Train to Hell (and Back
- somewhere in Slovakia
we previously left off, we were leaving
Poland for Budapest. This
across Slovakia en route to Hungary, and
where the troubles began. Read
on for the
are finally getting used to life on the road.
battling all of life's everyday distractions
the road. We are settling
into a rthymn. And what was a vacation has become a way of life.
at home become amplified on the road.
are harder to do. This
includes being sick.
the end of our stay in Poland, the flowers
and pollen was released en masse into the
that we breathe. That's
when I begin sneezing
five hundred times a day and am stuffed up and
a sore throat and producing copious amounts of
phlegm. We boarded the night train and attempted
sleep perchance to dream. It
was not to be.
settled ourselves into our train compartment.
conductor came around, we were informed that our
CLASS compartment was two cars over.
scattered belongings, we managed to settle into a
vinyl clad compartment with completely upright
for eight and fell into a
by my endless sniffing and sneezing.
for the roll of toilet paper I snagged from the
In the middle of the night, shortly after
through Slovakian border patrol, a new
came in looking for tickets. Well,
prior conductor kept them, because we didn't have
Unfortunately, he knew very little English.
a map, he told us we needed to buy tickets for
trip across Slovakia. We
repeatedly tried to
him that the tickets we bought in Poland should
covered the entire trip to Budapest but to no
For over an hour, this went back and forth.
at our wits end, and threatened with being tossed
at the next train stop in the middle of the night,
just decided to buy whatever tickets he wanted us
buy. But when we tried to
pay in American dollars,
became extremely agitated. "NO,
with him, we came from Poland, therefore
could not possibly have any Slovakian money. Again,
it went back and forth and he mentioned the possibility of not being
allowed into Hungary. I went looking for help and enlisted the
a kind young man in the car next to me.
bit of English, enough to understand our side and help us plead with the
for someway out of this, which he proceeded
do. Finally, after
exhaustive negotiations, our
friend said to us, no problem. We
just have to
wait. WAIT? So while we waited, we found out our new
was a cook in the Slovakian army and that he
the Chicago Bulls.
we neared the
border, and the conductor came back once
This time he wrote 45 on a sheet of paper.
produced 45 dollars, anxious to put the entire ordeal behind us and be
allowed to travel into Hungary. He
at the money and then counted off twenty,
back the rest and left our compartment never to
seen again. What an honest
guy...he could have pocketed the entire amount. He may have
felt bad for us, because
that I was so sick, he may have thought he
me a great deal, with my bloodshot eyes tearing
often, and all my sniffling during our
not more than five minutes after he left, we
our tickets, which had been misplaced in all the
of switching to second class. At
not have to deal with it again in Hungary, and finally
our way to Budapest, sleepless and still very
we settled in at a hostel in Budapest, we made
to the local Aptika or pharmacy. Hungarians
their medicines. They have
all-night mini-mart like pharmacies everywhere
in the city and they are quite good. We
in and of course the lady behind the counter
no English. I pantomimed my
symptoms, pretending to sneeze
to the plant on her desk. She
tissue. OK, try again and finally she understood.
Allergies. She gave me some pills called Disophrol
all hungarian instructions. Then she
that I should take one every twelve hours.
I am sure that they are illegal in the US.
so many restrictions in the US, that over the
drugs are useless, but here, they give you
Whatever it is, it works. And
I am once
well (as long as I stay on drugs.)
time: budapest (buda or pest? - you make the
ann-marie and doug
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