robertisenberg

Drunken Montenegrins, Morning

In Montenegro on August 5, 2009 at 12:00 am

Archipelagos 125

I wake up at 6 a.m. and carry my backpack out the door. The sun has barely pierced the horizon, and the streets are gloaming-violet. As I pass the Blue Hotel, two enormous men hobble toward me. One is flabby and balding, the other is tall and skinny, but they are both middle-aged and wear black jackets as sturdy as Carhartts. The pudgy man clasps my arm and walk a pace, speaking in a language so slurred it might not mean anything. His friend stares ahead, looking embarrassed by my company. From what I can tell, they have been drinking all night, and they’re only now stumbling home from the hotel bar. So here we are, the mad king, his blind advisor, and the innocent clown, staggering through the empty streets at Bar with nowhere to go. Except that I must reach Dubrovnik and they clearly need to sleep.

When we reach the bus-station, I enter the little café, and I’m alarmed that they sit down with me. I order a cappuccino and the pudgy man immediately pays for it, along with their own coffees. The man starts squawking at me, and when I ask for English, he rolls his eyes dismissively and continues blathering, as if I’ll start to understand him any second. The conversation is awkward, mostly because it isn’t a conversation at all, only a large drunken man sloshing words in his mouth and leaning back in his chair, giggling now and again. His friend still wears a stoic expression – like a general displeased by his corporal’s lewd behavior, but helpless to stop it. I keep shrugging my shoulders, as if to say, I’m sure what you’re saying is hilarious, but it’s meaningless to me. I thank him for the cappuccino, and he nods, then says something about America.

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