Friday, June 22, 2012

On the train

There's a two-fer from me this week for Random Journal Day Link-Up.
I just couldn't bear for my other post to be the only representative of my journals. Nor the last thing I read and thought about before going to sleep. I've always been very careful about what I think about before sleeping. Sleep comes hard enough anyway. Dwelling on that part of my history doesn't help.

Hence a second post tonight. A 'travel journal.' My famous back-packing trip through Europe in the fall of 1982, with my friend, SK (from whom my SK was given her middle name!). It's just a slice of a day on that trip. A cut up snapshot, but it takes me right back.

6 November 1982
On the train again. Beating our heads against language means putting our packs on and getting ready to get off 6 hours early. "Damn Americans!" (ed note: something we heard so often it had become our litany for our mistakes!) It means being so sick of greasy hair that I wash it in the dirty sink in the WC. God only knows if it's cleaner now or before.
 The wheels roll, car doors slam between rocking, people (to pass the time) sleep. I count the holes in the ceiling, wear the same clothes day after day. This is my life. When I close my eyes I see princes, open them to the same dingy world. [SK] sleeps. A man across the aisle moves ahead a seat to talk to a woman in bright pink boots, after offering us a beer. We eat our dry bread, washing it down with lager (I know why they call it BITTER!). These crumbs must last until morning. We don't know where we'll lay our heads tonight.
At the Swedish border, the guards searched our car (on the train) and took two bedraggled men away for a closer look. As one left, the other stood at the window, seemingly indifferent. The throbbing vein in his neck told me otherwise.  He gulped hard. His bloodshot eyes dared anyone to question him. But now they sit here quietly. Every cushion was overturned. Finally the guards left and the train moved on.
On our way to the train station in Copenhagen we saw a well-dressed man with two bags searching through garbage. Around him walked women in furs, men in leather. They paid no more attention to him than they would a rodent. Merely stepped out of his way. Avoiding the stench of poverty? And we  watched, like he was an animal in the zoo, a species we--girls from small towns in Montana and Washington--are not accustomed to seeing in our daily lives.                                                                                                                                                   


Modern Day Disciple said...

Wow! Wow and wow. Well at least I got some more of you this week! OK, I am jealous you backpacked Europe! What an amazing word picture. I can see it. I feel right there. Excellent snapshot! Thanks so much! love this.

Recovering Church Lady said...

This really was a great "word picture" as Dawn said! Loved it and made me want to read more of that trip!

Kristina said...

This is so rich with details. Really interesting.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Yes, we need "The Rest of the STory". Can't keep leaving us in suspense this way! Thank you for this adventure story...nice change up!!!