>you can tell them i’m coming and hell’s coming with me
>oh dear readers, believe the forlorn i do so deeply feel when my daily postings fade into the realm of the sporadic.
(woe is me . . . and so on and so forth)
my last day in lisbon was an event. i made the tedious bus trip up along the atlantic coast to the small portuguese city of Ericeira where the surf and the sand are what romantic from-here-to-eternity movies are based on. the 5pm sun shimmered off the water that had no ending. the waves were rough and high, not calm like the mediterranean. this was surfing water. the beach was really a cove, surrounded by jagged cliffs and smoothed rocks. i fantasized that the beaches of Nice must have resembled the same 1000s of years ago before the roads were built.
there were ancient foundation ruins built into the rockface and no one touched it. portuguese tongues shoooooed all around me. one brave man asked me for a cigar and to know me better. i lied and said i have a boyfriend. for once, i wasn’t in the mood to pick-up, especially since i had sand so far up my bra, my nipples were scratched.
i braved the surf twice, letting the high current toss me around like a dead body. the water’s foam collected as it climbed up the shore, and the shallow tide was cyan like the perfect pencil crayon. farther out, the navy ocean carried a sporacic tug boat, speed boat, or pigeon touching down for a fish. there were only pockets of people in this hideaway, unlike the traffic of Nice/Barcelona beaches.
my feet were cut up from the pounding of the ocean’s stones, but it was worth it. when the surf gets enough power, it bashed itself against the rocks just at my feet, creating a vertical fountain of salt water. some brash young guys in trunks & six-packs belly-flopped like frat boys into the waves. i giggled.
i was truly astounded by the beauty of the portuguese coast. i felt like i should have paid millions for the priviledge. the sky was cloudless and the sea breeze was constant.
but on the treacherous bus ride home that teetered precariously around the narrowest mountain paths, i realized my period was late.
visions of a viennese phone call made nervous rounds through my head.
luckily for me, aunt flo made her visit the next day as i boarded THE WORST TRAIN RIDE IN EUROPE (think of “the worst toilet in scotland” showcased in Trainspotting, and you’ll immediately get the idea).
15 hours from lisbon to french-border-town hendaye with no bed, sitting in a compartment with 4 dirty men the size of a small walk-in closet. the 4 dirty men= 2 french boys with gelled hair who giggled at everything and listened to music that sounded like it belonged on the soundtrack of a japanese animé film. 1 spanish guy with a glowing laptop that he annoyingly kept on throughout the night, and finally 1 obnoxious OLD spanish sleaze who kept touching my legs and opening the cold window at every stop to stick his head out and yip at the platform like a corgie.
4 men, 1 ill-tempered me. no room to sleep, to put my feet, no chance of calming my debilatating cramps, no decent repose.
yes, it was retribution for all those cushy first class seats i had so immensely enjoyed through spain. boys in the corridor kept eyeing me uncomfortably, the ticket-taker was a jerk-off who condescended me in spanish, and all i could do was count down the hours and try to nap.
when i did nap, i dreamed of angelina jolie. that girl has never had to endure nights like i did.
in the early morning, i was praying for any signs of sun, wondering if the night would never end. i felt my bowels gurgling at me, and was pleasantly greeted by the morning-gift of blood seeping through my Always pad and onto my undies. i quickly changed, but as i finally jumped off that train ride from hell with cramped muscles and ovaries, i realized i hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours.
that has been a running theme of this trip, it would seem.
after the 15 hour Lucifer-train, came the 6 hour train from hendaye to paris. just as tedious, but at least i had my own soft seat. as the train entered paris and Le Tour Eiffel once again dazzled my eyes, i suddenly felt immense relief.
back to where things make sense, back to trustworthy civilization, and a place where my heart and flesh feel rejuvenated. i grabbed the 1st expensive boulangerie baguette-sandwich i could find and had scarfed it down before i had even paid for my metro ticket to Gare de L’est.
i had some time to breathe before my train to vienna, so i bought a Fromager sandwich with tomatoes, 2 bottles of Le Vittel water, Olá ice cream, a kit kat, and a bag of chips = all junk and THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF MY RAW FOOD VEGETARIANISM. but my body was crying out for any kind of fuel, especially after 24 hours of nothing but menstrual cramps and twisted limbs in limbo.
i treated myself to 2 magazines, and sat on the divinely dirty Paris-Est floor, watching les voies appear on the board. french military men showed up frowning with their uzzies, and i wondered if my lack of knowledge of the current events meants more metro bombs had gone off. i watched the pigeons slide across the marble tiles. i watched people in love embrace, and stared at the hanging billboards from the dome ceiling.
i knew then that i could easily live in paris, out of all the cities i’ve visited. paris is where i felt most like a viobrant woman with the world by the balls (so to speak). speaking the language didn’t hurt either.
when i finally did board my viennese train and crawled upon my middle bunk, i fell asleep upon the instant. it was only 5pm, but i was sleep deprived. i reminded myself before REM captured my immagination how fricken lucky i was to have an actual bed + pillow + blanket + tea & biscuit breakfast waiting for me. compared to the previous night, i was living like Louis XIV.
i woke up sometime during the night to see a vibrant cornucopia of stars and constellations as we sped through germany. the big dipper has never actually been as big. as the train turned, so did the stars as if i could just reach up and swirl them around my fingers. i fell asleep again, and lost myself in a deep oblivion.
when i awoke early this morning, there was peppermint tea, austrian bottled water (i.e. CARBONATED!), 2 buns, apricot marmalade and butter to be had. my insides had calmed somewhat and the familiar viennese architecture was staring me in the face.
i can’t lie and say i hadn’t been thinking about gizmo the entire time, because i had. but i decided long ago that i refuse to see him again. best not to ruin our tongue-in-cheek memories with awkward moments and silences.
i had originally planned to catch a later train from vienna to budapest, but when i arrived at westbanhof station, i found out a train for budapest was leaving in 4 minutes. i rain like a weighed-down-idiot, hopped on, and never looked back.
i sat in my own compartment, speeding once again through viennese territory, with the funk of FOUR TRAINS IN TWO DAYS all over me. i arrived in budapest before mid-day dawned, and am now flopping in my hostel, waiting for my flight to lebanon tomorrow.
thinking about last night’ stars again — they say it takes millions of years for a stars’ light to reach earth. so the stars we see could have gone supernova eons ago, and we are looking at light from the past. the purest form of time travel.
as i raced through these cities, i feared the light of the past would burn my eyes. but it hasn’t.
because i’m stronger now than ever.