Well, here is my first email from Prague....my god it feels like I left Des Moines about a month ago, even though I just got here this morning.
I almost didn't make it here at all. My flight to Minneapolis was 30 minutes late, so I had to run almost all the way to catch my plane to Amsterdam. I made it to the gate, huffing and puffing, and the guy told me I made it with *2* minutes to spare. Literally, they had already made two final announcements for the flight that I could hear as I was running along the endless corridors. It was horrible!!! I hate having to run for a plane!
But, I made it-that's the important thing. The bad news was that I was assigned to sit next to a Dutch woman and her two kids, a girl-maybe 3/4, and a boy-maybe 4/5. The girl was sitting right next to me, and she was constantly bumping against me, pounding on my leg, using me for a back rest and general plaything. All I wanted in the world was to be able to get some sleep, but this girl could not sit still for more than 2 minutes. And her brother spent half of the flight whacking her on the head or singing American songs ("Hey Baby"-the oldie) at the freaking top of his lungs, with no regard for what the words actually were, because hey-fuck it-I'm 5 years old and don't speak English and don't give a shit that I'm annoying every single person in the vicinity. Fuck all of you. By the time that flight was over, I had such a bad headache!! Even the mom was loud. She was in her mid-30s, with long hair extensions in purple, pink, and bright blond, all pulled up into a high ponytail. She kept egging them on and making them practice their English. It was a nightmare, the worst flight I have ever had.
Anyway, so I finally made it to Prague, and the taxi driver was there, as arranged by the school, despite the fact that my flight was late. Thank god, otherwise I don't know what I would have done!! He took me to my hostel, which is essentially a shambles, but oh well. It's in an OK neighborhood (quite posh in some bits), but it's run down on the inside. Once I saw the place, I opted to pay a little bit more for a private room. And it so happened that that rate was still about $20 less than what that booking service would have charged me for a private.
After collapsing on my bed for a bit, I braved the city and went out in search of several things: 1) A place to use the internet 2) A phone card to call my mom 3) A bank to open a Czech account in 4) A cell phone store, and 5) Food.
The good news is that there is an internet place essentially across the street and around the corner from my hostel. And a place next door to that that sells phone cards. Two things down. Now, the bank was easy to find, but the process of opening an account was excruciatingly slow. I was there close to an hour. The main problem was that the girl doing it didn't speak very much English, and the guy she brought in to help her wasn't all that much better! So, we struggled along together, and now I'm the proud owner of a Czech bank account with about $10 in it. :-) The cell phone store was right across the street from the bank, but sadly, I had no luck on that front. I just don't think I'm going to be able to get a cell phone. The cheapo phones that I had been eyeing are only that price if you agree to a *2* year contract! And then you still have to pay a $100 or so activation fee!!!!!! If you just want the prepaid minutes, then you have to pay full price for the phone. The cheapest is about $140. So, I think I might have to put that dream on hold for a bit.
I went to dinner at the restaurant of the hotel I stayed at last time. It was tasty and about $5, so that's not bad. It was raining outside when I got out of the metro station to walk home, so I popped into this internet cafe to dry off for a bit. So, I thought I would take the moment to tell you about the beginning of my journeys.
A big thank you to all who recently signed my guestbook. Yay! :-) Anyway, I need to get back to my hotel so that I can pass out for about 15 hours. Talk to you all soon!