“How much of this tan do you think is dirt?” I asked Andrea, four hours into our daytime train trip from Sofia to Belgrade.
The water at Hostel Mostel had been shut off and would be off the remainder of the day. We took our unshowered selves and backpacks the twenty minutes to the train station and bought the next tickets to Serbia. Plans we had already, though now leaving 12 hours sooner. Steve the baglama, de-mummified for his two flights as a carry-on, was abandoned in the hostel’s luggage closet. “We’ll play him everyday,” the girl at the main desk promised. We’ll be back for him in a week.
Ten hours on a train. An old-fashioned compartment train. Long… Especially when you flinch whenever the border patrol guy with gun and badge walks by out of unnecessary nerves, especially when you get admonished when your feet touch the surrounding four empty seats… Especially when you’re constantly getting stared in at.
A really long time to spend feeling dirty, with little distraction but looking at what has become of you.
“You know when leg hair gets long enough it’s soft? It’s a shame I’m just at stubble stage. Crossing my legs has gotten uncomfortable.”
“Just opened the window for a breeze. Got a whiff of me, closed it.”
“Thank goodness you can change some reality with Skype. Like framing. I’m not saying I cut out 50% of my forehead every time, I’m just saying someone called me billboard when I was 16.”
Just this morning, I though how nice it’d be to have you at home come visit. I’d love travel buddies these next few months.
But then I realized, only three weeks in to this walking everywhere everyday and eating weirdly lifestyle, my body is on its way to the size, shape and possible acne of 14-yr-old me. Like some weird American family sends its ninth grader to Serbian high school daily, with a massive “always-be-prepared” backpack.
Exhausted. I just tipped 200 dinar for dinner. I sure hope I did that conversion right.
More stories from Bulgaria and Serbia to come. For now, reality, and this time I was way too tired to be selective.