So I alluded to it on FB this morning, but today was a less than stellar day. I want to be honest on here and not only share the great things, but also the struggles. So to be honest, navigating these “Eastern European” (are they still called that?) countries has been harder than I anticipated. There is little English, which makes things difficult. I know it’s totally ethnocentric of me to want that, but English is really the common-ground language. Take my Auschwitz tour… I was on an English tour, but I was the only native speaker. The rest were foreigners who also spoke English.
Anyway, the lady at the train/bus station this morning was not helpful and I apparently did not understand her instructions. I thought I was getting on a bus to my hostel and I needed to take the metro. By this time, I was drenched in sweat (are you noticing a theme?) and my bag was heavy, so I grabbed the first cab I saw. The first thing the people at the hostel said was hostile (see what I did there?). I think he’s been trying to make up for being rude, but still. I had “slept” on a train, in my contacts (which I almost lost one of this morning…thankfully my sweet, older Polish bunkmate miraculously found it!) and the same tank I was wearing yesterday, couldn’t wash my face or brush my teeth, etc. I get to the hostel and couldn’t check in (understandable). I asked if there was somewhere I could freshen up. I was told, outside. Clearly something was lost in translation. Add to this that I had had almost no food in almost 23 hours (nothing was open at the train station last night and I had to wait in an interminable line to get my rail pass activated… and I had to yell at the lady to do it). Not a good combo.
Thankfully, Rebecca had insomnia and iMessaged me! (So thankful for friends reaching out!). I tried to eat breakfast at the hostel… it was gross. I had very little. I was then going to go on a walking tour of the city courtesy of the hostel. I walked in and saw a whole bunch of 12 year olds. Apparently this “luxury hostel” thing is cheap enough to still attract the young ones. I couldn’t do it. So I freshened up in the bathroom (I cleared that up!) and set out on my own. Got to the metro station to go to New Town/Wenceslas Square and found a McDonald’s. Decided then that I would comfort myself with things from home. I feel like I shouldn’t have had to do that this early in the trip, but I think it was a perfect storm of events. I had McD’s and proceeded to the Square. Sat in the square and finished my book and then walked around the square. It was so Americanized. Three McDonald’s, BK, KFC, couple Starbucks, H&M, Marks and Spencer (ok, a little British, too). It felt so good!
Moral of the story: give up the “expectations” and just go with it. If I need a break, I need a break! If I need Starbucks, I’m getting Starbucks!