This might be shaping up to be the worst fucking day of my trip. I woke up at 8, so that the cleaning lady could give me the laundry. She came in at 9:30. I rushed for a quick breakfast, which had to be ordered. I got it, ate it, then requested the bill. Had a communication problem with the waitress and received another mushroom omelet at 10:30.
I didn’t remember if I was to call Peter. But he didn’t call me. It was 11, so I asked to call and we luckily made it to the station in time for the train to Bratislava.
The ride was mostly uneventful minus a part near the beginning that involved some loud schoolkids, a few having to share the carriage with me. Thankfully they were not on without their teachers, so they were kept in check for the entirety of the trip. One good thing involved writing the draft of the eulogy for Grandpa. I almost lost it while reading it once over; thankfully only a 60-year-old woman was in the compartment at the time and she was too engrossed in a crossword to notice anything.
* * * *
Bratislava sucks. I got lost on my way to the hostel for a second fucking time! I thought I could follow better directions this time around, but for some reason even they didn’t help. I even asked two people while in my sweaty freak-out stage; they did not make things better for me.
I finally found it though. And to my immense pleasure, they decided to charge me 50SK extra because – God forbid – I’m not a student and I’m under 26. Fuck them. I will make sure no one else goes to this hostel ever – even if they ask for a recommendation.
So, I stomped to my room irate and headed down to check my mail, having to wait a good half hour before people stopped tooling around on Facebook.
Now dinner. Can’t get messed up, right?
Wrong. The halusky shop that I ate at with Gareth in December didn’t have halusky there. I went to the information booth (which I found on a map) to check and see if there are any places specializing in halusky or had Internet cafes because I had forgotten to change arrival times for future hostels. The info booth closed at 6pm; it was 6:30.
Things were definitely looking up. I stormed down street by street, seeing if some place would have something I could enjoy. I finally caught a place that had halusky for a somewhat decent price. Intriguing moment: there was a couple sitting next to me who barely spoke a word to each other. They were the “dining dead” as is explained in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It was almost creepy. The girl was just sitting there most of the time gazing vacantly into space while the man grumpily stuffed food into his mouth.
I ran back to the hostel after that OK dinner, and I tried to get online to fix the arrival time for my hostel. Again, it took over a half fucking hour to get onto the computer. It was infuriating. If someone hadn’t left after 5 minutes, I would have asked to use the computer – as my task would have taken 5 minutes max.
Back outside. I wandered out – fuming – wondering where I could have a relaxing evening and have a beer or three. No places had decent live music, so I had to put up with a quasi-smokey Belgian bar I had been to before in December. And they were putting triple the head on my beers! Ridiculous. I demand more beer than that, and I’m the only lone one here now, and I hate it, and I really would right now hop on the first flight back to Ohio.
Things started looking up after my return back to the hostel. Met two cool travelers, both studying in Dublin. One was Korean and the other Brazilian. We hung out for a little bit and then went to find food/drink. In the end we opted for some place that had already closed its kitchen; this led the Brazilian to go to McDonalds. For some reason he “wasn’t allowed” to eat the food in the cafe whose kitchen was shut down. Oh, cruel fates!
Waking up the next day after tons of the liquor was actually not as bad as I’d feared. This was bad though: not being able to find my locker key, so I had to pay a fee for it. Thankfully they had spares or I would have been fucked. My laptop and some of my other bags were there.
Getting to the railway station was – again – unbearable. I really should have just taken the cheap tram from one of the streets near the hostel, but I assumed I would be able to find the way out easily enough.
The ride, comfortable. No complaints there.
I was completely gone through when I arrived in Vienna, so after checking in and seeing any new e-mails I might have had, I crashed on the bed, but not before meeting one of the roommates, an American from Washington whose name I forget (as you can see, this is a common occurrence).
I tried to pull the catacombs in St. Stephens later that day, but irritatingly they only allow a minimum of five people in a group. I think I should have stayed (come to think of it), because that statement might have been five people overall, no matter if you knew the person or not.
Doing the happy-hour thing now since it’s 6-8pm, and this is after having adana kebab in sandwich form. I couldn’t stay away from Turkey for that long, it seems.
I again headed to Stephensplatz to meet up with the travelers I had gone out with in Bratislava, but these planned rendezvous always wind up being just things that would be a swell idea at the time. No one showed up. So I wound up having some Guinness and chips at the Irish pub I had been in the night before going back to Istanbul in December, and also being unsociable. The people weren’t as convivial this time around, at least to me. A far cry from nine months ago. I am not really content with how things are going in regards to meeting people while on the road: maybe I was just lucky in October and December last year? This time around, no one turned up to hang out or people just were too engrossed with others to care.
What I found annoying was the chorus of “Good morning!” that met my ears at 8am. Thanks! One of the roommates was a middle-aged Japanese guy, and he decided to make a fair bit of noise this morning (and now, as I’m writing this, because that’s always polite). I woke up – grumbling of course, for it was way too early – and showered and went downstairs to have the usual Wombats brekkie, again slopping into the forefront as someone who is traveling alone. Honestly, it’s as if a year’s passage has made the solo travelers disappear. Or perhaps I was just to strange and frightening to sit by.
I headed to the Hapsburg Palace and got some real good photos outside it. I also went to the Albertina, which was a museum devoted to art and paintings (among other things). There were quite a few decent exhibitions there, especially by Picasso, Monet, and then an entire wing devoted to the life and early work of Van Gogh, paintings you don’t normally see by him.
I then did a search for a new book as I had finished Baudolino. I found one of Haruki Murakami’s works and bought it, even though it was pricey. I should enjoy it; Gareth said it was amazing. It better be, or he owes me money! The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is the title.
One of the roommates back at the hostel was Korean, and he asked me if I would be a part of this very large message by different fellow travelers to a friend of his back in Korea. Each person said a word in Korean on the camera and it would eventually string out into a larger message. I had to say hello in Korean, which I honestly already knew (but I didn’t say that). It was “annyong haseo!” If you aren’t knowledgeable with Arrested Development, one of the characters on the show was called Annyong (an adopted Korean child intro-ed into the Bluth family), which turned into a running joke for the majority of the show’s life.
I had a frustrating time on the computer with the Internet going slowly and then a failed nap because of the excessively loud Japanese man walking and in and out of the room screaming “Hello, etc.” not really realizing that someone was asleep.
Now, we have the present, and me wanting to be sociable once again at a hostel that should be such: and this tool isn’t helping!
* * * *
Shit! And he ate in the God-forsaken room! He peeled a grapefruit the size of Afghanistan and ripped it apart like fabric. And he had to be the loudest fucking eater. You don’t slurp it into your mouth and chomp it like a ravenous cow. I wanted to stab my ears out with forks.
I headed out and had Mongolian BBQ to ease up my aggravation, and it definitely soothed my soul. I made sure not to chew loudly or be indecent in eating my food there. I also had sure I didn’t wake anybody up when I got into the room. Thankfully, my Korean roommate was also out and on the computer, so we went up together and got into our respective beds without waking up the others. I had a faint yearning to nudge the Japanese twat awake, but I thought he’d begin screaming “Hello!!!” and chomping on more grapefruit, so I did not act out my fantasy.