No matter to whom I talk, I seem to always be asked the vague question, “How is Prague?” While it is a fine question and very much expected, it has proven entirely impossible for me to answer. Maybe that’s because being abroad has been such a transcendent experience that it cannot be condensed into a measly few words. Maybe I am selfish and want to keep all my experiences to myself. Most likely, it is because I am simply too lazy to muster up the ability to retell the same stories over and over, so I decide to simply avoid the question when it is asked.
Since this is how I feel, the following written text is transcribed from a letter I wrote a few days ago to a former Vassar student who has now moved on into the real world. I feel that writing for a friend may bring out the ease in my retellings, albeit in a possibly too casual manner. I do believe that the positives outweigh the negatives in this matter.
As for me, everything has been pretty hectic because school has technically not started. I start next Monday. Because of this, I am simply living week to week, but even more so, just day to day. I really get super stressed and agitated when I do not have anything to do. It worries me and gives me this feeling that I am forgetting about something. Still, I do not have any work, so I am instead doing a lot of ~fun activities~. I have explored a lot of Prague, but I have kind of found a handful of good spots that I keep visiting. I hate getting stuck in a predictable routine. I never want to be predictable. I need to find some new spots. I plan on doing that this weekend.
This past weekend was quite something though, and it is probably the best story I have so far. To start, I have become extremely close with a friend named Dan. We are film partners and known as inseparable/dating by many people in our program. We are not actually dating. Anyway, everyone booked a ticket for Budapest this past weekend, but we were too late as the tickets sold out. Instead, as we drowned our sorrows of exclusion with a two liter, two-dollar bottle of the finest local brew known as Branik, we quickly turned our misfortune into adventure and decided to randomly go to Vienna. No amount of preparation could have prepared us for what was to come. Our weekend in Vienna has since become something people model their weekends away after. It has become something of legend.
My gosh, did a lot of things happen. A lot, a lot. The true weekend started when we met this guy named Toby our first night. He was throwing up when we found him. I told Dan not to talk to him. Dan refused and said, “I’m talkin’ to him.” After some rather wonderful conversation despite the smell radiating from Toby’s mouth, Toby told us that his friend HK was from Prague. HK turned out to be just as lovely. The absence of puke was rather refreshing as well. They told us to come with them. Instinctually, this obviously seemed like the right decision. It did then, it kind of does now.
They took us to a random neighborhood that did not look like any sort of party – it was a straight up ghost town. We went through these doors of a random brownstone, and next thing I know, we went into an underground nightclub that I think was run by a mafia. They paid for us to get in, and then, they took us to the VIP section, also for free. Naturally, free bottle service was next. It was absolutely crazy, and it is tough to conjure up the exact situation in words. This just did not seem possible.
At around five, I realized Dan was not in the club. I left and saw him one hundred yards away stumbling around. He had just wandered off without knowing where our hostel was. I was lucky I found him.
The following day: lying practically dead in a park, recovering.
The next night, we knew we had to find HK and Toby. Before going out though, I grilled our hostel’s location into Dan’s head in case we got separated. We eventually found our new friends after a long search. We were at a wine party where, of course, we got free bottles of wine. They then took us to a different club where, yes, we got free bottle service. Dan was in mid conversation with a woman when he said he remembered going off to sleep in his mind but still being present physically, to put it delicately.
At three, I decided that we needed to head out. Hunger had set in. We went to the train stop that would take us right to our hostel. There, we got burritos. Somehow, and to this day I am still puzzled about this, Dan had gone missing. Again. Right there. I finished my burrito. He had still not come back. I got another burrito. He had still not come back. I figured he had gone back to the hostel now that he finally knew the location. I went back, and along the way, I became so tired that I did not bother to turn on the lights to check for a sleeping Dan upon my return.
The next morning, I was awoken by a dude in my hostel. He told me checkout was in twenty minutes. I found it odd of him to solely wake me, but then I realized Dan was not in his bed. I did not know what to do, so I confusingly started to pack Dan’s and my bags. Then, right when I was about to leave the room, Dan stumbled into the doorway and breathed the biggest sigh of relief. Without talking, he came over and hugged me. We left.
He then told me that he only remembers at about 8 a.m. he awoke in some sort of bed, in either an ambulance or house. The inability to differentiate the two is quite astounding, actually. There were three guys keeping him there, and he had to argue with them to leave. He then realized that he was in southeast Vienna, five miles from where we partied in northwest Vienna. Not only was this the case, but he did not have his phone or wallet, determining that he had been mugged. He did have throw up all over his left leg, however.
We then spent the day going around to different sights and lying on them. We laid on statues, dozed in parks, and slumbered in multiple restaurants. We bargained in an Apple store for a phone charger and ate peanut butter straight from a jar with our fingers for every meal that day. Finally, we stumbled our way to the bus, and eventually made it home. I am not sure how all this comes across via text, but I must say that it was one of the greatest weekends of my life.