I am in Vienna. I have not eaten a vegetable since last Thursday. Grooves has taken her role as hostess quite seriously and now I am both spherical and shaking from sugar tremors. I left the unicorn the Friday before last and have since been through Paris and Budapest. I stayed with my friend Simon in Paris, who, despite suffering from the aftermath of a terrible flu-like disease which I cant be blamed for seeing as he had it before he saw me…just saying…was a wonderful host and let me stay in not one but two lovely apartments. This brings the grand total of apartments Ive stayed in in Paris up to a grand total of four, which is quite a bit, considering. Generally people visiting me in NY get welcomed to a slighty undersized couch in a living room without windows. Plus, he drove me all over Paris on the back of his motorbike! I´d never been on a motorbike before! THEY. ARE. AWESOME. The perfect way to see Paris! I want one. I really really do, only, what happened to my friend Mo in Greece would probably happen to me as well. Mo managed to get himself hit by a bus. Typical.

Anyway, Budapest with Chaney, Mo, Tom, Brandon, and Sean was surprisingly low-key, considering the fact that there was a 24 hour liquor store across the street from our apartment. They had all been there a day before me, so when I arrived three hours late on sunday due to the French tendency to blow up peoples unattended luggage at airports, they were not at our apartment building. searching for them got slightly complicated when I realized I didnt know which apartment ours was, since none of them had numbers. After standing in the courtyard yelling “CHANEEEYYYYY” failed to solicit a response, I made friends with a guy doing some maintenance work who gave me a bottle of water and a stool to sit on. Then I made friends with a lady who had a rather impressive garden going on her balcony, and she let me stow my backpack there when I decided to troop off across Budapest in search of my friends. However, I had just stepped outside when I noticed a piece of paper jammed in the front door with my name on it. Telling me to meet said friends at a bar down the street. So it all worked out. Mo and I ended up wandering Budapest for hours, since Chaney and Tom were sickeningly and adorably in love, and Sean and Brandon tended to do their own thing. We did fail miserably to find Hungarian Jazz, but Tom, who apparently can play any stringed instrument did have a little jam session with three drunken bum musicians outside our liquor store…. I had a great time in Budapest. We ended up playing cards in our apt until the wee hours most nights. We discovered schnapps. I got sent out for bacon and returned with a massive slab of pork belly. Mo didnt get hit by a bus. We saw The Book Of Eli….dont ever see that movie. Its awful, even by my standards. We mostly succeded in doing laundry.

Getting to Vienna proved a little difficult. Mo and I had tickets for a 3 oclock train, to meet the others who had gone up the day before. So at 5 to three, after bumming around the station for about a half hour, having utterly failed in our plans to make the museum of fine arts earlier, we ask a ticket guy where to find our train. He looks at our tickets, shakes his head, and tells us that we are at the wrong station, and that we are meant to be at the one across town. Naturally.

We did get to Vienna (obviously) on a later train at the right train station, and played more rummy, which I lost at. Possibly because I got a little sauced. We spent our last florins on beer, wine, bread, and cheese, and I consumed almost all of it….what, hauling my pack around Buda made me hungry and thirsty. It was raining in Vienna and our neighborhood had little going for it but strip clubs, but we attempted to meet up with the others, but failed, probably due to lack of phones. We took the metro in to the city centre and walked around the big gothic church, had a snack, and went home to watch music videos.

And the next morning Mo went off back home and I got picked up by Grooves, who is a member of The Party. Wonderful to see her again, especially because she seems to be intent on making sure I try every single Viennese pastry before I leave. We saw everything I wanted to see in Vienna–such a good sport on the tourism front, this girl. Plus, she took me out dancing at this club called Die Fledermaus, after we consumed about a bottle and a half of Martini. Met up with friends of hers, who, after three rounds of tequila shots, told me “Yeah, youre all right. Youre dancing to 80s Austrian music youve never heard of!” Well…yeah. Grooves got hit on by some guy whose pick up line was “Hey, why arent we kissing?” What a champion.

My trip is coming rapidly to an end and Im glad to be spending the last few days with someone I had such a wonderful time with in Africa. Last night we went to the Africa Festival, which is happening right now in Vienna for the next week or so…it was so odd to see all the souveniers I saw through seven countries all housed under tents in a big fair space. But great to listen to some music and reminisce with a friend who misses it as much as I do. We talked about how weird it was coming back to Europe…I wonder what it will be like coming home. Because the next time I write, itll probably be from New York.

I dont know how I feel about that.

Grooves, youre the best. I have now decided that whipped cream is not, in fact, overrated. Thank you for correcting me.

My Gap trip is over and I am sad. It was f*cking fantastic, and the people I met were simply superb. WE ARE THE PARTY! I’ve got so many fond memories now, and a whole ton to catch up on. This whole blogging once every week or so deal isnt really working for me…but I am doing so many things like getting drenched at the Victoria falls, and trying not to get malaria that I am finding it difficult to get to the internet.

Anyway, I petted a lion yesterday. Yeah, no matter now awesome your Friday was, mine was better. Because not only did I pet a ten-month old lion cub, but I also got a hot stone massage and partied with 23 of the coolest people I’ve ever met. We all have fantastic nicknames. That’s important.

So…I think I’ve mentioned that me and my roommate DJ Tash form Team F*ck Up together? Yes. Well, we are on our way to Malawi, and have taken a 7 hour bus from LIvingstone to Lusaka today. Without any money. Or food. Or water. Well, we had a litre of water between the two of us. And we begged a banana seller to accept Botswana Pula, so we had 6 bananas for lunch. Four, actually: DJ left two on the bus. And because we’ve been having difficulties with our debit cards, we arrived in Lusaka with absolutely no money, starving like the monkeys who used our tents as trampolines in Livingstone. Fortunately, we were able to get some cash, but because we are Team F*ck up, we didnt take out nearly enough and when we got to the hostel, we realized (after we had ordered celebratory savannahs) that we had barely enough money to cover dinner, hostel, cab, and bus fare to malawi. oops. We now have about the equivalent of a US dollar to buy enough sustenance and water to survive a 12 hour bus ride. Luckily, the rugby was on, and I am travelling with a charming blonde Australian. Which means we’ve had several more savannahs, and an entire bottle of wine on the gentlemen surrounding the bar. So. Me and DJ have made it to Lusaka, and for now we are slightly drunk and well-fed. We saved some of our left over pap, or whatever it’s called here, some sort of cornmeal porridge stuff, like polenta, and we put it in a plastic bag for breakfast. It’s classy. SHUT UP WE HAVE NO MONEY AND TASH LEFT OUR LAST TWO BANANAS ON THE BUS.

Let’s see if we make it to Malawi!

P.S. Iceman, Disco, Sparks, Bones, Meters, Baby Max, Grooves, Dark Horse, Cupcake, Dr. Zhivago, Her Majesty, Sarge, Screamer, Bullitt, Snappy, Swampy, Robin, Buck, Spike, Danger, Timon, Waffles, Tigger, Silverfox (all one word, no dashes), and of course, the inimitable Chuck Norris and Boss Lady…. DJ and G(H)ums pronking miss you.

The time for Malawi is beginning.

So long time since last blog entry. I’ve met up with my GAP group, and they are BRILLIANT. I’m in Windhoek now, and have been riding this truck called Denver through Namibia for the past week. There are 22 of us on the trip and everyone is a rock star. Our fearless leader, Elbie, is chill like a day at the beach and she takes fantastic care of us. She calls everyone honey and drinks vodka. Our driver, Barry, has worn shoes twice, smokes a pipe, and has a pile of bangles on his wrist, one of which he uses to open beer bottles. Also, he is Chuck Norris. They are both South African badasses. The first morning on the bus, I decided that (about 12 hours after meeting everyone) we all needed trip nicknames. Now we all finally have ones. I actually have two. Officially, I am known as “Gums” because I eat winegums all the time. Whatever, they are a delicious confection and you cant get good ones in the states. I refuse to be judged. Unofficially, they call me TFA, or “that f*cking American” because I’m the only one on the trip. Everyone else is Canadian or European. Except, of course, for my fantastic roommate, DJ Tash, who is Australian. Together, we make up Team F*ck Up. Because most of what we do together ends up going wrong. Anyway, here are some highlights over the past week.

1. Climbed up this massive dune at Sossuvlei, the dead pans in the Namib desert to watch the sun rise over the dunes.

2. Quad biking in Swakopmund. I only had one accident where I drove into a dune pit and almost flipped. Had enough speed to get back out though…was also the only one in the group to get air going up a hill!

3. The food on this trip is great. We stop for snacks all the time, and last night we had stewed springbok for dinner. I also discovered these snacks that are a combination between potato puffs and bacon. This. Is. Genius. And it needs to be sold in America IMMEDIATELY.

4. I got thrown by a horse! TWICE!! Ok, that wasn’t a highlight. But I was really glad that I had, in fact, brought my eye surgery painkillers with me.

5. We went game driving and saw elepants, lions (including cubs, and an attempt at a kill!), giraffes, about a million zebra and springbok and oryxand kudu and antelope…It’s amazing, the few minutes in Etosha and we’re all like HOLY SH*T A ZEBRA!!! And by that afternoon, everyone is going…dammit…prey, again! BUT, I did spot a leopard, the most elusive of the big five, not ten feet from our truck, sitting in the brush off the road. I win at game spotting.

Anyway, tomorrow it is off to Botswana!