A weekend at a cottage in Katarina with Czechs

Trip Start Jan 30, 2003
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Trip End Jun 23, 2003


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Friday, February 28, 2003

I recently joined a gym that is about a 10 minute walk from my dorm. After living for almost a month in a city that prides itself on its beer consumption/capita statistic and in how many ways it can find to fry a piece of meat, the "freshman fifteen" is starting to look like an understatement. The gym is a little pricey at $50 for 4 months but I figure it will be a good investment. The name of the gym is Maximus, but the only thing that is maximus about it is the rancid odour emanating from every Czech male in the gym. You'd think in an establishment where it's mandatory to change from your street shoes when you enter, they could enforce a no BO rule. I'm willing to donate a case of Gillette deodorant sticks and all I'm asking for in return is the ability to breathe while I'm lifting weights. I almost suffocated today because some overgrown Czech neanderthal was walking past me as I hoisted my weights in the air. I knew the pungent smell was going to be too much for me to handle so I held my breath until the gorilla finally walked past me. After he strutted his stuff in the mirror and finally walked by, my brain was in dire need of oxygen. I'm not sure what I almost passed out from, his stench or lack of air.

Two weekends ago, I was invited with my roommate (Eric) to a Czech cottage about 200km from Prague and 5 minutes from the German border. Not knowing what to expect, we packed for the wilderness complete with a roll of toilet paper and our swiss army knives. Three cars pulled up in front of our dorm and we were introduced to 6 Czech people that would be spending the weekend with us; 4 other people from the dorm also joined us. Eric and I hopped into the back of one of the cars and we sped away. A guy from Prague named Martin was driving and the girl who invited us named Lucy was in the passenger seat. Apparently, Martin is a big Formula One fan, specifically of Michael Schumacher. As the speedometer eclipsed 200km/h and my body was thrusted back into my seat with the force of inertia, I began to worry. I think the fluctuating shades of green and white on Eric's face tell the story all too well. We left our dorm at 8:11 and pulled up to the cottage (again, about 200km away) shortly after 9:15. We somehow managed to reach 245km/h on one of the long straightaways. Much to our surprise, we pulled up to a giant cottage nestled in the snowy Czech countryside. We entered the most elaborate and meticulously designed country house that I have ever seen. After a quick tour of the house complete with a billiards table, darts, foosball table, wood burning oven, and fully stocked bar, we walked outside to a second complex which housed a sauna, solarium, and hot tub. We spent most of the weekend hiking around the 3-acre property and playing games in the cottage. We also spent Saturday afternoon in a beautiful spa city called Marianske Lazne.

The really interesting story from the weekend came on Saturday night when everyone had gone to bed except 4 of us - Eric, Lucas (Lucy's brother), Peter (from Toronto), and myself. A 5 minute walk from the cottage were a bunch of little "night clubs" with bright neon lights outside. We decided to check out one of them called Club Sally. There were 2 large neon hearts outside the door so we figured that we couldn't go wrong, everyone inside must be nice. We entered, sat down at a table and ordered 4 beers. As we waited for our drinks, we puzzlingly looked around and noticed an abundance of German men sitting around and it seemed like they were collaborating to evaluate and pick out women. We thought this wasn't a very good strategy for picking up women. Our beers came and were delivered by 4 beautiful young Czech ladies, how inefficient, my business mind thought. After the beers were placed on the table, the women sat down in our laps which seemed like pretty decent service. The 4 of us simultaneously looked up and saw one of the German hounds following some woman up a set of stairs, leading to a place that I never want to see. We finally realized that we were sitting in a brothel and quickly paid our bill and left. I washed my jeans 4 times, I think that I am scarred for life.

Last weekend, 4 friends on exchange in Milan came to visit as well as one friend from Switzerland. There is one very memorable story from their visit that I will share with you. We all went to a club called Bombay with about 30 other exchange students. A bunch of us went to the bar and ordered B-52s which in Prague contain a shot of highly flammable absinth (like the foreshadowing? talk about dramatic effect...) Anyways, the bartender lit all of our drinks on fire and we waited until everyone had one before drinking. My friend, Galen, who was already slightly intoxicated began swaying from side to side with his full drink in hand. This probably wasn't the best idea because the flaming alcohol began overflowing onto his fingers. This set off a hilarious chain reaction that can only be appreciated because nobody got seriously injured and we didn't get arrested. Back to the story, so Galen's fingers are on fire and Kristen from Texas bends her head down to blow out Galen's fire but ends up lighting her hair on fire and singeing her eyelashes. After seeing her hair on fire, Kristen drops her glass to the WOODEN floor, in the process catching Lonnie from Australia's fingers, Galen's jeans, and setting the floor ablaze. We finally managed to put the fire out and all that happened was Galen and Lonnie had to walk around the club the rest of the night with their fingers in ice.

Other than that, things are great. My classes (I'm sure you couldn't tell that I've actually been taking any) are very interesting. I'm leaving tomorrow morning at 7am for 3 days of snowboarding in Eastern Czech Republic. In 2 weeks, I'm biking with 3 guys to Cesky Krumlov which is about 200km from Prague. We're budgeting for 3 or 4 days and it's going to entail a ton of planning. We've already purchased the trail maps and we're trying to find a good route. This was my crazy idea and I managed to sucker 3 other people into it so I'm sure it will make for some very good stories. I hope all is well back home and I look forward to hearing from everyone!
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