Saturday, July 13, 2013

Getting to Prague

We flew to Prague yesterday to meet Alla's daughter Nika, her boyfriend and her father. We chose Prague because it's roughly in the middle of where we all live, and we like it here.

Previously, Alla and I got to Prague by train. We like the trip, but it takes over a day. This time we discovered flying Czech Air. It cost about 2/3 what the train would have cost, takes a lot less time, and it's really nice. We flew in a very new and beautiful airplane with LOTS of legroom, a friendly crew and delicious hot food. It makes me want to come back to Prague again soon.

We had a little trouble, however, getting to our hotel. Alla and I are staying at our favorite hotel. Nika, Tim and Viktor have an apartment about three blocks away. When I booked the apartment, I asked the owners to send a car to pick us up at the airport. Then I got an offer from the hotel people to take us both ways for just a little more money, so I canceled the first car. The apartment guy wrote back "no worries," but didn't explain what I shouldn't worry about. This made me worry a little, but I forgot about it by the time we arrived.

Nika and Tim found Alla and me in the airport arrival hall where the driver promised to meet us. Soon, a fellow showed up and unfolded a sign that said "Steve Vincent." We followed him out to his car, discovering that he speaks Russian better than he speaks English. In fact, I think that's his native language. We enjoyed the ride, chatting amicably and occasionally telling Tim what we were talking about.

I realized that the route our driver chose would take us right by the apartment and I asked him if he would mind stopping to let Nika and Tim out. It was only then, slowly, that we realized that he worked for the apartment rental agency and that they had not canceled our car request after all. I called our hotel and asked them retrieve their driver from the airport. Alla joked with the apartment-rental driver that she felt like a character in the Russian classic movie "Diamond hand." (The bad guys trick the fellow with the diamonds into getting into a taxi but the taxi takes him where he doesn't want to go.) Our driver got the joke right away and said that we wouldn't have to pay for the ride. He understood that we'd be obligated to pay the guy who went to the airport and found nobody.

So far, so good. Then it only took us about 15 minutes to get from the apartment to our hotel, because our friendly happy-go-lucky Russian driver misunderstood the name of our street. I kept trying to tell him to go back, turn here, and so-on, but he didn't believe me until we got to the street he thought we wanted. Finally we burst into our hotel with laughter and relief. The whole office staff came out to celebrate our arrival. It's good to be back.

No comments:

Post a Comment