Sunday, November 17, 2013

Zlata Praha

“This is shaping up to be a negative blog post,” my boyfriend spoke into the phone that I held to my ear as I sat in a hotel room in Prague at 2:00 am crying my eyes out. Not more than 45 minutes earlier I was having a wonderful time dancing with my friends to Rihanna’s dangerously addicting “S&M” at the hip club Nebe in the new part of the city. But after hours of walking around exploring the enchanting Czech capitol my feet were aching and I was ready to call it a night. My friends weren’t quite ready to throw in the towel so I walked up to a group of taxi cab drivers hoping to get a ride back to my hotel. 

“Zlata phhh,” I said making a “phhh” sound in place of the second part of the name of my hotel, which I could not quite remember. “Zlata Prana” they immediately responded and a man emerged from the group and motioned for me to get into his unmarked BMW taxi. “Is this a real taxi?” I dumbly asked ignoring my instincts. “Yes,” he assured me and pointed to the meter, which was already at 240 crowns, or about $10. That seemed high for the notoriously inexpensive former Soviet country but I again told myself that we were not far from the hotel so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I had to pay a bit more. It was cold out.

He began speeding through the city and on to the highway. “Near the train station?” I asked him as I watched what I thought to be that exact building whizz past. “Yes,” he again said. I noticed he had a picture of a baby on his iPhone that was docked within sight. A guy with a picture of his baby can’t be that bad I assured myself even though we seemed to be traveling further and further away from the center of town.

“Aren’t we past the hotel?” I finally had the courage to ask.

“You said Zlata Prana,” he responded.

“We are definitely past the train station. I told you by the train station.”

 “You said Zlata Prana, I am taking you to Zlata Prana.”

“I want to go back to the train station now,” I demanded.

“You said Zlata Prana!” he was screaming at me now. “You said Zlata Prana in Prague 6!”

“No, not in Prague 6,” I said now frantic. I looked at the meter and it read 800 crowns. I did the math on my phone. It was $40. “Take me there,” I pointed to a nearby hotel.

“No,” he screamed and kept driving.

He then got on his phone and started yelling at someone in Czech. I was contemplating ways to throw myself out of the taxi as he sped along the highway. Then out of nowhere he pulled over to the side of the road and told me to get out. I gladly jumped out then immediately realized that I was in the middle of nowhere. In Eastern Europe. At 1:30 in the morning. Bawling, I tried to call Kent. No answer. I waved my hands around in the air as taxis flew by. In the distance I saw a Hilton sign so I dejectedly started walking towards it then out of nowhere a taxi pulled over. Still sobbing, I jumped in and managed to show him on a map where my hotel was. My phone vibrated and I began to tell Kent about the ordeal and he stayed on the line till we reached my hotel, which I realized was called “Zlata Praha.”  

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