Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Search for Lingus: Italy and Torchello and France and Brussels

Italy, man. Italy is freakin' gorgeous.



We stayed in a very nice Airbnb right next to Lake Garda, probably the most beautiful lake I've ever seen. We were in a touristy area so we did our best to stand out as obnoxious Americans: Shirts unbuttoned, bellies out, cowboy hat. They loved us. Or so we pretended they did in our minds.







We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and I ordered some authentic Italian carbonara pasta. Then I received my plate of food and realized it could've easily been a microwaved TV dinner. Looks like Crissy and I are gonna have to revisit Italy to try the real stuff. Shucks.

We woke up early the next day and rented a boat to take out onto the lake. We searched for the mystical island of Torchello. In Torchello, all of the children see us as kings. We will live in paradise. There is no hunger, there is no pain, only happiness. We found out the only way to get there is to go to the bottom of the lake so we had to pass.... this time. We will one day rule as kings in Torchello.




We then continued our journey through beautiful mountains towards France. In France, we were immediately sodomized by toll fees. Bled us dry and almost didn't survive. Every time our driver, Tariq, asked us for some money for the toll we screamed at him. The tolls tore us apart, broke us down mentally. A scar will form once the wound heals. Let this be a warning to the would be travelers....

We arrived in Chambery for the night and stayed in an incredibly mediocre hostel called F1. We really felt the no-AC thing Europe has going on during our stay there. We experienced a few bouts of heat rage but I think we're OK now. I was able to open a bottle of wine with a screw driver to ease our troubled minds.



We visited the equivalent of a French Wal-Mart the next day to stock up on food and beverage for the long drive home. We picked out wonderful cured meats (sorry Katie), fresh fruit, cheeses, drinks. At checkout, the cashier held up some small peaches Raul picked out, said something in French and tossed them in the trash. She proceeded to do this with his banana as well. I was up next in a lane next to his and my cashier picked up my small peaches and looked at me very worried. I asked him why I can't purchase them. Through some very awkward hand movements and grunting we were able to determine that in order to purchase produce we had to weigh them ourselves and print out a bar code back in the produce section. Instead of giving us a chance to do this, they fucking trashed our fruit. All of us. Jay had 90% fruit which was wasted, only to be left with a soda and shitty macaroons. How is he to survive?

One good thing that did come from the store was the cured meat. We hung up our bounty in the van, essentially turning it into a deli. One of the more delicious meat logs was hanging next to our vegan driver's head, smacking him every so often when we hit a bump. This comes after he told us he is vegan because he loves animals. Oh the irony.



The France show at Thunderbird Lounge in Saint-Ettiene was a fantastic last show. We were treated to amazing hospitality; great beer, home-cooked meal, great crowd. WC played a super charged last set. One thing about playing so many shows close together is that by the end you master your set. They sounded super tight and the crowd loved it. It has been an absolute pleasure watching them perform this tour.







After the show we made our trek to Brussels Airport to begin our journey home. We bid farewell to our second driver, Tariq, who was probably very ready to rid himself of the excitable loons from Texas. Tommy and Tariq will forever be in our memories and spank banks.

We are now in the Brussels Airport waiting for our flight. We arrived at 8am and will be here until 9:40pm. We have to wait to see where Air Lingus will pop up to check in. Then we hang in Dublin for half a day and drink Guinness.



We were fortunate to snag a secluded spot in the back of the check in area with 5 couches. We were able to get some shut eye knowing we'd have this safe haven for the remainder of our waiting time. How wrong we were. About an hour into our slumber, we woke to a crowded check in area and a crazy man talking to himself, rummaging through his bags and the nearby trash cans. He ripped the metallic lid off the trash and threw it about 50 feet across the floor. Many people evacuated the area. He rushed over to the counter and started getting aggravated. He returned to where we were sitting, on the verge of tears stating he'd lost his passport. He started wheeping and apologizing, stating no one should see him like this. He then stormed off. Tom immediately informed a Brussels Airport employee who came over, looked at the shit the man threw everywhere and unconvincingly told us he'd let someone know. We took a peek at the items he discarded: clothes, a beanie, magazines, a blu ray DVD player, a book titled "Introduction to R", coffee cups, trash. Looking up "intro to R" we found out its a programming language for statisticians and it was used to predict election outcomes since 2008. We came to the conclusion that he's an idiot savant, unable to function properly in society. After about half an hour of waiting for security we took matters into our own hands and started to move our coveted couches to a different area. We scored these couches, we weren't going to let them go. In the middle of our move, security showed up. The scene they saw was this: a trash can with the lid thrown off; a man's luggage strewn about. Five smelly, dirty-looking males moving couches away from that area and no one else around. They immediately approached us and started questioning our motives. We had to tell them about being in a punk rock band called White Christ traveling around Europe. They were very skeptical. Luckily they knew about the crazy man and allowed us to continue our squat. After a short while they caught the crazy loon and questioned him for about half an hour. He came back over to us and stated that he felt bad. I told him he gave us all quite a fright. He said he figured since a man was alerting everyone that he lost his passport that people would be more receptive to him. I said it's fine and that I hope he gets it all figured out. In my mind I was asking him why the fuck he was acting like a god damn lunatic and throwing shit everywhere, making it look like he left some dvd bomb in our immediate area. At least we still have our couch mecca.




Current Tetris high score: 111,565
Current Catan status: Robots-2, Humans-1
Current sci-fi status: on page 275 of Absolution Gap

Soon we will be in Dublin drinking Guinness.

Home soon. Wives. Dogs. Tex Mex.

Peace.

Monday, July 10, 2017

I Don't Wanna Be a Pony: Dresden and Budapest and Novi Sad and Slovenia and Croatia and Italy

I AM HINA

We bro-ed out pretty hard on our last night in Dresden. We parted ways with Tommy. Went out in a blaze of drunken glory at the Big Lebowski bar. May the metal gods reign fire upon his path to come.





We gave James a classy euro style earing out of a Celebrator goat which he will wear the rest of the trip:



Tom and I got drunk and blasted Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd in our hostel. Jay bought everyone some hookah and beers. Raul ate his third doner kebab. Maybe we'll see you again one day Dresden. You've been good to us.

We met up with our new driver, Tariq, who proceeded to tell us we were the nicest Americans he's ever met. Little does he know he's stuck in a van with us for a week. Tariq is German and good friends with Tommy so we're able to give him a healthy dose of shit every now and then. Tariq told us he grew up in a small village where they start drinking at age 11 or 12. He'll fit right in!



From Dresden we traveled through beautiful Czech Republic (again) towards Budapest. Hungary had similar geography to Czech Republic however when we arrived in Budapest it was quite breathtaking. It was one of the cities that wasn't destroyed in the war so a lot of old buildings and sculptures still stood. The charm of Budapest soon wore off once we arrived at the venue, DRRPNC. This was the spookiest venue to date. It was an old hospital, nunnery and a couple other things before becoming and underground punk venue. Underground in the sense that it is literally in a series of underground tunnels and is being run as an illegal underground operation. They have to change the name of the venue every so often to avoid detection. It had a lot of character and a lot of mold. We were told the show was booked last minute and did not have much promotion. Oh boy.





I can safely say every Hungarian we met except for the promoter and a few folks at the show were complete assholes to us. When asking for anything they close their eyes and just walk away. Even getting a cup of water from the bartender was a hassle for them. It got real bad when Raul and I were standing outside to use some wifi and we saw a lone dog chained to the sidewalk hand railing, whilst it was raining. The dog was whimpering and obviously hadn't seen its owner in a while. People kept coming up and looking around and petting the dog. No one could find its owner. Fuck Hungary.



Before the show started we were treated to a documentary screening on a large slab of wall in the venue. It was covering the history of Hungarian punk rock. We couldn't understand what anyone was saying but based off what we saw it seems New York Hardcore had a lot of influence on their scene. After WC played everyone hung out down in the tunnels. We were offered dingy couches to stay on, however, these couches were lining the "party/dance" room. Around 2am, we decided to attempt to ford the sea of noises and try to crash on the couches. We layed down and the locals continued to blast punk rock and dance music while loudly chatting and getting drunk. 3am. Louder than before, more folks arrive. 4am. Am I still in Budapest? I envision myself waking up and making coffee, reading a nice book under the morning sun. Dance beats pulse me back to reality. 5am comes. No sleep. No one speaks English. My mind tries to translate the loud music to white noise. This works for a time but they just turn it up louder and play American pop songs to try and appease us. This doesn't work. At one point I open my eyes and some rat man is hovering over Raul and Jay's bed. He scuttled away. 7am. Music stops. Only a few are left. They are loud enough to sound like 10 people. Are they talking about us? Will the rat man return? My paranoia keeps me awake. I didn't drink enough to pass out. 8am. I get up to pee. Still about 4 folks left. They turn the music back on for a few more loud jams. But then all goes silent. Finally, rest. Alarm sounds soon after. Sigh. We pack quickly and head out to the van. A few tweakers start hollering at us and we ask if they sleep. They say sometimes, on occasion. We smile and leave. Fuck Hungary.



From Budapest we headed to Serbia. It took us almost 2 hours to get through the border check but once we got in we were treated to some familiar geography. Serbia looks very much like west Texas and parts of Mexico. Flat, hot dirt.



We arrived at Exit Festival in Novi Sad which was held in an old, massive fortress. White Christ performed on the EXPLOSIVE stage with some great bands; Wonk Unit (who we shared a backstage tent with and are from the UK, cheeky bastards), Angelic Upstarts, and Discharge. The backstage crew were obsessed with the WC boys and helped us move our gear and sell our merch and get us free beer. We also bonded over old Troma horror films. They told me that with my cowboy hat on I looked like a Serbian peasant. I accepted this.





After the fest we stayed at a local dorm room. We had to split up into 3 different rooms. Everything seemed fine except come morning we found out Jay and James' room was infested with roaches and that they slept in the van. Dat tour life tho....

Once out of Serbia we headed through Croatia to Ljubljana, Slovenia. Had a great doner kebab at a road stop. The bread was so soft it felt like a female breast. Can you tell we're home sick?

Ljubljana was a beautiful city. Once we parked at our Airbnb we went to a nearby river and stripped down to our skivvies for a dip. We were approached by a local professor and she told us we were swimming in the ugly river that none of the locals swim in. Dirty Texas boys don't give a rats ass, Lady!




We walked through to the center of town and were treated to a bustling bazaar of shops and eateries and wonderful sights to see. I had one of the most wonderful vanilla Gelatos and immediately had lactose intolerance gut bombs. Worth it. After some dinner and sight seeing we called it a night.





Woke up this morning and found ourselves on the road to Italy. We stopped in Trieste for some breathtaking views and a quick dip in the Gulf of Trieste. Believe me when I say that Italians and all Europeans are much more attractive than us. Boner city all day er' day.






We're on our way to Lake Garda where we will spend the night and swim in what looks like a scene from Lord of the Rings.



Tom and I just lost to this bitch, Mary Ann, on virtual Catan. She kept low balling us for wheat and hoarding VP cards. It's OK though, because I had the longest road and she'll have to travel on it one day and when that day comes my army of sheep will trample her under hoof.

I'd like to say on behalf of all the males in this van THANK YOU to all our wives for letting us come on this trip. We can't wait to be naked at home with you.

Current Tetris high score: 77,244
Current Catan status: Robots-1, Humans-0
Current sci-fi status: on page 245 of Absolution Gap

Ciao!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Purple Nurple, the Dresden Files

Well, a lot has happened since we made it to Dresden. My left titty is very sore. Let's start with our trip to Vienna.

We departed our show in Berlin and stayed in Dresden at our driver Tommy's flat. The next day we had a 5 hour drive to Vienna through the sprawling country side of Czech Republic. Truly beautiful scenery.



We arrived at Arena Wien in Vienna which used to be a slaughterhouse in the 1800s. The venue didn't provide dinner for us but I did manage to find a small can of liver. I now know what eating cat food is like.

Zeke headlined the show. They were definitely one of the fastest, sweatiest bands I've ever seen. We made the most money off of merch at this show thanks to my sexy selling tactics. I hope the band realizes how important I really am. I'm not proud of what I had to do to make those sales but someone has to put food on the table.

Speaking of food I finally had a badass doner kebab:




After the show we drove to an AirBnB in the middle of the Czech country. We arrived in the wee hours of the morning and scared the shit out of the owners who thought we were burglars. Woke up to an incredible view, though.



Tommy took us for some quick site seeing at a church littered with thousands of human skeletal remains arranged into pieces of art and decor. It was the most metal thing I've ever seen. Followed that up with one of the most metal lunches, a fucking pig leg served on a cutting board. 10 stars.







That brings us to our days off in Dresden which we are currently enjoying. We're in a very nice hostel in the hip part of town filled with cool shops and bars. I can now say I stayed up drinking white russians in a Big Lebowski themed bar until 6am.





Dresden is truly a magical city. We randomly ran into a guy named David who has been our guide the past couple days. We just got back from a Frisbee tossin', soccer kickin', burger grillin', beer drinkin', people watchin' BBQ in a massive open park down the street that David organized for us.



Last night David took us to a jazz club where we met Hina. Hina is the reason my left titty is sore today. Imagine if you will a very stocky white German male who can only utter the words "I AM HINA" in a powerful German accent whilst punching you in the arm, grabbing your neck and twisting your nipples. He was a real life Hodor. I tried to bond with him but his physical actions could not be tolerated. I twisted his nipples and got a very powerful wink in return. We promptly left to avoid further nip damage and emotionally scarring memories.

Gonna do some laundry tomorrow and let our livers rest before our trip to Budapest.

I AM HINA