Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Europa Day 1 - Prague

Yes, I'm in Praha. 

Lord forgive me if I sound ungrateful, but I'm so happy to be out of the desert for a while. The status 'Unemployed in Kuwait' doesn't suit me very well. 

The day was pretty uneventful except for when the sister accidentally took the cab driver's jacket believing it to be mine. We realized the mix up only when the cab had whizzed off.

We hadn't been in the city for more than an hour and had already committed a theft. Is it any wonder that Indians don't get visas on arrival in European nations? And a host of other countries but who's keeping track..

Fortunately, the sister had reminded me to take the receipt from the cabbie to keep track of expenses. Wise move; the receipt had his cell number on it. The sister made the call, mortified. The cabbie returned and claimed what was his and all was forgiven. The sister breathed deep sighs of relief on having been absolved of her sin. 

Later, I headed to Tesco to buy fruit, some perishables and mineral water. It took a while; the text on every product and aisle sign was in Czech and I forgot the water in the process of interpretation and misinterpretation so had to go back for it. 

What had also slipped my mind was the European fascination for sparkling water. Having gone off carbonated drinks a few years ago, I was damned if I was going to drink gassy H2O. I despise the stuff and curse the blasted man/woman that came up with the crap. 

I gazed down the aisle. There were several different brands of water staring back at me. Perlivá (sparkling), perlivá, perlivá.. I couldn't find 'neperlivá' (still) anywhere. I shook a few bottles to try to discern whether there was gas in them but couldn't really make out.  Finally after a few more rounds of intense cross examination of about a dozen brands, I came across the store's own brand of drinking water. It didn't say 'neperlivá' but then again 'perlivá' wasn't mentioned either. I'd finally found normal mineral water!

Having accomplished my mission, I carried the bottles in my backpack (after purchasing them obviously) and scourged the mall for a decent windbreaker that didn't cost the earth to no avail.

After a relaxing meal in a cafe reading Further Travellers' Tales from Heaven and Hell (apt isn't it?) and indulging in a delicious smoothie, I returned to my room. 

Dehydrated from the smoothie, I opened the bottle of water with a mighty heave and then groaned inwardly. The bottle cap had released a *fizzzzz* as I turned it. 

Dammit. This place is more of a desert than Kuwait is. 

Lesson learnt: Never buy a brand of water that has 'sycená' (carbonated)  on its label. 

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