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