132,06$ It was hard to get up. I made sure to take care of all the mess that I had accumulated during my days of work in the world’s most hospitable graphic production company. To
It was hard to get up.
I made sure to take care of all the mess that I had accumulated during my days of work in the world’s most hospitable graphic production company.
To facilitate my hitchhiking I left as much stuff behind as possible. One thing I left was my winter jacket. It had been summer ever since the day I arrived in Berlin, and my winter jacket had just been a burden; standing by the road with a heap of cloth next to you just doesn’t feel good. Instead I put on every shirt that I had. With 5 layers covering my trunk I thought myself equipped to withstand the elements. But when I heard the door to safety snap behind me it was cold. In theory the sun had been up for hours, but a massive layer of nasty clouds preserved the chill of midnight in the industrial area of Semtin. Shivering, I walked hastily to the road.
Semtin is a really good place for hitchhiking to Praha. The road that goes through the village is the one that leads to the new-built highway, and it is dotted with bus stops. On one of those I stood at 10:00 in a faint rain. After 5 minutes car number 26 stopped. Inside was a Moroccan man who worked with making computer software for training doctors in performing surgery. I told him that they should make a PlayStation version of their software, for kids. It could for example be a racing game and when you crash you have to operate your map reader in 5 minutes or he will die and you won’t have a map anymore. I don’t know if he took me seriously, but I really believe in the idea. But since I know nothing about neither surgery nor programming I have to throw it away and hope that someone else picks it up and makes my kids smart surgeons instead of useless monster-killers. The biological reason for why we like to play is that we need to practice necessary skills, but by creating games that gives the player nothing but sore wrists, bleeding eyes and neglected homework we cheat the human organism, just like we do when we satisfy the once essential stone-age desire for high-energy food with unhealthy products that makes us heavy and tired. So, to give us more time to play (which is the meaning of life) we need to come up with productive games that makes the players stronger in the world outside the game. Your gaming shouldn’t compete with your work, it should be your work. This is why everyone should buy and play my games. My games are the only strategy games it’s strategic to play.
The Moroccan surgery-software-programmer was only going a short way in my direction and soon I was back in the rain. I stood by the road at 10:12 and after 8 minutes a Ukrainian truck driver stopped and took me to Praha. On the way he stopped at a gas station and there he and his truck got carefully surveyed by the police. They didn’t care about me, not even looked at my passport.
When we approached Praha I had two options; I could get off at metro station Cerny Most and take the metro to some place, or I could join him all the way to where the ring road around Praha crosses the highway to Plzen. I chose the latter.
Bad choice. All roads on which cars entered the Plzen highway where so fast that hitchhiking was both impossible and illegal. But there was a local road that ran alongside the highway. My option were now to hitchhike westward along this road to the nearest highway entrance or gas station, or to walk upstreams into the city and find a bus stop there. I chose to walk/hitchhike along the local road.
Bad choice. On the map it looked like one of those gentle countryside roads, but it was a suburban road lined with houses and run by cars going to their home three blocks away or to the supermarket five blocks away. Half-heartedly I stood waving my thumb for 10 minutes and was ignored by 59 suburbians. Later I stood one minute at a bus stop, looking at 18 no-we’re-not-going-anywheres passing me. I walked and walked and walked but the suburbs never ended. I felt the whole day disappear like ice in Sahara. Instead of a Saturday night party in Heidelberg with friends I would sleep on some windy field somewhere.
After over an hour of walking I came to the first highway entrance. I was immediately met by a police car that informed me in German that I could not hitchhike on the autobahn. I asked if the entrance was OK and it was and I stood there at 14:13.
It was a worthless entrance. There came about one car every two minutes and no one seemed to be of the kind that goes to Germany. And it was freezing cold. I regretted leaving my winter jacket in Atol; now I had to stand shaking like a washing machine looking at the grey sky and at cars that never came and didn’t stop if they did. I decided that after three hours I would take the bus to Praha, sleep there, and then tomorrow find another way to get out of the city.
But after 104 deep-frozen minutes car number 50 stopped. It was a man going to “Beroun”. Had no idea where that was, but it must be better than here.
It was a village 10 minutes down the highway. I stood at the entrance there at 16:10 and the sky was grey and the wind punished me. After 8 minutes car number 32 stopped. It was a man going to another village another few minutes down the highway. I concentrated hard to let my body and backpack store all the warm air he had in the car. At 16:30 I stood at the entrance from the village under a sky more grey than ever and a wind that had sine long penetrated my clothes and was now eating out the inside of my bones. It was unbearable. After 41 minutes a mere 15 cars had passed and I was shaking like insane and I gave up.
There was no forest anywhere around here and I was not tempted to lie in the open tonight, so I started walking the local road to the nearest town; Hořovice. After only 3 minutes car number 4 stopped. The driver said there was only one hotel in Hořovice and took me there. One room was 16 Euro. I asked the receptionist if there were any hostels or guesthouse in the town but she said there weren’t. Since I was freezing like someone who has been hid by a glacier in 10000 years I asked her several times if they had a room with bathtub and each time she said no.
I had the longest hot shower ever and went to bed. That was very comfortable. Absolutely wonderful. Under quilts and blankets I passed out at 6 pm.
I woke up by loud disco music. It was now 11 pm and I figured that since it was Saturday there must be a nightclub in the hotel; all small cities with only one hotel have nightclub in the hotel on Saturday. It’s called “Statt” in Swedish. Like you have to see the pyramids if you’re in Egypt, you have to go to Statt if you are in a town with only one hotel on a Saturday. The music made it impossible to sleep anyway, the dance floor was probably a few meters under my bed. And I was also really hungry, had only had small pieces of bread and candy during the day.
The hotel restaurant was open till 12 so I studied the menu carefully to determine what gave most food for the money. In Czechia they often provide the exact weight of each dish, which is helpful for us nutrition-per-currency-unit-maximizers. After making my elaborate choice I went to the waiter who said the place was closed. He recommended me the nightclub; in fact the only place of any kind still open.
The whole town between 13 and 50 were there. Everyone drunk and dancing. I sat in a corner with my “bageta” and enjoyed the energy from the people, the taste of food and the absence of ice cold wind. Then I went to bed again.
A note from (more) adult me: I often dream about this hotel. Very fancy, no people, in a small, empty, cozy city. With rice porridge for breakfast. If you know of such a place, let me know and I’ll be there for a week. But it needs a bath tub!