Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Prague 2008: Day 5 (26 June)

Even though the dorms are so spartan, the beds were comfortable enough and we were tired enough to fall asleep fast. We met out front of the dorm (Komenskeho Kolej, in case you're wondering the name of the dorm) and took public transportation (with our handy-dandy student public transportation passes) to the building where we would have our classes. We passed a statue of Dvorak in front of the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. We sat through orientation and a power point about all the things we would be doing on our various weekend trips. It was hot in the room, and most of us were still very tired, so almost everyone nodded off at least once or twice.

We were initially supposed to have free time for lunch, but apparently we hadn't eaten as much the night before as we were expected to, so the AIFS people saved the meat and bought more bread so that we could make sandwiches at the AIFS office. We also got our Fleet cards, which had the money for our meals, and were able to activate them. Most of us didn't understand the full procedure, though (read: we were napping), and didn't create a PIN then, so we weren't able to access our cards. Once we were done at the office, we got a little tour around town. We were shown Billa (a grocery store) and Tesco (a multi-level department store with a grocery store in the basement). We got a chance to shop some in Tesco, where Alicia and I bought a pan, two plates, two forks, a set of spatulas, and some dish soap. AIFS promised to refund us 200 czk (up to 200 czk, which isn't much) on purchases for the dorm. We were also shown where the university's computer lab is and had a new, 5-storey mall pointed out to us.

After the tour we were able to go back to the dorm, and we had the rest of the3 evening free. Alicia wanted to watch the semi-finals football game on the big screen in Old Town Square, so we decided to go to dinner right before that. I changed to my smaller purse, rather than my jumbo Target tote, and in the process left my public transportation pass in the tote back at the dorm. That was when the undercover police showed up and checked us for our passes, so I was fined 700 czk, which Colin payed for me, since I didn't have any money yet. I stopped at a bankomat to get some money before we ate at a Mexican restaurant that was far too expensive (and yes, I did pay Colin back that night).

We went back to the dorm so that I could get my pass, and then we attempted to find the game. Only thing is, everyone had a different idea of how to get there, so we arrived when there was three minutes left in the game. After not-seeing the game, most of the group wanted to go out, so we got lost looking for a pub that wasn't really crowded. We met some guys from Brazil who were looking for a hostel and became increasingly lost. A few of us bailed out early to head back to the dorm before we were absolutely lost. The rest of the group arrived back at the dorm an hour and a half later. They never did find a hostel for those guys.

From inside the gardens of a home next door to the stop where we got off the tram for school. This home was confiscated from the owner after the 30 years war because he had been making a profit off the war and everyone hated him.

Prague Castle behind the home. The castle was an orienteering mark for us the whole time we were in Prague.

The peacocks here were so loud, and sometimes it would seem like they were yelling at you.

A memorial to the period of Nazi occupation of then Czechoslovakia.

Charles Bridge, the view to our right as we walked across the Vltava to go to school. Life is rough.

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