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Sofia to Belgrade Overnight Train: Guns, Smugglers and Bombs, Part One, The Train Station

Hey guys – the following is my account of last night’s, um, adventures. I spent three hours writing it by hand when I was still on the train, and am only transcribing it, so please pardon any spelling errors, things that do not make sense, etc. I would like to write it as a full story later on. It is half blog entry, half diary, so please overlook the spelling, long title, and everything else that makes me look bad 🙂 This first part I wrote an hour after getting on the train.

So, for a girl already kinda freaked out about this senario of an overnight train, this evening did not start favorably.

I get to the station and head underground where, much to my concernation, I notice that all the signs pointing to the tracks are taken down, there are wires everywhere, construction has blocked things off left and right and the whole station feels like a creaking relic of something bad…it seems like a set out of The Matrix.

Appropriately, all of the lights are off.

Well, maybe not all the lights. There is, indeed, one set of lights that are on, above the stairwell. However, once you reach the platform, that is it. There are a few people about, but not many. The florecent light makes zapping noises and I wonder, yet again, if this is some sort of horror movie.

The line of train cars run on forever. I walk slowly toward the front of the snake, but the cars all seem to be going different places and none of the numbers are anywhere near 467, my car.

Eventually, I show my ticket to an official-looking woman who stares at it for an inordinate amount of time. Finally, she points at the train next to her – “no” – and the train across the way – “no”. Triumphant, she hands the ticket back to me. “Thanks,” I mutter, probably somewhat dryly, and continue my reverse backtracking in search of the correct train.

I come across another conductor-like man at a train, on car space apart from the other one. “Two more” he says. I walk forward, quite slowly, because the lights are still not on – and check out the car numbers – 463, 468 and…nothing. Fantastic. I get on 468 and find the appropriate seat in that car.

The women inside shake their heads and point to the nothingness, which prompts me to get up and walk toward there again, just in case I missed somthing. When I return, they have moved onto another car – probably due to the horrible smell of body odor that is oozing out of mine.

Twenty minutes before leaving, a Roman man sits across from me in the empty car. He asks me if I speak English and then starts asking me for money to make it to the border. I lie slightly and say that I spent it all before I got on the train…thinking I could hear my mother’s voice in my head, chiding me for being so selfish as my other voice argues right back that I was not going to get scammed, no way.

After he left, four others join in the fun – three men and a woman. However, I do not expect them to be on the train for long, as they are without luggage.



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-3 responses to “Sofia to Belgrade Overnight Train: Guns, Smugglers and Bombs, Part One, The Train Station”

  1. […] The first thing I did, as we drank cups of chocolate downtown, was ask her about her experience on a train with a twenty-year old gun-toting smuggler of some kind. Then she spoke about both the Budapest riots she’d left behind as well as her experience being robbed in Romania. We shared travel anecdotes and advice as we collected her pack from the train station, and then met up with a local she’d met travelling in Albania for some traditional Slovak food and a few glasses of wine. If you’re interested in meeting travelers while you TEFL, consider joining Couchsurfing, and also put the word out among your friends and family that you are happy to host visitors. You might just encourage a few people to get out and about. Tags: Day to Day Life, TEFL Stories, The Teaching Life, Tag Index […]

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