Czech Republic, I guess, is renown for beer. We drove to a few small villages, each one with its own brewery. Budweis and Pilsn — you can guess what were invented there.
Very fortunate that my Swiss friend was driving around. It’s moments like these, off the beaten track, that make you feel like you’re traveling. Cobblestone villages that weren’t bombed out during World War II, all with a giant public square in the center of the town, mostly with a cathedral in the middle.
The town of Pilsn blanketed the city with free Wi-Fi. That’s some civilized shit right there. Also, there was evidence of a high level of civilization: pet stores, florists and joggers everywhere. These are things that are only in societies that have fulfilled the basic needs of survival and now want the flourishes: puppies; fresh flowers and abdominal muscles.
We did the Pilsner Urquell brewery tour which was half-interesting — because I never knew the intricacies of brewing beer from hops and barley to my stomach — and half-torture because I was day drinking before. Day drinking, meaning one beer, but in Czech Republic, meaning one enormous fucking stein of beer.
The next night we were aiming for a house party just north of Munich, back in Germany. We thought to buy beer in the Czech Republic and groceries back in Germany where it’s cheap (cheaper than Thailand, in fact).
Swiss guy said he doesn’t eat sausages or hamburger. Anything ground, he refuses. Back in high school he worked in a grocery store and they had all of the employees visit the — well, not the slaughterhouse, but where they grind the leftover meats into sausages and patties. Whatever he saw there still haunts him now, it’s in his eyes.
We got to the house party. Full of giant Germans and lots of caricatures.
There was the Balkan man with his salt and pepper hair cut short. Stocky, muscular, solid, with medium-sized hoop earrings. He had a foldable knife in his pocket that he would retract whenever he wanted to pick something off the barbeque grill. He taught metal shop as an apprenticeship and showed me a picture on his phone of a giant barbeque that he had his students make for a project.
His girlfriend was blonde with blue eyes. Very cute, but maybe because there was no one else there. I talked to her the most because she reminded me of America. I actually thought she was American because of her accent, and she profusely thanked me, taking it for the greatest compliment, like, ever. She worked as a waitress in Naples, Florida for a year or two, before getting kicked out when her visa was up.
The owner of the house — a giant, 2000 sqft mansion — was also a teacher. A pot-smoking, beer-swilling teacher (are there any other kinds?) who somehow bought this enormous house with an enormous yard for him and his girlfriend. He had a band room with Pink Floyd and Metallica posters on the walls.
There was a Thai woman there, a bit older than me, who was dating a German who was wearing a turban (or something). He was very spiritual -looking and -talking. I’m not sure how to describe it, something in the timbre of his voice. He sounded like John Lennon after a trip to India, after a visit to his guru. I talked to the Thai woman quite a bit, first practicing my Thai but then giving up once I discovered how much I’ve forgotten. She’s only been in Germany for 10 days out of a 2 month trip, and then they were moving to Bangkok or India (they hadn’t decided). We talked about how cheap groceries were in Germany, how cold as fuck it was, how we missed Thailand, how there’s a Thai food market in Berlin.
We started drinking and eating around 7pm and someone passed me a joint at one point, homemade schnapps at another point, and I woke up upstairs on a couch with my legs dangling off the end. There was a dog at my side, and I vaguely remember feeding him all night so I guess I was now the master.
I’m anti-social in the mornings so I took a walk, sat in the Swiss’ car, and generally stayed away from everyone. After lunch, Swiss dropped me off at the train station so I could make my way to Munich. He messaged me hours later saying that the Thai woman had brought me chili peppers and paste and was sad that she couldn’t say goodbye.