Saturday, November 8, 2008

bucharest... sophia... thessaloniki... to athens

It's been a long road to Athens. Today is the last of 4-in-a-row and I'm so excited. Last night was a bit of a nightmare (the show was great... there were "words" exchanged after) but we're on the last of the four, so I can do this. We're all exhausted. The roads between the cities are atrocious... the Greeks have been grossly disorganized... the Bulgarians, while incredibly friendly, were too numerous and there was hell press and the Romanians? That was days ago... I barely remember the day.

I spent a day wandering Bucharest however, and it's a city undergoing change. I think that in 5 years' time it'll be really tourist-friendly but at the moment many of the old city streets look like bomb/building sites. It's ugly/beautiful in a way -- the one area where the national art museum and the philharmonic are located are impeccable and I assume an example of what the city will become.

Sofia, unfortunately, was a day down to promo. The city is under fog and still has a very Eastern feel to it... I wish I had a chance to explore -- it's supposed to be a lovely city. Our show and hotel were a bit out of the center, unfortunately, and the juxtaposition between the new and the old (Soviet) buildings is this weird unbalance -- there's extreme luxury with the new, and what appears to be extreme poverty with the old. Our promoter rep explained that Sofia is undergoing a lot of change (i.e. influx of money as they work to get on the Euro) but that there is seemingly no plan to the improvements. It's interesting. Our catering was dynamic here. I just remembered how the catering at lunch in Bucharest was amazing and the dinner was, well, gross.

One funny thing happened on the way to the forum... we were stopped by border patrol in Bulgaria on the way to Greece. The customs official came on the bus and wanted to see everyone -- so I had an abrupt awakening when my bunk curtains were pulled open. Nothing made much sense; I thought we were at the gig and that the crew were coming on to get the luggage... the customs dude was talking to Thomas, our driver, and they woke Roisin -- who got frustrated with the noise, obviously not knowing we were at a border crossing, and yelled, "OI! SHUT UP... GET OUT WE'RE TRYING TO SLEEP HERE!!!" We're so lucky the dude didn't pull us all off the bus for a late-night anal inspection.

Thessaloniki -- what a mess! The promoter was completely disorganized; unfortunately we have the same promoter today. I'll have to post about this show later because I'm still coming down off the disappointment of the evening. I will say that Greece is a "free-smoke" zone. It's absolutely disgusting to walk into a hotel and have to walk through a haze of cigarette smoke. I'm surprised they didn't give us a crate of ciggies upon entry to Greece. It's vomit-inducing.

I could be wrong but I think there are 13 shows left? Don't know if that means 13 shows left for me... or if I'll be coming home early... seriously. News at 10.

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