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Prague Day Two: A Sense Of Wonder, But Where The Hell Is My Luggage?

August 8, 2012

My life is currently dominated by the absence of luggage.

I sent some information and a query to the British Airways website today.  I never trust those “contact us” pop-up boxes; I seriously doubt that any competent individual is monitoring them.  Still, I composed an elaborate explanation of where my bag probably got separated from its plane.  No word yet.

Other than the clothes I am wearing and my thrift shop purchases, this is what I have with me:

Not a lot of stuff with which to build a life in a new country, is it?  

I walked to the Praha Thrift Store today and bought a pair of pants, two shirts, a towel, a fork, a knife, a spoon, and a pair of underwear.  (They didn’t have any socks.)  740 CZK, ($36.40)… yikes!   Many things are cheap in Prague, (beer!), but American-style thrift shops have not caught on yet and these simple items cost much more than they would have in the states.  Still, when you need clean clothes, you need clean clothes, and you will pay what you must.  That’s the kind of insight economists get paid good salaries to make, even though everyone already knows them, which kind of defeats the whole wisdom-of-the-market argument that economists also get paid good salaries to make.  But I digress.

I walked several miles around Prague today, on various errands, mostly related to my absence of luggage, but also just by way of exploring.

I love the old trolleys.

Imagine living in a building like this!  It’s on my bucket list.

I bought stuff.  Here are two things I bought today.

The pocket notebook, at 10 koruna/crowns/CZK, (about 50 cents), was a deal.  The soda turned out not to be a soda at all, but a rather strong alcoholic drink.  It’s funny, when you unknowingly drink something with alcohol, you have a completely different experience—cognitively if not metabolically—than when you intentionally knock one back.   It’s just one more odd little experience you’ll never have in your country of origin.  I’m wondering if it was caffeinated, because my first thought was that I had drunk some sort of so-called energy drink.

I also bought some groceries: fruits and vegetables, bread, olives, some Asian chili sauce.  I managed to avoid eating in a restaurant today, which is a big money-saver.  Conducting all these little retail transactions, I have had opportunities to use my few words of Czech.  I can now employ dobrý den, dobrý večer, děkuji,  prosim,  and na shledanou with sufficient aptitude that Czechs seem to get the drift.  Not much, but it’s a start.

I’m starting to get the hang of Czech money.  The coins are more valuable than American coins.  The one on the left is 50 CZK, and it will pay for your beer plus a tip.  It’s equal to about $2.50 American.  I wonder if it’s a peculiarity of American money that coins are only for very small purchases.  I think it will be necessary to stop converting values in my head, and simply start thinking about currencies the way the locals do.  To me, paying for a beer with a coin feels like getting an outrageously good bargain, but that’s only because I’m used to thinking of coins as things you put in vending machines.

One of the few things that I dislike about traveling is the way you acquire lots of pieces of paper which must not, under any circumstances, be misplaced.  I’ve got all these in my backpack.

Well, I could go on about the effluvia, jetsam and detritus of expatriation, but I need to get up in the morning.  Doesn’t look like it’ll be worth waiting around for my bag.  The main things I need to do tomorrow are 1: figure out the bus to Brno, and 2: buy a prepaid cell phone.  I need a way for British Airways to contact me when they find my bag, which I’m sure they will…  he said hopefully.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2012 8:35 pm

    Well, that can does say Cranberry. I have hoped you have a safe space for your stuff and a way to keep some food items, too. I reviewed the ESL cafe and liked it. Don’t know what else you could be doing. Good job, Dave.

  2. Madonna permalink
    August 8, 2012 10:09 pm

    Sounds like the thrift shops are working with the airlines. Lost baggage = thrift shop sales.

    • August 9, 2012 5:40 am

      Hi, Madonna! Thanks for stopping by!

      If they’re that well-coordinated in their efforts, we’re doomed. My view of the world, however, is that it’s simply a mess and no-one is in charge. Or, as the old saying goes, “The lunatics have taken over the asylum.” But perhaps I am overly hopeful.

  3. Jeff permalink
    August 9, 2012 4:56 am

    I grew up in New Orleans & those are not “old trolleys”.
    Otherwise, you are doing very well.
    Carry on

    • August 9, 2012 5:43 am

      Well, they’re old, but not as quaint and picturesque as your New Orleans trolleys. Actually they call them trams. I hear the ones in Brno are older still.

      No zombies here, but perhaps I will see a golem.

      Coming for a beer, then? Nudge, nudge.

  4. Darth Beaver permalink
    August 9, 2012 9:36 am

    Alcoholic energy drink sounds like something somebody should invent. Possibly to give away free at the lost luggage desk in airports.

    I hope they pussy up some compensation for their mistake when they do finally reunite you with your stuff.

    • August 9, 2012 7:12 pm

      Oh, they have those in the USA. So many college students have died because of them that they finally took a couple of the worst ones off the market. they were like malt liquor with 5 shots of espresso.

      The saga of my bags nears its end, as I shall soon relay. (I hope to be reunited with them tomorrow. Details at six.) I have no hope whatsoever of being compensated for my inconvenience any further than the flimsy little overnight bag of survival items they gave me that first night. I’m going to cut my losses and run. May I never have to fly again.

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