I slept in today, and after several mornings of waking up by dawn, it felt fantastic. I had offered to help the Danes find the pub where the wallet was lost last night to try and squeeze help from the staff, but they kindly let me be and went about their business as I snoozed away. It was the best sleep I'd had in a week, and even the questionable-looking shower was piping hot and relaxing. As basic as it is, I'm liking this hostel a lot more after one night.
My first order of business was to find the main bus station to get some transit information, a Metro stop away from nearby Mustek at Wenceslas Square. The ticket system confused me a bit, and seeing that I had trouble, one of the few helpful Czechs I've encountered helped me buy my ticket and I was on my way. I remembered to validate my 50 cent ticket before getting on board - plainclothes transit cops like to pop tourists for not validating the ticket, which carries a $20 fine. I can do without that.
Florenc bus station didn't seem like the haven of thieves and thugs that I'd read about, but the way the station staff treats customers, I still felt robbed... of what, I don't know. A poor old English lady on holiday was getting no help whatsoever, and looked sad and confused. Luckily, I was able to extract the info she wanted with my half-assed Czech and got her on her way to Austria. I could use the karma points.
For the second metro ride, I was an expert with the machine, the validation process, and how to get where, so I went a whopping four stops to Karlovo Namesti to check out the famous "Fred & Ginger," aka the Dancing Building. Set at weird, curvaceous angles, the building was designed by globetrotting architect Frank Gehry and a local blueprint-slinger, with the curves allegedly designed so that the people in the building next door wouldn't have their view of the river and the castle ruined. If that's true, that's pretty damn cool. If it isn't, it's still a great piece of architectural design.
Across the river in Malo Strana, I was lost again, this time seeking out help in broken German from a pair of old pensioners from the old days where German was widely spoken in the area. They pointed me to the street I wanted, hoping to find Prague's hippest fashion store, stocked with wares from local designers, Faux Pas. Unfortunately, it's been replaced by some French-themed cafe. God dammit.
My luck finally changed after entering, of all places, McDonald's. In my retarded quest to try Mickey D's in every country I go to, I stepped in to give the Czech version a go. Shockingly, I was not disappointed. I ordered the McRoyal Tasty with Bacon, basically a Quarter Pounder supplemented with some delicious local form of bacon and - get this - Emmenthal cheese. All served up by Monca, the most absolutely stunning fast food employee I've ever laid eyes upon. Sense prevented me from taking a photo, but you guys reading this, just believe me. I've never seen so stunning a creature asking people if they want fries with that. And yes, a gringo (that'd be me) speaking Czech with her made her eyes light up, which made my heart syncopate all that much more. I walked away thinking man, McDonald's isn't necessarily the evil, hideous corporation staffed by retards that I always thought it was. In fact, every employee was well-dressed, button-down shirts tucked in, presentable, and doing everything to keep the place tidy and the customers happy. Who'd ever thought that in the mecca of lousy service and bad attitudes, Mc-freakin-Donald's would be a shining beacon of good employees and friendly dispositions?
That said, I'm still not going back. My body, while by no means a temple, can only take so much.