This is Ilja. He is our bus driver in Europe. He is German.
Like most Germans he speaks English pretty well, enabling us to wander the streets of Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, and Frankfurt armed with nothing more than “Danke-Shane” and “Doner-Kebab, Bitte” as far as the local language is concerned. And like most Germans, he’s a straight shooter with an adorable accent. When we asked him what Frankfurt was like, he said “Frankfurt iz nozzing more dan junkiez, crime, bankahz, and hookahz”
Ilja is from Berlin.
My Frankfurt experience wasn’t like his, I happened upon a delightful bowl of Minced Meat & Leek Soup, window shopped at a store that sold only Steins and Gnomes, and played to an enthusiastic German crowd that sang along to every word of “Lightning Rod” (!?) while bringing us back for three encores. German crowds are a revelation so far.
The other day we found Ilja on the bus, but instead of watching “Two and a Half Men” dubbed in German like he usually was — he was just sitting there, frozen with his head in his hands. We asked what was wrong, and he said “Leaven zee door opan, there iz a rat.”
Meaning, he saw a rat scramble across the floor of the bus, and he didn’t know where it went. And that night we got on the bus and asked if the rat escaped and he said “No.” So we are living with a rat, and while Ilja thinks it makes its home underneath the bus in the bay area, I am pretty sure it likes to sleep in the warm spot between my “pillow” and pillow case, and pillow is in quotes because it really just feels like I rest my head on a bag of socks every night. Or a bag of rats.
Anyway, we found a bunch of rat shits in one of the kitchen drawers, so Ilja put a trap in there, the kind that’s more likely to crush every tendon in your finger than it is to catch a rat, but I’ll just let you watch for yourselves and see what happened when Luke opened the drawer….
I know, anticlimactic. Rat still on bus.