Jay and two bits of luggage #4 – Oh, it’s just a little cough.

This flu might as well get the best of me. I hate being sick.

After two days of pretty much lying in bed, nose running like a sad parody of Niagara falls and multiple half-awake dreams of creatures and non-creatures alike, I force myself awake like Tutankhamon forces himself from a thousand year’s rest.

Why? Because there’s an Audi that needs delivering. More to the point, needs delivering with a deadline. This car needs to be in Finland on Friday morning! And I need to be on a flight to Venice on Saturday to meet with my workaway-family.

Four days prior:

*Clackety* *Clackety* It’s 4 am and I find myself in something that might as well be a U-boat from a Soviet submarine-film: The Budapest-Beograd special. Seriously. The night began when this Jürgen Prochnow-lookalike guy took my ticket and shoved me into this small pitch dark couchette-cabin with a Hungarian railway logistics expert. Apparently the heating in the cars hadn’t worked since the 70s, so included in the ticket price were double duvees, which Jürgen provided with great relish.

So you don’t freeze, you know. That’s fair, right?

Yes, this would be my cell for the next 8 hours. One of the only times in my life where I’ve actually longed for a proper Intercity2 night train-car.

Border control marveled at my Finnish passport with its hologram and all. How quaint. My ego slightly twitched as I suddenly was something of an exotic: a citizen of a faraway country with impressively technological bureaucracy. But I soon humbled again, when I remembered how awkward and unsafe a passport with a remotely readable RFID-chip actually is. I let them ogle, though. The graveyard shift on the Hungary-Serbia border probably isn’t the most interesting of things. A Finnish passport around these parts is pretty much akin to gold, by the way. No one suspects Finns of anything, so border control tends to be a doddle.

Something like 4 hours into Serbia now. Which is not saying much, with this rickety submarine-train moving at less than 50kph. Not to say that it’s a bad thing. These tracks are more crooked than an EU-politician. The Hungarian fellow even told me about a derailed train earlier this year. I didn’t need to hear that, c’mon man! But Serbia, holy hell. Some 6 months ago I wouldn’t even dream of stepping outside Finland. And here I was, closer to backwater-Europe than I’d ever been..

The bathroom was not so much a bathroom but more a closet with a sink. I’m not even sure I was meant to pee in there. Oh well.

So I’m out to get a friend’s car. It’s stuck in Serbia with plates about to expire and needs rescuing. I hope it’s ok. Damn. I hope HE’S ok.

Three days prior:

Welcome to Belgrade! And don’t I feel Soviet now! This country has been bombed to shit a dozen times. And the Soviet era can be seen in many places. Yet, there’s an air of honesty and hard work wherever I look. So un-Russian. I guess ultimate adversity makes people focus on the important issues. The weather is becoming increasingly warm and sunny the closer I get to Nis. That’s bound to be a good sign!

The car is fine. Zero issues. The hotel is fine, booked a room. And the women in this city. Are FINE. Incredible to see so many stunningly hot women in such a small city. Too bad I’ve been awake for too long and need to sleep. And the flu is catching up..

But I gotta come back here and meet these girls! My women-adventures in Budapest have been rather tragicomic up until now. Closest I’ve gotten to a girl’s pants was that time on the nightclub dance floor, which isn’t exactly something you write home about. OR blog about, I guess. The only that would’ve ended up in anything concrete would’ve been in the nightclub-toilet.

But seriously though, how fucking tasteless would that be?

A sidenote regarding women, I actually ran into the two hotties from before. In the Budapest metro. How unlikely is that? But, as it happens, not even fate helps my odds of getting laid. =)

Two days prior:

5 am, it’s dark outside. The Audi hasn’t been fired up in months. I have my qualms with VAG-products, but a brand new Audi should have no trouble shaking off a few months idle sitting. And like from under a palm tree, the 2.0TFSI hurdles to life.

I can feel the flu coming on. It feels really bad this time, but my body says not yet. I need to get off the road.

200km to Budapest. Border control ahead. As suspected, Finnish passport and plates pretty much guarantee a troublefree passage.

For a small moment I consider rejoicing the fact that I’m back inside the EU again. But what did I leave behind? Sunshine, gorgeous women, friendly and helpful people? Only to be met by some Romanian fuckwad who insisted on washing my windows. For free, he said, which I presumed meant “for a fee”. Oh, and here’s the kicker – he wouldn’t accept 100 forint for his trouble, which I figured would be more than enough for that amount of work. The douche actually insisted on getting more, a minimum of 300 forint. I was in a pleasurable mood, so I gave him 150 forint and told him to kindly fuck off. A cold shower of EU-attitude, I thought.

Almost in Budapest now. My nose is running, and with it, my time. I needed to get to bed. So here I am, looking at a map on my phone, trying to navigate to a parking garage, wiping my nose, watching the traffic, and my phone rings.

It’s the new tenant from my old apartment in Finland. He’s paid 30€ for my old washing machine, and confused about how it works. I’m like “listen mate, I really don’t have time for this right now.” But this guy, in his broken English, wanted me to provide him with instructions on how to start a 30C program. I had trouble grasping the unreality of the situation at this point. I patiently explained how a 30C program is started, and that my interests in becoming a long-distance helpdesk are limited. It’s insane how people expect some sort of warranty and guarantee and on-site helpdesk when they buy a 7 year old appliance for lunch money.

Almost two days I spent in bed, working off the flu. Now, still in weak condition, I’m sitting in a hotel lobby, waiting to have breakfast with my grandmother.

Before heading to Krakow, Poland. It’s a 6 hour drive through Slovakia, said google maps.

-Jay

edit: make that a 7 hour drive. Slovakia is horrible.

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