Archive for the 'Czech Republic' Category

How much!? How much?! Let me show you something, and a change in direction.

The Wandering Nerd September 28th, 2007

I’m finally out!

The vortex that is Prague has released it’s sinister grip. The good old 0916 to Nuremberg is once again hurtling me through the German countryside. There are more stamps in my passport now just from switching back and forth between Germany and Czech than from any where else I’ve been.

Prague is a great city and is currently in a struggle for the title of my favorite city. The people are kind of strange though. The echoes of the Communist era are still there. People don’t talk on the trams or in the metro, if you smile at someone they turn away before smiling back. I’ve heard from various different sources that under communist rule people who talked loud - or in some cases at all - on the transport could be arrested. Further if people were seen talking to westerners they could be picked up and questioned for being ‘influenced.’ The things we take for granted in the states.

Australian summer is coming up and there are yet more Australians/Kiwis all over the place. Which is pretty cool actually. I’m finding them a friendly affable people. Industrious and clean, they are fine travel companions. Not at all like the stinky, lazy Canadians.

I think I have about three or four places to stay down under if I ever need them. I’ve always liked Australia, I’m lookin’ forward to trying an authentic bloomin’ onion, and the butter that they make out of Koalas. I’m in better spirits after the earlier charlie foxtrot.

I had a couple days of some intense introspection, which is dangerous sometimes. It was so rough I actually stayed sober for a while - relax I’m back on the sauce now, no worries. Full on. Sweet as - I don’t know what it is actually sweet as, it’s just something the Maori guys kept saying so it stuck.

Speaking of spreading the word. It seems I have shared the word ‘Asshat‘ with our down under brethren. The crew on the XOXO tour were using it when I caught back up with them in Prague. International relations are coming along nicely.

I didn’t really get up to much the last few days in Prague, it was pouring down rain most of the time, so I just stayed in, warm and dry and did some near term planning. I did make it to the flea market there.

I’m pretty sure it’s about the dodgiest thing you’ll find outside of a Turkish bazaar. As you walk through the stalls, the people - almost all Asian - try to sell you shit that you clearly don’t need. For the love of whatever you find holy, do not, under any circumstances, stop to look at something unless you want it. The stall owner will descend on you like a cloud of locusts and start packing it up for you to take. Or, and this was really strange the first time, they grab you by the elbow and pull you back into these little rooms.

I know what your thinking, you sickos, and no it’s not that. They have just more fake and replica crap in these metal crates and then really start pushing you to buy something. They do work on the haggling system though. They start out about 400% higher than they are willing to actually accept. I was looking at a ring and the guy wanted 700 Kc for it. I didn’t really want it, but he kept asking how much, and I just said 150 to get him off my case - it’s about 6 dollars us. Which also was what I had left in notes in my pocket. He kept coming down a bit at a time and I just kept saying 150. Eventually just pulling the notes out and saying that was all I had in any case. He look disgusted and just took the notes and handed me the ring. So now I’m the proud owner of a ring I didn’t really even want but got a great deal for. I can’t say I blame them for the extravagant prices, there were tourists just flat out paying whatever they asked so the owners were making a killing. Good on ‘em.

I’m in a town called Schwäbisch Hall now, and I will be for some time. I’m going to be taking a one month intensive German language course here. It’s application time for business schools again and I needed a few weeks to get them all sorted and sent. This way I have an actual address for getting some resupplies dropped in, and get a short form of stability. The bonus is I’ll get to hopefully get back to some form of fluency with German. It should look good on an application for an international business school as well.

Have no fear though my younglings, I’ll still continue to have odd and strange adventures to share with you. If nothing else I’ll just make some shit up. The classes only go from 8-12 so I’ve got the afternoons and weekends free to travel. I’m going to try to make it down to Oktoberfest next weekend, and there’s another - supposedly better - festival in Stuttgart around the 12th that I’ll try to hit.

There’s the Black Forest and all of the other castles in the Bavarian area, so there should be plenty to do to keep me - and subsequently you - occupied. No new gallery, it’s been a quiet and rainy few days so I didn’t make it too far out, though I did go back to Cross Club and took more photos. I made a few of them into wallpapers for myself, feel free to grab any you want. Share them freely.











i traveled the world
looking for understanding
of the times that we live in
hunting and gathering first hand information
-gogol bordello

Like an old friend, and certain things you just really shouldn’t say…

The Wandering Nerd September 26th, 2007

I think Prague is either the best place ever for me, or the most deadly. Perhaps both.

After the lovely train ride/day I had, I went back to Cross Club and just chilled out for a while. I had a number of well deserved beers, and finally got some food at around midnight.

The next day - yesterday - was a total wash, I did nothing. It was brilliant.

While on the way to the Bone Church thing, I met a couple from Czech. They suggested I find a place called u Sudu. Prague seems to have no end of hidden and esoteric bars/clubs. This one happens to look just like a tiny wine bar from the front. I would say only about sixteen feet by thirty. Go all the way to the back and take a right, and go down a rather grim looking set of stairs and you’ll find yourself in a labyrinth of the old wine cellars. packed with tables, bars and people. After there I had planned on coming back and just relaxing when some of the new pack of Aussies - they roam in packs…or maybe herds - wanted to go try this place they’d heard of. Something about a five story club…

So, I ended up back at Karlovy Lázne, as I somehow knew I would. Funny story, there were a couple of really drunk Aussies/English guys - when there’s that much slurring, it’s a tough call - that were working over the room trying their worst to find some females to dance with them. By there worst I mean just that, they were pawing on them and just generally being asshats, for the sake of this parable let us call them Asshat 1, and Asshat B. I was content to watch this debacle for a while, eventually getting disgusted with them and just wandered to another part of the club. Later on when I was leaving at…mumble mumble…a.m. some of the bouncers were walking Asshat 1 out of the club. When I say ‘bouncer’ you need to realize that these are Eastern Bloc genetic mutations formed by cross pollinating a Bull Elephant with a Brick Wall and splicing in just enough simian genes to allow them to have opposable thumbs and a usable, if primal, sense of following orders.

The procession seemed quite peaceful. Then Asshat B stopped at the door and, in what I liked to think was the poorest decision of his life - though he proved me wrong. He tried to explain to the bouncers that Asshat 1 is a really good chap, and that - this clarified to me why he was getting the boot - that, “…the bird was liking it man!” The bouncers seemed unimpressed, or at least didn’t speak English.

At this point Asshat B is directly in front of me, blocking the exit, so I’m allowed a front row seat to all of this. He then decided that he just needs to shake hands with the bouncers. I take a step back. The bouncers, clearly not interested in shaking Asshat B’s hand, begin to disperse. This is where Asshat B, proves me wrong, he then goes on to say, loudly, “Well, faaaahhh-ck you!”

I just grin at him, say, “wrong answer, mate.” and take two more steps back against the wall, to avoid the flying wedge of bouncers that descend on this dumb bastard.

I don’t know if you all are accustomed to the term ‘Kansas City Beatdown’ but this would have been a prime example. The largest of the bouncers apparently understood enough English and open hand slapped this guy hard enough to knock him down. Whilst gravity and the force of the blow are pulling the poor bugger down, the bouncer - all the time screaming at him in Czech - catches him with an upward open hand slap the knocks him back the other way, like some pugilist metronome. Then there’s some kicking involved, then the bodily pick him up and throw him out the front. Karma’s a bitch, eh?

After this has all calmed down, I give a small cheerful nod to the bouncer - careful not to show any teeth - and step out the door into the morning air. Ah, Prague, my kinda’ town….

have a doctor come and visit us
and tell us which one is sane
-the white stripes

Somedays it’s just better to stay in bed, they keep pulling me back in, somewhat belated and berated milestone.

The Wandering Nerd September 24th, 2007

You’ll note that the little counter there on the top right still has me in Prague, in spite of my declaration of leaving for Nuremberg. The fun part is I did go to Nuremberg. But lets just quickly break down this comedy of errors shall we?

I woke up on time this morning to head off to Nuremberg, finished packing up my luggage and hustled on down to the train station. Only the train station that I came into was not the same station that I needed to go to going out to Nuremberg. It turns out there are vulture taxi drivers - vultures, everywhere - just waiting for this shit to happen. As soon as I said Nuremberg they all went crazy saying how I was at the wrong station and the only way I could make my train in time was to ‘take taxi, only 700 crowns, right to the platform! I get you there in time, no problem!’ (700 crowns is about 35 bucks) So what I had thought was a comfortable 20 minute margin to hang out around the station, turned into a 15 minute Metro run and then some mad dash through the station to get the correct platform. Which I would have to determine as I ran through.

The taxi drivers were so clearly a scam that I just walked away from them saying I wasn’t in any real rush and I’d just get the noon train. One of them followed me quietly and then pulled me aside and offered to run me down there for only 25 dollars. Still overpriced, but I didn’t want to get into Nuremberg at 1900, so I figured it would be worth it.

For what it’s worth, the old guy did get me there in time to just catch the 0916. I had to buy my tickets on the train for a slightly higher cost, and there was some confusion when I had to actually change train cabins as apparently they were splitting the train so half of it could go to Munich and half on to Nuremberg. I got moved and settled back in for the last little bit after getting my passport stamped back into Germany, enjoying the countryside blurring by and getting some reading done.

The passport thing remind me that I don’t like the French guards in Dover, UK. Funny thing, they didn’t stamp my passport when I came from England. Silly me I thought that once you were in the EU it was pretty much all good. ‘Oh, no,’ say the Czech border guards on the train when I came into Czech the first time - yeah, the first time, hold on to that. So I had a very tense train ride when I wasn’t sure if they’d let me in. They asked me where I’d been, and they sort of glazed over when I made it through the list, and then just asked me when I came accross the channel. So I just made up a date that sounded good, as I really didn’t remember. I clearly didn’t know what I was doing and they seemed to not be all that interested in pursuing it any farther and just looked at each other, shrugged and stamped it. Letting me loose inside.

Now back on today. I don’t know what about Nuremberg caused my Spidey senses to tingle, but when I first got off the train it just felt like it wasn’t gonna’ go right. I made it to the hostel that I’d found the other night - when it claimed to have plenty of space for tonight - only to find out that it had no space at all. They pointed me to a cheap hotel. I’m thinking that it’s been a long time since I’ve had my own private room, maybe that would be cool. Except that the hotel was also full, as was the second, and the third wanted me to book for more than one night. I talked the guy into letting me just have it for one night for 15€. Though he clearly wasn’t happy about it, hell neither was I when I saw the room. I’ve had bigger bathrooms.

At this point it’s about 1500 and I still haven’t eaten. Nothin’ for it, I’m just gonna’ walk around and get some grub and maybe find a Wi-Fi spot to post that last post. Grabbed a little Herring baguette and walked around for a bit in their big open market. I finally found a place that had free wifi, though they only took cash not plastic. No problem, I need to get some cash anyway, I’ll be right back when I hit das geltautomat.

There’s a certain sinking feeling you get when you open your wallet and realize that your credit card isn’t where it should be. Then a further sinking when you know that it couldn’t be anywhere else in the wallet. Which naturally leads one to the conclusion that it’s not in your possession. Then the thought process goes essentially like this, well mine did anyway: “Where the Fu…oh hell….shit….shit…well is it, uhm, shit….I’m in a foreign bloody coun…could I have left it…shit! I don’t even have enough on me for a meal. How am I gonna’ cancel it? How am I gonna’ get a new one? They can’t ship it, I don’t even have an address anymore. Bloody hell! The guy at the hostel in Prague must not have given it back to me! Well….hell. Hrm… Well, I just use the Amex to get some emergency cash and go…do I have a PIN on that? Well hell with it, let’s give it a go….shocking, it didn’t work. Why don’t YOU contact my issuing company you stupid asshat machine!”

So at that point I did the most sensible thing I could come up with. I went back to the bar and spend my last Euros on the biggest beer I could afford and sat down to figure it out. While I’m waiting on my beer, a waitress buses the table next to me and knocks over a half full glass of, what I’m assuming was, a milkshake. It bounced once, spun in the air whirling out frothy ick, and then shattered at my feet and all over my backpack. Whee! *sigh*

So I’m partially covered in glass and milkshake, and unintentionally give the waitress a look that probably was a bit unkind. Luckily before I Hulked out my beer showed up. After some minor clean up work, and deglassification, I just got down to sorting out what to do.

One bright ray of light, the card I’m using actually has ‘’ on it. The guy that runs the hostel noticed and emailed me saying he’d tried to chase me down but, but couldn’t find me and did indeed have my card.

So looking at the timetables again, the trains for Prague for tomorrow all have between 2 and 4 changes and range in duration from 6 hours to almost eight hours, except for one tonight at 1740, which is a direct and 5 hours. I find this at 1650. Sensing a pattern here?

So I give away my last euros for the beer and head back to the hotel, grab my shit, somehow convince the manager that I hadn’t done anything to mess up my ‘Presidential Suite’ and amazingly get a refund. *whew* more beer money, so major crisis averted.

One of the rules I’ve been trying to play by is that I don’t rush. No matter how close it is, or how much I need to catch this train or that bus, I won’t rush. The point of this is that I really have no strong need to be anywhere quickly so there’s no point. I almost had to break that today during that walk back to the station. But when I made it back to the station, I walked directly to the platform and got right back on the the same bloody damn train that brought me here.

So here I sit gang, on a train going back to Prague. I told you I’d be going back to Cross Club, I just didn’t think it would be quite so soon. But rest assured, I will be there tonight, and richly deserved I feel. I think I may even stay in Prague for another night past tonight. Do some examination of the attempt at an unexamined life, call it dropping back 20 and punting.

You’ll pardon the lack of a Nuremberg gallery. I’m not sure I dislike the town, but I know I disliked it this day and didn’t have too much time to get pictures. Considering I was there for a total of about 2 hours.

This hasn’t quite been the 2 month milestone I’d envisioned.

press my face up to the window
to see how warm it is inside

Next »