June 27, 2006

how do you say 'rain' in czech?

Note: This entry was originally posted to an old blog of mine called Go Out and See the World. It can be seen in its original here, including all comments, which were not imported. The entries are separate from Sunny Day Happy Face, but were imported for posterity! Enjoy!

It's raining! It's pooring, thundering and lightening!

Today I woke up at 5am for no reason. I tried to fall back to sleep, but was unsuccessful, so I walked around Wenceslas Square for about an hour before going back to the room. I slept until 9am, then I went and called the airline. A girl told me that my bag was on it's way! So I went to the hostel and waited there for about an hour until it felt hopeless and I went to call the airline again. Well, while I did that, in a 15-minute span, the bag was dropped off. I was so happy and yet very overwhelmed by the fact that I had all my stuff. I went back to the room and took a wonderful shower. But then I got really tired after I ate and didn't want to face the sun, so I went back to my room and slept from noon until 7pm. That has literally been my day thus far.

At first I was kind of sketched out by the apartment, but now I love it. Last night I met a man from the Basque country who's name is the equivalent of Emmanuel. He's 35. We talked for a few minutes and he offered for me to go get food with him, but I declined because I thought I was going to bed. He is in the room next to mine. Well, I ended up leaving at 10pm to go walk around and get McDonald's.

Every time I went into the bathroom, I noticed this horrible stench, like a million toenail clippings. I kept looking around to find the source, but I couldn't. It wasn't as though the bathroom wasn't clean - everything was fine, nothing disgusting. Anyway, I came back today to find it gone, the woman from the hostel must have come and cleaned it somehow! Good for her! (Though she's a bitchy woman who speaks little English and her armpit hair is literally 6 inches long, you can see it.)

There are very few Americans in Prague, or at least where I've been so far. Since America is a "melting pot," anyone can "look" American, but then I'm always suprised to see someone I thought to be American speaking Czech. Czech, by the way, is very hard to understand. I thought it would be very similar to Russian and some of it is, but Czech doesn't sound like a Slavic language, it sounds like a German-French cross! However, I can read a lot of words, (though they don't use the cyrillic alphabet, so any Russian-esque word is basically spelled out phonetically in Czech) especially the roots of verbs and prepositions.

You know the stereotype that Europeans dress very well? Well, local Prague-ians break that stereotype. They dress horribly and wear incorrect clothes for their body types, if you know what I mean!

The city itself is reminicent of a German city, but nothing like any other European city. The cars here are normal sized and I've actually seen some you'd see in America (including a mini-van today!) This is not very typical of most European cities where the cars are old and small, nothing you'd ever see sold in the US.

So far, traveling alone is not as easy as I thought it would be. First of all, no one is there to motivate you, which is why I slept for 7 hours today. Second, in a country where you either know the language or you don't, it gets very lonely when there is no one to speak English to - it gets intimidating to always be around people speaking other languages. Tomorrow when I finally see stuff, I won't be able to share it with anyone else -- that's another downside. But mostly, I miss the company and activity, so I don't know if I want to travel alone again in the future. However, I am really looking forward to Italy where I can unpack and learn Italian! I really hope that my roommate is American and not Italian, I really need to be with some Americans right now.

And that's the most ironic statement of them all, which is why travel is good for anyone. Yes, there are times when I think I don't want to live in America, but being away from the country makes me realize the luxuries I take for granted like language and knowing how to navigate. Travel is important even if you realize you are content with what you have, you make realizations like this and believe it or not, it makes it easier to deal with life back home.

I think coming to the internet cafe is a great way to stay connected and it's very managable to do it every day, so I will. My near-future obstacle is figuring out what to do on Friday, when I have to check out at 10am, but my flight to Milan is not until 6:15pm! I am not lugging around this huge bag through the city. I might try to find a laundromat. Anyway, now I'm going to try to find food!

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