Sunday, November 18, 2007

Night train part 5

I've experienced a strong regression towards the mean with the last two night trains. After tonight, my overall experience might actually be _above_ average.

Since I was late to the station, I didn't have enough time to stop at the grocery store (travel essentials #4: always carry food and water with you) and ended up getting on the train with nothing to eat. There's no restaurant on the train itself-- it's just a bunch of sleeper cars and an engine-- so buying food on the train isn't an option. Combined with skipping breakfast, it could have very easily turned into an unintentional hunger strike.

Fortunately, my roommates on the train (two Romanian-speaking French girls, a Bulgarian woman, and an actual Romanian woman) had planned ahead much more effectively and ended up making me an awesome sandwich, giving me water, and translating all of the conductor's
announcements. All this happened as if it were totally normal. They were just happy they could help. Meanwhile, I was so astonished that a random group of strangers would go out of their way to help me (without even having to ask) that I was trying to think of ways to repay them. They didn't listen, though.

I've accepted a fair bit of charity in the last few weeks. It's never a good feeling to be in some stranger's debt, but it's very cool to know that even if you find yourself in a bad situation in another country, there are people that will help you unconditionally.

Anyhoo, the train I'm on reminds me of a large, wheeled tin can. From the top bunk, I can actually hear the rain against the roof. Also, I'm not completely sure about this, but I think the WC just empties directly onto the tracks below.

The good news is, there's only about a dozen people on the whole train. I have a room to myself that I've taken over. The door even locks from the inside. I'm leaving it unlocked though because I don't want a confrontation with the border patrol.

I'm starting to see things written in Cyrillic, which means I must be in Bulgaria. I'll write more later!

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