Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Train Stations

This is, admittedly, not the worlds greatest picture, it is, however, one of the first things I was privileged to see upon my arrival in Ostrava, Czech Republic. That little blob to the left is JJ running to rescue me, or rather my luggage.

I would have to admit to one minor flaw in my character... I am, still, at the age of 30+, incredibly naive when it comes to safety & the protection of valuables. That blob to the right, all of our luggage. I just wanted to get a picture of the walk-way before it filled up with people again...

This is the train station in Ostrava, I had just gotten off the plane from Prague and we were now on our way back to Prague via train. Which is another long story, one which I will save for later.

Yes, I had read in all of the travel books, brochures and web-sites to keep my belongings close to me, especially in train stations, so as not to loose said belongings to beggars and thieves. I just thought that information would only be pertinent once entering Prague. JJ thought differently. I am proud to report that, due to a more than diligent JJ, not one single item was taken from us during the entire trip.

The train was incredibly HOT, the air conditioner in our unit was not functioning, at all. Which is really not a big deal on a train, if the window in your cabin opens, ours did not. The perfect beginning to a dream trip? Well, actually, yes. I curled up in a ball and slept, leaving the "security" up to my trusty traveling companion. Trains are much easier to sleep on than planes.

Some several hours later, we arrived at the Prague train station, the wrong Prague train station...this we did not realize until the return trip. Another little piece of advise given in all the Prague travel related items we had been scouring through for weeks went something like this: "Taxi drivers are sometimes con artists, only use a reputable taxi service!"

So, we called a taxi. (This was only after following hand painted signs into a dark tunnel where sixteen men, were sitting at a table and enjoying a rousing game of cards. Suddenly, upon their seeing two obvious tourists, in unison, all of them dropped their cards and came running at us asking us, with sign language, passable English, and possibly other languages, if we needed a taxi. "No, no, we were just looking for someone, we don't need a taxi, thanks.")

So, out to the front of the train station.... where is the front, which is the front? There were two definite possibilities. We took turns "guarding" the luggage and checking the other entrance, and waited, and waited, and waited.

During one of my trips to "the other side" a young man approached me and said something like this: "Být příjemný darovat mne nějaký peníze , JÁ am hladový." In total frustration I began shaking my head and waiving my hands, much like the "fake taxi drivers" earlier. The boy just looked at me... I said "No, no, English, only English." with irritation, sadness and a touch of shame in my voice.

"Oh, OK, I was just wondering if you had a few crowns you could spare for a fellow traveler" says this young man in ragged clothes with dirty hand held out to me. Shaking my head and muttering no, no, I simply walked away........bilingual bums, who would have thought?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

.... journeys are meant to be life-changing events!..... and it sounds like your latest travel was just that.... life-changing!......


Show in June 2007

Show in June 2007
Daughter of the Year!