Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 12:56:30 -0700
From: ef
Subject: Re: here


i'm writing to all of you at once (oke, bcc) cause i am in sepsiszentgyorgy at the transylvanian proverbial starving artist's house (heretofro known as t.s.a.) on a rickety net connection with a 14.4 modem... so that's why

i'm in transylvania yes. first, the, i dunno, 14 hr busride with the jobbagytelke folkdancing village (admirably led by uncle antal-the dancer... *not*, i must stress, uncle antal-the-singer... who it is well known is much less leaderishly endowed being given to a bit of palinka... but i must also stress that u.a.-the-singer *is*, as a result generally very relaxed and often, yes, singing a tune or ten... where was i, oh yah) on the bus. with most of the village of jobbagytelke.

it was hot. very. sweaty hot. then, a terrible stinky stink began to prevade, just as we were passing through some swampy kinda terrain. phew, said i to the woman i was sitting next to on the bus, must be the swamp smell. i think i'm gonna faint for a while so wake me when its bearable, okay. i did say all this in hungarian cause no one from jobbagytelke speaks international, like. igen igen, she replied, would you like a sprinkle of palinka to deaden your nervishness.... no wait, that was someone else, someone else offered the homebrew... anyways, me and the seatmate did become friends instantly, severe olfactory emergencies do that, yeah.

the stink increasingly stunk. it was truly a gagworthy stink. for about 30 miles or so. people were fanning themselves with anything available. then, all of a sudden, air. like magic, the air cleared. we, who were sitting in the back of the bus, were real surprised. the swamp was still going by the window but inside it was positively gardenish, i mean, compared to the breathofhell of few minutes ago.

this is what i was told happened: -i was told this by one of the youngguy organizers who was sitting up front, where all the important folks sat. uncle antal-the-dancer, age 76, occupying, of course, the seat-of-honour, behind the driver.

first, faint cries were heard from the befogged backseats as the stink grew more and more ominous. then the mist crawled its way towards the front melting buttons and fusing extremities. the busdriver groaned and the bus swerved erratically. which, finally, woke ancle antal (dancer) from his well deserved reverie. his nose twitched, his head jerked up. then, rising majestically he turned to the back of the bus and gave one short, stentorial command. SHOES BACK ON he roared. CIPOKET FEL!

and thus the peaceable scents of a hot summer day returned to the bus of the dancers from the village of jobbagytelke, returning from a much honoured performance at the millenium celebrations of the founding of hungary.


anyways, then we sat at the romanian border for three hours while the romanians figured out what to do with me (yes, kinga, if you read this, they did finally sell me a visa), then we visited the romanian (no)service station from hell... where we were locked out of the bathroom until puskas attila (remember folks, in hungarian, last names come first!) stomped up to the attendant and asked if she had a permit, after which she hurriedly unlocked the door... by which time half the bus had gone to piss behind the semi parked out back... shoulda pissed *on* it, i said, which comment forever endeared me to the village of jobbagytelke and scored me several invitations to come and stay (and i will, too!... anyways, then we travelled through the night drinking soda water and just the teeniest bit of homebrew palinka and then we were at marosvasarhely and me and the bigtalking fluteplayer and the afforementioned puskas attila got off.

i spent the night at the puskas, attila, attila-the-elder (father) and palma (mother). very nice folks. they kept feeding me. attila is an engineer and a supporter of the traditions of the village of jobbagytelke.

i stayed a day there, while walking around found a little streetkid, 5 yrs old who yearned for a toy, so we went shopping. that's another story.

then i took the train to sepsiszentgyorgy, and as we were going through romanian towns and such, attila made me a sign, in case i got lost. it said, kinda (in romanian):

if this person gets lost, wrap her up and send her to sfintu georgiu.

but there was no need for the sign cause a very nice older romanian guy signlanguaged me off the train in time. which is where the t.s.a. was waiting for me.

i can't write anymore today, i'm tired and i don't even know if this will go through. but i will say that konya antal the family miracle died in 1974 at the age of 52 and yesterday we found his sister, marika neni, who said this was the best day of her life.

but that's another story too.

oh yeah, i seem to be giving all my money away cause people here are very poor. the t.s.a. also a professor of art at the art college. his salary is 2,000,000 (yes, million) lei a month. that's about 100 dollars. he can no longer pay his electric bill. i've decided to designate him "assistant" on my grant, so that will keep him eating and such for a few months. and the electric and gas on.

on monday, i shall go pay his internet bill. $2 a month. he hasn't paid it for 7 months, but everyone here is in such deep shit that the company, or whatever passes for one, is patient. or compassionate. or something. so they never turned it off or anything.

the villages. rutted roads and horses and buggies. the cows come home at sundown and one by one, know to turn into the right gate to the right house. some of the gates are beautifully carved.