if you kiss me mister, i might tell my sister

October 29th

We left Sofia, Bulgaria this morning, on a a train heading back to Greece, where a man begged his way onto our train car, under the pretense of his brother needing money for a “new kidney.” He wouldn’t leave, despite Ellie’s no’s in at least 4 different languages, going so far as to then try to “caress” her face, if caress can be used negatively, like “I want to caress him with the dull end of a razor.” I jumped up to push his arm away, at which point he then asked me for money…which worked, naturally, and I gave him both my wallet and my phone number. His stench stayed with us much longer than he did, and it made me think I might hate trains, and Europe, and men.

I started a Neil Gaiman book (my first!) and as I read, I couldn’t stop thinking, he’s fucking Amanda Palmer, and how wrong/right that is, like spaghetti and sour cream or remakes of Fame. It makes me want to write ghost stories and then never sleep again because I would be too terrified.

We only had one day in Sofia, which we stuffed full of art galleries and churches (There’s a Sofia church in at least 4 cities we visited) and long walks and an amazing vegetarian restaurant that’s run by the same cult figure as Victory’s Banner in Chicago and yes, even a movie, which was Fame, which was delightful and perfect for my soon-to-be-fever mentality and made me wish I had a talent for performing arts. But not really because then I’d have to be either THE BEST or commit suicide. After Fame, since it was already 10pm and we were in a mall, we ate at Pizza Hut for the second time on our trip and agreed to never speak of it again. But I must! Because they had a non-smoking section and they took my credit card and the vegetarian dishes not only existed, but were clearly marked and they had fresh squeezed juices and profiteroles. Pizza Hut was, quite honestly, the second most enjoyable dining experience I’ve had in the last month, which makes me wonder if they are actually better restaurants or if I am so starved for familiarity that I will swoon over having a multitude of crust options. My new Romanian friend Roxana said people will dress up to go to Starbucks in Bucharest, which reminded me of the time I convinced my friends to wear prom dresses to McDonald’s and then made out with a 17 year old named James, which was a BIG DEAL at the time because I was like 13, which made him practically my father, so I dumped him 10 minutes later for being a pervert.

And let me tell you about Dunkin Donuts, which was the first sight seeing we did in Sofia because it was right next to our hotel and because they had donuts with names like The Mozart. I don’t think I even liked donuts before I had The Mozart. Or classical music. But now I like them both and it’s all because of a Bulgarian DD, which was also a KFC. Never have I seen people clamor over cups of mashed potatoes like they did here, like the second coming was in those cups. Which it probably was. Like I said, I’m a believer now. Because after everything, the traveling and getting lost and looking for street names you can’t even pronounce and figuring out which gesticulation most effectively mimes “movie theater” (which is not, by the way, holding your arms out wide and mouthing the word big) and the crowds and the cigarette smoke and the smog – after all that, you just want something to be easy. Corporate imperialism provides that. So there, I’m not ashamed I ate at Pizza Hut twice, because I’m over searching for an authentic that doesn’t exist. And because, seriously, 4 different crust options!

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