Dateline: 08.00 28 Aug 1996
Location: Wien-Ljubljana, IC 151 Emona

In the immortal words of Chuck D, "Here we go again!" It seems that my lingering flu has finally been terminated, thanks to some 14+ hours of sleep last evening/night - and I would have gladly dozen on a little longer. Yesterday's account of Wien remains sorely lacking, so let us fill up the gaps now...

Oh my god, it is so beautiful! And I don't mean Wien at the moment. After days and days of flat plains and gray cities, to suddenly find oneself on a train slowly climbing a twisty little trail in the Alps! Hills, valleys, mountains, snow-covered peaks, gorges, cliffs, all covered with thick green forest, idyllic little houses jutting out here and there in the lower parts. Why didn't I come here before?!?

Back to Wien. Early in the morning I was hit with not merely one but two of everybody's least favorite sur-prize, the Cat Ass Trophy. I did not realize it at the time; if I had, the tragedy might have been averted, but no. The first was the loss of my Abidas sweater, evidently left on the Praha-Wien train. It was not a particularly important garment - I can count the number of times I've worn it with the fingers of two hands and the number of times I've worn it on this trip with the nails of one finger - but I will need it in Slovenia and getting a replacement may not prove cheap. But the second and far worse problem was the loss of my address/infopack. This meant that I lost all my addresses (e-mail, telephone, mail), the list of all places to go to (netcafes, record stores, etc), and worst of all, every one of the little souvenirs and random little tidbits I had collected in it! There were dozens of things in there, all of them irreplaceable, and they're gone now! WAAAH! And I was going to take no risks and send them home from Praha, but I never got around to getting the envelope & stamps & stuff. WAAAH! Sniff. Well, at least a few bit'n'things were conserved in my wallet(s), and this diary wasn't lost. Tomorrow I shall send these off - I can't afford to let this happen again. Lesson to be learned? Don't travel when sick and tires (not of it all, but literally).

The train is so high up now that everything is wrapped in a blanket of fog. Except that it's not fog, it's a cloud! Keep your feet firmly on the air, and excuse me while I kiss the sky...

Here I am at the last stop in Austria, Spielfeld-Straß, and as I watch it starts to rain. The day started out nice and sunny in Wien, but we're only halfway through - perhaps there's still time for a reverse transformation.

SLOVENIJA! My first glances of the country I've been waiting to experience for so long. First impression: Neat! After the Czech Republic, I'd been fearing the worst, but this is in noticeably better shape - and we're still way deep in the countryside! No visible environmental damage, no garbage dumps on the side of the road, no horrid factories belching out smoke... just a bit too much peeling paint for my liking, but the best indicator of a country's advancedness - its traffic signs - are in excellent shape indeed. Overall, it looks like a step above French countryside. I think I'm going to like this!

Maribor station. Not exactly the prettiest place I've seen, but certainly beats Holesovice (yecch!). This is starting to sound like I'm desperately trying to convince myself that Slovenia is OK, but even a neutral assessment would agree. (My pen, which just died, doesn't.) Even discounting the negative karma generated by what is by now extremely heavy rain, which just keeps on getting worse. And I lost my sweater...

Chugging through the lush green fields of Stajerska, it is strange to think that another few hundred kilometers to the south lie the killing fields of Bosnia-Hercegovina - or that, had the high command of Republika Srpska decided to hang on to this rebellious province instead, these fields I'm passing through would be mined, the roads filled with tanks and checkpoints, this railway itself blasted to oblivion, people perhaps scurrying past in the shadow of the track enbankment trying to avoid the "snaipa" training his rifle on them from atop a nearby hill. Bratstvo i jedinstvo, indeed.

"Výstup anastup, dvere se zaviraji!" Is it normal to get flashbacks of Prahan subway announcements? Are the locals' rates of psychosis increased by having to hear them every day, every time, at every station?

The day's budget 
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