Week 10 – Buses & Saunas & Danish Cocktowers

by H D Thompson

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In my last few hours in Amsterdam I checked out one of the most stunning cinemas I’ve ever seen. Entering the foyer I felt unworthy, which is usually the mark of a good establishment. I wonder if the historic foundations of the building wept at the thought of living in splendour for so long and now existed to show shit like The Lego Ninjago Movie.

The main bus station in Amsterdam doesn’t have any kind of sitting area, or seats in general, but they do have standing tables to eat off of. So when I got a kebab, I stood at a table no bigger than a cheeseboard while three other dudes stood at the other sides, each digging into their kebabs as well. It felt like we were about to call the corners. So, not for the first time in my life, I had found myself in a situation where four dudes were standing at elbow length in a circle rhythmically bowing their heads to shove a meaty shaft in their mouths. It was like an erotic dance, but with kebabs.

My bus was late arriving to leave from Amsterdam and it was raining and freezing with no shelter or anyone to ask anything of. A bus from the same company pulled up and I went up to a lady wearing a staff uniform to ask about the situation –

Me: Hi, do you happen to know when the bus to Copenhagen is arriving?

Lady in bus uniform: Do I look like I work here?

Me: (eyeing her uniform)…uh

Her: HAHA I’m just fucking with you it’s all good

Me: (nervous laugh because I’m so cold and wet) oh…haha…good. Well do you know if it’s late or something?

Her: Is it here?

Me: …no

Her: Then I guess it’s late

Then she shut the door of her bus and rode away cackling into the night at the fools in her wake.

The bus finally arrived after an hour and a half. I had a transfer time of an hour and a half in Copenhagen that was now zero minutes in length due to the delay. I had planned to get breakfast and have a really nice ninety minutes, but instead I was pushing people out of my way to get my bag and hobbling awkwardly through the crowded sidewalk to get to my other bus, which of course was at the absolute other end of the line of buses. I arrived, panting, and bent over to put my bag in the undercarriage and as I re-emerged a lady screamed, “WATCH OUT!” and I ducked and backed away quickly because for some reason my first thought was that the bus was falling on me, but I was actually in the bike lane and backed into a cyclist and that caused a pile up of other oncoming cyclists and I was in that moment everything I had ever hated about idiot pedestrians. I apologised to anyone who would listen and turned to the onlooking crowd for sympathy, but I got none. I turned to the lady who called out and said thank you and sorry in a loop til she turned away from me. “I was meant to be having a nice breakfast but everything got messed up!”, I said to absolutely no one who cared. I must have looked like a crazy person because a sweet old lady handed me the rest of the cigarette in her hand and just said, “eat”. I mean, it wasn’t exactly breakfast but fuck, I’ve had worse. When finally on route, I desperately had to pee so used the bus toilet. I hated using bus toilets because I just generally don’t fit in them, and this was no exception. I couldn’t work out the flush, and in my hustle to solve the mystery, the bus lurched and I fell, my arm outstretched instinctively to stop the fall. So anyway that’s how I ended up with my arm in a pool of my own urine.

I heard a girl on the bus singing the Lana Del Rey line, “my pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola” at the exact moment I was reading an article about the song. Perhaps she had been following pop culture news as well. Or perhaps she wasn’t even singing at all and was just stating a fact. I don’t know these people.

At Aarhus after what felt like a true ordeal, my friend Sammy took me out with her friends to a techno club. It was tiny and really fun and the best part was when we arrived there was no DJ, I’m guessing he just pressed play and went to get a drink or the toilet or something, but the result was a bunch of people facing an empty mixing desk dancing to a ghost. Excellent.

I lost my scarf in a drunken rampage in Amsterdam and Aarhus was so cold I had to buy a new one. The men’s selection is so chronically boring so I bought a luscious white number from the women’s line and wearing it makes me feel like I’m auditioning for Tilda Swinton’s personal assistant.

For the first time in my adult life, I “finished” a lighter. As in, a lighter I had purchased and not lost had been used til it ran out. It felt like a real accomplishment, and the as the lighter was bought my first day out of home in Athens, it felt like we had been through a lot together.

To me, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, the Aarhus Cathedral, when viewed from the front, heavily resembles a gigantic cock. It even has patterns on it that are phallic in nature, one even bares more than a passing resemblance to a butthole. Every time we passed it, it would buckle me over in laughter. All architecture should be phallic in my opinion. What joy.

We sat down at a table at a burger joint for some parmesan chips and found two red tote bags that look like they were from some Finnish convention and left behind. It took us exactly two seconds before we were rummaging through them to see what goodies were inside. It was as if all three of us knew of the unspoken and possible not real rule that left over free goodie bags were 100% up for grabs. We ate the candy and wore the shower caps and pilfered those bags to filth. After about half an hour as we were finishing up our food, a man comes over and asks us if we had seen two red bags. We returned his bags to him while as subtly as possible tried to remove the spoils that covered the table in front of us like shameful bounty. It was like handing someone an empty skin when they ask if you had seen their lost banana, swallowing the evidence of your crime as you do so.

Have become obsessed with a Norwegian show called Skam and got to talk about it with an actual Norwegian which was just so cathartic.

My lush white scarf covers everything I own in faux white fur so it gives me the impression of being some kind of crazy cat person. I have been downgraded from Tilda Swinton’s assistant to like, Imelda Staunton’s maid.

Had one night in Hamburg to kill before a 29 hour bus ride to Sarajevo, so decided to live it up, and at the behest of a friend I met in my hostel, we went to a local gay sauna. I had never been to one before and it felt like a rite of passage I needed to take. I’m still *shrugs* young and should be doing crazy things like going to a sex sauna in a town that speaks limited English the night before I catch a 6am never-ending bus 24 hours before a decision is made in my home country on whether or not I deserve a place in the human rights playground with the big kids. There’s no instructions or anything so I just decided to try out all the rooms, kind of like a buffet – putting one of everything on the plate and deciding what you liked then when you go back for seconds you know what to pile on. Luckily for me it was a Monday so it was very quiet and I didn’t have to try out the dungeon downstairs because not that I’m in any way against hard BDSM I just really wasn’t feeling it at the time. The saunas themselves ranged from normal to intensely hot, especially the 90 degree one, and inside I felt a genuine concern for the two old dudes going at it in the corner. I was struggling to not pass out just sitting there and they had decades on me, enraptured in vigorous exercise. I wanted to tap them on the shoulder and tell them to be careful but I was scared they would have wanted me to join and it was just too hot. The dozen or so people that populated the entire building that night all seemed to gather around me and my hostel friend going at it in one of the cooler saunas, and I took it upon myself to become the manager of the situation. If there was going to be group stuff there was going to be order – if there’s one thing I can’t abide it’s a sloppy orgy. I didn’t know anyone’s name so I would point, bestow them with a nickname and direct them in the scene. Ancient Donkey wasn’t having any of it and left after about a minute which really was just as much his loss as ours. German Bob Hope seemed to really enjoy himself on the sidelines, he kept smiling really creepily so I told him to sit and watch and he seemed to appreciate the note. When the time came for me to finish they all fell to their knees like baby birds ready for their meal and I couldn’t decide where to aim so I ended the dance in my hand and washed it away in the sink. My hostel friend called me a stingy bitch but it was a lot of pressure to feed that many hungry mouths and I would rather see them all miss out equally than favour a few. I’m very about the people like that.

#H