[NetBehaviour] Overland: Neccessary improvisation->survivable unpleasantness

Ruth Catlow ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org
Sun Sep 13 21:20:00 CEST 2009

Overland: Neccessary improvisation->survivable unpleasantness
Back-blogging Sunday 13th September
(or read with links here http://blog.furtherfield.org/?q=node/308 )

It's an enormous relief to be sitting on the Austrian Railjet train for
Munich (the seats have power sockets!) after a thwarted attempt to enjoy
myself for 8 unplanned hours in Budapest from 5 0' clock this morning.
I've been traveling alone for 41 hours now and have about another 23hrs
to go if we stick to schedule. Traveling is much harder work when you're
alone; without another person to look out for, or to point out the
foolishness of certain plans, or to help you make meaningful connections
between various new experiences. Yes, I am missing my loved ones and
especially Aileen's company!

But lets track back.

One feels safe traveling at speed in a sleeping compartment with a lock
on the door even if you do start to imagine that the trees are alive and
reaching out to slap your face through the open window as you pass.

My early arrival in Budapest is not pleasant. After depositing my
luggage I wander out into the still-dark streets which seemed to be
populated by friendly enough, singing drunks and scary, barking dogs
chained to lamp posts. I encounter an unlikely series of shops selling
body building dietary supplements in huge tubs, some good looking
lingerie, and sports trophies for roller-blading, wrestling and
horse-riding. Eventually I surrender and enter a fast food restaurant
(whose name must never be spoken) for a plastic breakfast and Internet
access. I discovered that Budapest's media arts lab, Kitchen was just
about within walkable distance and at about 8.30 a I set out to try and
conjure a repeat of the serendipity of my Sophia experience of unplanned

I was tired, The walk was desolate. I kept going in the wrong direction.
People seemed poor and unhappy (and drunk). Things seemed not to have
edges where they should. The roads merged with building works, paving
gave way to sand and gravel. When I got to Kitchen 50 minutes later I
was met by a friendly American artist in residence who gave me a free
catalogue. But there was nothing to see, (ironically I had missed their
big exhibition of device art at Ars Electronica last week) he had things
to do and I was even tireder and hot and sweaty and feeling pointless.

There are no cafes in view and I wander for a long while, wondering
whether I will make it back to the station without refreshments.
Eventually I come to a marquee. A huge tourist market full of Hungarian
meats, cheeses and cloths and scarfs and dolls and caricature American
tourists impressively hungry for bargains. I think I should eat but all
the savoury dishes look intimidatingly meaty and fatty so I try the
pancake trick again, ordering something involving nuts called 'the
squirrel'. But this time I just feel sick and woozey from all the sugar.
I think about what would happen if I were to pass out here.

Blah, blah! It was unpleasant but due to a kind bus driver who was
imaginative enough to interpret my choo-choo train impression and
forgive my lack of correct ticket, I get back to the station and make it
onto the 13.10 Munich bound train. It has an electricity socket (so I
can rejuice my mobile and text again) and air conditioning. It moves
smoothly along and announcements inform me, in many languages including
English, of progress towards our destination. All very welcome comforts
for this exhausted lone traveler.

We Won't Fly For Art!

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