a tale of two stations
Jun 16, 2005
|[it was the best of times...]
standing by the open window as my night train to munich streaked by the city of prague. the wind rushed through my hair, and i felt at peace.
[it was the worst of times...]
i felt at peace mostly because i was leaving prague! don't get me wrong. lovely, boheamian, unique city of wonder. but let's not forget that but 20 years ago communism ran rampant, and but 60 years ago nazis ran the place. i couldn't help but feel nervous. for starters, the police are EVERYWHERE. this is somewhat comforting given i'm a single woman traveller. but let's not forget COMMUNISM was here 20 years ago. the police were IT. so i kind of always walked on eggshells lest i become just another stupid american tourist on "unsolved mysteries."
and don't get me started on prague rail station (too late). i arrive early for my train (as i always do -- better sitting around than spending the night.) and i find an open bench. score. well not 10 minutes goes by before the dirtest, scummiest, oldest, SMELLIEST man sites right down next to me.
so i try to focus on my book i'm reading and block out the rancid stench that is permeating the very fibers of this man's being. and then this old guy falls asleep. and starts to drool. UNBELIEVEABLE! this is more than i am able to tolerate. i pack up my things and find some other place to stand.
finally, after years it seems, my train's platform is announced. so i'm dragging my luggage all down this long, smelly hall (because, naturally, my train is at the very last platform). and i notice there's this guy walking opposite my direction. against my better judgement, i look up. big mistake. the guy looks straight at me and starts whining, beseeching me, "i am strong! i can help you with your bags! look! look! strong arms! look!" i put my head down, quicken my pace, and pray that platform 17 isn't much further.
what is with this place? if it's not smelly, drooly people, it's crazy, psycho people. and you wonder why american's take airplanes!
i've come to the firm conclusion that air travel is the only way to go. see, the major difference between airports and train stations is that you have to have a ticket to hang around inside an airport. and the cheapest air ticket i've ever crossed is $65. now you tell me what bum is gonna shell out 65 bucks for the privelege of drooling on a seat or defiling a public restroom?
but train stations are different. you don't have to have a ticket until you're actually on the train. which means stations will pretty much let in any schtook who's smelly and psychotic.
so if i were president of the world for a day, that's the first thing i'd change. no entry to train stations unless you have a ticket. that, and i'd eliminate the strike. no more of those either. you want to strike, you go work for the auto industry.