I got documents! It's leningrad or bust.

Not real-real documents but, y'know, beggars, choosers and all. (And no, it's all legal, i swear! just not what i expected) Courtesy of the russian embassy no less. I now have my own name and everything. God. I didn't even know dad renewed our the double citizenship.

Isstvan and Olegs are goddamn saints. In more ways than one. Anyway. For some reason or anther Ukraine and Belarus are spatting with Glorious Motherland again. One had a merge plan fall through and the other can't divide black sea. I know those are the problems that matter highly to ME. how about you? Anyhow. So now everybody's making waves and beefing up border inspections and such to show how we're all manly and sovereign and who the fuck are they kidding, really?

The upshot of which is that I can't take a plane and be in St. peter tomorrow. Train is out for a couple of reasons, i'm sure need no real detailed explaining. Which is where Isstvan gets his sainthood again. he's setting me up. I am going to get there in style. Chaufferred. Yeaaah, babeee.

So tomorrow I'm off. Or actually maybe even tonight. (Dude, you'd think mafia boss have organizational skills better than.. well, me.) So yeah, I'm still not quite sure of the exact plan, beingy figured out as I type. It's either a boat or a plane in Romania. Whichever gets me there without passing through ukranian airspace/territorial waters. I'm rooting for a plane myself, but at this point I'll settle for just getting out of here.

And now I gots ta go!

Packing, you see. MMhmm. that's right. I have laggage again. Not my own, but truthfully i am not exactly losing on the exchange here. my crap... that's still in Talinn. Apparently it went off during one of the checks - can't for the life of me figure out how since the only electrical thing i had in there was my razor but that doesn't even have batteries in it... Screw it. i don't even care anymore.

Also. Oleg said that he's pretty sure it's going to be fairly easy to get Bryant yanked into civilian existance, once I get there and say that... you know. I'm me. And he's him.
He just needs info. So...

Email me and him(Oleg) with the data on unit and your contract. I sent you his addy.
And do try to contact vladimir or genrikh, if you can.

So yeah, umm... Chances are am going to post again tomorow maybe. Rena's schoolmate is getting married in Clui, so she is coming with and that means that I will probably get a comp access at some point.

Otherwise - it's probably till i get into the loving embrace of my psychotic relatives who somehow managed to lose my former roommate and deposit him in central Asia somewhere. Although if i find out that they issued dex an AK, i am abandoning this whole thing and going home. Russia can fend for herself. So yeah back to the point - not sure about the posting schedule in any way.

(BTW. Question. Who the hell gets married in december? And is it really necessary to go visit the would be bride like two months in advance? See? I didn't think so either.)

Ah the joys of the little experience I like to call completely randomised access to internet due to the fiery flames of fire that brougt down my hostel and fried my laptop.



I have Luggage! I have Documents! I am going Home! Dex is in the Army! And I am not in Jail!

it's all very exciting, I feel.

Everybody! do the gulag Dance!

... huh. that doesn't quite have the same feel to it as it used to.

Chapter 4 °C : In which Doqz has grand adventures and is gorgeous

So yeah. Somehow, by methods I am really not in any hurry to know, much less discuss, Isstvan has got Dex’s documents back. Score one for the free world and Liberation of Us from Warsaw Pact Campaign.

Go Isstvan.

I must hold on to Bryant’s documents, or the terrorists will have won.

If I seem less than excited there’s a reason for this. Apparently he also tried to get my luggage released from Estonian customs and there’s a problem. In fact Isstvan is now going to have to go and meet with somebody. With my finely tuned sense of optimism I can just tell that whatever happens it’s going to end up with universe making me its bitch again.

I am also somewhat unimpressed with the expression on his face when I told him about Dex’s recent run in with the Russian Military Apparatus. There’s a bad moon rising.

Anyway. I decided pretty much to stop sweating the little things or minding the bollocks.

Instead I’m going to tell you about Budapest, where Rena took me yesterday. Check it out – I finally got to go clubbing! Now, I have a sneaking suspicion that I look as silly as I always thought I would flailing around but hey… It’s also kinda fucked up in every way that the one time I finally get to a club it’s in Budapest. In some ways that’s par for course, though. It’s like leaving a metro ride away from the Vortex and meeting them annually in Toronto.

My life is not like that of other people. And I got a Hungarian mug shot to prove it.

Anyway. It was kinda cool. But I like techno so, you might have thought differently.

It got nothing on the city itself. I mean first of all – there’s the freaking Danube running through the middle city. If you can’t appreciate that - get the hell out of my journal.

A more or less well known fact is that it started off as two cities Buda and Pest. All the cool stuff is in Buda. There’s a reason for it of course. Pest got demolished pretty much by every passing army. Hence the fact that the most prominent feature of Buda is Castle Hill. The street leading up to it btw is called Atilla Utca. I mean… you don’t even need to add anything here. Although I’m kinda curious now. Is there a Chengiz Khan Avenue in Ulan Bator? ‘Cos that’d be kinda cool.

It’s really weird being here because I have two conceptions of this country having it out in the back of my mind. First is the one I learned. Hungarian plain, pretty much the settling place for every unwashed, stinking, nomadic would-be Lord of All that blew out of the steppes. Huns, Avars, Magyars – you name it.

The other is the Hungary I grew up with in newspapers and the news. The heir of Hapsburg empire. Probably the most westernized country of the Eastern Bloc. Well maybe Poland… Hm. But you get my drift.

And then I get to stand in front of Royal palace. Life is ok, sometimes, y’know? You just gotta step back and get perspective. The palace is actually a lot like the city itself. It was built in Middle ages, destroyed by Turks, rebuilt, destroyed by Soviets and Germans, and now being rebuilt again.

Now, the Hungarian national gallery, it’s inside the Buda castle, is all right. Personally I think that it’s got nothing on Smithsonian art-wise, but the carvings and wood sculpture exhibit was pretty damn cool. Obviously, considering the fact that the last major museum I visited was Louvre, it’s effect on me was somewhat muted.

Anyway, like I said, the city itself is this screwed up concoction of Socialist take on Bahaus and Baroque. I hate the former, and like the latter in moderation. Thrown together as they are in Budapest… well, it’s kind of a disorienting experience.

I rather liked it overall.

Anyway. The thing in Pest that I liked the most was a place where there used to… well, it’s like this first of all, there’s a real town square. You know? Just how you always imagine it in the medieval cities. Cobblestones, the space in the middle of the town crowded by the bricked buildings with ornate carvings. Now, I am embellishing just a tad, a good number of the buildings are ugly, very utilitarian boxes. But there are enough of these 19th century style houses (inordinate number of which a painted yellow for some reason) to make you stop and blink at the world.

And the coolest thing about this is that the center of the city can be traced to the 3rd century. Romans had a watchtower here. It’s a church now.

So I stood there and watched for a while. And I thought of the Phoenician towers in the Basque cities and French cathedrals, imprisoning the old pagan gods and the place where the roads start.

And yeah. Suddenly this trip didn’t seem like such a disaster anymore.

Which is of course where it all started to go wrong again. (Kidding, kidding! Jeez.)

Yeah, I am done with the soulful interlude now. Let’s get to the good stuff. The good stuff is this – I am walking around the city with an escort. The escort being Rena and my two new bestest friends.

Both Marat and Vasiliy are exactly the sort of guys you never want to meet in a dark alley. Marat is technically Ukrainian, but he spent his formative years in Russia so... He’s a swarthy, short and really thin kinda guy. Face is al sharp angles and grins. Vasiliy is not an absolute opposite but close. He’s not tall, just heavyset, but for some reason I keep adding inches. I mean… you know how some people have presence? He’s just… stolid. I don’t know how to explain it. Blond, brown eyed, doesn’t say much. Marat is obviously and vocally the leader of the two. Good guys. Well to me. They know each other going on eight years. Served together in one of Moldovan civil wars. (And I have a sneaking suspicion that, if my math is correct they have seen Grozny as well, but, y’know) And now they are guarding Rena the Hungarian mob princess.

And yours truly.

It’s all very strange.

And kinda frightening because I keep catching Vasiliy giving me these weird searching looks. I have this uneasy feeling that he wants to have a talk with me. You know the one. “She’s like a sister to me and if you as much…” And then he’ll probably bench press a car to make his point.

The above is actually the optimistic scenario. The nightmare proposition is that the talk is going to go more in terms of “She’s the love of my young deeply homicidal life and this is my best friend Glock.”

So yeah. Fun all around.

By the way I would like to put it on record that I am behaving like a complete gentleman and in no way leading my life according to What Would Buffy Do In Search Of Those Soft Porn Ratings.

Obliviousness is my shield. It is my bond. It is my greatest weapon.

Today looks increasingly likely to be full of vigorous sitting around and waiting for Isstvan to call. Which is really fine with me. Boredom is a good thing. The Book of Doqz, verse 1, page 1 spake thus: “Adventure is someone else in deep shit, far, far away.”

Listen to the Book of Doqz.
For Doqz is wise.

And also devastatingly handsome. Much prettier than you, for example. Fabulously good-looking really.

Oh, Those Russians...

I'm learning how to swear in Russian. It seems appropriate right now.

No, I am no longer in St.Petersburg. That loveliest of Russian cities spat me out like a grape pip the second that word reached of my arrest in Hungary. I am also officially Danil S. to the world at large, and more importantly, the Russian Army.

This is going to get confusing. Get a pen.

Terror, like charity, begins in trainsCollapse )

Chapter 666: In which our hero meets Keyser Soze.

So yeah. I have good news and I have bad news.

Both of those are measured from the point of me so y’know… You don’t care. Anyway.

We’ll start with the good news because it sets up the whole situation a lot better.

1 – I finally got a good night’s sleep.

2 – My luggage have been located.

Bad news, well… I’m still kinda sick, it’s friggin’ freezing and oh yeah I NOW HAVE NO PASSPORT!

And in exciting new development I now have a criminal record in Hungary and I am trapped in Eastern fucking Europe!

Also I’ve been arrested and almost… you know what? I should start at the beginning.

Actually… I don’t even know, because… I am not even sure how to write this out and not sound like this was a bad acid trip. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s all one horrible hallucination and in fact I am back in TO, tripping on a bad pot that Lee has decided to share again. Tomorrow Ill wake up and this will all be untrue. Yeah… no.

Oh man.

All right.

Basically it started badly and got rapidly worse. I said good bye to Andrei and Tasia, wished Bryant good luck with his whole lunch with a pornographer-buddy thing. Then I set off to look for my honorary uncle. It’s always the family that gets you thrown into a Hungarian prison, you know? Ever noticed that? No? Maybe just me then.


I’ve actually been in Hungarian prison. That doesn’t even sound right. How come when Dex has acid flashbacks he’s inside a Turkish battleship, and I end up either trapped in Rekjavik Socialist Republic or in a Budapest jail?

You know you’d think the more I repeat it to myself the more used I’d get to the idea but no, not really. It pretty much stays as horrifically surreal as it was then. Hungarian prison… It has a distinct tinge of unreal about it. I mean, this doesn’t happen to me. This happens to Matt. Nute is the guy who gets arrested in Hungary. I am the one who makes fun of him for the next decade. Can we please go back to normal state of things? Can we just step back to that moment in time when for some reason I decided that a trip through Europe with Dex was a good idea? What, what the hell was I thinking?! And I am the smart one in this partnership. Dex just drinks things.



I mean that’s not right, is it? That’s not how things are supposed to function.

So anyway. Right.

Ok. I am all done with the brief hysterical interlude for now.

Long story short, Oleg isn’t in Warsaw, he went to his Krakaw house. But he left me a message with his maid.

So, all right. It’s like a 2 hour train ride to Krakow and Tasia kept sighing that we haven’t seen Poland if we haven’t seen Krakow, and I have almost 36 hours and Oleg is there and dude, the name of the city is almost Krakatoa. Whatta hell, I figure. Let’s try it. Worst come to worst, I won’t get tickets, and I’ll go find Dex and the softer side of Hechts or whatever his name is. So I get myself to the train station that looks completely different in the daylight.

Obviously I got the tickets. Lucky break, I thought at the time.

Now, before I go any farther, you have to realize my condition at the time. Namely that I am sick as a dog, I haven’t slept well in like two weeks and I am freezing my ass off because guess what? winter starts in fucking June in Poland.

So yeah, I get into the train and it hits me like a bag of hammers, before I know it I am dreaming of… well, none of your business.

It was a great dream though. I was real sorry to let go of it. Possibly because the reality was a nightmare.

Welcome to Sagotarjan.

The whatajan?

Hands up!


(It wasn’t nearly as funny at the time.)

So yeah. I had myself a good 14 hour nap. In fact I napped through most of Poland and clear through Slovakia.

The greatest trick devil ever pulled was to convince the world that Hungary was a real countryCollapse )

To Russia With Love

I am become Russia, the devourer of drinks.

Things have gone so far past weird that I can't even find it on the map. The typical preamble: I am safe, I am not under arrest, although it is going to be a little diplomatically dicey getting me home. The Canadian consulate in St.Petersburg had a good laugh at my situation, and I was nearly run over by Christopher Westdal for good measure.

Apparently Doqz' family heard briefly from him, which means as of two days ago, he is alive. However, I still have no cell service, and I haven't received any e-mails, so if anyone hears from him, tell him to get in touch.

So, last we saw, I was sitting on a train going into Russia with the American passport of a defected Jew. All and all, this campaign had about as much going for it as a Greek invasion into France. Still, thing weren't all bad. I had money, I had an internet connection, and I had people at home working to make sure I wasn't shot and killed. When we disembarked from the train at St.Petersburg, officials had already checked our passports in the Ukraine and the Russian border.

Now, I'm suddenly considering a career as a CSIS spy. I haven't shaved since Bilboa, so I am starting to look a little scruffy. However, both times I was confronted by immegration officials, neither said a word. I passed over Doqz passport and started off with my spiel about the switched passports and such both times. Neither official spoke more English than 'Yes. Next.' Both men held up the passport, scrutinized Doqz's photo against my wn scruffy continance, and stamped me through. Even with weeks of beard, it would require a dark alley and selective knee surgery to make Doqz and I look anything alike, and yet I just sailed through the baliwark of the former Red Menece without so much as a sharp question.

Sanity nyet.

I'm assuming that some where in Russia, her dis-loyal son Danil has been reported as safe back in the bosum of Mother Russia. I hope Mom's not too pissed when it turns out to be a drunken Canadian at the teat.

Doqz' family came and met me at the station. If you've never had the privilage to be met at a Russian train station by a large family, I recommend it highly. Russians are loud. Very loud. When they're not shouting across the room or yelling in each other's faces, they're laughing with all the gusto they can muster. And, brother, they laugh a lot. I got hugged, and pounded and kissed and cheered by at least fifteen people. There were family friends and cousins and a lot of older men passing around a flask of bottled life and joy and happiness in the security of all the angels in heaven.

I can't get dour slavic jews, can I? The Russian cast to Fiddler on the Roof showed up instead.

I've been staying with Doqz' Uncle Viktor and his family. It's just such an overwhelming city. I saw the boat that launched the Russian Navy at the Hermitage. I walked along the canels that Peter the Great ordered dug at the cost of thousands of Russians. I drank toasts to poets and playwrights. I've sat with a people who are capable of intense violence and cruelty as a part of everyday life weep while discussing the Bolshei. Nothing in this country is as it seems.

Except the vodka. The vodka is exactly what it seems.

More info later. I hear Viktor tearing the foil off the top of a bottle now.

Welcome to my Nightmare

Right, now we are officially in serious trouble. I lost the fucking Russian. I am unofficially an illegal alien in Europe. I'm on a train leaving Warsaw, and Doqz isn't here. I don't know where he is, but he's not here. He also has my passport. I have his train ticket. He has almost no money. My cellphone won't work because Poland's communications networks is cobbled together out of old fenceposts and potatoes, and the local clegy is in full blown accusation of gays and forgieners as the reasons for the rising unemployment.

I am not very confident of the coming hours.

We should have been fine. Despite our recent financial setbacks, Seers had come through with the cash and a vast drinking binge on him. I ended up crashing at his place and awoke with a headache that threatened to blow my eyeballs from their sockets. Head throbbing, I took myself out into the city and did a little tour. I will go through that little adventure later.

So, I get to the train. Get on, look for the little Russian bastard, figure I'm early. Like any normal person, I sit down and immediately fall asleep. I don't wake up until an hour ago when I was asked for my ticket. It was that time that I notice I've got the wrong travel folder. See, you can buy these travel folders with a little zipper around the side to keep some of your travel documents, like visas, passports, and etc. Doqz and I both bought one in Lisbon because it has a thick screw-clip on the corner, which you can clip into the inside of your bag, or jacket so you can't lose it or get it stolen. I've been keeping mine in my laptop bag.

Inside that pouch is all of Doqz' stuff. When we parted after Andrei's, we must have switched them accidentally. I also bought the train tickets last night, so I've got an extra train ticket in my jacket pocket. That means Doqz has my passport and ID in his jacket.

So, basically, we're both fucked. Neither of us can legally prove we're allowed to be in Europe without the other, I've got no clue where Doqz is, and he can't even call. I've left a dozen e-mails, but unless he digs up an internet cafe, he's not going to get this. I've tried to e-mail his relatives, but the address keeps bouncing. Besides, I don't even know if any of them speak English. And, this is the really important part, I'm about to enter FUCKING RUSSIA!!! without a passport.

No matter what the article says, I was not shot trying to escape.

Anyhow, here's the plan. I've still got about five hundred Euros in my pocket, and I think Doqz said his family was planning to meet him. If I get stopped, I give them the story and scream for my embassey. If I don't get stopped, I'll try to meet up with Doqz' relatives, tell them my story and contact the consultate. I have e-mailed my stepmother, and she's just doublechecking the legal implications. However, the one I'm most worried about is Doqz.

We've got a Russian Jew ex-pat travelled under a supposed 'American' visa with a 'stolen' Canadian passport in Poland. To reiterate, a city that the local clegy is in full blown accusation of gays and forgieners as the reasons for the rising unemployment.

(no subject)

I am dying. You see, there's a thing about dying in Poland. It involves a lot of liquids in many shades f clear that may or may not ave a hint of alcohol in them. You get them in a big row, and you drink them. Then, once your body stops moving, you can be put into the ground an presrved for a thousand years as a chemical mummy.

I am Alco-Uthtep! The Rummy Returns! Fear my curse!

Seers is a wonderful man. I honestly believe that internet porn deserves a saint. They beautified Mother Theresa for making a bunch of kids lives in India happy. That makes sense. I appreciate that. Seers makes millions of people all over the world happy, and makes young Polish girls who have been cursed with too many breasts-too much breatss- breasts in general money.

The clubs in Poland are built in old hotels and government buildings that still have visable shelling damage. They gut the former Ministry of the Interior citidals and fill them with lights and glass and women in lots opf leather and bottles of all clear liquid. Beer is the only coloured alcohol in this place. The booze lots like ater, except for the fact that it's cheaper than water/ Safer too.

There's this plum thing. It tastezs like sweet vodka. And you can drink eight or nine shots of it without noticing your face has gone all numb. Seers knows all the bartenders, and brings out the girls. It's a frightening underside. I watched a bouncer collect an uzi at one door. I saw guys doing blow of of the bartop. eers himself is obviouslt a player in the whole culture. He's from Canada. His mother was Polish, I think. He and my boss used to sell speakers and drugs together back in the mid-90s. He came over about a year ago to do an internet start-up for wireless service, on-line banking and all sorts of stuff. The start-up tanked but his contacts had given him the idea to go into internet porn.

He's gone all the way through.

Polish women are amoung the most beautiful in the world. Until they hit thirty. Then its like going from zero to babushka in 60 seconds flat. The 31 year old native Polish woman is roughly spherical, while the men get thinner and thinner. I don't think they die. I think they just fade until they are as colourless as the vast pools of booze they drink, and sneak off in the night.

There is a woman at the bar wearing full fatigue, and drinking shots with pierced leather queen.

They chatter around me as I type. Seers keeps telling me that Polish women love 'creative' men. It might be true. All of the tables in this club (steel hooped, plexi covered, underlit sea blue) has built in ethernet connections. I am one of the many who is clubbing with my laptop. That's funny. In caveman days, you thumped her with your club. Now, you take her to a thomping club. Either way she's probably unconscious before you can do anything.

The glasses are harmlessly small. They add up. It's something they don't tell you.

Abyss needs to be one. Firstly, because I think just being in this club is illegal. Like aiding and abetting. Second, because they are sculling down whole tankards of this stuff, and I shouldn't be the only Canadian alcohol fatality of the night.

Chapter 132: in which fire, poker and Svetlana happen and Germany is lost

So there we were ingesting the end products… now you know what, I wanna say something, and then we’ll get back to the story.

I find that whole attitude of pessimism toward our travel experience quite offensive. Now, sure, we met with a slight run of bad luck. Could have happened to anyone, though. And check it out, we made it to Poland and we met a bunch of new and interesting people, of which Andrei is one and we are alive and in reasonably good condition. So there was a little mishap with the fire and the baggage, So what? I mean really, in the grand scheme of things…

… we’re fucked, in any scheme of things, Dex says from over my shoulder. So I think I’ll type in very big letters that he should GO BACK TO HIS CORNER AND CONTINUE FONDLING THE MONEY, with a frankly disturbing air of someone who was just reunited with his liver

Ok… I was counting on some support from that bastard, united front and all that. It was naïve of me, I see that now. (Note to self, accidentally drop something on head of roommate. Blame cat. Probable counter argument of distance denied due to cat’s malevolent genius. V. v. good plan this is I think, stop Yoda talking I now should. Yessss…)

So, yeah, ok, y’all have a point about the dubious chances for survival, but do you actually have to come right out and say it like that?

Gimme some false but loud cheer, dammit! My ego is large but fragile. Jeez.

Besides, we’re only one country over from Ukraine, which is practically Russia. Ahh, I can practically smell the frigid air of the Motherland… no that’s my army jacket. I found if I refrigerate it periodically, it smells much less like whatever alien was dissected in it in 1962.

It’s dark, we’re in Poland and we are wearing Army Surplus. We’re on a mission from god. We’re putting the schedule back together.Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    cautiously optimistic


We now have 32 euros and Dex is never allowed to gamble again.

We're also in Poland.

Words cannot describe the full range of my enthusiasm for this country.

Oh, good.

Dex just realized that he missed Oktoberfest, along with most of Germany. I was waiting for that to hit him. Hey.. he seems distinctly suicidally inclined. Things are looking up!


Not to worry, there is a back up plan, and hopefully we won't starve or have to sell Dex to large man named Waclav.

A real, detailed entry with only a minimal amount of cursing to follow provided that we get a hold of my cousin.

If we make it back, and you hear Dex talking about how he put himself through collge on poker - hit him. And aim low.

Mel, please burn his Ocean's 11 tape.

Also, whoever you are - we're sorry. Ok? Just get rid of the voodoo dolls and we'll start over, all right? Whatever Bryant did to you I am sure he meant it, but he'll never do it again. Honest.

Short interlude.

Our travel budget now consists of 314 euros, a pack of cigarettes, a pocket knife and a box of chocloates.

It turns out that putting a nice jewish boy on a german train under the watchful eyes of polizei and sending him in the general direction of Prussia with nothing by cheap-ass, funky smelling clothes on his back and severely unbalanced Canadian, does not instill as much joy and security in you as one might think. In fact I am pretty sure I tapped into my racial-cultural memory and am having a ugly deja vu.

We're in Frankfurt. The other one. Next to Poland. (By the way. The Oder river is very aptly named.)

Why are we in Frankfurt?
Dex has a cunning plan.

Dex has been dead drunk since we sat down on a parisienne sidwalk and watched our hostel smolder in gentle breeze.

Why am I letting a man in the last stages of Ontario alcohol dementia make the plans?

He has a lighter that he's flipping open and closed with the persistence of a psychotic ferret. He is talking to himself and to the sidewalk, and is getting annoyed that the sidewalk isn't answering. ALso keeps muttering that he needs a trenchcoat for 'this.'

I listened to The Plan very carefully and I have what you might call a premonition.

I want to go home now.