Something for the Weakened

Monday, May 16th 1999, 11:00

Monday, August 4th, 2008 by

What follows is another archival project in lieu of my having the energy to form any cogent arguments at the moment. This may prove to be a horrible mistake, in that this time around it does take the form of a journal I kept over the course of a fortnight’s holiday. Like the previous archive projects, I’m only reading this as I type it up, so don’t really know what I wrote next and will not be editing for anything except grammar (and possibly extreme embarrassment in this case, though probably not). In the case of this one, I can assure you that it will be quite dull, unless I’ve forgotten some interesting details of the holiday. Annotations are unlikely to follow, unless I have a massive change of heart. I have taken the liberty of missing out the original title on the grounds of it being far too dull (‘Two Weeks Away’ – really, couldn’t I come up with anything better?) so subsequent entries will simply be titled as the dates on which they were written. Lets have a delve into the muck then.

Sorry I neglected you yesterday dear reader, but I had rather a lot on and had I tried to write anything before going to bed I would have fallen asleep. As I write this I am sitting in the bath of Uncle Ian’s smallish and frankly box like flat. “But how did you get there?” I hear you cry. Well . . . The bus journey continued in a much similar fashion of uneventfulness punctuated by brief fag breaks. The Belgian town of Leige was pretty, but that was the last point of interest in Belgium (one more than I thought there would be). We passed into Germany at some point – no passport control again!!! – and as night descended I decided to attempt sleep. Oh, poor fool that I am. I tried many positions in that immediately uncomfortable chair – each eventually turned out to be worse than the last. The one time I did approach a restful state, the bus stopped and one of the allegedly trilingual drivers fired up the P.A. waking everyone up. I gave up trying to sleep at about sunrise – which was the same time as we eventually entered the Czech Republic. Finally someone decided to look at our passports, so after 15 minutes or so we were in the country (Hang on, I’m just going to have a wash). And what a beautiful sight it was. Numerous copses of woodland, encompassing dozens of shades of green, interspersed with fields of either no apparent use or of full flowering oil seed rape. It was about 5 minutes before encountering the first building (not including passport control) – a branch of McDonald’s. Yes dear reader, the west has certainly met the east. We next stopped in a village named Strlbo, where I finally managed to get a mouthful of water to abate my dehydration. [I'm surprised that I hardly bang on about the dehydration here. Due to the unexpected Chunnel trip, I had nothing but sterling on me and no opportunity to change it during the journey. When my bottle of Dr. Pepper ran out, I had nothing else to drink for the journey, and it was only a small bottle. Half an hour before arriving at my destination, I noticed a free water tap that was available to all passengers. I think I continued to go thirsty as a sort of protest and because I wouldn't drink water back then. Didn't like the taste. Still don't. Anyway, back to the inaction.] When we left the drab looking service station and drove a little further (past what appeared to be an army base judging by the man in camouflage gear mopping the pavement) the scenery opened up into a beautiful valley dotted with wonderful houses amongst the trees. I dozed for the rest of the journey, never fully falling asleep, until we arrived at Prague’s Florenc bus station at about 8:25 – over half an hour early! I waited about in the main information hall, where Ian had said he’d meet me, along with a rather attractive French girl (I think she was French), whom I failed to talk to due to my built in shyness. Ho-hum. Ian turned up at about 8:50 and we immediately set about making our way back to his place. This was my first introduction to the strangely logical Czech public transport system – by which tickets cover the amount of time spent on buses, trams or the Prague metro system. I have half a dozen one hour passes, though hopefully I’ll buy a two week one today. Following a short metro ride followed by a shorter bus ride and an even shorter walk, we arrived at the flat. It is on the 12th floor (of 12) in one the many hideous concrete blocks that litter the city (and most of Eastern Europe, so I’m told). It has more or less all mod cons and had a satellite dish when he moved in, allowing access to Sky News, CNN and dozens of free German channels, but nothing else as he has no decoder. The view (which I can see now as I look from the little balcony) is bizarre and unlike any city I have seen before. Just beyond this estate (another three, smaller concrete blocks) lies what appears to be a rather dense area of woodland,

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