I want to make it big in Romania: Notes on a 25.5 hour bus ride.

HOUR 1:
People in Prague apparently just found out about love. In the metro I saw to adult lovers gaze into eachother’s eyes on opposite sides of the door before the train took off. They did little waves and mouthed I love yous. Now, even though there’s half an hour before disembarking, similar lovers are having a conversation and long looks while one sits on the bus and the other is outside. You could just go outside and have a regular conversation, sappy!

HOUR 2:
Body is starting to convulse. I am out range for any radio station and thus cannot even attempt to drown out the music blaring over the loudspeaker; it was an effort in vain, anyhow.

The music is equal parts pola tempo, arabic pop warble, klezmer squeal, and gypsy accompaniment. It clearly states its case against multiculturalism as it is the worse music ever. Worse than tejano. Worse than pop country. I fought to keep a song from Dirty Dancing tuned in–and it wasn’t even Hungry Eyes!

There is a screen at the front of the bus showing that a DVD player is turned on but without anything loaded. It has been this way since the start of the trip.

My greatest fear is A) the other people are enjoying this and think that wrapping my head with my hoodie is culturally insensitive and B) that this will last the entire trip. It is 26 hours. If I had know this was part of the deal clearly I would have splurged for the train.

For chrissake, I’m already at the point of confessing for any crime if someone were to interrogate me. I’ve heard similar tactics being employed at Gitmo and previously thought it wasn’t that bad, especially on the Torture Scale. But zealous Patriots, rest easy: this is most definitely torture. And civil rights leaders, fight for these prisoner’s rights–no one deserves this.

The man next to me briefly started clapping. My new worst nightmare, “part C” I suppose of hypotheticals for this ride, is that the whole bus will feel similarly roused. My non-participation would likely be grounds for burning, steep taxes, or expulsion.

Ah, expulsion. That would be great right now.

HOUR 4.5
Have been able to pick up decent Austrian and Czech radio, which is not as good as a Berlin station I listen to during my stay, but which really makes me jealous.

Why can’t Feist, The Decemberists, and Maximo Park be played on mainstream radio in the States? They all write pop songs–what did we do to deserve Evanescence? Subquestion, why is any executive bewildered as to why radio is so little of a cultural force in the U.S.?

At the bus station in Brno I got a vegetarian pita covered with tzatziki, feta, tomato, and salad. The tzatziki was the really thick kind that they used to serve at Gyro Express; I wish tis would be more common in the States.

I think I’m in Austria right now (or maybe Slovakia) and it is very pretty. During the parts I was awake the Czech Republıc oddly didnit seem very picturesque at all. The music might have influenced my opinion.

Okay, I’m in my first Slovakian traffic jam.

HOUR 6.5
Stephen Segall’s Flight of Fury begins.

I though I saw Max Perlich’s name in the credits. I’m waiting.

HOUR 8
Fell asleep. Never saw Max Perlich.

The pirated copy of Ladder 49 is not co-operating. Final Contract, starring Drew Fuller (and Ken Bones!)–both of whom I’ve never heard of–is now playıng.

Okay, Final Contract mıght be about a crossbow assassin. Awesome.

8:30PM
Final Contract: Death on Delivery, might be the greatest movie ever.

9PM
The nightcap: a music DVD of those horrible bands from before. It is also much louder than the previous DVDs, which ıs really a great thing.

MIDNIGHT
I’m in Transylvania listening to a great jazz station.

5:45AM
Wake up to see a valley surrounded by snowcapped peaks. Perhaps enduring hours of Romanian pop will be worth it.

10AM
Lou Diamond Phillips stars in El Cortez. During a sex scene a guitar solo wails, which makes me wonder if people hear guitar solos mid-coitus.

10:45AM
Highways are virtually non-existent in Romania…meaning we’ve been going through the whole country via local streets.

3:10PM
Got off the bus an hour and a half ago. Got lost. Seeking refuge at a Pizza Hut.


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