate, because I no f-ing liar, you know, man, I just come to Sofia, but Bulgarians not nice people, they not help you, I just need some help, you know …” endlessly. he kept talking.
so I gave him five lev, which was both my first mistake and all of about two bucks and all the loose currency I had on me, but he keeps talking. Mar, being the more experienced traveler that she is, moves on ahead. but I can’t shake this guy. he stays on my hip over two blocks, through traffic, only backing off when we pass in front of a police car, and he seriously won’t fuck off. the entire time, talking.
so finally, he breaks me, and I say, “christ, man, alright. here.” and give him five dollars. and he evaporates, like that.
that guy used up all of my homeless goodwill. I fucking hate train stations.

back on Friday.

alright, enough. I need a shower, man. bad.

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4 comments so far

  1. Ashley on

    I’m jealous of you and your traveling!!!

  2. Anonymous on

    they are playing the new white stripes record on q101 and it is really really good. and i thought wednesday was going to suck. but everything is just coming up josh!

  3. Anonymous on

    When does it come out?

  4. Anonymous on

    June 19th. It’s called Icky Thump.


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