Dateline: 18.38 24 Aug 1996
Location: Czech Republic, Praha, the garden of the restaurant U Pravdu 
And we're here. As thanks for the extra 9 DM I had to fork out for the privilege of traveling on an IC train, DB seems to have thought it appropriate to give me the flu through extreme air-conditioning. Quite thoughtful of them, I must say. I'm not quite sure it's the flu yet, but my legs ache unpleasantly and I'm a bit cold, although it should be nice and hot outside even without the sun shining. Good thing I took some Sudafed along... but with any luck this'll wear off by tomorrow.

I'm writing this in a restaurant called U Pravdu, based on the touristic clientele (and pricing) this appears to be an elite place indeed. "Elite" meaning that I'll end up paying around ~100 CKR for this privilege, a little less than 6 DM, or a mite more than for a Döner Kebab in Berlin. Did I mention that this place is cheap? Finally a place where I can hang onto my original 40 DM/day budjet.

Praha is interesting. Yes, it's ex-Commie (and still looks the part, I'm afraid); neither is there a massive surge of reconstruction like in Tallinn or ex-East Berlin. But oddly enough, it's efficient. Everything works here, most often by applying brute power instead of elegance - eg. elevators ("WHOOM! KLANG!") and metro doors ("WHOOSH! BANG!") And the simplicity keeps things fast, convinient, and easy to use. I find myself wishing that Berlin had Praha's subway system... the industrial-strength toilets are nice, too, although I suspect they'd have problems passing EU norms when it comes to limiting water use.

Today's Moment: the expression on the face of my roommate Nakamori-san when the two-meter blond Nordic Viking sharing the hostel room with him suddenly fires out a Anata wa nihonjin desu ka?at him. An instant comradeship ensues, with Nakamori-san never ceasing to be amused by my horrible mispronounciations of nihongo. Under the seemingly tame abstracted-scholar image lies a party animal: Nakamori-san is infatuated with hardcore punk music, came to Europe for a work camp but escaped to Poland with a native girl and has now been bouncing around Eastern Europe for several months. Things are never quite what they appear to be...

The day's budget 
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