Kouzelný Praha

1-3-13  The prompt:    Make short end of the year lists

What I bring with me     What I leave behind


I left tired.  There was no more time to lose.  Whatever it took, Linda and I were getting on that plane and heading to Prague, away from the Fiscal Cliff, away from a dysfunctional country, away from school shootings and deficits and shouting.  Just away.  It was, after all, a vacation.

I felt bad running away from something awful instead of running to something wonderful.  I just didn’t know what to expect, and the recent past was pushing quite forcefully at my back.

My greatest fear in going was the airport and all that has happened since I last flew on 2000.  Not to worry, everything went well.  Taking off shoes and belts was just stupid.  Nobody touched my junk.  The worst part of the whole trip was being so crowded on the plane that I couldn’t move for seven hours.  You think that’s not so bad?  You try it and come dancing off the plane in Frankfurt.  Good luck.    

Prague was… wonderful.  Full of wonder.  Different from anything else.  An old city, it was hustling and bustling when Columbus landed in the West Indies and killed off the entire native population of Hispaniola.  It wasn’t bombed, it wasn’t destroyed by the Communists except in little ways  It remained a magical place.  We ate it up.  We walked, we played tourist.  I took Linda’s picture, she took mine.  We photographed our lunch of klobasa and rye bread.  We were bold and photographed the police guy with the tactical vest laughing with his chums outside the Votofone store.  I found the streetside pissoire and photographed that.  I got close-ups of the instructions beside the automatic door that said that it cleaned itself automatically after one did one’s beeznis.  There was a poster of Julia Roberts on the side of the pissiore. I took her picture.  The guy sitting in the window of the spa place with his feet in a tankful of fishies eating the dead skin off his tootsies?  Photo.

What happened was this.  We went on vacation, my Love and I, and we relaxed.  No cares or worries, no thoughts of having to go back.  We were happy-go-lucky, and we loved it.  The biggest decision we had to make was where to eat, and what.  I ate sausages from street vendors on Wenceslas Square.  It quickly became my favorite lunch.  I became the little kid who would only eat the red things on his plate.  Only in my case it was sausage.  Linda was more exploratory in her cuisine, but being of Czech origin, she had grown up with the pork lard on bread and the dumplings with duck fat and the pigs head.  I just wanted my daily sausage.  Num.

I fell in love.  At the Charles Bridge, Linda and I locked a padlock with our names, the date, and a heart to the gate, then threw the key into the Vltava River.  Our lock joined hundreds, thousands already there.

The culture shock came when we had to come home.  What was this strange place we had landed in?  Was the cable lock on the Best Western front door to keep people out or in?  Why were we all of a sudden depressed and hoping for nothing more than crawling into bed and getting over jet lag?  Please, no politics and dysfunction.

I want to go back.  Not just back, but back for a very long time.  I want the joy of Prague again.  “There’s no place like home” just doesn’t cut it anymore.  When we landed in Boston, the passengers all cheered and clapped.  Linda and I were the silent ones, sitting in wonder at all of these aliens, wondering if they had spent their vacations with their eyes shut tight.

Five years.  That’s my hope.  Five years to living full time in Prague.  I’ll have to lobby Linda for it, but I can be persuasive.  We’ll go back this Fall, and I’ll work on her.  We’ll go back to the Charles Bridge and look for our heart padlocked to the gate to Heaven.

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