Low spot

I’m suffering on several fronts at the moment.  After the unremitting exhaustion, panic and exhilaration of my final three weeks on the LP write-up, the past two weeks have been a bit of a bummer.  I’ve been slowly poking at two non-travel articles on Sarajevo and Bratislava for Global Traveler, a business traveller magazine, focusing on the local business and political climates of each city.  Those of you familiar with my preferred style of writing will understand when I say that this type of dry, humourless, research oriented writing breaks my heart and tempts me to start drinking at 10am.  But the people at Global Traveler are great, they gave me my first big magazine assignment two years ago and they didn’t show a scrap of disdain during all the dipshit newbie questions I peppered them with as I found my footing in magazine writing during subsequent assignments.  So, I am always happy to work for these guys and moreover they pay marvellously well at a time when freelance writers are being asked to provide 1,000 word articles for $25 a pop.

Also, I’m trying to cut back on my caffeine intake.  The amount of coffee and energy drinks that I put away between February and June should have killed me and I’m keen to re-balance my body’s chemical composition to something less toxic before my eyeballs turn orange.  But I tell ya, reading about Slovakia tax reforms has me continually scrambling for the coffee beans for wont of any kind of break from the work.  Meanwhile, on a possibly related note, I’ve sleeping like utter doo doo, making the caffeine wean even more agonizing.

My once grand and ambitious plans to travel SE Europe by Dacia this summer have been scaled down due to the Dacia’s worsening health and the incessant, unwanted harassment it drew to me in Moldova by authorities wanting to shake me down for booze money. Additionally, my desire to avoid the prices, heat and crowds of high season have overpowered my urge to hit the road.  I’ve settled on staying in Romania until the end of August, resting, drumming up more money and waiting out high season at which point I’ll set off.  I’m determined to at least see Croatia and Slovenia, though geographic arrangements will probably allow stops in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia as well.

The lowest point is without a doubt the news of the death of a fellow backpacker, BootsnAll community member and first-rate human being, Kinga Freespirit in Ghana due to complications caused by cerebral malaria.  I did not know her, but her spirit and strength were legendary in our little society and it brings home the point that even the strongest and most courageous travellers are still susceptible to lurking dangers, whether it be tropical disease or being hit by an inattentive driver and everything in between.  A sad and sobering time.

To end on a positive note, despite my utter ignorance of the sport (what exactly is off-sides?), the World Cup is a daily shot of fun and excitement, not only through the efforts of the guys at the World Cup Blog, but despite having no television, I have managed to catch all or part of three matches thus far by loitering at the pizza place and I’ve been helplessly swept up into the excitement.  My heart is still with basketball, but football is certainly a rush (when you aren’t suffering through a nil-nil sleepy bout between France and Switzerland).  I hope it’s getting adequate exposure in America.  It’s certainly all the rage everywhere else in the world.