Tuesday, September 05, 2006

flying crapper

Saturday night, Martine and I met up with Thomas and Barbara for some dinner and a few quiet drinks. Thomas brought along his Czech mate Kristov (the best Austrian accent of any Czech I’m ever likely to meet), who made sure these drinks were kept at a fun volume. We ate our food and found our way to a pub, where we had a few beers, learnt about the importance of never being a Honza and discovered that Becherovka can cause temporary amnesia. When it came time to leave, I retrieved my offsider from the loos and payed our bill (or at least I think we did). Somehow we made it back to the flat, taking little breaks along the way to rest our weary legs and deliver some street pizza. We got back to the flat, I sorted out Martine for some water and a bucket and left her to pass out fall asleep in her bed. I returned to the kitchen to drink some water, and was suddenly presented with a large pool of vomit on the kitchen bench and in the sink. After inspecting the contents (yep. Chicken), I concluded it was mine and cleaned it up the best I could, placing the incriminating towel in the washing machine. Sunday morning arrived and through half joke, half embarrassment, half sketchiness (yes, three halves), I softly break it to Martine that she had made a mischief in the kitchen, but she wasn’t to worry because I had cleaned it up for her. As I honestly couldn’t remember the vomiting part, I was partly convinced that I had imagined the whole thing. Only after wanting to share my confusion of how the vomit had magically appeared (and finding an AWOL chunk of partially digested chicken under the toaster), did I spill the beans and tell her it was mine. It reminded me of one of my sister’s story where she couldn’t work out why a Korean taxi driver was yelling at her, while simultaneously being confused about why a fresh pool of vomit was sloshing around her feet in rear foot well of his cab.

After cleaning up a little, Martine and I had a bit of lunch (humble pie I think), then ventured up to Prague Castle to do what all the tourists do. We followed around some "sketchy" walking photo opportunities and found ourselves at the base of St Vitus Cathedral, the huge gothic church towering over the whole of Prague. We watched some medieval dancing, but as it had begun to rain, we headed for cover through a door at the side of the church in an effort to stay dry. We entered a space devoid of tourists and found the entrance to a stone spiral staircase leading upwards. In blind curiosity, we climbed the stairs to see what they led to. After about 5 minutes of climbing, we came across a belfry with the bell attendants standing around having a chat about what’s new in bell technology. Not speaking any English, they gestured to us to climb a small ladder to get a better view of outside. We peered out onto the courtyard below, to see all the sketchys had dispersed, making way for the rain. After taking a couple of photos, we climbed down the ladder, thanked the attendants and returned to the spiral staircase to find out what was at the top. After another bit of climbing we discovered a deserted observation area, which gave us some kick-arse 360 degree views of Prague. From there we could see all of the old city, the famous bridges, people driving home on the motorway and if we squinted, the rough outline of Martine’s building. We congratulated ourselves at the genius that was our discovery of the secret observation area. Then the lights to the stairwell flickered out.


We found a switch, providing light to the pitch-black stairwell and we descended. The belfry office was now locked and the attendants were nowhere to be seen. Hmmm… We continued down the stairs only to greeted by a locked cast iron cage gate. Shit. From what we could hear, the only activity in the church was the old building creaking in the wind. Our shouts of “POMOTS” (am I pronouncing this right Martine?), and “HELP” went unanswered with no one coming to our aid. Everyone had gone home and we were stuck inside the church alone. I sensed Martine’s panic and made a few cracks about drinking our own urine and how it was shame we didn’t have any cards to pass the time. Martine gave a nervous laugh. My training in China and Russia has given me the perception that all travel companions freak out, yell and eventually hyperventilate when faced with simple problems like eating or catching public transport. Now that we were faced with an actual problem, I thought a major breakdown was at hand. Feeling the spirit of MacGuyver flowing through me and not wanting to look useless, I started to have a go at the lock with Martine’s house keys. While I busied myself with the impossible, Martine SMSed a few people in Prague letting them know of our predicament, in the hope they could get in contact with the cathedral’s security. I suggested we call the police ourselves, and through much excitement initiated our first 112 international emergency number phone call. Being way more grown up than me, Martine did the talking and after an amusing conversation with the operator (We’re stuck in St Vitus Cathedral…. It’s the big church near Prague castle. Church? Cathedral? You know.. Religion and stuff.. No we can’t meet them at the front entrance, we’re lock… ok bye.), and five minutes (which felt like hours), we could hear people fussing about inside the main part of the church. We cried out our well rehearsed “POMOTS” and two flustered looking groundskeepers and a giant police officer burst through a near by door and gave us the ‘you’ve greatly inconvenienced us. We should leave you in there’ look. They freed us from our stairwell prison and the two groundskeepers started yelling at one other in Czech, probably about whose responsibility it was to check for stray tourists before they locked up. The police officer just smiled, took us to one side and asked for IDs. We handed over our passports, he pulled out his notebook and pen and for about ten seconds Martine and I thought we were about to cause a bit of a diplomatic incident. After deciding we weren’t terrorists and just a couple of dumb tourists, he put his notebook away without writing anything down, returned our passports and gestured us to the outside world.


As we ventured down the hill away from our adventure, we worked out that we were only trapped for about 30 minutes. Martine SMSed the people we alerted earlier, letting them know we had made parole quicker than expected. Talking about it later in a cafĂ©, we confessed that we both kinda knew we weren’t supposed to go where we did. But because we’re tourists, we could chalk up our minor act of trespassing as an innocent misunderstanding. Thank fuck we had a mobile phone with us, as we probably would have spent the night there.

Yesterday I checked out the Museum of Communism. These guys are really down on everything vaguely to do with socialism. Even Marx cops a fair bit of flak. Today I’m going to follow this route around Prague, albeit a little slower. I know it's a pissy copy of this route, but you know, you got to take what you're given. Then tonight Martine and I head down to Prague island for a bit of outdoor cinema where we’ll watch Pink Floyd The Wall. From what I remember, it’s Yellow Submarine but with more LSD and dogma.


Eleanora Martinez said...

You had me rolling in the aisles!
Nice one kiddies!

Also being desperate to get to Prague at some point I wish to know until when Martine will be there . . . (no particular reason of course! he heee)

Our outings of stolen sushi and lazying/sleeping/chatting in the castle park sound so straightlaced by comparison to your hi-jinx!

leighstardust said...

no, there's no LSD in Pink Floyd, they asked me but I was too confused.

xo xo lsd