THE PELLET WITH THE POISON
15 July 2012
I decided that since we'd all been at the palace yesterday, Walt must have gotten the pellet with the poison.
(Actually, this picture was taken at the Lobkowicz Palace yesterday. We had been given these glasses and when I asked the man giving them out what was in it, he said "liquor." When I asked what kind he said "Czech liquor." It was kind of sweet and had an apple taste to it, as if an apple liquor had been mixed with vodka. I didn't like it much, and didn't finish mine. Walt did. I rest my case.)
He was so sick last night, throwing up more than he'd eaten in two days. The vomiting finally stopped around 1 a.m. but he was still feeling rocky in the morning. We went down to meet Mike and Char for breakfast, but he stuck to water and a tiny bit of cereal and announced that he was going to stay in the hotel today.
In truth, though I would have loved to do more exploring, I was just as happy to stay with him to give my feet a day of rest. I knew I could not keep up with the pace Mike and Char usually set and I didn't want to hold them back, so Walt and I settled in to our hotel room and put a "do not disturb" sign on the door. He changed out of his breakfast clothes and back into pajamas and we both went back to sleep. I wasn't surprised that Walt went right to sleep, but I sure was surprised when I fell back to sleep right away and slept until noon. I guess I needed the day off too!
Walt felt a little better when he woke. Mike called with details of their escapades and, after talking with Char, I know I made the right decision to stay here in the hotel! But Walt was ready to get out and walk around a little, so we went to a tiny mall across from the hotel and bought some post cards, then he wanted to investigate the metro system...his favorite thing to do in a new city, especially in a foreign country.
and then we came back to the hotel, where Walt was asleep again within minutes and slept for another two hours.
By 5 p.m., when I finally decided I needed SOMETHING in my stomach, since I hadn't had any lunch, and went down to the bar to get a small "pub grub" snack, Walt eventually woke up and joined me. We figured if he were well enough to sit up and drink beer, his whatever it was was finally over.
This was one of the nights I love best about these trips--the chance to see some cheesy local group do folk dancing for the tourists. In Russia we had Cossack dancing, in China we had Peking opera. Here we had "Folklore," which is a faux log cabin decorated with plastic fruits and vegetables, selling local jewelry, and a troupe of singers, musicians and dancers performing for an entire crowd of tourists, each with a digital camera. It just doesn't get any cornier, or more fun, than that. I live for these optional excursions!
On the way to the dinner, we passed The Dancing House, one of the most intriguing pieces of architecture I've seen. If you were to see this in San Francisco, you'd think it had been an earthquake. But no, this was actually designed like this as a tribute to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (incorrectly described several times by Hannah yesterday as "American movie stars of the 1920s" ... it was the 30s, but I didn't correct her). Apparently the supports at the bottom of the building represent Ginger Rogers' ball gowns.
The building was designed by Vlado Milunc and American Frank O. Geary and was built between 1992 and 1996. Apparently the top floor contains one of the city's leading restaurants, Celeste, and our tour guide tonight told us that her boyfriend works in the exclusive bar at the bottom of the building (and gets cheap drinks as a result!)
When we arrived at our destination, there were several tour groups from other organizations there, and our table was marked with the American flag.
This is our tour guide, Jane, or Janna (her name tag says Janna but she introduced herself to us as Jane). Isn't she adorable?
We sat with Barbara and Ron, a retired couple from Canada. When Char found out they were from Canada, she insisted that they have to have their own flag, which Janna was somehow able to find.
Ron, who was actually born and lived in Brasil until he was 10, is another person on this trip with a cane. I felt a kindred spirit!
The liquor was unlimited, starting with honey wine, and then beer and/or wine and/or juice and/or water. Walt figured he would discourage any lingering bugs by trying all of them at once.
The entertainment started and was lively, with lots of Czech folk music and, inexplicably, songs like "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary," but it was great fun, with singing, dancing and audience participation (one nice thing about having a cane--nobody begs you to get up and dance!)
(I don't know who this kid was--he wasn't with our group, but he was having the best time taking video of whoever he knew who was on stage dancing!)
Walt tried to surreptitiously take a picture of the wall of photographers behind me, but ended up getting only two, but there was a wall, trust me!
Even Walt, who almost never takes pictures, was moved to get out his cell phone and snap a shot or two.
The entertainers took a break for dinner and our meal was served: potato soup (quite different from the kind of potato soup I would make, but delicious), and then our main meal was a huge pot of ham, pork, and chicken, on a bed of mashed potatoes (with lots of onion...I warned Walt not to have any), and something called "American potatoes" which look like cottage fries with some sort of special seasoning on them. I actually saw a package of American Potatoes seasoning at a store we went to this afternoon.
For dessert there was strudle.
We got back to the hotel around 11 and are now packing up to have our bags out by 7 tomorrow. We get on the coach at 7:30 and make the 8-9 hour drive to Budapest and board the ship.
I have kept this computer on since I had my "trouble" a couple of days ago and so it has worked fine. I'm going to put it to sleep mode instead of turning it off and hope that when I get on the ship I can set up without problem. Keep your fingers crossed! At least on the ship I sort of have options, but it's never as easy as it is with my own computer and my own software.
I have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Prague (Walt may feel differently!) and realize it is just the aperitif...the main course of the trip begins tomorrow!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Taking my cane for a walk on the streets of Prague