A Long Ride on a Train Part 1: Amsterdam to Ljubljana

19 Nov

After dicking around in Amsterdam for awhile, I became restless and decided I needed a break from my two travel companions.  On a drug-fueled whim, I purchased a ticket to Pula, Croatia from the station in Amsterdam.  It was to be, just about, a 20 hour train-ride all said and done.  As I will explain later, I was too big a pussy to bring any weed with me, so instead I ate a massive THC saturated “space cake” before I entered Germany and hoped I would be high until Slovenia, where I would board a sleeper car and lose consciousness until Croatia.  The plan was as well-thought out as it was responsible.

The train left from Amsterdam with a stop in Dusseldorf, Frankfort and finally Munich before I was to switch to a sleeper trains and spend my night silently click-clacking through Slovenia and waking up in Croatia.  Four different countries with Four very different cultures and histories, all in one—relatively—brief train ride. I couldn’t help but remember that the year before I had driven to a concert in Tennessee that took 16 hours to get to on the road.  The only significant difference in cultures I experienced was a boom in Sonic fast-food restaurants once I dipped below the Mason-Dixon.  One does not really get a sense for how large a country America is until experiencing Europe.

My friends bought a couple tickets to Prague and wandered off to find their terminal.  I remained in the waiting room for the Croatian train.  Finally alone, I unwrapped my psychedelic treat and chowed down, unabashed and with great enthusiasm.  I wanted to be feeling the effects by the time the train lurched forward that first, epic time.  What I hadn’t considered was the difficulty I would encounter if the train were delayed and I had to maneuver to a different terminal, or, L. Ron Hubbard forbid, have to speak to a rail employee about alternate routes.  I began fearing the possibility of being kicked out of the train station covered in my own slobber, having missed my train and having brought shame upon my family.  Luckily, there were no hiccups and I found a cozy nest towards the middle of the train, in a private room that, I must assume in hindsight, was supposed to cost extra.  I was comfortable, on the verge of being blissfully stoned and free from the nagging prerogatives of any soul but my own.

I was starting to trip pretty hard once we hit the open German countryside—which seemed like a never-ending landscape straight out of a beer commercial.  I was on a new, high-speed train called the ICE, and butter my cracker was it a smooth ride. As I mentioned before my balls lacked the mass needed to bring any of the weed I had purchased in Amsterdam onto the train, with the thought that for some reason, I would stick out as a dirty American stoner. So, instead, I purchased and consumed a cake right before I boarded the train.  Far as I knew, there arent any breathalizers for pot, so as long as I had nothing on me, I could be as red-eyed and sloppy as humanly possible.  I would realize much later, to my frustration, that my bags were never going to be searched and I could’ve brought all the crazy bullshit my little heart desired…. But that’s beside the point. The point being, I consumed a large pastry with enough THC baked inside to fry the minds of thirty lab rats and it was now slowly churning in my belly. A pressure behind my eyes became more noticeable and nausea began rearing its fat, poorly-timed head. I began shifting in my seat, trying to find that one alignment of my vertebrae, my cranium and the stars that would allow the most relaxing and satisfying drug-induced freak out. Finally, with one arm bent around the back of my neck—like I was scratching my opposite shoulder blade–, and my left cheek pressed firmly against the cool window, I let my mind pour into the countryside flying by my eyes.
Everything outside my window had appeared to be out of a fairy-tale without the Space Cake and whilst suffering the effects of said cake, the fairy-tale scenery became an active story in which I was intimately a part of. Every grassy-hill swelled and deflated and I could now place myself in the landscape, I was just flying at incredible speeds only feet from the earth.  I slid down the velvety smooth slopes of the rolling green hills, coming to a skidding stop at the bottom, in just the right position to take a drink from the crystal clear stream that seemed to run along the train everywhere I went.  As I stared blankly out the window I now imagined I was sprinting beside the train, I went at a speed I never imagined I was capable of; I sprang over cottages and narrowly avoided flying through ancient church spires and bell-towers.  Mountains far off in the Horizon were now gorgeous hurdles for me to overcome with my suddenly powerful thighs.  The incredible speed at which I was moving made it difficult to gauge the depth or height of my jumps—as if I were doing it on the moon. The feeling quickly became a game as I struggled to time and place my jumps around the countryside flashing by me, straining every muscle in my body to just clear the blades of an alien-looking windmill, easily 275 feet above the spectacular German countryside. Finally, I tore my eyes away from the window, before I became lost in this dream world forever.

It’s a strange thing to trip in a confined space with no one who speaks English and no real idea of where you are, but surprisingly, it is not a fearful situation. It is calming, calming to know that the situation is simply and perfectly…out of your hands. What could I accomplish if I were to act on the strange, nervous impulses that were running through my mind, nothing good, I can assure you of that.. I was able to provide myself a convincing case on why it would be overall easier if I were to enjoy my trip as if it were a funny movie, rather than fight the strange feelings as if I were on a train full of sleepy Germans on the way to a country recovering from a less than decade passed Civil War.

I would like to take a second to address what I know many of you are thinking: I know THC isn’t acid or mushrooms, but as an avid recreational druggy, I assure you this cake was like nothing I had ever released into my body.  So, shut up.
I decided it would be best if I were to get up and walk around a little, get the blood flowing, maybe meet a group of Americans exactly my age, doing exactly the same thing, as was customary in many movies I had watched. I headed to the booze caboose (not actually the caboose), where I could grab a drink and look like a normal human being. However, the trip proved to be a long and difficult journey that nearly ended my life on more than one instance. The bar was five or six cabins away and I was not the only chicken in the coup trying to find a new nest, I slithered and wound my way through the narrow hallways, avoiding eye contact like a tall glass of Pig AIDS and choosing my steps slowly…carefully.  Whenever—god forbid—another person was coming in the opposite direction down the capillary-like hallways my heart would begin to race and my eyes scanned the immediate vicinity for any notch or hole I could wedge myself into. A slight turn of the soldiers is all that was really needed to avoid a head-to-head collision, but I was positive any physical contact with another human being would lead to a swift and violent arrest.  Followed in all likelihood by years of imprisonment in some ghastly German dungeon. In retrospect, I imagine I looked something like an Emu, who had been let loose on the train, strutting very deliberately and darting my beady little eyes from one corner of the room to the next, visibly terrified yet calm, certainly out of place…far from human by any account.

The bar car was empty and sad, more depressing than the seat I had left, and now there was no telling if the seat would be available upon my return.  And the thought of a return trip was harrowing.  The bar itself was about Six feet long and looked as if it had been thrown into the car without any plan or preference as to where it was to be bolted down.  There were a couple high tables along the far wall and a ghoulish nightmare of a human being behind the counter.  The wall paper was a deep, dark bluish-green. I regretted my venture very much as the atmosphere of the booze caboose weighed on me like a lead dentist vest.  I ordered a beer—to keep up appearances—and tried to look normal as I leaned against the morbid wall paper.  Despite the Heineken, my mood was not improving, so I wandered deeper into the train.

Finally I arrived in the storage cars where bicycles and other inanimate objects were held. There, I curled up next to a very expensive-looking mountain bike and began drawing what I understood to be a perfectly detailed, yet slightly abstract rendition of The Storming of the Beaches At Normandy, a part of my trip that rarely, completely withdrew from the fore-front of my thoughts. I scribbled for hours in my notebook, gaining excitement like momentum over the majesty of what I was producing. I was awe-struck by my hidden talent, so long smothered by aspirations of athletic grandeur, I had never let my artistic capabilities flourish…until that moment. I fought back the tears that began to pool in my eyes.  Through my artistic rendering one could almost hear the cries of the soldiers and smell the acrid smoke of Nazi artillery. This was the type of epiphany that yields greatness and fame and money and highend poontang.
When I woke up, I had a full page in my lined notebook completely shaded in with pen, with what appeared to be chocolate chunks thrown into the big gray mess here and there. The page was still damp from all the ink that had been needlessly spilled onto it’s surface.  On only a few of the blobs were distinguishing marks such as—what appeared to be—flags of some kind and occasionally a dotted line extended out from one of the blobs which could only be my poor attempt at drawing gunfire. My Magnum Opus was completely indecipherable and my assumptions about my natural artistic ability had been rightfully negative.  The poontang would have to wait and I needed a new pen.


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