Saturday, November 15, 2008

Winged Beasts and Other Tales

Day 249
Last night I had the misfortune of meeting my new roommate. He was a Frenchman who had lived in the Philippines for the last decade after retiring from the military. I find it very unfortunate that he was so annoying. He had a wealth of travel experience and I could have learned a lot from him. The first problem was that even though he spoke English quite well, his accent was terrible and he spoke very quickly, I seemed to miss the middle of every sentence he said. The other pro
blem was that he complained constantly. There weren’t the typical travel complaints either. You know, I hate carrying my bag, this person pushed me, does this country serve any food that isn’t fried first? He was attacking the people themselves, their level and willingness to speak English (yes, I said he was French) and even nitty gritty tourist structure stuff. Apparently everything in Asia is better and Europe sucks. He might have been the reason I went out for dinner the night before.

I was not happy to find out over breakfast that he was planning the same day trip as me. Also, as it was the weekend and off season, there was only one bus there and one bus back. So, fun for me, I could get stuck with him all day. At the bus stop he was very loud in saying that he felt that they make life hard on travelers on purpose in the CR. His current complaint was because the bus time tables are rather hard to read. I have been solving this by asking around and it hasn’t been a problem. I did the same today and met a really wonderful person. I couldn’t pronounce or spell her name though, so we will refer to her as NCG (nice Czech girl, or NCGWRMFTCFM nice Czech girl who rescued me from the crazy Frenchman). She confirmed that we were in the right place and we continued our conversation until we got to Telc. She was headed to Trebon to visit her boyfriend. When I joked that he should come to her I was informed that this was just what her mom had said. That is a very scary comparison.

When the bus got to Telc the bus driver had a bit of a break so NCG walked me part of the way to the city center. CFM (crazy Frenchman) was nowhere to be seen and she asked me if he was American as well, and said that he was very opinionated. I told her where he was from and we dropped the subject, but were sure to exchange emails before parting.

Now this is something that really annoys me. Not NCG, she didn’t annoy me at all. When people speak English well, or even just understand a bit it is often difficult or impossible for them to be able to tell apart different accents. So whenever someone is speaking English and behaving badly they are automatically branded as an American. It doesn’t matter where they are from, or even what level of English they actually have, they are American. The thing is, pretty much all avid travelers have an excellent hold on English, it’s the language of travel. Americans, sadly, are not huge travelers. On occasion on this trip I’ve gone more than a month between American sightings. Therefore, most people speaking English are not American. But when they misbehave, as we all do time to time, they are thought of as Americans. Hence, the ugly American travel slur. I guess my complaint (or random rant) is that I want to be judged on my own behavior, not on anyone else’s that came before me. If people don’t like me, that’s fine, there are a whole lot of people that I don’t like. And really, if you don’t like me, you’re not worth my time. (But if you don’t like me and your reading this blog, I must ask, do you have a life?) Just don’t dislike me for where I was born, dislike me for me, and dislike other people for being who they are as individuals as well. Ok, rant over, back to travel.

Telc (Telch) is known for its odd shaped and rather impressive square. It was easy to find, if I went in any other direction I would have been on country roads. With NCG’s help I had gotten away from CFM, and it looked like I would have a wonderful day. Of course, my first stop was the same as his, the tourist office. Now he was complaining loudly that it was closed. I told him that I was going to get some tea and went off on my own. It wasn’t hard, there were a lot of signs.

Instead of tea I spent some time checking out the buildings in the main square and photographing them. I walked into a couple of nondescript churches, but without names I can’t really report on them. Eventually I checked out the lake and ended up in a rather pretty alley.

The only museum open was called the Teksky Dom, it was a history and legends museum. It sounds really corny, even as I write it, but it wasn’t. Well, it was, but I liked it. The first room had several Czech legends depicted in porcelain. This bit was also translated into English. I read about two lover who went to the cellar to get more wine who accidentally set off a barrel of gun powder, killing everyone. I also read about another set of young lovers. The man had to go to war and didn’t come back for years. When he did he discovered that his girlfriend had married someone else. In a jealous rage he killed her groom. He was beheaded for his actions and she jumped out a window in her sorrow. There were also several about people out smarting the devil. These seem to be common everywhere.

There was a small collection of historical artefact's, but nothing was in English and they were not very interesting. Downstairs had rather large ceramic figures acting out different stories, they were nice, but only in Czech. I did like the small peak into Telc’s underground though. The upstairs rooms had games and I think they may have been for kids, but I managed to kill some time here as well.

After the museum it was lunch time and I found a cheap place for a cheese sandwich and to write a bit. I had a few hours to kill and wandered the parks for a bit. I also managed to find some new pens. When I got bored, well, cold, I got some tea and chocolate cake. I passed the time by writing. I had free internet at the hostel and I wanted to take advantage of it and needed things to type to do that.

It was rather unfortunate, but the main museum and the castle were close. Maybe next time. The ride back was fine, I didn’t even seen the CFM until I got off.

Back at the hostel I figured I would work on the blog and read for the evening. The CFM had other plans though and I ended up going to the bar downstairs to milk a beer over my book before falling asleep. I just couldn’t listen to that man complain any longer.

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