So I left Liberec last night to visit some friends in Praha for Thanksgiving on Saturday. From the get go it did not go well. I have a private student until 530pm, and a bus leaves Liberec for Prague at 6pm. Normally, this would have been plenty of time to get to the bus station, however, I had forgotten my bag of clothes at home so I had to go there first, which meant that there was no way I would catch the 6pm bus. Okay, no problem, another bus comes at seven. This means that I can still get to my friends’ flat by 830 or 9. A little late, perhaps, but not too late.
I make it to Nadrazi (that’s station in Czech) and wait for the 7pm bus. Well, a bus arrives at 7pm, drops some folks off, but then just keeps on going without even giving me an opportunity to catch it. I look at the schedule, and it states, specifically, that there is a bus leaving Liberec for Praha at 7pm. But apparently that is just a big lie because there was no bus leaving Liberec at 7pm. And before someone starts thinking it was different because of the Thanksgiving holiday, it would be a good idea to remember that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the CZ. Christmas? Sure. Thanksgiving? Nope. Halloween? Only if they are hanging out with Americans. So it had nothing to do with the holiday, and everything to do with the unreliability of the bus system.
Now don’t get me wrong, the busses and trams and metros that are found in towns and cities and provided for public transport are extremely reliable. They come often, and get you where you need to go on time and for not much money. It is the distance busses and trains–the ones we must take from city to city or country to country–that are unreliable. Case in point: there was supposed to be a bus at 7, but there wasn’t. Or another example: when I left Ukraine to come back to CZ I was told that the bus left at 10–the schedule told me as did the ticket I was carrying–but it really left at 830. Lucky for me I had been just hanging around the bus station waiting otherwise I would have missed my bus and been stuck in Ukraine for who knows how long because it wasn’t like I had any money to buy another ticket out of that cold home of concrete beauty and alcoholics.
Anyway, the bus did not come at 7pm, and by this time I was quite cold and quite hungry. Another bus was supposed to come at 8, so I decided to run and get something to eat. Then I would return to the Nadrazi and see if I would have better luck with the 8pm bus. The only problem was that I did not have a lot of time to get something good to eat (like from a restaurant) because Czech service is slow, but that is because the culture encourages long meals with lots of food and beer consumed, so I decided that I would get a klobasa from a street stand. Like I said, I was hungry and knew that I didn’t have time to get a good meal. Besides, this street stand is not so bad, and it is cheap, so really there is no reason for me to complain.
I made it to the streetstand, ordered my klobasa in a bagette (fancy term for sausage type hotdog meal) and not ten seconds later, the place lost electricity. This meant that I was not going to get my streetdog as I have taken to calling sausages eaten on the street. Also, I was running out of time, but I knew that it would be at least two hours before I could get some food, and the last thing I had eaten was an apple at 2 or 3pm. I ran to this large supermarket caled Tesco (it’s kind of like the Euro version of Wal-Mart and I really try to avoid going there but it was the closest place and I knew I could get something there) and bought a pre-made sandwich that had pickles, bolied eggs and roast beef. It was not terrible, and it was enough to get me to Praha (which finally happened because the bus did come at 8 and I caught it) where I was able to finally get a streetdog and make it to my friends’ flat by 1030pm.
This was much later than I had hoped to arrive, but the important thing is that I did finally make it to Praha, shared some beer with my friends, and had a nice night’s sleep, which was much needed after the stress of the week, and the stress of last night’s endeavor to get to Praha. And tomorrow is the day of the big feast. I am quite excited.