so yesterday marija's all 'let's go to belgrade.' personally, i wanted to go to the north to the delightful town of kikinda, whence hails my crazy serbian fiance, and meet her godmother and my soon-to-die great in laws. but no, i go with marija to belgrade. at first things are fun: i buy marija ridiculously expensive diesel jeans. then we quickly find that no one we know there wants to hang out with us: a couple people simply disconnected their phones, others ran out of town. i'm used to this kind of rejection, but to marija it was kind of frustrating. then we combed through our phonebooks searching for someone to hang out with us: i considered marko the serbian gangster, someone i hung out with for a day and half made out with while we were playing 'blanket monster,' etc. marija took the initiative to call someone listed in my phonebook as 'dude,' which i guess is a plus because now there's only 13 names on my phone the identities of which i don't know instead of 14. alas, even he had gone up to goddamned kikinda for the weekend. so with things looking more and more desperate, around 8 at night we decide to blow belgrade and take the first international train out of serbia. 40 minutes later we're on the train to bulgaria, land of my dreams, well after dorothy and blanche. would i do anything differently? well, i guess i should have brought my camera so i didn't have to spend $20 on a disposable one. also, i should have changed my socks sometime in the last 4 days. but sofia, coolest city in the world! for starters, i speak bulgarian, go fig, since it's the same language as serbo-croatian-bosnian-slovenian-farsi-german. and marija's all whaa, no it isn't, and so i hit her. i mean, she accidentally fell down the stairs right after saying that. then maria and i walked in on someone's wedding, a ceremony which in eastern european culture is the substitute for prom king and queen coronations insofar as the bride and groom get large costume crowns, and then slow dance to new kids on the block's 'please don't go girl.' a quote from marija about the joys of sofia-living: "the bum dogs in bulgaria are way better than the bum dogs in serbia." sofia even somehow pulled a metro out of its ass, and a really hot one to that leads to fun gasoline stations and desolate stretches of motorways. i found i could rip off the ticket machine too by inserting worthless dinar into the automatic vending machine. then i realized that a 50 dinar coin is actually worth twice as much as the required .50 leja for a ticket, and i silently cried. in bulgaria's long history, it has been settled by slavic tribes, mongol invaders, and now dunkin' doughnuts. of course their doughnuts are really grody, but what's a dude to do? a doughnut's a doughnut (i know why the caged bird sings, page 36). and some guy came up and asked us in 6 different languages if we would buy some dollars off of him. he reassured us though that they were real dollars, that he 'takes them illegally from people,' then he mentioned more specifically from some american jew by the name of jeff. i wonder if there's a warrant out for the arrest of an american jew named jeff.