If there is one thing that I know about European trains it is the exact nature of their schedule. If a schedule says that the train will be at the main Prague station at 13:04, do not get off the train if it is 13:02. Unfortunately that was not a lesson that another American couple on our train has learned yet. Although they announced in broken English that the next stop was Praha, it was actually not the main station but a station outside of town. I looked out the door of the train to see the clock at the station and it said 13:00 four minutes earlier than we were supposed to be at the main terminal, so I knew we were not at our stop yet.
Outside with their luggage was a couple asking a local if this was Prague. The gentleman said that it was and off the couple went as the train pulled out. It could have been their stop, but since it looked like only locals were exiting I think they wanted the main station like we did.
At one stop a family came into our compartment. The boy was 12 or so. I heard him talking to his mother in a Slavic, I assume. Although I didn't know what he was saying there was a rhythm and tone that is the same for every pre-teenager arguing with is parents. I wondered what it was all about, but didn't have a clue even what language it was. It all seemed so far from anything that was familiar to me on a daily basis. We got off the train at the right station and as I passed him by I repeated the German phrase for "excuse me" that Brandon taught me. The little boy responded in clearly pronounced English. "That's okay, no problem, sir." Americans are so far behind the rest of the world in language skills.
Sandi brought a spring hat with her. The weather has been a little too cool to wear it much but it has caused much excitement. As we changed planes in Dusseldorf Sandi realized half way thorough tthe terminal that she left her hat in the over head. We sprinted back to the gate and she ran onto the plane. It was being cleaned by a group of people who thought she was a confussed terrorist. None the less they let her retrieve her hat. However, when she tried to get back into the terminal the door was locked. We communicated through the glass door with no results. There was no one around so she went back onto the plane to see if the cleaning crew could make a call. At just that time a man showed up and said something to me in German. I said, in English, that my wife was locked inside the jet way. If she had been there at that moment he might have understood, but she wasn't and backed away from me slowly.
Twenty minutes later a man came with a key and rescued her.
On the last night we were in Prague, we came back to the hotel and sat for a minute to figure out our plans for the next day. I looked behind the desk and hanging on a hook was a hat that looked just like Sandi's. I said "Hey Sandi, that looks like your hat," there was a moment of isn't that interesting followed by realization. Actually it was her hat, she had left it at the desk when we checked in and it had been there on the rack for three days waiting to be claimed. It sometimes pays to stop and look around where you are.
More on Prague later. It will require some time to collect my thoughts about the city.
As you were,
Filming "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only" at Historic Thalian Hall in Wilmington, NC on Sept. 15, 2012. Come join us on that Saturday and be a part of Broadway History.