--> Act natural

( Tuesday, Oct. 04, 2005 12:59 pm )

>Back and forth, forever

Well, I'm no longer in Romania. No, I am home, back home in my hobbit-sized apartment, which I have partially moved back into, except for some luggage and stuff under the bed that I can't bear to face yet, plus the subletter rearranged my complex system for achieving a socket for every plug, wherein all the lamps can stand where I need light and the two thousand extenstion cords aren't snaking across the floor. I did manage to sort out 8,000 ticket stubs and beer/wine labels from 20 or so countries. I discovered that if I did not recognize the language on the stub/label, it invariably proved to be Hungarian. In Budapest, Davy and I stayed with the first of many Grandmas in Eastern Europe who rent out rooms to travelers, and she spoke no English whatsoever, except for "I am retired!" which was the joke she'd bring out when we'd try to wash our dishes and she'd shoo us away. There was also sweet Croatian Grandma and Grandpa in Dubrovnik, who also spoke absolutely no English except for "room"; scary-friendly bachelor Grandpa in Brashov, Romania; and very cheerful Spanish Grandma in charge of the Hostal Portugal in Madrid, who spoke to us in baby Spanish and told me to go to Canada to seek out the fine chicos, and hugged Davy when we left, after what was indeed an amazing length of three days in such an establishment (the sign claimed it to be a one-star hotel, but clearly the star should have been revoked at some point).

I had a mini-breakdown in Marrakesh, right at the arse-end of the trip, due to extreme sensory overload, crowds, and the number of people constantly asking for your attention. Luckily that was only for one night, and things vastly improved after we found a place to buy bottles of wine. Morocco is a place where, had there been bars of any description, I'm sure I would have turned to hard liquor for a good part of every day. There were plenty of people trying to sell us hashish, and indeed that probably would have been the best way of all to mellow out a little, however, both Davy and I cherished the fear of what would become of sweet affectionate Davy in Moroccan prison, and so refrained.

I still don't feel like the kind of person who would take a big crazy trip like that--either it seems in retrospect not so crazy, or else it doesn't seem like I really did it, somehow. Hard to explain, except that it's weird to be back, much as I dreamed of the couch and lager and bars during day-long train or ferry rides through foreign lands. I was just getting a glass of water and remembering jumping off of a tram in Krakow around midnight, drunk and without a ticket, and riding the bus in Rome at night past the monument that looks like a wedding cake---Davy and I stood by the door in the middle, close together to keep balanced, and kissed when we passed a fountain.

And I never photographed the art supply store in Krakow called "f*art," (though I did get a picture of the German tour bus in Budapest labelled "Fucker.") I didn't get a picture of the five-year-old girl at the ferry port in Bari, Italy wearing a shirt that said "cock me baby," or the guy in Marrakesh with a shirt depicting two boobs that said, "hands off boys, they're mine." And I didn't get one of Amelie's purple arrow pointing up the steps to Sacre Coeur, because the Senegalese bracelet guys were too intense and blocking access.

I'm just bragging now, and leaving out the parts where we traveled for two days straight and existed on potato chips, or the terrible stomach cramps in Athens, or sleeping on the floor in ferries, or sleeping sitting up in trains, or staying at the world's worst hostel in Krakow and not even being able to figure out how to get to Auschwitz in order to have a much worse time, or getting kicked off the train in Romania, or waiters constantly fucking with the bill in Romania and Morocco, or the disdain of the rug guys in Istanbul when Davy told them his rug budget was about $30.

I did walk up the hill to the Parthenon just after dawn, though. And I did take a ferry ride up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea, and hike up a steep hill to some ruins, and look down at the blue water and know I was in Asia for the first time. And watched the sunset on the Danube while drinking too-expensive wine with Davy in Budapest, as a helicopter swept up the river to the chain bridge to film part of a movie. And I saw the Eiffel Tower. Davy and I were so glad to get back to Paris at the very end--we knew exactly where we were going, and spent a really nice long weekend just wandering around, seeing movies in English ("Moi, Toi, et Tout les Autres"), enjoying fall weather. And then I exhausted us with a long walk along the Seine and we couldn't find a good place for dinner (we choose one where the guy who worked there, as cook and waiter, repeated everything I said after me in a mocking cowboy accent)and then we were glad to get home (it took a while, and we hopped the turnstile at Charles DeGaulle, having not bought tickets for the ride there).

And now I'm back, and it's weird, though nice, to see people I know, and understand what everybody is saying around me. And Davy's bed is so comfortable and my room is so quiet. I'm just kind of at loose ends, though, and already despairing of the job search. However, all is well. There are photos to be developed, and beer labels to be sorted. I put up some of the fine religious artifacts I collected in Greece, Turkey, and Croatia, and now my apartment is creepier than ever! Hooray!

And PS. I never posted from abroad, but I always read people's diaries, and it was lovely to be able to keep up.

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