Written on August 29, 2006
Okay, to continue the story after passing out on the bed last night . . . I think picture #1 accurately conveys how I felt after the long trip to Prague though I'm not sure if I'm giving or receiving injury. We saw this statue as we departed the complex and the changing of the guard in #2. Heading back down to the city center, we got another wonderful view of the old city in #3. These sights started to bring me out of my coma and I got a burst of energy that recurred off and on throughout the day.
Let me make one more observation before I continue with the story. Prague is an incredibly expensive city especially in the downtown area. I heard that there were cheaper places that the locals went to, but I never saw them. For me, it's just a matter of principle not wanting to pay such high prices. For the locals, however, it's a matter of survival. Anyway, the prices are the only negative thing I have to say about the city.
Have you ever heard of the Charles Bridge? It's approximately nine hundred years old and only open to pedestrians. I wish I had a better picture of it, but it's 500 meters long and difficult to get an angle on. I did take a picture (from the bridge) of a tributary and some quaint houses in the area (#4).
Now, at this point, it was starting to get a little late in the afternoon but we continued to forge on. As a matter of fact, we had made an appointment with a cousin of one of my friends for 6pm. I sort of dreaded this because it probably meant that we would be out till the wee hours of the night. But, when I met 'Palo,' I was pleasantly surprised. He is a very interesting guy (a chemical engineer) and speaks English quite well. Not only that, but he offered to take us on a night tour of the downtown area. Following are some of the pictures that I took:
#5 A city theater
#6 part of the national opera building
Now, for some interesting asides . . . there is a heavy drinking culture in this part of Europe. Fortunately, not being a heavy drinker, I have developed some interesting survival skills to avoid this. First of all, I always order one beer without protest and drink it at a normal pace. Then, a second beer is always ordered FOR me. I spend the next few hours sipping this one while acting incredibly drunk. There are those that might say I'm just presenting my usual personality, but I'll take anything that works!! So far, I have managed to avoid hangovers and at the same time, keep the local population happy.
You know, people are pretty much the same all over the world. As the night drew to a close, my friends kept insisting that I might be tired and need to go to bed. I kept insisting that I was okay. I knew that they were trying to use me as a way to excuse themselves from the festivities. It was really funny when they started pointing out how awful I looked and that I might even need to go to a hospital. I wouldn't let them get away with it, however. I refused to be the party pooper!
Okay, there should be only one more part to this trip and I'll try to send it tomorrow. Enjoy!!