Mick Devine Euro Trek 2006 travel blog

There is perhaps no greater evidence that I was raised in a female-centric household then that when I am stressed, I shop. This would be stereotypical and somewhat offensive to some if I was female, but, as many of you have deduced, I am in fact male. So, to paraphrase Descartes, I pee standing up, therefore I shop.

Smolyan was a brilliant experience. I created a series of new exercises for my workshop, including one I really like, which I call Rob Zombie. Players walk around the floor like zombies (whatever that means to them). When I clap my hands they fall dead to the floor, rigid. When I clap my hands they rise without using their hands, find another zombie, offer a zombie handshake and say "Rob Zombie" before going on to another zombie and another introduction.

It has a deep theoretical basis and touches on many acting principles. Probably. I have no idea. I was too busy laughing my head off watching the Bulgarians' version of teenage zombie walks.

Yesterday I walked up and down the main drag, up into the hills, swilled coffee with one of the comely young actresses in the programme, watched a bit of another instructor's work, and quickly decided that I was feeling a bit like a mascot. You know, no real function, but the type who is just...around. After a while people don't really know what to do with you or how to treat you, and if that goes on long enough, the good feeling from the workshop wears off and you're just a guy who hung around too long. So I decided that today would be a good day to leave, and spend one more day in fabulous Plovdiv before heading to Varna.

We had a bang-up farewell party for the dervish last night - he's a really sweet guy, and after meeting him and Ahmet in Athens I am starting to think that Turkey has a really funky arts scene. More great food, a lot of the local plum-based weed killer, rakia, great conversation with a choreographer named Kate Foley, and many others, much trading of email addresses. This morning Jared and I hashed out a plan of attack in twenty minutes, while we piled my bags onto the back of a minivan. The convo involved the possibility of me coming back next year. If I have anything to do with it, I'm going to drag at least a couple of Acadia students with me!

The minivan reminded me of the advantages of large buses. Namely, being further off the ground and with better shock absorbers. I was wedged in between an old guy wearing his best Sunday-go-to-meeting suit and a woman who was clearly not happy to share her space with me (feeling mutual, pal). There were 13 of us in all and the twisting, swerving, undulating route of the minivan left me looking at the tiny space in front of me and wondering in which direction the vomit would run, back over my feet or under the next row of seats. A reminder of the nasty old days when I used to get sick in cars all the time (remember, Marina?).

But after a couple of hours we were back in this shiny gem of a city and I immediately embarked on some retail therapy. (OK, after a bit of a lie down. I'm human.) Three shirts so far, plus a book of Bulgarian fairy tales and a notepad, and a little silver bracelet for myself because I have always wanted one and it's been years and it feels right and looks great. Having achieved all this in the space of an hour for less than 100 leva I can now concentrate in the next week on buying stuff for others, as one is supposed to do! So look out, those of you who know you are in for such things. Though these gifts won't be quite what you might expect (hee hee).

Six minutes left on the clock at the internet cafe!! I have finally found a way to be concise!

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