The day was Prague, a pretty city full of history in the Czech Republic, a country that screams exotic to me. Cool tidbits: this was once known as Bohemia, somebody lit himself on fire to protest the Soviet occupation, Franz Kafka and other intelligentsia sipped absinthe in these streets, and a future saint was tossed into the river for not revealing the queen’s marital infidelity to the king. There weren’t any sights akin to the Berlin Wall, but this was definitely a city with a lot of history behind it. Look at age alone: like many other cities, there’s an old and new city to Prague. Berlin’s new city is being built and rebuilt, but Prague’s new city is a thousand years old! One of the many perks of not being thoroughly bombed during the World Wars...
Prague’s known among backpackers broke by London-level prices as a land of bargains. I found this half true, with gas and souvenirs around the same price as anywhere else but food around half price. The real deal was the beer: under 27 crown ($1!) for a half liter is average for downtown, crowded bars. We’re not talking Miller or other piss beers, either: I’m told Czech ales are among the best in the world and I report that they’re very tasty. This cheap, quality alcohol leads to the man tourist activity in town: sitting at bars drinking cheap, quality alcohol. As we battled our way across a bridge thick with English-speaking tourists, it became clear that we weren’t the only ones to decide Prague would be a nice place to visit. In spite of the throngs, we still had a nice wander.
Mikey didn’t fare as well: we found him wearing a tire boot with a note to contact the Prague police. Fortunately, a group of Germans also found the immobilizing footwear on their car and happened to have a mobile phone. Not so fortunate was the police hanging up after hearing any language other than Czech on the other end of the line. A Czech couple walking their dog had mercy on the foreign devils and explained our problem to the police operator, but part one of the problem’s solved while they’re still talking to the cops by a patrol car on its regular routine stopping by.
The Germans tried in vain to argue a bit but soon gave up, paid their 1,000 crown ($35) fine, and were off with their cars deshoed. We argued more, asking where the “no parking” sign was. This got us led around the block to a tiny little sign that, for all I and anyone else not fluent in Czech knew, could have featured a “your momma” joke. Not showering pays off in that the cop slaps us with just 500 crown ($17.50) as a fine. We don’t have that much in obscure currency on us and he’s unwilling to give us a police escort to the nearest ATM, so the cop reflected on the intricacies of international money markets for a few minutes before settling for 20 euros ($23) to free Mikey. The police must be bored because they followed me for a few blocks afterwards. After some paranoid turns to get away from the Czech’s lawmen, we find a quieter corner and make the Smart Car an uncomfortable bed.