Day 12 - fighting boredom and Morpheus
So the next morning (or some hours later since I went to bed at about 2) I had to be at the bus station at 7h20 at least. I would have to flee from the hostel, checking out, getting to the subway, then there, I was calculating 2 hours because dragging the suitcase would take me some time. So, before going to bed, I had already decided not to go for the bus station and I would figure out another way to get to Prague. It was a strange situation, the other trips or before that moment, everything had been bought beforehand. It was weird to have to go somewhere without any idea of how to get there. Should I go to the airport and try a flight? Too expensive, probably. Should I try the afternoon bus? Too uncertain. So, why not trying the train. I woke up at 9 and went downstairs to have the breakfast I would not have if I had left earlier. There I met Phil. He was about to leave. He was going to take a train to somewhere else and from there he would fly home, if I am not mistaken. So, I asked him if it was OK if I went to the station with him. I would take a train to Prague. We finished breakfast and got ready, went to the subway station and in less than half an hour we were there. I gave him a present, one of the small gifts we had taken to our friends there and we parted. I managed to buy a ticket in a train to Budapest which you go through Prague. 62 euros. It was more than I thought, but not that much. I wish I already had my student card. The train was half an hour late and as usual the platform was cold cold really cold. As I boarded, I tried to find a spot to sit because the seats were not marked. I wanted to keep the suitcase near me but there was no space. People told me I should leave it near the door, and I did. It was so strange to travel far from my suitcase, back to it, so I had to keep turning my head all the time to check on it, specially when the train made stops. It was not fixed to any place so I still don’t know how it didn’t fall with the train movement. There were some cute people in the train. They were rambling on and on in German and I was trying to pretend I understood everything, minding the right time to laugh some seconds after someone said something funny and everyone else was laughing. People seemed not to know each other but they looked very friendly.
Something I forgot telling you. In Prague, the plan was to start the surfing. We had no reservation in hostels, so we would stay at somebody’s house. I had already had some experiences, positive indeed, with the website Couchsurfing. Of course, I had to look for hosts in the places we imagined we would have more chances of getting some before leaving Brazil. In fact, I liked the idea of mixing both types of accomodation. So for some cities, couchsurfing (CS), while others, hostels. All the next three cities in the travel plan would be CS.
At the station in Berlin I tried calling my host-to-be from a payphone. I couldn’t reach him. I had no cellphone working and I regretted so much not buying one there. It would have saved me big time, but no use crying over spilt milk. I sent him a text message from that same payphone. And I hoped really hard he had got it.
So, still on the train toward Prague, in Dresden some people got off and a new bunch of people filled the wagon. Among them, a guy who sat across the aisle. Everytime I looked back in order to check on my suitcase, I exchanged glances with him. He was strangely familiar. Had I seen him before? Was he famous? He looked at me as well, not puzzled or angry, just as curious. At a certain station, it was maybe 1 hour away from Prague, but already in the Czech Republic, he asked me something. Maybe the time or what the name of the station was.
This got us started and soon I sat with him and we engaged in conversation. He asked me if I was Mexican, he was sure I was and for me he looked so Brazilian. He was a French teacher and he was heading to Prague for some tourism. I was not sure if we were flirting or not. So I kept on going. We talked about literature. He studied an author called Céline something. I didn’t hit on him, he didn’t make any move either but I was still wondering. As we arrived in Prague, he started telling me how gorgeous the woman who was sitting near was and he went on that for about 5 minutes. I needed to try to reach my host again. There was a payphone in the platform. It was colder than Berlin. No contact again. I started freaking out. I had no plan B. But it would not be so difficult to find a hostel. I had the address. This Mexican guy would be in a hostel, I could ask him. He finished his cigarette and told me he would go inside to try to find a map. I waited for him for some minutes but I was freezing so I decided to go in to look for him. We had not exchanged contacts, no facebook, no telephone. I thought I should have made and brought those cards with info about me. I looked around, he was gone. So, the mantra being said - god gives, god takes - I started strolling around the train station. It was about 2pm. I was not hungry because I was nervous, would the CS thing fail? The guy who said we could come seemed so nice. I had some expectations I didn’t want to see defied. So I tried once again the payphone. This time, an answer. “Hey, it’s me, from Brazil.” “Hey, where are you?” “At the station.” “Well, I am working now and I can only go there to pick you up at 9pm.”
No worries. I had a lot to do. I could read, write, even draw something. I had to eat anyway. So, let’s wait.
The thing is I was very tired and no reading or writing could save me from some nodding off. And I dozed. But I had to be careful. So many people going by. I had a sandwich at the only fast food chain without stairs (as I could not carry the bag and the tray).
And the afternoon passed by.
A little before the time set I was already standing there by the subway entrance. I was nervous, because I remembered his hair, but not his face so well. What if he was wearing a hood? I had already exchanged money and bought a guide to the city. As Jiři arrived, just by his looks I could tell it was him. He smiled and I was sure. “Hey”, “Hello”. And there we went. His apartment was some minutes from the station Florenc. It was dark as we got there, I had to be careful the next day, to find the place by myself. I was received with a present - a traditional Czech can of beer
and I could choose which bed I wanted: he had two for surfers. Surely I chose the one with the tiger sheet.
So cool. We talked and talked more. I told him some of the stories I had had till then in the trip, he gave me some instructions about the house. And we went to bed because he would have to work early the next day and I would have to discover everything Prague had in store for me.