Like the day before the drivers won't take the toll roads so the drive is needlessly long and dangerous, what with single lane passing and all. Better news is that Hotel is much nicer than last night, but as far from the venue or anything interesting as can be. My room has a working TV with BBC and CNN, curtians on the window and a fan, so no complaints. There's even internet connection in the lobby. (Susan tells me she got AC in her room, note to self 1st floor is the nicest rooms in East Europe)
We inquire the front desk about where we can good bowl of goulash. He can't think of anytyhing near there, but he does ask the chef of the resturant next door what he can do. He whips up a decent goulash special for us and there's plenty of Zwack Kosher Slivo at the bar and a nice fresh salad to boot, so all is well.
Not for long however as we're carted to the jobsite which is a mess. It's essentialy a barely renovated industrial space, acoustically a nightmare with no backstage to boot. There's a local fake gypsy opener (nice kids, but nothing either original or interesting which is strange seeing as killer Rroma bands play Budapest all the time.) so we head over to find grub before the show.
We run into Bob Cohen and his girlfriend Fume who lays a bottle Romanian moonshine, a handful of killer CDs and cassettes on us and then takes us to a nearby resturant. (Merlin gets Fume's famed homemade rice balls.) I get the Ziguenersteak topped with a crown of porkfat and am not disapointed. I am in Atkins-land.
Bob tells us the barn we're playing in tonight is part of a European Union sponsored/funded boondoggle that has been eating up hard currency for years now. Evidently we were originally scheduled to play someplace cooler, but agin we see what iot's like to be promoted by someone other than our pal Bojan.
Opener sounds terrible, but can't determine if they suck or the room sucks. I reckon it's probably a 60/40 split. (Bob claims they're ok, but the singer is the best thing about them and we can't hear her at all over the general caterwall.) In a desperate attempt to rescue our show, we decide to create some kind of sense theater for our set. We make and acoustic entrance walking down a long walkway that spans over the audience. It totally works and we have a great set. Boban rocks as well. Despite all earlier indications it's a great show.
After the show we head over to a hip local hangout called Castro's with a very drunk Bob. He's trying to get me to expatriate and hunt down cool music with him. "Don't live vicariously!!," repeats loudly and often. He introduces us to a dark and evidently dangerous Romanian woman who's name translates to Kali (the Hindu godess of destruction and chaos.) Frank and I walk her and her friend home while she jumps up on truck beds and sings politically volitile gypsy songs, loudly, through the roughest neighborhood I've yet encountered in E. Europe. We arrive safely at the hotel and prepare for another cramped trip to Belgrade.
Following morning I get more great sausage from a local corner market and some killer Hungarian folk on CD. This time we take the toll road to Serbia.