27 may 2001 | Travel Journal

27 may 2001

I'm here in Praha hanging out in the room while the girls are out doing some shopping.  We are in a weekend hostel which houses students during the week and crazy hostellers during the weekend.  Back to where I left off from the previous entry.  We all pretty much hung out in the doctor's garden talking and drinking until late.  A few of us, Marieke, Mariko, Kosaku and I went to this bar with a doorbell.  We invited Jean along for a drink as well but he could only show us the place since his wife is 5 months pregnant and he feels some responsibility.  We hung out in the bar for a beer and then headed back to the doctor's house for a little more drinking before we crashed for the evening.


Ok, I think I am up to the previous Sunday where we spent most of the day making artwork with newspaper, chicken wire and our imaginations.  I, of course, was one of the early risers so Petr and I went in to town to buy our supplies.  We met the rest of the camp and about 10 of the Roma kids to begin to make the artwork.  We had a great time with the kids and making the artwork.  I made a house and called it the Happy Pillow.  It was supposed to be a competitor to the tea room that we had visited in the town.  The kids made some great artwork like animals, swords and a variety of other things.  We finished working at about 3 or 4:00pm and made our way out to the kindergarten.  The kids still wanted to play and hang out so it took Petr a little bit of time to get the kids out of the brewery.


We had another fantastic dinner, vegan, and I washed the dishes that evening.  I was washing dishes until past 6:30pm!  We were supposed to hang out with the good doctor and his family but the dishes detained me unfortunately.  I arrived back at the doctor's house just as they were about to walk to another friend's house for a while.  We had bought some beer and it was chilling in the refrigerator while we hung out a little to make it cold.  We found ourselves outside again as a group talking with Jean and having a good time.  I showed Jean my language phrase book and he let me practice my French with him.  The girls would chime in as well when I was having difficulty.  The doctor was also out talking with us and having a great time.  Though I don't speak any of his languages we could understand each other.  I later found out from Lien as they talked about it in French.


As the night wore on we tried to head out to a few bars with Jean but were pretty unsuccessful.  When we got back Jean, Kosaku and I stayed up and talked until 2:15am.  We were getting cold later during our conversation so we built a little wood fire in the good doctor's stove.  It was a great conversation with English and French flying around.  Jean took a few hours to describe the meals in France and we also talked about France in general.  As we were talking Jean would point out the similarities between English and French.  I also remembered one of the French terms that Gutowski introduced to us.  It was really a great time so I hope I meet more cool French people like Jean.


That next morning we had the day off from working.  A few days prior, Sanna and Kosaku had decided to go on a picnic.  Lien was going as well and convinced me to go so she wouldn't feel like the third wheel.  Marieke and Mariko didn't feel like going so they stayed in town.  We got started on our little hike at about 11:00am we had bought some wine, cheese and bread to eat out in the surrounding hills of Broumov.  We walked about half an hour where we came to a little man made pond, actually it wasn't so little, and we enjoyed the sun, wine, cheese and the company.  It was peaceful and quiet out there.  After a few hours of drinking the wind began to blow and kick up so we decided to head back.  Before we left, Sanna and Lien asked me if they could give me a hug.  They told me they were glad I came out with them, it was very nice of them.


we had promised the others we would make dinner in the kindergarten that evening so we headed back, bought some food and hung out at the Kindergarten for the remainder of the afternoon.  I helped Sanna cook and prepare the meal, but not before she showed me how to make some bread.  Sanna first made some sweet bread and I watched her, then I made some as well and she supervised.  We let the dough rise for about an hour and then spread it out and rolled it up into rolls.  I, however, performed a major rookie move by putting salt instead of sugar on my rolled out bread.  I managed to get most of it off, they still tasted ok to me, everyone else thought they were a bit salty!  I also made some different bread as well and they were much better.  We cooked a little later on, some more vegan food and were ready by about 5:45pm. Marieke and Mariko showed up just after six and we ate and had a good time talking about what we did that day.  We had also bought some more wine after we had gotten back from our picnic so we were really having a good time getting silly.  I don't recall for sure what we did that evening, I think we bought some more Pivo at the store and headed back to the doctor's house to do some more light drinking.


That next morning we woke up and hung out waiting for Petr.  I thought he was going to show up via bus or train so I didn't expect him until noon.  Well, he had gotten a ride back from Praha and had showed up at 10:00am so we were a little late.  That afternoon Kosaku and I finished opening up the holes in the bricked up brewery windows before we headed over for some lunch/dinner.  Someone cooked while we were working and afterwards Sanna and I went back to the brewery to finish peeling some paint off the walls of a hallway in the Brewery.  We worked there until about 6:30pm with the Roma kids.  They really like working at the brewery and running around.  The Roma kids were getting very silly and didn't want to leave so we locked them in the brewery.  This really isn't a big deal because they can get in and out regardless.


Later that evening I believe we met Michelle at the movie theater and watched Proof of Life.  The movie really sucks but the Czech movie theater was way cool.  All of us went to the theater, I must have had 4 pivo's, it was great.  Michelle, her mom and grandmother showed up to the movie.  There was one other couple there for the film so it was a pretty small crowd.  They almost canceled the film, but they didn't, I didn't care either way since I knew the film was crap.  We were going to eat dinner in the kindergarten after the movie but decided we only wanted a snack so Sanna, Kosaku and I walked out there but couldn't get in because the alarm was set and the mag-locks were in place.  We were forced to walk back to the doctor's house and tell everyone the bad news.  Somehow we scrounged up some food, I don't recall how, maybe some people pulled out their snacks.


I shaved that evening and it took a long time since I had not shaved for three days or so.  I got interrupted about 2/3rds of the way through because Marieke wanted to take a shower.  I came back into our room where Sanna and Kosaku were hanging out and I showed them my half shaved head, they thought it was great so they took a picture of it.  After Marieke finished showering I got back in the rest room and finished.  When I got back out everyone was asleep so I crashed as well.


Wednesday was a pretty easy work day.  We began to clear the hay and other odds and ends out from behind the brewery.  After lunch we also began to clear the vegetation with the help of the Roma kids who were really silly.  During the afternoon we had also visited the Roma kindergarten which was great fun.  We talked with some Roma teachers and had a generally good time discussing education and special programs that the Roma are trying to create for the children.  While we were talking through Petr, Lien and I put some background on a drawing that one of the kids had started.  The Roma teachers were really interested in our education system.  Since the other volunteers weren't as interested in talking I got to ask a lot of questions and interacted with the Roma teachers, it was pretty cool.  The Roma are Gypsies and some are poor.  They generally live community style and are generally disliked by the other locals.  Most of the Roma I met seemed to be very nice and curious about us.  The special school they have built is designed to help kids better integrate into the Czech school system.  The program is very ambitious and the Roma teachers are highly motivated.  I certainly hope they will succeed as well as integrate their program with the local Czech.  That afternoon we were invited to the Roma pub on Thursday evening.


We headed back to work and put a big dent in the task we had before us.  Michelle and one of her friends stopped by to chat and talk to us while we worked.  We had a great time and Michelle did some translating for us while she was hanging out.  I realized the Roma kids were really just like other kids.  Previously they had wanted me to take off my hat so they could see my bald head, I didn't understand that until Wednesday.  I spent most of the afternoon without my hat on so they got a kick out it.  Later in the evening we packed our stuff up and everyone headed to the Kindergarten for dinner.  I was a little behind and the Roma kids wanted to wrestle and for me to give them piggy-back rides, so I did.  While we were still messing around near the brewery, Michelle and her friend came back by looking for some groceries we had taken by mistake.  The Roma kids were harassing them, they really liked their skirts, so I tried my best to keep them away from each other which I hope the girls appreciated.  We got their bag and Kosaku and I occupied the Roma kids so the girls could walk home unmolested.  Those kids really wore me out.  Kosaku and I must have been out there for an hour.  I was pretty beat when we ate dinner.  I offered to clean the dishes that evening and I got back to the good doctor's house sometime after 7:00pm.


Thursday was a pretty cool day.  We had agreed to meet Petr at the brewery at 11:00pm.  I forgot to mention that we also picked up a new volunteer, an Italian girl named Federicka.  She was pretty cool and really came out to visit Petr for a day or so.  I also forgot that we made our way out to one of the local restaurants for some pivo and general talking.  Back to Thursday, Petr accidentally missed his train in the morning and he got there at about 12:30pm.  We couldn't do any work since he had the keys to the brewery and all our tools were locked in a special room.  We spent the day working with the students clearing the remainder of the vegetation.  We also bought a gift for the good doctor and his wife as well as a watch for Petr.  It was very fitting he was late that morning as the gift went over very well.  We had met the students in the square at 7:00pm and we took them to a small bar/cafe next to the square and talked about a variety of things before we met everyone else for dinner at the restaurant.  We had a great time just chilling out and talking about the workcamp.  After dinner we hung out a little longer in the bar at the restaurant and then Feda, Marieke, Mariko and I tried to find the Roma bar but we were unsuccessful.


We came back to the good doctor's house and most everyone was crashing.  We had to get up pretty early to catch our train so we didn't want to get too silly.  Fede, I actually called her Freddy, needed to make some crazy phone call at 6:00am on Friday so I set my alarm to help wake her up on time.  I woke up at 6:15am and she still wasn't up so I tried waking her up by calling her, no response.  After a carefully lobed pillow she woke up and went out to make her phone call.  When we got up a little later she was gone, off to her next site.  Sanna, Lien, Kosaku and I caught a train to Praha in the morning.  It was a nice trip but we had to change trains three times.  We spent some time locating our hostel and eventually located it after making a few wrong turns.  We were all pretty hungry by this time, it was after 4:00pm and  we were ready for some food.


We eventually just found a Mexican place and ate there.  I also started doing a little light drinking, as well as Lien.  After eating we made our way back to an internet cafe and I checked some e-mail while Lien hung out at the bar across the street.  Sanna headed back to the hostel for a few hours so we were just taking it a little easy for a while.  After having a few more drinks at the bar we headed to another bar Lien was interested in visiting.  Kosaku, Lien and I hung out for a little more before we remembered to pick up Sanna back at the hostel.  We eventually made our way downstairs to the dance place and hung out there for a few hours drinking, dancing and talking.  Sanna recognized her mother tongue being spoken by a few Finnish guys who eventually showed us another cool dance club with about 6 floors.  We hung out there until 4:00am when we decided to walk back to the hostel so Kosaku could get ready to make his train.


I was really tired and pretty much just was a walking zombie.  We all were, except Kosaku the sick bastard, who walked faster than us to the train station.  We saw Kosaku off and then found something to eat at the train station.  We eventually made our way back to the hostel by about 7:30am.  The three of us were really tired that Saturday morning.  We slept for about 3 hours when Sanna and I got up at 11:00am to get some food and walk around a little.  We got some bread and other small items for a snack and then headed over to the Internet Cafe for a half hour before going back and getting Lien.  When we got back to the hostel Lien was taking a shower so we waited for her before we headed out for some lunch.


Right next to the hostel was a Chinese restaurant so we ate there.  The food was very good, but it took quite some time to get it.  After eating we wandered around old town mostly and the girls wanted to do some shopping.  I almost bought some shoes yesterday.  I had actually been thinking about it for quite some time since the ones I have are thrashed and smell really nasty.  I couldn't make up my mind so I bailed on the idea for the day and we continued to wander around.  Sanna bought some new shoes with a floral pattern and eventually she headed back to the hostel to drop them off and do a few things.  Also during the day we wandered around trying to find this tattoo and piercing place Petr had told Sanna about.  We eventually located the place after discovering the address Petr gave us was a vacant lot!  Sanna got a nose ring and Lien got her belly re-pierced.  I passed on the whole idea.  We eventually made our way back to the square where we sat for an hour or so before we got hungry and headed for some pizza!


I had a calzone and Sanna and I shared a pizza.  We were so stuffed and tired we discussed not hanging out until 4:00am.  After eating we headed back to the depressing bar across the street from the internet cafe.  I think we had a beer there and then decided to bail to find a new place.  Just down the street we located a pretty cool bar with nice wood tables.  We sat there for a round and then decided to call it an evening.  We were all really tired and wanted to get some sleep.  We basically called it an evening and crashed back at the hostel.


Today we left the hostel a little before 10:00am.  We dropped the girls backpacks at the hostel across the street and then went our separate ways for a few hours.  The girls needed to visit the pharmacy while I needed to book my nights accommodations back here at the Clown and Bard.  After checking in I took a shower and shaved my head and face.  By that time it was getting close to lunch time.  We had agreed to meet at a vegetarian restaurant we found the day before.  I was running a little late and I found Sanna in the square looking for me.  The restaurant was really very nice.  You basically pay by weight which was way cool.  After we stuffed ourselves I decided to go buy some boots and meet up with the girls at the Vodka bar where we had done a little dancing the night before.  I found some pretty cheap boots and then walked back to the bar.


On my way inside I found Marieke and Mariko hanging out eating lunch outside.  I had startled Marieke, it was pretty funny.  Anyway, I went inside and got Lien and Sanna and we sat and talked for a while, until about 3:30pm when Sanna wanted to got pickup her pack so she could make her train.  So Lien, Sanna and I left M&M and headed towards the metro to drop Sanna off.  We said our good bye's in the station and watched as the metro whisked away our friend.  Lien had a little more time so we walked to the surface and sat down in the pub at the bus station.  A few hours later I saw Lien to her bus and then I headed back to the hostel where I've been writing in my journal ever since.  Tomorrow I hope to head back to an Internet Cafe and start typing like a madman.  I also need to do some research about hooking up with Curtis in Italy.  I hope to hook up with him late in his trip so I get to hear all about his experiences.  This will also allow me to possibly head into Austria before I head into Italy.  Anyway, it should be cool.  I am really getting tired from all the writing so I'll crash here very soon.

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