We can't stop here, this is bat country!

Trip Start Sep 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 23, 2006

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Another week, another entry. So this week was a little more relaxed than last, but only by a small margin. On Monday last week, I just wandered around Zizkov (the district that I live in) and I stumbled upon a tattoo parlour. I went in and looked around and started thumbing through portfolios and found an artist that I liked. Low and behold, he was working and we talked for a minute about the possibility of a new tattoo for me. Hurray! The store is very clean, and the artist (Marko) is very nice and professional. I will go back there either later today or tomorrow to talk a little more and maybe set an appointment. After that I had class and then I had dinner with Paul Stretesky who is the visiting professor from CSU and he knew of a recent CSU graduate who lived in Zizkov and had studied at the same university that we are at. His name is Jeremy and he met with us for dinner. It should be noted that the other CSU students were there as well, it seems that I am getting interesting looks when I tell people that I had dinner with my prof. Anyway, on the way home Meg and I stopped and bought some cheap wine that we drank from stolen beer steins in her room while we watched a movie.
On Tuesday, I had class all morning and then went grocery shopping (finally). A girl can't live on Nutella and spready cheese alone. I bought some ramen and some Tabasco and then went home to prepare for the American presentation at this week's Nation to Nation party. This week it was at a club called Exit, and in case you are wondering from previous entries, I didn't get lost coming home from this one. Its about damn time. It would have been nearly impossible for me to get lost coming home because it is practically across the street. I came home relatively early, you know, like 12:30 or so.
On Wednesday, I went on a bob sled track and thought I was going to die. It may be the least safe thing I have ever been on, and I did ride the original Twister roller coaster at Elitch Gardens. I went on 3 runs and on the last I was clocked at 48 kilometers an hour. Someone told me that is around 30 mph, though he isn't the most reliable source. After the bob sledding, I went to Vysehrad, which is a very lovely basilica and there is a park surrounding it with a cemetery that is only for famous Czech people. I didn't see any names there that I recognized, but it was possibly the most beautiful cemetery I have ever been in. After that I went to a sushi dinner in Old Town (yes, sushi) with Meghan and Kristen.
On Thursday I went to a fantastic rock/reggae/punk club, drank way too much, made another late night McDonalds run, and was followed home by a very hopeful 17 year old. Poor kid, he really thought he was going to come home with us, and I don't have a litter box or a leash or anything here. I wasn't planning on going out that night, but I realized that I was going to have to register for classes soon and was looking at the schedule and had a minor nervous breakdown over it. I have to take certain classes next semester, and if I take them, I will have to drop one or both of my jobs. Someone tell me how to pay rent with no job? Anyway after I stopped hyperventilating (not really) I got all pretty and went out to drown my sorrows in absinthe and beer. I got home at about 4am and had to be at Churchill Square at 9 am to meet the bus to go to Moravia. Instead of packing or simply going to bed, I thought it would be good to get online and write some e mails. This is the equivalent of drunk dialing by the way. I finally went to bed and set the alarm so that I would get a whopping 3 hours of sleep, because as I have already mentioned, I had yet to pack.
There was lots of confusion surrounding the actual departure time on Friday morning, so I got up an hour early and we sent a guinea pig down to the square to see if the rest of us needed to be there. The answer was no, but Meghan and Kristen thought it would be really fun to mess with me that morning. I am sure that most of you are aware that I am not the most fun person in the morning. I punched my dad once, and they thought it would be really funny to play a trick on me. They text messaged me saying that they had left without me and I was going to miss the bus if I didn't get down there pronto. I shoved a bunch of random things into my backpack and ran (I actually ran) to the tram. I got to the tram pick up point and got a text from them saying they were just kidding, and that I should come up the their room. I think that my screaming must have woken everyone on their floor up, but they were still rolling on the floor laughing. That is, until Meg received a response from one of the guides for the trip saying that the trip was Saturday, not Friday. Since we were already packed and awake, we decided that we better head to Churchill Square anyway just to make sure. The group was there, and we were waiting for the bus on a freezing cold, foggy, damp Czech morning. The bus must have gotten the same information as Jana because it also thought the trip was Saturday. After we had been waiting for an hour and a half in the square (all 40 of us) everything got sorted out and the bus arrived. By now we were so late, that there wasn't time to make a pit stop on the way and there were mighty uncomfortable people on that bus that morning. I luckily had gotten that memo and stopped drinking water before we left.
We finally arrived at the Punkva Caves at 1pm and our tour began immediately. Those caves are possibly one of the coolest things I have ever seen. They are just... amazing. Its cold, damp, creepy, dark, and claustrophobic. It had everything a good cave should have, there were stories about people dying in the caves and the people who discovered it and all kinds of really cool things. When you enter, you are in this room and there are stalagmites and stalactites everywhere and you follow this trail and there is a person who is guiding you and telling all kinds of interesting facts and stories. You walk through these cave that go from immense and cavernous to awkward and cramped in steps. At one point the caves open up to the sky and everything is green and alive and bright, which is quite a contrast to the other parts of the cave. They call this part the abyss, and for good reason. It is probably 600 or so feet deep and we were standing at the bottom of it. Squinting and blinking in the light. I now understand why moles are blind. All that time in that kind of darkness... then coming into the light to see something so unexpected and amazing. It was at this point that the caves guide told us a story about how this little boy's step mother lured him to the edge of the abyss and then pushed him off. The town decided that they should in turn throw her into the abyss as retribution. Then she told us about all the explorers who died trying to get down there. So not morbid at all, actually very informative and quite comforting. Almost as comforting as when she was telling us about all the cave-ins. Thanks for that one.
After the walking part, there are boats that you get into and then you see the rest of the caves by boat. All the while, to ceiling is dripping on you and the people you are with keep threatening to suck your blood. Kristen, Meg, and I decided that we should have a theme day that day in all of our picture, and the theme was "amazed." So all we did all day long was take pictures of each other pointing at things and making faces. Brilliant. I have the funniest pictures of that day.
Anyway, after the caves we got back on the bus for what we all thought was a short ride to the winery where we would be staying. It was like an hour and a half, and again, there were some very uncomfortable people who didn't use the facilities before we left the cave area. At the winery it wasn't that there weren't enough beds for everyone, it was just that 8 of them were located above the wine cellar that we would be having dinner and drinks later that night. I was one of the chosen few. They truly were the sweetest digs too. We only had to share a bathroom between the 7 of us instead of sharing it with 20 other people, and we got to sleep two to a room instead of 4. The best part of all was that stumbling home and into bed was only a few stairs as opposed to the 1/2 mile all the other suckas had to trek. The wine was great, the food was fantastic, the people were fun, there was an accordion player and who doesn't love a good polka? I bet I would have loved it even more if I actually knew how to polka. It looks like its just a lot of bouncing around. The next day, we got on the bus and our guide Jana said "I hope you are feeling better than I am this morning, I have decided that instead of climbing all the stairs in the cathedral, you are getting free time. Go to the cathedral on your own of you want." With those words, everyone on the bus breathed a sigh of relief. Who wants to climb hundreds of stairs that hung over? After free time, we went to the most incredible castle I have ever seen. The grounds were well groomed, the place was kept up well, and inside were the most intricate and beautiful carvings I have ever seen. The staircases, the doorways, the windows, the everything it seemed was carved so delicately. We didn't have to try as hard to look amazed in the pictures today. After a tour of the inside, we all went into the greenhouse and that was just cool. There were over 250 types of exotic plants in there. After the greenhouse, there was more free time for lunch, and then back on the bus for the trip home. We arrived home and Meg and I watched a movie and went to bed.
Sunday I got up and decided that I would wander aimlessly around town until it was time to meet Meghan, Kristen and Laraine for breakfast at Bohemia Bagel. I walked for about two hours and it was great. It was my favorite kind of morning, grey and overcast, a little chilly and foggy. I bought my first souvenir on Sunday morning. It is a print made from a metal engraving, it is done in sepia and it is a picture of the tower at the end of the Charles Bridge with Prague Caslte and St. Vitus Cathedral in the background on the horizon. So very cool. In the evening on Sunday, I went to another Hockey game, this time with a huge group of people, and there was no riot. Sparta killed the other team, it was 6-1. Jedene Sparta Jedene! Or something like that I think... Today I have class in about an hour and did my laundry this morning at the "Cyber Laundromat." I love them for their dryers, what can I say.
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