In Beograde (Belgrade), Serbia at a café in the train station. Music is always English, which is hilarious to me. The song on right not is a remake of Steve Miller’s The Joker. Of course, I love this immensely. I love Steve Miller. Their coffee is verrrry strong or maybe it’s bitter. I can’t tell. Train ride was an overnight. We had a 6-seat room to ourselves. More like a cabin, but it’s called a Couchette. The seats all fold into a bed-like room. Except they don’t fold completely down. So it’s more like a little half-pipe of cushions. Sweet.
Megs and I went out to eat before our train left. She ordered salmon and I ordered more pasta than anyone could or should eat in one sitting. I was made fun of by the owner and waiter for not eating all of it. So, apparently, it is humanly possible to eat it all. I think Megs’ salmon was undercooked because she threw up on the train. Thank Hey-Zeus for all our plastic bags and baby wipes. She was very prepared. No mess or smell. Phew! Way to go, girl.
We slept a little and played cards a little. Some guy kept looking through our window by the corner where the drawn curtains couldn’t stretch. I asked if we could kelp him, which apparently translated to “can I fuck you” or something similar. He stuck out his tongue and bit it suggestively. I said No! He then opened the door to our room and started coming in. Again, I repeated NO! NO! NO! NO! over and over again. None of us understood each other but he eventually left. I was freaked out beyond belief. He was obviously older and could overpower me with his pinky toe.
Megs found the time. We had hoped it was 5am, which it felt. Nope, not even close. It was only 10:30pm. We’d only been on the train for 5 hours. We slept okay even with the heater turned off it was like a sauna. In the AM (about 7:30), we awoke and packed our stuff up. I went to brush my choppers, and when I came back Mr. Creeper was in the room with Meghan! She looked oay, so I sat down and started fiddling with my stuff. He got the message enough and left. Meghan said he’d come in for a few min, trying to talk to her. On the way out, he motioned he could help us with our bags. Thanks but no thanks, Sir. Don’t even care if He was just being nice. It’s worrisome enough. Good thing we had mace, just in case.
While in Beograde, we reflected on our excursions through Europe. One question remains: Why is there so much poop on the ground? It’s amazing to me that there is so much. What’s going on that it just stays put until someone walks away with it on the bottom of his or her shoe? I don’t get it. Universal health care, yes. But poop on the ground. This just doesn’t calculate.
While M and I walked around Beograde trying to kill time before our 1pm train, we walked down one street and stated to talk some pictures. Two policemen approached us rapidly and told us we must immediately delete our pictures. No one was allowed to take pictures of the building behind us. We said we were very sorry. I asked why this rule was in place. Turns out the building was the American Embassy and it’s illegal to take pictures by or of it. Who knew?!
From the train station we arrived in Belgrade, we took a shuttle to where our train to Salzburg would be waiting. Driving up we saw these young children crossing lanes of busy traffic without shoes on. One boy, maybe 7 years old, was smoking a cigarette. You know, like the cancer stick the Surgeon General warns of. Yeah, those. At our stop we came upon something I don’t know how to describe. It looked like 50,000 Goodwills threw up under the railway tracks above. Mounds, somewhat organized, I suppose, of stuff. Clothing, shoes, household items, books, maybe even car parts – all used/stolen. I think it’s a barter, trade or buying system. It looks like an impossibly depressing show of poverty. I was stunned.