Sunday, November 30, 2008

Adventures at the “Aero Cinema” 30/11/08 Day 136

Day 136 (slide show)

A couple of days ago I made a big mistake by agreeing to meet a guy and his two friends from Great Britain. It’s been very cold here and I found out he wanted to see the city so I asked him, this is in an email, “where would you like to meet, I can go anywhere” said the fool. (Me) I was trying to be nice again and it cost me big. He said he would meet in front of this statue in the city at 6pm. Why can’t I remember that when it is cold never meet anyone outside, always meet in a café or bar. I was there on time as always but this guy and his friends never showed. After 1 hour I split but I was frozen. I should have figured. I never heard from him either. He vanished like a “fart in the wind”

Mental Note: In the winter, never go to a meeting point if it’s outside.

Well last night I found out there was a film festival going on at a very nice art theater that I actually tried to find a few months ago with no success. The festival has an Ingmar Bergman tribute and has been going on already for a few weeks and I almost missed it. I did miss the great films that Max Von Sydow stared in. But there was a good film I haven’t seen tonight so I left early to try to find the place. The name of it was The Ritual. So I was looking forward to a great night at a new theater and a film I hadn’t seen.

After a small struggle I found the place and realized why I hadn’t been able to see it before. It is on a small street of high rise apartment buildings. You have to walk through the front door of one of these buildings and go down some stairs to the center area of the complex. I don’t know how else to describe it. These buildings are about 14 stories high and are squared to make a city block. In the middle is a common area and in some there is a park but in this one there is a theater. It’s crazy. The front doors are from the 50’s as you would find in an old theater in the States back then. It’s hard to describe this place but I think you should hear about it. So here is my best shot. As you walk in it’s rather dark as you enter a lobby area and on the left is the bar area where you can get beer or wine. On the right I’m thinking I would find the concession area. Not at this place there is a nice setting area where folks are either waiting for or coming out of the theater. I was trying to find the popcorn and fortunately I didn’t ask or I would probably been asked to leave. There is no food here. The wine is served in a nice glass which folks take into the theater and then bring back out after. It’s very civilized. I felt like a criminal because I brought a pack of M & M’s and had to sneak them quietly into my mouth not because of the theater rules but because of my fellow film buff’s. It was very funny. At one point the guy in front of me heard me do something and turned around like I spit ice on him. I didn’t hear anything.

Sorry I digress, but the theater is quite nice. There are reasonably good seats and the sound was a very good Dolby Digital System. I meet a few new folks afterward in the waiting area over a glass of wine. They had been to every one of the Bergman films. It was a great evening and would have been just a bit better to have a date but I couldn’t find anyone on this night. I forgot one more thing, the film of course is in Swedish and the subtitles are in Czech. A great film though and a real shocker in the ending

Alright now it is Sunday morning and I found out I lost my public transfer sometime last night. I can’t believe it, I can’t loose this. Remember how much trouble I had to get it. Just think of the torture I will have to go through to get another one. I’m sure I will loose an appendage over this. These Czech lady bureaucrats at that office are merciless. They could teach that asshole Don Rumsfeld new techniques. I have to find it. As I was dreaming last night I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind of that idiot in the theater turning around and glared at me. Then it struck me, He might have heard the small calculator case where I keep the card fall on the floor. I thought he heard me tear the package of

M & M’s open. Damn, I know that’s it.

It’s now 2pm and I’m heading for the theater. As I enter there isn’t anyone of importance around so I went straight for the theater area. There was some kind of class going on but I just acted like I was supposed to be there. As I made my way to where I sat I couldn’t see anything, it’s to dark. I put my glasses on and tried to see under the seats but nothing then I remembered my pack has one of my Pac safe carabineers on it. These carabineers have a combo lock and a LIGHT. Damn I knew I bought these for a reason. Within 30 seconds I had the calculator case and my pass inside.

I left quickly before someone tried to ask me any questions, I don’t know how I would have answered them. They would have been yelling at me in Czech as I ran away. I took a few pic’s on my way out for you. I love the place.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The “Mammut Climbing Gym," Prague 27/11/08 Day 133

Day 133 (slide show)

There isn’t really much to talk about these past two day’s. I know this blog is getting boring but that’s because I’m bored. I need to find somewhere to go. This weather is a bummer and I don’t like this sitting around.
I think I have the slide shows working better now and that should make a difference while you’re viewing the pictures. I’m going back and repairing all the previous days as fast as I can.

I meet a guy who wants to do some bouldering and he invited me to a “Boulder Bar” which I have heard is a bar with a wall. Seems crazy but I wanted to check it out. The roomer around is that bar’s put a small wall in to give you something to do while drinking. Imagine that in the states. There would be way too much liability for a place to try it.

So I was to meet Gerald at this place in an area that I wasn’t familiar with but I figured I could find it. I was kind of tired because I rode my bike for an hour and stayed up late last night working on the Mount Olympus post. I got to the area just in time and saw a sign that said “Lezecké centrum Mammut.” I was thinking, man this place is sweet. As I was going around back to the door I asked this fellow “Is this the Bolder Bar?” He mumbled and nodded yes as we both walked in. You know I should no better then to trust a guy that mumbles. This is a very nice place and a great lay out. There were several rooms with various routes. There is also a nice work out area and of course a bar. I put my shoes on and hung out for a while. Around 6:30pm I still hadn’t seen him, he’s now an hour late. As I was walking around I started to notice it getting crowded and remember that he told me it wouldn’t be crowded. Something’s Wrong (Junior Watson, Bluesman) I found out the “Boulder Bar” is around the front of the building and the wall there is about the size of a 4x8 sheet of plywood with a piece of carpet as a landing pad. What a bust. Why would there be two places in the same building and why didn’t he tell me that. It turns out that he likes the small bar because sometimes the let him climb for free. I told him they should pay us to climb on it, but what the hell. I made my why home and decided to try another day.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dobrá Čajovna, Tea House 23/11/08 Days 129-131

Day 129-131 (slide show)

I woke to more snow today and heavy snow too. I don’t think there will be any bike riding for awhile. I’m trying to eat properly and working out 5 times a week but I worry it won’t be enough when the riding season comes. Right now my weight is 166 which is just about right. I was 150 to 155 when I arrived in Prague and that was to thin. I found a scale at a thrift store so now I can monitor my weight better. I think this winter is going to be long and cold. Not much happening today but I did attend a tea tasting party at a really nice Tea House named Dobrá Čajovna. I learned a lot about tea from many parts of the world and something I didn’t know is that Prague has had tea houses for over 500 years. It is quite a science with many different nuances. This tea experience was a special event and the owner let us come before opening hours so we would have the place for ourselves. I had an interesting day but I’m a coffee guy and it would be hard for me to switch I think.

On day 130 I stayed in and tried to figure out the Photo bucket application on this blog. I’ve hated the slide show app and after a few trial and errors, with a bit of pounding on the keyboard I think I solved it. My friend Nikolas who climbed Mount Olympus with me sent me a note about the posts of the climb. He was having trouble controlling the speed of the slide shows and it bothered me to think of my friend being frustrated. I have fixed the problem I hope. So Nicholas if you read this let me if things are better now.

I’m working on a slight change of plans in the “Round the World” trip. I had always planed to fly to Los Angeles after cycling around Central Europe, leaving sometime in Late July. I looking now at sending my bikes and gear back to an east coast port and flying there. After retrieving my stuff at that port I will buy a van or camper truck and drive across the country taking a northern route through Canada and the western states. I’m working on this and will let you know how it turns out. Flying would be such a bummer when I could drive it and see the country at a much slower pace. It’s a Bold and Audacious way to finish the journey.

On Day 131 the weather was strange and a little warmer. I was all set to go into the city to run errands when the sun came out. I jumped on Betsy for a ride but it was a bust. I need to watch out for these sucker days. You know who the sucker is. I got out there and rode down the hill only to find ice in every shady spot. I almost dumped poor Betsy and could have really hurt myself. Going down hill on ice is not a lot of fun. I was able to find a dry spot on the other side of the road to come back up but this was a mistake. I see some of the Czech riders out in this stuff but there on mountain bikes with big knobby tires. I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t fallen a few times too. Enough of this I thought and I headed into the city a little late.

I pounded out the second day of the Mount Olympus climb tonight. It took until about 2am. I wasn’t watching the time. I just kept righting away and when I finished I was surprised when I looked at my watch. I had such a good time on that climb it was fun to relive it. Now I need to get my Greek friends to approve it. I hope Nikolas and Mr. C. like it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The John and George Café/Restaurant 22/11/08 Day 128

Day 128 (slide show)

Well I woke to more snow. There is about 2in now and it is still coming down. A few CS’ers posted that they were going biking today and I had to laugh. I would have liked to see that post a few days ago.

After working on the blog for a while I thought I would get over to “The Lennon Wall” and see what happens. I thought I could get some nice shots of the snow around the wall but it started to melt before I could get there. There wasn’t anyone around so I had a piece of there great carrot cake and some of the best tea around. It’s listed as George’s favorite. I’m not sure what kind it is but it has a definite Indian flavor and is served with honey. It’s very tasty. I relaxed there for a while and then made my way to the supermarket where I fight my way through the isles as the old Czech gals try to kill you. It is quite a different experience shopping here. There is still a communist flavor about the food stores. And another thing is if you mess up at the check out counter your in for a real tongue lashing by an old bag that has a beard longer then mine. I think they are actually jealous and want a beard as long as mine. Later on another day I will bring my camera and do a post on this experience.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I just got my bikes and it snows 20/11/08 Days 126,127

Day 126, 127 (slide show)

I was very tired and a little sore this morning. I didn’t get in until 3am and had to walk about 5k because the night tram didn’t show up at my stop. It was a nice night so the walk was good. I’m just glad it wasn’t very cold; you wouldn’t want to get caught out on that walk in the middle of January. I would like to go to that Juke Joint more often, (“The Blues is Alright” Albert King.) I figure if I want to see another show at U Malěho Glena again I would have to take a cab. That would probably run about 450kzc (est. $23.00) Not to bad but after then whole nights expenses it’s a bit pricey.

I was going to go riding today but I couldn’t muster the energy. It’s about 8c and a little windy but a good day to ride. I should have gone, I can’t miss these days. I did get something done though, I built Renee and she is looking great. She has a small problem with the front brake cable though. It seems to have stretched a bit. I will send a note to my friend Rob and get a second opinion.

On Day 127 I have an appointment at the warehouse where my crate is at . Remember CS Cargo? I want to check on the condition and get a quote on shipping my stuff back if I decide to do that. Right now I’m thinking it would be a good idea but will have to see how things work out. I don’t want to loose that crate though.

Today was the first day of snow and that didn’t sit to well with me. I just got my stuff and it snows. At least I have some warm clothing though. I think I’m in for a long winter.

After a little shopping in the area I went to my friend Alexey's house. He lives close to the warehouse and I've been wanting to see his bike. It gave me a chance to see another part of the city.After spending a few hours with him I headed for my flat. It’s on the other side of the city if you recall and takes a while to get there using all the local modes of transportation, Metro, Tram and walking or bus if I want.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Blues infusion at "U Malěho Glena, Prague" 19/11/08 Day 125

Day 125 (slide show)

A crazy day today because I tried to ride but it started to rain and mist as soon as I got out the door. I was disappointed because it had gotten warmer during the night. Most of the time this would bother me but I wasn’t feeling too good and I don’t want to risk catching a cold. I’m meeting a few friends at a café later this afternoon and I hear there is a David černý piece of art there I’ve heard about. If you remember he is the artist that put the babies on the TV Tower in žižkov here in Prague.

Well I made the café and what a crazy piece of work. Its in a dark area so that makes it hard to get a good shot of the thing. The story is that it’s a mockery of the Kings Knights but I’m not sure about that. Something tells me there is more to it. It’s fun to go around the city and try to find all of his work. The good thing is I have only seen three pieces and I have many more to go.

Several days ago I had decided to find this Blues Club I had heard about. So after getting a schedule of the gigs I decided that today was the best night to go. Wednesdays are “Blues Night” and I need a Blues infusion.

I was very surprised at how great the place was. It is a cavern under a restaurant. The seating is for 25 to 30 people max and the sound is unforgettable. The cover is only 200 czk and the band was the “Rene Trossman Band.” He was very good and claims …bathed in a pure juice of Chicago Blues.” I think I have to agree, he played some old favorites and several pieces of his own. It was a real fun night and I got to talk to Rene about the States, since he is from Chicago, and told him I was a lifetime member of the Santa Barbra Blues Society. He actually knew of the group and had sent a few CD’s to a local DJ at a radio station in Santa Barbara just recently. So I’m giving the place and Rene a little plug. Another great thing happened on this night. I made some new friends from Dresden, Thomas and Grit Neumeister who for some reason took a liking to me and invited me to a Blues Festival in Dresden in May. It sounds like a good time and maybe I can do some riding there as well. So if you’re ever in Prague and want to see some good Blues or Jazz then U Malěho Glena is the place I recommend.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I’m back on the saddle again 18/11/08

Day 124 (slide show)

I got up early today so that I could get to the bike store early. I needed to get the bike pump quick. Even though its only 6C I can ride today if I have some air for the tires. A bike pump and a little chain oil was all I needed before heading for my flat. By noon I was out riding “Betsy the Buzz” she is my fast city bike that will do well around here with the hills. After riding for over an hour I can feel I need to get back in shape. My legs are burning and I’m gasping for air. But it feels good; my ass needs to get back in shape too, ouch. I was last on the bike on July 11 so I guess I’m going to be a little soft.

After a few adjustments with the brakes and derailleur’s, Betsy was purring like a kitten. I stopped in a park and planted my camera in a tree to get these shots. It was quite funny for these two local ladies who were walking as they saw me set the camera then hurry to ride out in front of it. I would do these circles and they couldn’t figure it out. It is a nice day to ride even though I’m very cold.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It’s an early Christmas 15/11/08 Day 121-123

Day 121-123 (slide show)

Today was quite bazaar. With all my stuff to go through it was like Christmas when I was a kid. I’ve inspected all the gear except the bikes and I’ll get to them tomorrow. No since rushing a good thing I figure. The weather isn’t that good anyway. I’m trying to get the computer working but it seems to be sluggish. I think it didn’t like the trip very well.

I thought I would take it to a café and see how it works using the Wi-Fi. I had just got started when it got hit by a windows update and that took 25 minutes. It was so slow that I couldn’t work on anything else. I have two batteries but one showed charged but it wasn’t and needs another charge. I had to stop after about an hour of not getting anything done. Damn “Something’s Wrong (Junior Watson, Bluesman) nothing else new except it is nice to have my bikes and gear.

On Day 122 I spent the whole day working on sending out emails and catching up on old business. It’s Sunday and the weather isn’t that good again so I haven’t build the bikes yet. Maybe I will this afternoon. I still need to get a pump to fill the tires.

Think about this, try taking your computer and stuffing it in a box for 5 months. When you decide to turn it on you will find it gets inundated by all kinds of updates. They come from all over the place, most of the time you don’t notice them because they happen behind the scenes. It sure slows down the computer and in some cases they come so fast that it seizes up and I have to shut down and restart. It’s very annoying and I hope it quits soon.

Tomorrow I’m going to get out and buy a pump. I opened the box with Betsy in it and I’m going to put her together.

On Day 123 I am having a hard time getting off the computer. I want to but there is so much to catch up on. I’m still unpacking the bikes and trying to find a place for the boxes. The weather is only 3C but I headed out for the bike pump. There wasn’t anyone around and as I got to the store it was closed for the holiday. I forgot about that and I knew it too. I thought it was for the public offices not the whole city. Damn I can’t think straight now. Back to the flat and get things ready for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Alexey and Daniel, two good friends 13/11/08 Days 119, 120

Days 119,120 (slide show 1) (slide show 2)

Well today things are starting to happen with my gear. I caught the metro for a 40 minute ride to the Zličín station here in Prague. It is the farthest most station on the B line. I live on the other end of the B line. I was very happy when my friend Alexey offered to come with me to the warehouse. He has the day off today and said he would come as a translator. My contact at CS Cargo speaks English but he might not be in and there are a lot of unknown variables to consider. It’s nice to have Alexey is with me.

So many things happened while I was there. I paid the invoice right away then I sat down to hear the procedure for picking up the crate. As it turns out I have to pick up the crate tomorrow and take it to the customs office which is out by my house on the other side of the city then get them to release it. According to Pavel from the warehouse my paperwork is in order so at that point I will have my bikes and gear. There is no telling how long this will take. I never heard from my driver which was very distressing because he was to be my interrupter at the customs office. I had to make a quick decision at the time and decided to hire a driver from the warehouse. I hope this is the right choice.

After a few hours of discussions with Pavel the warehouse representative I asked if I could see the crate. I was so scared that I would see a smashed mess or a corner of a poorly built box smashed in. If it doesn’t look good why am I going through all this pain? When I saw the crate I almost dropped to my knees. It was in perfect condition and a very solid box. I looked at the ceiling of the warehouse and thanked my friend Moses at ETC International for the great job he did. I also thanked Zeus and Apollo for keeping there eyes on my stuff. Now if they can help me get through tomorrow.

On Day 120 I almost overslept because I couldn’t sleep at all last night. Every option was going through my mind. Alexey and I spoke afterword and he told me I would have a very difficult time at customs if I don’t have a translator. Since my driver is AWOL and I have no one to help I have to just do it myself. I figured that if I’m suppose to have my gear then it will happen and if not I will just ship it back and make other plans. I would drive myself nuts worrying about it. I was at a cybercafé chatting with Alexey about the options last night and he remembered a friend of his that is a student and might be available. I meet him one time but there wasn’t any reason for him to help. Alexey told me that if I send him an email he might get it and show. This was a long shot because it was 8PM and chances are he won’t even read the email in time let alone want to spend the day at the customs office. I’m trying to imagine why anyone would want to subject themselves to that kind of torture. I sent the email, what the hell. This is what I wrote to Daniel Plavecký.

Hi Daniel,
I was just chatting with Alexey and he mentioned you as
a possible person to ask. It's a big favor but I will
make it well worth your time. I need a translator to
come with me tomorrow morning to the customs office.
It's crazy but we would meet at the Zlicin station at
8am. The warehouse where I have my gear is there and I
just found out today the procedure. We will go by their
truck to the customs office with my crate of gear in
the truck. There we go through the process of getting
the clearance. I have no idea how long it will take
and I don't expect it to be pleasant. I will get you
to the nearest metro station as soon as possible then
the driver and I will continue on to my flat. If all
goes well I expect to be in possession of my property.
Alexey was with me today at the warehouse and he thinks
I need a translator to help me. I agree but time is a
problem. This is short notice and you might not have
the time or even get this message. Another problem is
that I have no phone and my laptop is in the crate
with the gear so I'm using cybercafés and won't be
able to check my messages that early in the morning.
So, if you’re so inclined I will meet you in the morning
or I will tell you all about the adventure the next
time we meet.
Thx Man

So I’m thinking to myself that there isn’t anyway that Daniel will be there at the metro station so I’m going to have to make it on my own. I was at the station at 7:45AM waiting when all of a sudden here comes Daniel. I was very surprised and relieved. How could he have gotten the message? As it turns out he was just about to turn his computer off around 9PM when he saw it come into his message box. “I wasn’t doing much today so I thought I would come” he said.

We headed to the warehouse going down the trail and behind the metro night station and he asked “How did you find this place” I laughed.

By 9:30 we were on our way to the customs office. The driver from the warehouse was a contracted driver who spoke little English but was a nice guy. It would have been very difficult to deal with the plutocracy through him. As we arrive at the office Daniel noticed a sign on the front door. It said that the office will close at 3PM because of the holiday on Monday. I new I was getting lucky now because these bureaucrats would want to get me out of there so they don’t have to deal with me later. I was praying to Zeus for an inspector who wanted to get to the bar early for his first holiday beer.

Inside there wasn’t very many people so I’m thinking this might be easy. There I go again thinking too much. I took a number and we waited. About an hour went by and nothing then it was lunch hour and one half. As 2PM approached we were getting impatient so Daniel went back through a door to see if he could find out anything. As he came out he shook his head, nothing. Then within 30 seconds my number came up but before I could get to the counter the next number was up. Sitting down again I was beginning to think they were doing this on purpose. Around 2:15 Daniel was called and asked to write down in Czech a statement explaining my reason for wanting two bikes. Then after that they wanted a written statement on why I wasn’t working. Now the biggest problem I thought I was going to have was my visa status but they didn’t even ask. After all that and 3PM on the dot rolled around then the clerk looked at the papers again grabbed the stamp and “Bam Bam” Bye Bye.

They didn’t even look in the crate. The driver grabbed the paperwork and motioned “Let’s go fast” I was I disbelief. We were heading to my flat and I had my gear. We arrived out in front of my apartment and opened the crate on the road. In 15 minutes were had it all in my room. The driver took my crate back to the warehouse for storage so I can use it on my return and Daniel went to the metro station and it was all over.

Thanks Alexey Statsenko and Daniel Plavecký. You both really did me a big favor and I won’t forget it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

“PHANTOMYSTERIA” by the Physical Theater Company 12/11/08 Day 118

Day 118 (slide show) (video 1) (video 2)

I’m doing very well with my exercise routine every morning. I wish I had a few weights and other pieces of equipment but I’m making due. Something is happening with the gear because this morning I checked my email at the Bohemian Bagel shop and I have an invoice from the warehouse. Finally I'm getting some kind of news. The cost turns out to be a little higher then I expected coming mostly from the Hamburg transfer fees. The total is 7840czk ($420.00) and I was expecting about $300.00 so not to bad. It will all be worth it as long as I get the crate. I am very worried about the costumes clearance.

So now the next step is to go out there and see the condition of the crate. I haven’t actually seen the thing because 5 months ago I dropped off my stuff at ETC International in Long Beach, CA in storage boxes. I paid the manager Moses to build the crate, I can only hope that he did a good job. I have a new friend here named Alexey, a great guy who is going to go with me tomorrow to help translate if needed. I have sent an email to the van driver that I’m getting close and be ready but haven’t heard from him yet. The invoice doesn’t say that I can pick up tomorrow but I want to go talk to them in person and pay the invoice quickly. With Alexey there I can find out if there will be any unexpected surprises. I think I have everything in order. Who knows though.

Even though I don’t know how this will turn out at least things are starting to move along. I always knew that getting this gear was going to be a major hurdle. Now I’m very and anxious about what is next so I decided to take my mind off it and attend a Retro Musical with some new friends Martina, Uri and Mari at an abandoned warehouse. The place looks like it was bombed out and as I went in I thought about how in the states they would never let this happen because of the liability costs. Evidently this warehouse is to be leveled soon and this acting troupe gets permission to hold their event before the demolition crew starts their work.

They are called The Physical Theater Company and the play they performed is called "PHANTOMYSTERIA". (An open air performance) I’m told they perform many different plays all over Europe and have received great reviews. It is all spoken in Czech tonight but I could get the story line very easy. I was quite impressed with the acting and writing. I will try to explain here but if you review the attached photos I have an explanation on those as well.

First I have to say, the way I saw it, as a play depicting their impression of “American Corporate Fascism” in the future. It starts with a guy getting laid off or fired I’m not sure which. The story is of what happens in his mind as much as what is happening around him. This poor executive gets tortured and invents a friend to stop the pain and in the end shots his friend which as it turns out is himself. Now this review isn’t totally correct I’m sure but the story line didn’t seem that hard to follow. If anyone out there has a more detailed idea of the storyline please send me a note. I would love to see an English translation of this, my Czech is very limited. It was great though and I’m glad I saw it. I would say it was an amazing performance.

The cost was nice too, 100.00czk (about $5.00)

Tomorrow is a big day and I’m sure one of many to come.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Magic of “The Lennon Wall” Day 115-117 9/11/08

Day 115-117 (slide show 1) (slide show 2) (video)

I got in late last night and it was hard to get up. I hate that too. As I was making coffee my roommate Charlie made a piece offering and I excepted so while cooking my breakfast I made a little extra for him. We will see how long it lasts though.

It’s Sunday and so the warehouse is closed. I haven’t heard any news about my gear and it’s quite depressing. After cleaning up I took the tram down to the city and checked a cybercafé for any news from any one but nothing. In a few months no one will know I’m alive. I’m fading fast. Its great weather again today and no bikes to ride. I’m looking at maybe Tuesday or Wednesday now.

On Day 116 I did my usual thing at the Bohemia Bagel then I noticed on the computer that a guy named Jacob from San Diego was in town. He is a Couchsurfer and looking for someone to see the sites in the city with. There were no emails from the warehouse on my gear so I sent him a message to meet at “The Lennon Wall.” I figured we would see someone else there and make a group of it. It’s a funny thing about the “Wall,” you never know what is going to happen there. We meet at 1:30 and sure enough there were things happening. Ricardo who lives here in Prague showed up and we meet two nice ladies from Mexico Miss Ana Rubies and Miss Melina Zertuche, both were very nice and I enjoyed the company. Also I meet a new friend from Spain. His name is Daniel Tordera Salvador. He was kind enough to send me his pictures of his trip to Prague. You can look here. He has a good eye and did a great job on them. (Daniel 1) (Daniel 2) (Daniel 3) Everyone except Ricardo and I had never meet before. It’s the “Wall.” Magical things happen there. We all toured around the Castle area for a few hours then started to split up. It was a good afternoon but my mind is all cramped up. I can’t concentrate. (Slide show 1 is the pictures for today)

On Day 117 Jacob and I meet again to see some other areas of the city. I was pretty depressed today. At least being out with Jacob today kept my mind off of my dilemma.

There is this back doorway that gives a sneak peak of the Jewish Cemetery. All you get is a small hole but it is better then paying the fee to get inside around the front. We also found a crazy Medieval Bar/Restaurant that was fun. Jacob wanted to try the Galosh and they had a special on the dish. I’ve had it a few times but it isn’t that great. When we walked up we saw the dummy under the building, it was funny. That’s actually why we went in.

I can feel I’m getting slow and gaining a little weight now so tomorrow I will get back to my exercise routine. (Slide show 2 is the pictures for today)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Day at the Karlštejn Castle Area 8/11/08 Day 114

Day 114 (video) (slide show)

Today when I was preparing to go on a day hike with some friends I grabbed my poncho just as I was walking out the door. I didn’t think it would be a rainy day but just in case. It was about 6am and I wasn’t thinking to well but I made a good choice on this one. It rained most of the day. I’ve gone half way around the world and forgotten it several times but on this day it was a beautiful thing. Other then the rain which was light to a mist it was a nice day.

There was going to be nine of us going but two faded and so at 8:30 we boarded the train for a short 50 min ride to this small tourist village named Mořina. At least that is the name of the area now. This is a popular area because the Karlštějn Castle is here and its easy access to the Prague area. We are not going for the castle though we are heading for the Lime Pits known as Big America, Little America, Mexico and Canada. Now you might ask why they are named this. Well I don’t have a clue. For some reason these folks way back decided to name the four pits after the countries in the North America. Strange I know but whatever.

The trail was quite muddy slippery but we a good time anyway. I enjoyed the distraction from thinking about my bikes. This Limestone Quarry complex is connected by tunnels that run all over under the area. Rumor has it that these were started long ago but the information here says early 1900’s. During the late 40’s to the early 60’s the Communist’s were sending political prisoners here to work the mines. There isn’t much to see as far as evidence of this except a small monument to the people who died.

I found a nice horse ranch that looked fun with lots of riding area. It would be nice to have a horse out there. We enjoyed the day with a little wine and snacks as the rain slowed in the afternoon. After getting back to my place I cleaned up then went into the city to have dinner with everyone. It turned out to be a good day with some good friends.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My bikes are in the City 1/11/08 Days 107-113

Day 107-113 (slide show)

It is hard to sleep now that I know my bikes are near. I’m going to a Couchsurfing get together this afternoon and I hope it takes mind off the matter. My roommate is starting to push me and I’m going to have to set him straight soon. It’s not what I need now and my patience is very thin with him right know.

The weather is foggy and cool today even though the weathermen called for sun. There was about ten of us who showed for this gathering and we headed for a “Retro Party” I call it a Swap Meet. It was smaller then the Czech’s in our group thought it should be. If you brought something to donate then you got in for free. I didn’t know what to expect so I paid the 35kz. That comes to about $0.65 not bad. There was a nice little bar set up there and they did a good job of organizing it but they lacked enough venders. It was fun to meet new folks though. Later we moved to a park up on the north side of the city for a Mexican Halloween party with free food. Once you advertise “Free Food” you know it’s going to be lame. There were way too many people for the amount of food there. I didn’t even try to eat anything. Most of the folks just wandered around so I left a little early. It was interesting going home because I had not been in this part of the city before and I had to find different trams but I made it.

On Day 108 I got a few things done but I can’t get my mind off all the things that can go wrong. I was getting so anxious last night that I couldn’t sleep so I decided that whatever happens will happen the thing for me to do is have a backup plan and make sure I’m prepared. I give myself about a 50% chance of success. If I get the gear fine and if I don’t I’ll move on. That was the plan anyway.

After calculating it out the cost of transporting the crate to my flat is about $70 and the fees to get it out of the warehouse are about the same. That’s not bad when you consider I paid double that in LA for the same service. The problem is the fees at customs are unknown and that’s if they even give my stuff to me at all. If I have trouble I will ship it back to the States somewhere. I bought almost everything at half price so it won’t hurt to bad.

On Day 109 I had a scary moment with the warehouse because they wanted me to fax over some doc’s and then I asked if there were any problems. Pavel told me they wanted to call the name I had on the BL. If you remember I couldn’t find anyone to help me with this until I got to Greece and finally I had to us a name I didn’t know. This started to scare me. If they call the number then the whole thing will fall through. It’s alright just another thing to think about. Let’s pile that on top of all the other possible things that might kill this deal.

I have a trucker who speaks English who will help with the translation problem. I figure this is like an ace in my hand. So I called him to review the situation. He told me lots of people do this with furniture when moving here and be patient. Then he said “You might have trouble with a few other things though, let’s just wait.” (Some of these thing’s I can’t mention now but will add later)

On Day 110 I left early for the bagel shop because I couldn’t sleep and was waiting in front when they opened. As I sat there looking at a Czech newspaper I was approached by this woman. She asked if I would tell her about what was going on in Prague. I laughed and said “I can’t read a bit of it” she laughed too. We talked for a while and then walked around the city for a few hours looking at the few interesting things I knew about. Her name was Jessica and she had been in the city for a few days but hadn’t been able to get out and see much of anything. It was a nice break for me because I stopped thinking of all the “what if’s” I have going on. I left her around 3pm and she might email me but who knows.

On Day 111 the anxiety is killing me. I haven’t heard a word from the warehouse and the weather today is great. I even saw some bike riders in t-shirts and shorts. O’ how I would love to have my bikes right now, this is great weather to ride in. I spent the day as usual starting at the bagel shop then another cybercafé at 11am then walking around till 3pm to another cybercafé. I’m always checking my email to see if there is any news. I didn’t receive anything all day. By the way I have had my camera with me everyday but can’t find anything that looks like a good picture. At the end of the day I realize that I haven’t taken a single picture. The cybercafés are getting to know me quite well. I walk into there place everyday it seems.

On Day 112 I did my usual thing at the bagel shop then decided to go see a movie at 1pm so I could do something different. It was nice to see a movie because I hadn’t seen on since June. But there was no news again today. I’m getting very depressed over this. If I don’t here today then I know it will be Monday before something happens. Today is Thursday and Fridays are "give away" days around here. I need to prepare myself that this isn’t going to work.

On Day 113 I had to make a stand with my bully roommate Charlie. He has pushed me as far as I want to go so I as expected I stood my ground on an issue and he shrunk up like a turtle. It was quite funny actually. I’m glad that it happened so I can forget about that problem.

I did hear from the warehouse today and Pavel apologized for not getting to me sooner but they have been very busy. He had some numbers for me and said things were fine and the crate is there. That was the first time that I actually heard that. What a relief it was. So now I have to wait some more. Pavel was very kind and said to be patient. “I will get in touch with you” he said. What does that mean? At least the crate is there and that’s good news. I can’t wait to get a picture of it.

Tomorrow is Saturday and I signed up for a hiking trip to some caves and some kind of castle place. It’s something new and should be fun.