Sunday, May 06, 2007

More Prague Journal for your reading pleasure

May 6, 2007 8:36am

Well, since I’m not going to go jogging today, I figured I should at least exercise my fingers and add some to my Prague journal. I was supposed to go on a long bike ride this weekend, but I decided I was too sick to go. I’m actually feeling better now (well, feeling like I will get better… not completely better yet) but I still want to take it easy today (hence, no jogging… which is a shame because I haven’t been jogging in a couple of weeks now. I have no time during the week and last weekend I was in Cesky Krumlov).

Anyway, my trip to Cesky Krumlov was pretty uneventful (a sign that I am maturing?—an uneventful trip). I decided to take a bus down (a three hour ride) Saturday morning (it is actually quicker to take the bus than the train. The train would have taken about 4 hours and have been more expensive). At the last minute I sent a text message to one of my friends, C., and asked if she would like to go along. We decided to meet Saturday morning at the bus station to take the 8am bus…

…which was completely full. Luckily, there was a bus at 9, so C. and I just walked around the Florenc bus station for about an hour (not a particularly exciting place… a little run down).

The bus ride down was uneventful and we arrived in Cesky Krumlov a little after noon (and we even managed to get off at the right place—truly amazing as none of the bus stops along the way had signs). We set out in the direction we thought the youth hostel might be… and found it with no problems.

The girl in the youth hostel spoke English with an American accent so I asked her where she was from. Minnesota. Ah. She seemed a little out of it—like we had woken her up from a nap. I guess I’m used to odd people, having worked in Takoma Park… and this girl was just your run of the mill New Age Vegetarian who is in a complete daze most of the time (lack of Protein?). So I didn’t realize how strange she must have appeared to C., who is from Portugal, until later on C. asked me if all people from Minnesota were like that. I then explained about our New Age Vegetarians who generally walk around in a daze (lack of Protein?). I don’t think I did a particularly good job of explaining, as C. still seemed a little confused, but I guess you just have to have spent some time surrounded by these folks to just be able to take their strangeness for granted.

Anyway, we spent Saturday walking around Cesky Krumlov. The hostel had a television and some Czech movies (with English subtitles), so Saturday evening we decided to increase our familiarity with Czech culture and watch a film. I chose… which turned out to be a mistake. The film was about an airport baggage handler who tries to get back with his ex-girlfriend. Meanwhile, his neighbors pay him to watch them have sex, his Mom goes mad, his Dad starts sleeping with an artist 30 years his junior, and his ex-girlfriend confesses to having had sex with over 30 random men in less than a month. It was described as a romantic comedy by the hostel staff (who had written a convenient guide to the Czech movies), but I would be inclined to describe it was a mess. Both C. and I were like, ‘what is this crap?”

On Sunday we hiked up a hill to an old church. It was so odd because I’ve gotten used to thinking of the Czech Republic as an atheist country, yet there were small shrines all along the path to the church. They were old, obviously, but they reminded me more of something I would have seen in Mexico rather than something I would have expected to find in Europe. After we reached the church, we meandered along some meadows and returned to the town for lunch. At the hostel we started talking to another traveler, M., (from Florida) who had just finished an assistantship in France. She and I swapped stories about it (she was up in Lille teaching high schoolers) and C., M., and I decided to go for another walk through Cesky Krumlov. (We did a lot of walking through the town and taking pictures because those were the cheapest activities. I had wanted to go kayaking or canoeing down the river that ran through the town, but when we looked at the prices, they were prohibitively expensive… almost $20 for a half an hour in a canoe, which would have been a rip-off even in the States).

Sunday evening we watched another Czech movie. C. picked this time, and did a (slightly) better job than I had done. This movie was about a restaurant owner who thinks he is Hitler and serves endangered animals (and human hands) to his guests, a boy who likes to dress up in his sister’s clothes and his sister who tries to kill him, a man who is on a “Candid Camera” show who films his daughter… um… doing something with a dog, and a couple of bumbling heroes who try to set it all right. (Again, classified as a comedy and again, not receiving many laughs from the viewing audience... and yes, it was actually slightly better than the previous evening's film...). As a result of my Czech film viewing experiences, I can cease feeling guilty about the crap that Hollywood exports (this was basically the same reaction I had to French music and US pop a la Britney Spears).

Monday morning we got up early and caught the bus to Ceske Budejovice. From Ceske Budejovice we caught a bus to Trebon. Trebon was a cute little walled city, but we were carrying our bags and were a little tired, so we went back to Ceske Budejovice after a few hours. Oh wait, I need to talk about lunch at Trebon. C. and I had heard good things about a couple of seafood restaurants. As we are both from places near the ocean and were currently living in a land-locked country, we were definitely experiencing a dietary fish deficit, and we decided to check the prices on the seafood restaurants. After deciding that they were a little steep, we ambled over to an outdoor beer garden. Okay, our first clue should have been that, although it was high noon, NO ONE was eating. Our second clue should have been the appearance of the cook (who looked like he had absolutely no problem skipping his weekly shower to go do something else). With the help of a dictionary and our own optimism, we placed our orders. C., unlucky girl, got raw meat on rye. I lucked out with orange grease in the shape of a sausage. It was disgusting, but we both ate it. After that, we set out to find a grocery store (she needed more food and I needed something to soak up the grease a bit and keep me from barfing). We found our grocery store and then, more critically, we found some ice cream.

Anyway, back in Ceske Budejovice, we headed to the old part of town to see the famous Samson Fountain and the slightly less famous Black Tower. With both of the monuments photographed, we turned around and schlepped back to the bus station to await the next bus to Prague.

On the bus ride back, we wound up sitting in front of a group of Brazilian teenagers. C. was happy to hear Portuguese… until she started paying attention to the content of the conversation. The kids obviously thought that no one could understand them… and C. spent a three hour bus ride having to listen to the sexual exploits of a group of teenage boys. (I spent the bus ride sleeping).

So, that was my trip to Cesky Krumlov. As I promised, it wasn’t too exciting… but that is a good thing, I suppose. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to having things go—well, not wrong, but not always right—that I almost feel a little—not disappointed, but a little perplexed—when everything goes off without a hitch. But then again, the cold that I had been fighting since my return from Poland finally caught up with me, so… I guess I can’t (can? can’t? can?) complain…


At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anna said...

This morning I watched part of an exercise show. I hadn't exercised much at all this semester--I only went to a couple of the after-5:00 CommonHealth fitness classes all semester.

I hope you're able to kick the cold & get out-n-about soon (old sports bra and all). :)


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