One of the places in the world that I had been wanting to visit was Prague. I finally made it there last week! I had planned the trip a while back, so it was unfortunate that by the time the day of the travel arrived, I was really depressed because for the past 2 months I've been sending resumes looking for work and I haven't heard anything back.
Once at the mini airport in Prague, I swore I'd forget my problems for the 4 days I'm there. Hard thing to do, considering that I stepped into Prague and it was freezing cold and raining like crazy — in July! First I had to buy a sweater quickly before I froze. Then, it turned out that the sweater gave color and it spoiled all the clothes I was wearing!
The Hostel was interesting too. Imagine this: I knock at a door that looks like a university. I am greeted by four black guys (remember this is Prague). Then I go to my room: It used to be a university dorm!
When the rain occasionally stopped, Prague was nice: very good metro and tram system. The castle side of the Moldova river is a huge green hill from which you have a gorgeous view of the city. Karluv Most (Carlos Bridge) is obviously the most famous place in Prague with all the tourists there. The National Gallery is amazing, with important works by Picasso , Henri Rousseau, Gustav Klimt, Paul Gauguin, Cezanne, etc.
Then there's Saromtske Nemesti (Townhall square) with its gothic architecture and the Tower feathering the moving miniatures!
Prague is not cheap. At night, I was getting a bit bored since after 6pm — unless you want to have an expensive dinner in a restaurant — there's little to do in the cold weather. So, being single and still hopeful that I will find my significant other, I decided to go to some of the gay bars in Prague!
After some research in an internet café, I wrote down the addresses and started walking. As I walked, I felt weird and scared, because it looked like I had reached a residential neighborhood. It was weird because usually in other countries you expect bars to be in the center of town along with shops and other entertainment establishments.
Finally walking through all these tall communist-era gray apartment buildings I reached the portal for one of the bars. There were no windows and the door looked like the portal to any other apartment building. I had to ring the door bell to get in! The door opened and I walked to a basement where there was another shut door. I ring the second bell and while waiting, some other guys also arrive. They say something in Czech, I respond: Sorry, I don't speak check. They laugh and respond: Well if you don't speak Czech, we don't speak English! Laughs! I said: well said!
Once inside the bar, it was nice and casual. It was a very young crowd which is not my type. But I met a Russian tourist from St. Petersburg called Tony who spoke fluent English. It was his first trip out of Russia and he explained what life was like in St. Petersburg. It turns out that the cost of living there is very high while the salaries very low. Then there's the cold weather.
Anyway, me and Tony decided to walk to another bar, this one called Alcatraz with an older crowd, more in tune with us. Again, a long walk through deserted residential neighborhoods while the two of us were the only people walking there at 11pm at night. Interestingly there were many abandoned buildings with nobody in them. I wondered what the story was behind these empty buildings.
The address instructions told us the bar was close to the Czech TV antenna tower. At one point looking towards the sky I realized the enormous futuristic TV tower was over my head. It has an amazing design, its enormous and you feel like you are in an alien planet when you look at it. I didn't have my camera with me! It also has sculptures of Ovni Babies crawling the tower and hanging from it! We got to the bar, and surprise surprise, Sundays they have an underwear party! Which means that we had to undress, down to our underwear! Once in, people were very nice.
Nobody spoke English, but everyone was warm. A big contrast with people in Spain, where they act so cold and snobbish! I met people left and right. For a moment, I thought this is paradise, I wish I worked in Prague! At one point, I tried communicating with a guy that turned out to be called: Jorke (prononunced “Yorke”). He didn't speak English but he would understand some words and with hand gestures we somehow would get some concepts across. For example, I found out Jorke is Czech for “George”.
Jorke was 38-years old and still in school studying to be a Medical Technician. I wasn't able to understand why at 38 he's still in school. Then at one point he said the word “Iran”. I was shocked! I thought maybe because I look Iranian he is asking if I'm Iranian. But Jorke had travelled to Iran! Looks like you can travel by train cheaply, according to Jorke, from Prague up to Bushehr and back!
Jorke and his friends went on this trip on the train that lasted 24 days. He would say: Tehran! And I would make a “hiking” gesture and ask him: Did you hike up the mountain? He said: No, we only walked the streets. I asked him: Did you meet anyone in Iran? Jorke answered with gestures that in Esfahan a man looked at him and then scratched his pants in the crutch area! Hee hee! Primitive desire!
Apparently they didn't do anything at the end but looks like Jorke was quite pleased with his Iran trip! He assured me Iranians were very nice to him. He would drop names of cities and places I've never been: Persepolis, Shiraz… I felt jealous, I wanted to join them on their next trip.