Swede Nothings with Brian Burns: A Travelogue

Photo: Aline Chaprazian

Photo: Aline Chaprazian

Sweden – Saturday, 4/26/2014 – 15:20

All the blowhards who say they love to travel definitely never spent two hours choking on the pheromones of an annoyingly good looking couple. I’m on a bus en route to Gothenburg and I’m watching Ken and Barbie Johansson kiss each other at the rate of a boner per minute. It’s taking all my might not to shower them in cold water. Or join in.

Sweden – Saturday, 4/26/2014 – 21:20

A kid threw up 10 minutes into my flight to London and the woman sitting next to me has breath as fresh as a dumpster in summertime Mumbai. I feel like Kuwait has taken residence in my mouth and—since I’m flying Ryanair, which offers half a square of toilet paper as its only amenity—I’d have to pay 25 euros for a bottle of water. I’m about to start sucking on my seat’s sweat stains.

England – Saturday, 4/26/2014 – 22:47

I’m getting deported. I’m staying with a friend of Aline, the angelic soul who has the misfortune of traveling the world with me. But neither of us know the friend’s address and—without it—we’re not allowed to enter the country. The man asks me if I’m always this unprepared when traveling to foreign countries. I asked him to project his bad-teeth insecurities elsewhere. Ten minutes later, tears were shed, passports were stamped and our bus into London was missed. Whoever came up with the word “wanderlust” was definitely into ball gags, sex swings and Michael Buble albums.

England – Sunday, 4/27/2014 – 11:47

I just paid $8 for a single ride on the Tube so I’m not eating anything for the rest of the week.

England – Sunday, 4/27/2014 – 11:49

I’m hungry.

England – Monday, 4/28/2014 – 13:02

Went shopping in Camden Lock today. And by shopping, I mean I got as many free samples of chicken curry as possible and weighed the pros and cons of petty theft when I saw a £30 Kate Moss t-shirt. Every other person I see looks like a combination of Sid Vicious, Joan Jett and my militantly-lesbian podiatrist. Never mind the bush. Or bollocks. Whatever.

Italy – Tuesday, 4/29/2014 – 22:47

I sat next to these two Italian kids on the plane to Rome. When I asked to get through to my window seat, one of them scoffed and sighed, “mamma mia!” It was the first time I had met a walking cliché as glaring as myself. During the flight, I saw the Swiss Alps from 35,000 feet in the air and I didn’t know whether to weep or yodel.

Italy – Wednesday, 4/30/2014 – 01:02

I haven’t been in Rome for an hour yet and I’m watching an actual priest sing “Hallelujah” at a karaoke bar. This is the closest I’ve ever felt to God.

Vatican City – Wednesday, 4/30/2014 – 06:27

I’m going through the security line to get into St. Peter’s Square and I think I just made it to second base with a 60 year old German tourist. I would complain about how much I was pushed and shoved but I was raised to never take a free prostrate exam for granted.

Vatican City – Wednesday, 4/30/2014 – 10:34

Pope Francis is about twenty feet away from me, shooting drive-by blessings and baby kisses on top of his holy roller. I try and think of my most important prayer during the moment he’s closest to me. Instead a bolt of Catholic guilt smites me down and I have a sudden recollection of the lies I told a nun about my “hours” spent “volunteering” in order to receive my confirmation. I’m going to Hell.

Italy – Wednesday, 4/30/2014 – 11:59

I just ate pizza with a fork and knife. I think New Jersey is more Italian than Italy.

Italy – Thursday, 5/1/2014 – 10:45

Halfway up the Spanish Steps, two Scottish women asked my friends to take a photo of them. I don’t speak a word of Italian but I’ll tell you right now that I understood native Romans better than those two women. Their accents sounded like a hybrid of Scary Spice and a horny Golden Retriever. I smiled, nodded and hoped I’d walk away without getting my leg humped. No such luck.

Italy – Friday, 5/2/2014 – 22:47

I’m on my second gelato of the day. I ordered amaretto, chocolate and another year of being single. In a cone!

Sweden – Friday, 5/2/2014 – 16:51

I come home from traveling to a rent invoice in my mailbox and not a thing in my fridge. But it’s kind of poetic. I’ve spent pounds and kronor and euros this week and yet time was still the most precious currency: the easiest to spend and the quickest to miss. And it won’t be long before that wallet’s empty. So where do I go next?

Brian Burns is a Staff Columnist for The Hub and may be reached at burnsb@emmanuel.edu . Follow him on Twitter @burnsing_up732 .

Comments

  1. Pam CORBINO-Aguero says:

    Applause !!!!!!! OXOXO

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