I arrived in my Eastern European destination early Tuesday evening. Having been used to a cold and rainy London I was ill prepared for the 30 degree heat and so sweltered on the rickety 20 minute bus ride from the airport to the city. I followed Krauser’s instructions to get from the bus stop to the city centre, then used google maps and the AirBnB app to locate my flat.
For £20 per night it was a nice little place, better than my London flat. A small kitchenette, large sofa, double bed, shower, decent wifi and most importantly, air conditioning. The area the flat was in didn’t seem so nice. It was only 5 minutes from the city centre’s main square, but was poorly lit and filled with crumbling communist style apartment blocks, the type that just look like soulless slabs of grey concrete sticking out of the ground. Not being much of a worldly traveller I did start to wonder whether this area was safe. When I realised that my building was right next to a police station a felt better. There’s something about having guards armed with MP5s right next to your door that just feels reassuring.
I messaged Krauser and he told me he was on a date, and that there was a mobile shop on the main square if I wanted to get a local sim with data on it cheap. I decided to go and do that and arranged to meet Krauser later for a drink.
Getting a sim with cheap data is a handy piece of travel knowledge, exactly the sort of thing I came on this trip to learn. The next thing I learned was also important: make sure you have an unlocked phone. The shop switched my sim card but it wouldn’t work because my iPhone was locked to my UK provider. I switched my sim back, and rebooted the phone as I walked away from the shop. “Please connect to wifi to activate phone”, my iPhone’s display said. I had no wifi. I tried rebooting. Same thing. WTF does it mean, activate phone?!
I decided to go back to my flat where I had wifi to sort this mess out. After 5 minutes of walking back towards my flat I was gripped by a sinking feeling; I couldn’t remember the exact road my flat was on, and the address was stored on my inactive phone. To make matters worse I was now down to less than 10% battery, and it seemed to be dropping at the rate of 1% every few minutes. In the past I have always seemed to meet major crises with a clear head and a calm demeanour. In contrast, mid sized problems like this one, that are greater than a minor inconvenience, but not critical enough to be worthy of calling a crisis, cause me to panic disproportionately. And that’s what I did. I lost my shit, right there in the middle of this foreign city.
What if your battery dies? How will you ever find your flat? Will you have to sleep on a park bench, next to the gypsies? The whole trip will be ruined. You’ll never even get to do any daygame.
I decided to make my way back to the shop that had put the sim card in for me. They’d probably have wifi. I literally sprinted back to the shop. Due to the 25 degree heat and the fact I was wearing a faux leather jacket, by the time I arrived back at the shop I was sweating profusely. I must have seemed crazy when I stormed up to the assistant who had sold me the sim, and sweating and with a panicked tone said,
“Youjustswitchedmysimanditdidntwork afterswitchingitbackmyphonesaysIneedtogoonlinetoactivateit Ireallyneedmyphonetofindoutwheremyflatis asitsmyfirstnightinthiscity doyouhavewifisoIcangoonlineandsortthisout”.
She stared at me blankly. I composed myself, then I repeated in a calmer tone:
“You just switched my sim and it didn’t work. After switching it back my phone says I need to go online to activate it. I really need my phone to find out where my flat is as it’s my first night in this city, do you have wifi so I can go online and sort this out?”
They did have wifi and I managed to sort out my phone. Relaxed, I went for a large dinner of pizza at a nearby restaurant. I made the mistake of paying with a large denomination note (worth about £60) and was, I’d later realize, short changed by about £30. Although that doesn’t seem like too much, given that I was paying £20 per night for my flat, it was a very large loss in comparison to my total expenditure for the trip. I viewed this as just another Eurojaunt lesson learned: know the local currency well and don’t withdraw large denomination notes from cash points.
I decided to head back to my flat for a while. As I did I noticed that the centre was still very busy despite it being almost 9pm on a Tuesday night. London is busy all the way up to 10pm on weeknights, but I had envisioned this place as shutting down at around 6pm, much like second tier cities in the UK would. This was good news as it meant that the hours for which the centre was viable for daygame were much longer than I anticipated.
I was awoken from this train of thought by a text message from my UK mobile phone provider. They informed my that I had already used 50% of my non EU data limit for the month, and has incurred a charge of £40 for the data used so far. Cunts. Fucking cunts. A sim with 1GB data (that wouldn’t work for me) has just cost me about £1.50, and they’d just charged me £40 for about 8MB. All for a little bit of whatsapp and google maps. As soon as I found my way back to my flat I turned my 3G data off. Again lesson learned.
I’d barely got through the door of my flat when Krauser pinged me on whatsapp. His date was drawing to an end. I spent 10 minutes having a sit down then headed out again.
I met with Krauser as he was saying goodbye to his date, and we sat outside a cafe on the main square talking about life and the quality of the women in the city compared to London. He had been there for three days but hadn’t opened any sets yet due to having been busy fucking 3 girls he’d met on previous visits. The sarging would begin tomorrow.
In the next part I actually open some sets, and in doing so put to the test the idea some people have that it’s easy for western men to get laid in Eastern Europe, and so doesn’t require any game.