Tired of Tacky Tourists

Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
Trip End Oct 23, 2009

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Flag of Czech Republic  , Bohemia,
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's billed as "wild days piloting old bits of rubbish towards an Eastern Europe scrap yard."  That about sums it up.  Around sunset I heard all kinds of cars honking and backfiring and people cheering.   Then dozens of cars decorated with stickers and writing began circling the main boulevard that has a park down the middle (there's a pic of it yesterday called "the new part of Prague").  Round and round they went and the noise just got louder and louder.  I noticed they all had Great Britain plates and right hand drive and almost all of them were on their last legs.  I looked at the website and it said,"although the car must be a banger, this doesn't mean it should be unfit for the road."  You get the idea of what kind of crap was circling Prague.

A beat up old Ford coasted to a stop in a cloud of black and blue smoke and when the guys got out of it to pop the hood, I asked them what this was all about.  They told me it was Czech Wrecks, an annual charity event where they race from Calais, France to Prague, a distance of about 1,500 miles.  Their car gave it up after crossing the finish line and making a few victory laps. 

Since the cars are pretty much toast when they get here, they drive the biggest pieces of crap they can find.   It's left up to the driver how they dispose of the car but you can't just leave it an airport carpark I was told.  I never could really get a straight answer as to what charity this benefits.  In any event, it looked like a lot of fun for everyone. 

This morning I was pushing past hundreds of people waiting anxiously for noon to strike and for those dancing figurines to make their hourly appearance, and Iended up walking past the sex museum. Right there blocking the narrow sidewalk I found that our morality police from the US like to take their cause overseas given the chance.  I'll call them Mildred, Homer, Rosemarie and Roger.  Overweight. Polyester clad. Mid 60s.  Barely mobile.  They were going on and on about how Prague is a disgrace for allowing such a museum and that their trip was ruined because they had to look at this stuff.  Homer was craning his head to get a look inside and Mildred told him to look away or else.  He obeyed like a dog that had just been beat with a rolled up magazine.

Of course I had to stop and eavesdrop, and sometime this afternoon the US Ambassador here should be getting a visit by the Morality Four.   They said they would also forward this information back home to their pastor so he could pray for the salvation of the Czech Republic.  And people wonder why Americans are frowned upon around the world?  I gathered they were from Greenville, SC, and they expect the world to conform to their rigid belief system.

If you want to have a museum of dildos and leather harnesses, go for it!!  It doesn't affect my life in the least.  My advice Mildred, Homer, Rosemarie,and Roger?  Stay home. Or how about keep walking and don't look at it?  It would obviously be a lot safer for you, and your eyes and imaginations won't run wild with images of these crazy people having sex.  Hopefully they won't come across Double G from yesterday bouncing over the cobblestones on her Segway.

Prague has been great and I highly recommend it, but I am ready to move on.   When I travel I look for an authentic experience and Prague is just too overwhelmed by tacky tourists for me.  Those folks from Greenville reminded me why I prefer to be off the beaten path.  I hear more German and English than I do Czech, and these thousands of tourists just clog everything up.  It's great that there is store after store of cheap Chinese made coffee mugs and collectors spoons of all the great sights here, but that's not what I travel for.  I am off to the Balkans later tonight, and I hope I find my authentic European experience sans tourists down there. 

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