Monday, 4 July 2011

Day 1 (no it's not over yet)

The connecting flight takes us over Turkey's lush verdure over the Black Sea and South Eastern Europe to Prague in the Czech Republic.

frost on my window! =D I think we were flying over Bulgaria
We wait in the arrivals section looking around for a guy sent by a friend (T) to drive us to Hradec Králové (pronounced hradets kra-lovay) a small town about 1.5 hours away by car. We wave a paper with the guy's name printed on it, frantically trying to catch his attention if he's around (we obviously don't know what he looks like). After about 30 minutes, a short man walks over to us holding up a small note, the size of my palm with something scrawled on it, against his waist. Peering at it, I made out the handwriting to say - 3 ---- (our surname). Were we supposed to have caught sight of that amidst the thousand or more passengers around us?

So we drive to Hradec Králové (henceforth abbreviated HK) and though fascinated by all the gorgeousness passing by us, my eyelids couldn't take it anymore and banged shut and I knew nothing until we next stopped, in front of the hotel right in the middle of the náměstí  (square). Somewhere between getting myself and the bags out of the car and checking in, the mother lost the bag which had all the goodies from Istanbul Duty Free and my sister's jacket. The sister made sure the mother never forgot her dastardly crime.
Post shower *deep sigh of gratitude* and checking out the room/view, I plugged in my hair styler that I had so thoughtfully brought along with me, in the converter (remember to buy one before travelling) into the socket. I dry my hair for a minute and then.. silence. No electricity. Having lived in India my first thought was loadshedding?? Are you friggin kidding me?!? But then I looked at the device I was clutching. And then I looked into the corridor. Mumbling expletives it dawned on me that the hairstyler that I had so *thoughtfully* brought along had blown a fuse on the whole damn hotel floor. Shoot!

a view of the náměstí

Deciding that somebody else on our floor would complain about the electricity (or lack thereof) soon enough, we went down to the lobby to meet our friend T (friend H's friend who become our friend) who showed us around town. But before that - FOOD! Being a small town, HK has only one restaurant that serves halal food (being Muslims we can eat only halal food, explaining why will ruin the continuity of this long overdue post so if you're curious comment/email me/google) but we were too ravenous to walk there. So we crossed the square and sat in the cellar of a restaurant that specialized in serving.. I don't remember what. Fish I guess. I looked at the soups - the descriptions were in Czech and English (how considerate right?) - and I liked the look of one but it had something called 'Chorizo' in it. I'd never come across the word and asked the waitress what it meant. Not a native English speaker she struggled with the words for a minute and said 'cheese'. No meat and it looked scrumptious! Perfect right? DING DING DING NA-UH!! So I bit into 'chorizo' on my first slurp (do keep in mind my tendency to exaggerate) of the soup and it turned out to be meat. The waiter (another dude) kindly took it back on account of the misunderstanding.
(later Google told me chorizo is pork sausage. To Muslims who take care not to eat pork, watch out for this word and ESPECIALLY the people that tell you it's cheese. And carry a bloody dictionary.)

After lunch we headed into town. And made T walk. A LOT. He grumbled later to the mutual friend - saying we never get tired and we made him walk till his tongue was hanging out =D It was a BEAUTIFUL day. Lord knows how thrilled I was to see the riveting blue sky after all the dust storms in Kuwait!!

these colours remind me of ice cream

this was definitely taken by the mother

the cathedral.

So we walked. And we walked. Right till sunset which was 9 pm =D Bought groceries at Tesco! I've always wanted to shop at Tesco! I've yearned to sign up for the Tesco Clubcard program ever since my internship at The Sultan Center =P Didn't get to do it though :( Tesco has this neat self-checkout section. Should definitely be introduced here - the waiting time would reduce drastically *sudden image of three overloaded trolleys* Or.. maybe not.
There was a fantastic thunderstorm as we were walking back to the square. A brilliant flash of electric blue appeared as a bolt of lightening crashed right behind a building we were walking by. I wouldn't have liked to have it fall any closer.
We were back at the hotel room at around 11 pm and the electricity hadn't been turned on - seems we were the only ones on that floor. We got it on soon enough - Reception sent a guy to fix it while I hid all evidence of converters, suspicious looking plugs etc. From then on there was never a day my wet hair was not scrunched up in a pony tail, unless we stayed in a hotel thoughtful enough to have a hairdryer in the loo.

Picture courtesy: the mother and me. I don't remember which are hers. I take firm credit for the frost pic.


  1. You bring back such memories. The whole fuse episode was too funny.

  2. I was too sleepy to comment yesterday, when I actually read it.
    And it's kind of freaky that I dreamt I was in that place you wrote about, even though I've never been there. :/

  3. @Pari: lots more to come.. eventually
    @Ananya: hahah that's kinda cool :D
    @TBP: :D

  4. That was an interesting read and the pics also came out nice. Btw can u tell me why they have such colourful buildings. Like the one snap u show the buildings in a line each of a diff colour. And since u told u will explain the reason Muslim eat only Halal food, kindly elucidate.

  5. Very nicely written, well supported by humour and pictures... The frosty picture is the best out of all ;)

  6. @K: Thanks :) I think they just really like colour :P If you want a better explanation for the halal food than the one I gave, refer to the new stereotypes post.
    @Water Bubble: lol i knew it ;) thank you! :D


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