Day 3 - Wednesday, 10th June 2009: Prague; Huge Snails, Punchy Barmaids and Racist Texans.
So...when BigBro came back from work on Wednesday noon-time, I was washed, tea'd and packed. Hanna (BigBro's Girlf) came back soon and made the day for me by asking me, in her thick Welsh accent, "Con-or, would you like some roc-ket in your baguette?". That's right! She's that cool that she was making me a sandwich roll for the bus - what a legend.
BigBro and I went down to the bus, and I had my final sight of all the great parts of Karlovy Vary that I hadn't touristed (at all) and the pubs that I vaguely remembered. The bus soon came and we clambered on, with our sandwiches and bottle of coke, like two schoolkids on a trip.
Watching a frankly disturbing film, and listening to the terrible secret, I munched on the fantastically tasty baguette as the Sudentenland sped by; ruminating on what I could remember of the past few days. The shock of having finished the exams sank in, and I watched as the coming-of-age film made the two of us squirm in embarrassment at the story. The hangover from the previous day had finally gone, and by the time that the big yellow fun-bus pulled into the stop, we were both eager for a good ole session.
The Prague underground system is great fun. Combining an overwhelming stench of piss with the steepest escalators in the cosmos, it's the most fun in the world on a Wednesday before happy hour. We sped along, surrounded by the Czech versions of all the hipsters, nuts, fatties and tourists that we all know and love from our separate underground worlds and before long we were coming to ground and walking towards the super-hostel. As we came to the door, a goddess of a young lady opened it from the inside. I whispered "I love you bro" to the BigBro and, yes, she heard me and yes, she had perfect English. I blushed (for the first time in years) and didn't stop til we'd landed our bags and she'd left. Smooth.
We quickly scanned the room; pristine beds, immaculately elegant bathrooms etc. It was perfect, the best hostel I've ever stayed at. Luckily there were no mental psychopaths or visible sex offenders, so we changed, left our stuff and ventured out.
Now...my memories after that are a little muddled. Suffice to say we went to a lot of bars. About 16 or 17 in total I think, including two wine-joints (which, in the bathroom of one I definitely threw up) and a goulash restaurant. There are only a few bars I remember. One was an Irish bar.
Rocky O'Reilly's is quite an odd place. It was the closest bar to our hostel that BigBro had been to, and one about which he will likely someday write. Apart from the usual bar stuff all over the show, the weirdest things about the bar were the webcam (which probably picked up the jist of some of the horrible jokes I was telling) and the fact that the bathrooms had the facade of a children's toyshop. A bit weird when you're breaking the seal. We went to other places too; including a bar where the owners were smoking loads of weed, a bar were we played darts for hours, the aforementioned wine bar (no.1..not the emo one where I was sick), a gothy cavern of a bar that kept a tank of giant snails as pets and a great little bar called O'Che's, which is a Cuban-Irish goldmine of a place. Soon we were a pair of carousing sots, drunk as a bucketful of badgers and flitting between jazz bars and restaurants, we talked a lot of bullshit and had a great night. A few memories of specific events remain from this mad evening. I remember being punched in the back by a barmaid because I had forgotten to pay and left. I told her I would "buy and sell her like she was on ebay" before laughing like a nutcase and trying to play tag with BigBro. In another bar we ordered the drinks and then, realising how shit and cheesy the place was, we ran away. Another bar had a tropical theme. Wine bar 2 was full of middle-age swinger types all gloomily chatting away, and I think we might have been asked to leave. My memories are a bit hazy drawers, but I shall consult with BigBro, and if they return, write a supplementary entry.
Now, the COMPETITION. Near the beginning of the evening, we went to a great wee pub called The Dog's Bollocks, that had an amazing liquor selection and the best music videos ever. Whilst trying to take this lovely photo of me and the brosef, for the mammy to go "Awwww" over, I somehow managed to take a film-shot. Now, I have no idea what was being said, but would like to hear people's theories... I will write a lovely poem/haiku for the person who comes up with the best one. It's been annoying the fuck out of me.
Here's the film...
Now...what are we saying?
The final event of the night, as far as I can remember, was a bit more weird. We were in a goulash bar, eating goulash. BigBro and I were by now very drunk. But, oddly, we were also very lucid. Munching away at my, yep - you guessed it, meat and dumplings, I became very engrossed with the table cloth when I heard a voice. A large, fat man across the room was chatting over to me. I answered that it was indeed a jolly lovely evening and that yes, the goulash was lovely. Before we knew it, there was a conversation and we had been joined by a family from Texas.
We chatted for hours, I think. They quickly realised that I was a conversational liability and focussed the attention to my BigBro. They asked me to convince their daughter into going to law school. It wasn't as fun as it sounds. She was about seven. She was a better conversationalist than her folks though. After a while, BigBro suggested that we return to O'Che's, the great little Irish-Cuban place from earlier. The big fat father needed to go to the ATM and for some reason, BigBro took the girls and I was to take the Dad. Problem was, I got lost.
We spent about 45 minutes walking around the Astronomical Clock, chatting about the differences between the sidearms of the Irish and US armies (apparently the Irish rifle is better, but EVERYTHING else that the US have is better) and talking about how much fun it was to be lost. Well, I was. He wasn't.
When we arrived at O'Che's I bought the father a pint, and we settled to chat. I was slightly more sober now, and the chat turned to politics. It was slightly congenial at first until we started talking about Obama. The Texans didn't like Obama. When I asked why, the father said
"Well, first of all, he wants to limit gun ownership and secondly, he wants to socialise Medicare."
We sat, staring, expressions of 'your point being?' across our faces. BigBro looked how I felt, a sudden realisation of what had been said, and by whom. Silence fell and the wife, as if to explain further to the silly micks pitched in,
"Plus, he's not even THAT black."
Even the daughter pitched in about how necessary it was to have guns. They had that 'you know nothing because you're not American' tone and look and I played along, trying desperately not to take the piss, and watching my Bro look more and more incredulous at the shite that was streaming from their mouths.
The conversation soon deteriorated. BigBro left the table, rather pissed off, as our company took a turn off Rational Street and travelled ever faster down Right-Wing Avenue, all reason long abandoned. I was just about to ask them whether they believed that Palin and her 5000 year old dinosaurs really should have been allowed to bomb China when they left. Thankfully.
Before they went, there were handshakes all round and the Fat Father gave us each a business card. Afterwards, we soon went back to the hostel, too drunk and pissed off to continue, with only a short pub detour on the way. We passed out quickly, absolutely drained with our exertions and the absolutely horrible way our great evening had been squandered by the religious right. The following morning, looking for a coffee shop before I got the bus (there were none - a million pubs - but no coffee shops) to the airport, we were waiting for the light to go green so we could cross when I brought up the arsehole family from the night before. He took the business card from the night before out of his pocket and smiled.
"Somebody's going to be getting a lot of porn subscriptions."
The journey home was hellish, and I don't remember a lot about it.. One of the worst hangovers of my life and lots of KFC. I waited at the airport for hours, listening to the secret, I barely noticed the flight and by the time I arrived in Derry, having got the bus from Dublin airport, I was dead on my feet.
Thus began the summer holidays.
Lots of tea, sleep-ins and lazy days.