This is it: My final night. I got out at the inconveniently located bus station after a very misty, foggy ride back from Cesky Krumlov. By the time I got out of the Mustek metro station in the center of Prague, it was pissing rain, and somewhere along the way today, I lost my hat. Oh well, I dont think I've held on to any beanie for more than a year anyway.
I tried to do some souvenir shopping since I leave early in the morning, but it was rough. There's very little that looked appealing, and cheesy tourist crap isn't going to cut it. So those of you at home expecting goodies from the Czech Republic, be prepared for disappointment. Short of maybe some odd candies or whatnot. I'm not about to plunk down thousands of crowns for some Swarovski crystal, and there's no way any of the kitschy (but still pretty cool) ceramic beer steins would fit in my luggage. And I doubt anyone short of a hammered Brit on a stag trip would wear a Prague Drinking Team t-shirt. In fact, I've seen more than my fair share of them.
I did get a little shopping done, however. Back at my favorite cheap-ass grocery store, I bought fixin's for dinner tonight, as well as aforementioned candies, and a last couple of bottles of local beer. Besides the taxi money I've put away for the airport tomorrow, I'm pretty much flat broke. I just checked my balance and apparently, all my withdrawals in London sucked the life out of my account like some vampire with an ascot and bad teeth. The Czech Republic has been cheap, but even a week of holiday time in a cheap place can have you spending like an idiot, and that I've done.
So far, these final thoughts aren't sounding too good. Wet, broke, and without much shopping booty, I could really use something positive to write.
Well, here are what I think are cool observations about the Czech Republic.
- They love dogs here. Cute little dogs, in particular, and the fuzzier the better. Long-haired dachsunds abound. The curious thing is how many of them are wearing muzzles.
- As soon as the sun comes out, all the girls come out in short, short skirts. Unfortunately, their fashion sense is stuck in the 70's, and they cover up the legs with really cheap, shimmery pantyhose. C'mon gals, show off those gams. Pasty and white won't get any better if you don't let 'em see the sun.
- Speaking of Czech girls, they tend to walk around arm-in-arm all the time. Kind of like old Middle Eastern men. However, all my hopes of a sudden lesbo make-out session breaking out on the sidewalk have been dashed. Repeatedly.
- People are rude, impatient, and pushy at stores, especially if there's a queue. Sometimes the old Soviet mentality will never die. Note the old fogies always trying to jump the line: That bread isn't going to disappear. In fact, there's more damn bread here than any sane person can handle.
- Czech beer kicks ass. Not that anyone needs reminding, but I keep thinking that to myself every time I have a Pilsner Urquell, Kozel, Staropramen, Budvar (the original Budweiser), Krusovice, Gambrinus... you name it. Of course, you still see morons drinking bottled Heineken, which is beyond me.
- Public transportation, even though some of the parts are relics from the Communist days, is still better here than it'll ever be in the States. It's a sad, pathetic state of affairs that in a place where people were learning the teachings of Marx and Lenin, trains, trams, and buses run with more regularity and reliability than in beacons of capitalism like New York or San Francisco.
- Locals are more annoyed by British and Aussie tourists than Americans. For once, we're not the least popular people drunkenly trashing the place. Then again, other than an expat community and a handful of visitors, there aren't that many of us here. Which makes my occasional use of Czech that much more appealing to the ladies. Har har.
- Internet access is dirt cheap. And fast. And generally pretty abundant. Only the meter is running and I'm trying to save every last crown for later tonight, should I decide to hit the local wine bar to have a last few Moravian reds.
Dobry vecer, friends. By this time tomorrow, I'll be home.