Saturday, April 23, 2005

 

eastern european hospitality.

i have made it safely to krakow after being hassled by mormon nuns from utah speaking german outside my apartment in berlin, they would not let me go! they asked me how i would feel about there being a prophet for "our time". i was like umm...i dunno...i was pissed cause i couldn't think of anything more witty to say. they insisted on delivering a "book of mormon" to me. i'm a goddamn jew! of course i don't want your book of mormon. so i gave them my old address and a fake name in boston...if only i could see what results...hehe.

it was a rather bumpy and nauseating easyjet flight to krakow. the airport was the smallest international airport that i have ever seen. the planes had to land on the runway and then just park and let people off, then a tram had to take us to the terminal. i realised that the airport was in actuality a chicken farm, this realisation came to me when i took the overcrowed "soviet" bus to the zentrum.

so far i am overwhelmingly enjoying my trip to poland. i think the people are some of the friendliest people i have ever encountered on my travels. several times people have come up to me, start speaking polish and point...hmm? i tell them i don't know polish, but they keep speaking and then laugh and mosey on their way. perhaps, it is my good-looking polish resemblance that throws them, hehe. the old polish people are so cute...i want to take home a polish grandma and grandpa . we have room in the house, right?

krakow reminds me a bit of prague, but minature. it has a similar make up, with a large castle on a hill (with a dragon den, how cool is that?) and an old town square-with cobblestone walkways and winding alleys. krakow has far fewer tourists though and i don't feel like at every second someone wants to a) accost me about buying something because i am a tourist or b) rip me off because i am a tourist. oh, and krakow is the cheapest place i have ever visited!

i found a room in nathan's villa hostel in between the two main areas of town-the old town square/shopping area and kazimierz (the jewish quarter-where there are many very interesting looking smoky bars, lounges, galleries and restaurants). the hostel is a bit scary...one of those "party" hostels where you can't sleep because people are always coming in and out. at like 7am this dude in my room brought a chick back, and i thought they were going to fuck, but luckily they decided to leave, phew!

and then there was...prague

day 1. frank, ron jeremy, and i went to prague last weekend. i quite enjoyed the train ride, once we made it into the czech republic it was very scenic. when we got to prague we decided that maybe we'd go to kutna hora for part of the day because it looked quite interesting, but the trains didn't quite fit into our schedule. so, instead we ate halal indian/pakistani food (rj thought there would be muslim chicks there) and we headed to the castle. we decided to walk uphill with our backpacks, and for some reasons there were swarms of italian tourists who would just stand there and it was also incredibly hot and sweaty. blah. on top of this rj was complaining about his feet the whole time because he only brought harley davidson motorcycle boots, not exactly european walking shoes. so, after the castle we had to go on a sneaker hunt around old town square. it was now 7pm...the tourists were out in full force and the shops were closing. i was quite surprised by all the western stores and the lack of small, independent stores. but bata came to the rescue, it was literally a sauna in there so, i waited outside on a bench. meanwhile, a man in his late teens almost knocked me over to dig in the dirt behind me to get discarded pieces of candy out of it to eat. he could have asked for $, i would have given him some for food. anyhow, we walked around some more seeing the sights. we started our hotel search soon after, but frank and rj were opposed to a hostel, so literally every single place we checked except a five star hotel, "the riverside," across the river, was booked up. so we made sir toby call us a cab, and we headed to the "riverside". i thought the "i just left an iron maiden concert cab driver" was going to kill us on the way.

day 2. i found a kawa, kawa, kawa on the other side of the river, which was a pretty chill internet cafe and they had tasty coffee. then, we headed to the jewish area, josefov. i quite enjoyed the hebrew clock. we ate a "orange moon," i think i am spoiled by boston's amazing asian food. i wanted to go to the national gallery, but we did not have time. so, instead we went to dahab. rj and i smoked a jasmine hookah and i had a very tasty mojito. and that was the end of my rather brief stint to prague. perhaps, i did not spend enough time there. i think that prague a quite nice looking city, but i just cannot get over the excessive hype that everything you read about prague tells you. i think it really puts such a high expectation on one's trip there. ethan, was it very touristy when you were there?

oh berlin how i miss thee...

here are 2 descriptions of bars in prenzlauer berg. the first i have been to, it's really "hip" and they have tasy mojitos. the second description just made me laugh.

wohnzimmer (literally living room)
Chisel-jawed philosophers sitting on flood-damaged furniture acquired from the back door of an auction house. Even so, a rather pleasant little mood is created in this cafe/bar. Put together a couple of kitchen fitments, buy a coffee machine and Bob's your uncle. Sadly, you'll have to drink your beer from the bottle while you breathe in the air of tormented discontentment from Tarquin and his PhD buddies at the table over from you. As with most of Prenzlauer Berg, take a look sooner rather than later while the beer is still under 5 DM.

(The former) Café Schliemann
In this case "alternative" is not a word that can be stressed heavily enough: Lost souls; failed philosophers; men with dogs; dogs with men; men with beards and mullets; dogs with guitars and army jackets; women with mullets, dogs, guitars, army jackets and beards. Don´t wear a tie. These are the dying embers of a once renowned squatting phenomenon whose last few participants refuse to accept that a world of sushi and cocktails has replaced their once treasured freedom. At least this bar keeps them all in the one place.

oh how i love berlin!

misc.
thanks for writing checks for me while i am gone, i really appreciate it...i shall be home Sunday, May 1st in the late afternoon/early evening...just in time for vito acconci and steretotal!
Comments:
well, prague was a tad less touristy when i was there but believe me, they never go away. i guess you get used to it after awhile... you also figure out places to go where there aren't any tourists. i suppose doing the tourist stuff in prague was a lot more interesting for me because i've read so much about czech history and culture (i.e. i'm a nerd). kava, kava, kava is a pretty cool place, when i lived with my first family i would stop in there to use the internet (15 free minutes if you buy a drink that costs more than 60 Kc!). orange moon was kinda blah and overpriced; i never went back. dahab was nice though, did you check out the roxy next door? i can just see ron jeremy in that hip bar upstairs...
 
DAHAB! that's what i get for relying on my stupid memory...anyhow, no we didn't get a chance to check out the roxy because we found dahab an hour before me had to leave, so we had to just smoke the hookah and split...i guess i'll have to save the roxy for next time.
 
Did you do see Kafka's house? haha its tragic really. You pay to walk down this little alley where everything is painted bright colors. ITs a book store now and not really worth whatever obnoxious amount of money you pay to walk in front of it.
What I really want to know is.. did Ron Jeremy wear a cowboy hat in Prauge? hahaha

Sorry to hear about your flight. It sounds like a 2 xanax flight to me heee. Those tiny airports scare me. My flight to Dubrovnik was like that. I thought we were landing in a field hahaha.

Glad you love Poland. Are you going to Warsaw at all? and yes! please bring home a cute old polish grandpa and grandma! Make them cook yummy eastern european meals for us! Hot! heee
 
ummm. "yummy eastern european meals" = "frightening meat products laced with sauerkraut". careful what you wish for.

ditto on kafka's house though. possibly the most obnoxious tourism trend in prague. there are about 17 billion bullshit kafka cafes... and those t-shirts... OH speaking of t-shirts, i saw someone on campus the other day wearing a shirt that said "prague: czech it out". that NEVER gets old.
 
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no, ron jeremy did not wear his hat. i know what a let down! when he arrived i said, "where is your hat?" and he said,"oh, i knew i should have brought it! but i thought that i would have looked too american!" ron jeremy, looking american, never! and no, i didn't see kafka's house either, but i did see a ton of kafka cafes. i also think that i saw his sister's suitcase today at auschwitz. i must run for now...i am off to vienna very shortly by overnight train. i am just so tired already thinking about it. oh, i just had the best cheese and potato perogies, but i think they wer covered in greasy chicken fat and deep fried chicken skins, yummy!
 
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