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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 01:46 AM   #121
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Normally I take a little time to learn phrases and vocabulary for the countries I visit....but being that I didn't even know I was going to be in Slovakia I didn't really prepare. I speak a bit of Russian, but the people I spoke to either didn't seem to like me speaking it or just thought it weird.

Don't recall if the pic below was in the CZ Republic or Slovakia or not. It's a good pic that illustrates how nerve-wracking something as simple as buying gas can be when you don't know the protocols. Do I pay first or after? Did he just ask me what pump again or is he asking me what kind of fuel? Ah shit--none of my credit cards work....do they accept Euros? After a while you just roll with it....stress level drops to zero (ok, not zero, but close to it) and you just bounce around like a pinball hoping you can score a few points along the way.



Other protocols were easier to understand. These guys were setting the example that it's ok to be marbly-mouth drunk in public at 3 in the afternoon. Better on the sidewalk than behind the wheel in my lane.
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 01:46 AM   #122
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Oh yes....it had started pouring rain. I turned the GoPro on just in time:



Now, there could be a number of reasons why these ADVers were under the bridge....only one of which is that they were trying to get out of the rain. I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but this wasn't the first group I saw seeking refuge.

Reminded me of the first obscene storm I went through on my way to Grand Junction Colorado when I was doing ~90 to stay upright in the rain/crosswinds and blew by a large group of Adventure Tourers huddling together under a bridge. Though the latter group definitely had self-preservation as a reason, not sure what was up with these guys on my way to Prague. In any case, there's a few less riders in the world who think guys who ride Ducati only go to Starbucks and back. :rofl
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 01:47 AM   #123
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So...day in the life: Left Vienna, rode through an E. European monsoon, spent an hour taking photos in Resident evil worrying about getting stabbed while taking slippery pictures, then at the end of the day the sun sets near Prague.



I hadn't eaten anything since Austria, nor had I drank anything. Cell phone had cut out long ago, which meant I was navigating blindly. It's fun, but it's a little bit 'where the fuck am I headed' strange.

Eventually European cell phone companies will figure out if they want more $$$$ they should make it possible to buy more shit even if you don't speak the local tongue.



In the absence of phone credit--and in fear that Garmin would route me to Atlanta, I just followed road signs, which eventually led to an airport.





Oh yeah....and the food in Hotels in Europe doesn't suck like it does in the US.



I can also get used to beans and eggs and other misc. shit for breakfast for 5 Euros, too.

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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 03:04 AM   #124
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Wasn't sure what to expect from Prague, but this really solidified a good first impression:





TSA in the USA are like angry meter maids with guns telling you "no parking, no parking" often even if the person you're picking up curbside is 20 feet away, sprinting towards your vehicle and yelling "I'm RIGHT HERE!". Very effective at freeing up parking spots, but not so effective at preventing stupid and evil acts for those who may be so inclined. The Czech Republic doesn't fuck around, though. Bet they buy the first RoboCop unit, too. I felt incredibly safe wandering through the airport to find the Vodafone store.
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 03:59 AM   #125
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Cities are like dates with women you've never actually met. You hear stories, you see pictures. You form an impression based on all kinds of estimations and guesses. Your imagination runs wild--in positive or negative directions. But mostly it never turns out the way you'd expect. And an expectation can kill an experience, which is why the 'throw a dart at a map' kind of decisions change us the most. Ask someone you know who likes to take vacations once a year where they've been and you'll most likely see a pattern develop. Hell, even think of your own travel decisions. There's typically a pattern, which isn't necessarily bad if your goal is just to sit on a beach and drink for a week. But vacations tend to overlap with one very important time of the year when we can DO ANYTHING WE WANT. It's the one time of year in which we're freed from stresses of work, the burdens of raising a family, or domestic trifles like mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters. There is no better time than the two weeks a year we get off to do the one thing we put off more than anything else: working on ourself.

Ever notice that when kids are sent away on 'vacation' the focus is on development. But when adults take off, 9/10 times it's just to be lazy in a new environment? Don't want to proselytize too much, but the next time you take time off perhaps consider something out of the ordinary--and consider doing it ALONE. Apprentice with a book binder in Boston, do a week-long race course with Schwantz, take Piano lessons with a Mozart impersonator in Vienna or simply learn how to make beer in your garage.

Anyhow...back to no expectations and cities. Discovery only happens when you wander into the unexpected. That was Prague for me. Yeah, I'd heard great things about it, but ever notice how pretty much everyone says great things about any place they've visited in the same sort of annoying way? It's 1/3 "fuck you, asshole, I had fun while your life sucked", 1/3 placebo and 1/3 "I made this decision, and can't admit it was a bad one."

The first and the last are easily understood. But I don't think I've ever heard anyone talk about vacation placebo effects. An expectation alone is powerful enough to modify us physically--and in an event so complicated and wildly varied as a 7 day holiday, an expectation will not only change how events are perceived, it will continue on to modify which events you recall and which you do not (memories are the second form of rewriting your own history). It's not a bad thing by any means...unless the worst is constantly expected (I suppose it's easy enough to just extend this to every day life--it's why depressed people keep enduring depressing events and why cheerful people seem so god damned lucky that good shit keeps happening).

For a great example of how thoughts can change perception, stare at snow on a TV screen and imagine the little dots going up. Then down. Then clockwise swirls, and so on. About .5 seconds after you're thinking, "move from left to right" they do....

Anyhow, I still don't like going into a city with outstanding expectations even if I know it'll make my stay more pleasant. I try to be as scientific as possible, which is why I can honestly say--with an infallible degree of accuracy--that Prague is a disgusting and ugly, dirty and foul, obscene and drab as any city I've visited. These pictures will surely attest to the fact that it's a place on Earth no one in their right mind would ever want to live or visit:























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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 06:18 AM   #126
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That SMS you got, was from Vodafone Italy, in Italian, non from Eastern Europe countries
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 08:36 AM   #127
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Your right Prague looks horrible....not....lol
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Old Oct 3rd 2014, 11:36 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by HotIce View Post
That SMS you got, was from Vodafone Italy, in Italian, non from Eastern Europe countries
Didn't say it was from an E. European country.
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Old Oct 4th 2014, 06:38 AM   #129
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Great stuff as always AntiHero…..
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Old Oct 4th 2014, 06:48 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by AntiHero View Post
Didn't say it was from an E. European country.
Well, duh! I thought I had read that
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