Monday, July 19, 2010

Czech it out! Canoes and downpours.

I should've worn my t-shirt with the same name. I think it would've been a hit.
Last Friday after work, I drove to Amberg and caught the train to Czech. Only a little ways down the track, the train broke down. (Heat exertion.) But it was long enough that I missed all the connections to the little town of Sušice, Tschechien (Czech Republic auf Deutsch), where I was supposed to  meet my friend Ivana for the weekend. So after four hours of travel, I was back home again.  Depressed.
After a peptalk with my mom, I decided I'd go by car in the morning instead.
It stormed all night. Lightning and thunder. Banging the windows. I was glad not to be in the tent.
The next morning, grey skies loomed and more streaks of lightning. I wondered about canoeing on the river in those conditions.
But it magically cleared up when I arrived, and we all hopped in the canoes (sort of half canoe, half kayak) and paddled downriver for about 20km, stopping a few times along the way for a beer and some lunch. In total, about fifteen of us were on the trip. We landed in the town of Horažďovice, where we caught the train back to camp. The downpour had returned and though we'd stayed dry mostly on the river, we were all soaked by the time we boarded the train. But it was a warm rain, and I never mind those.
After so many hours of paddling, I was sleepy. But we all sat around and played a crazy kids card game (in Czech) and chatted until about 11pm, at which point I crashed in the tent. It was still downpouring, and our tents were about 10 feet from the river.
Ivana was worried. She was watching the water.
I was my former self, the one who does not care if there is a fire or a tornado or impending flood, she is more concerned about sleeping. Sleeping like the dead all night long.
At 2AM, Ivana and another friend decided the water was too dangerous. It had risen about 8-10 feet and was about 1 foot from the top of the bank. We all picked up our tents and moved to higher ground. In total, about 20 tents were moved (not everyone was in our group).
The following day, we'd planned to hike up a big hill for views of the surrounding area, but it was still raining with clouds hanging low. Instead, we dispersed our separate ways.
I lollygagged home, through small towns and past churches in the countryside, arriving back about 6:00PM. Tired but happy.
It was interesting to hang out with all Czech people. I felt bad that I didn't know any of their language. But then I don't really mind if I don't know what's going on. It's a little bit like being a social isolate... but it's peaceful also. Most all of them spoke some English and several were very good. Strangely also, it was a group of professionals mostly, lawyers, a doctor, an engineer, a pharmacist, and then a few others. I learned a lot about their backgrounds, and a little about their lives. I was impressed by the way they all took care of each other- and they way they acted-  more collaborative and responsible, and less competitive. More humble. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it seemed, and it was nice. 

1 comment:

Dee J. said...

The laughing as I read this account will surely prolong my life - it was great talking to you by phone today also - after I figured out the stupid phone number. See you soon and love you too, auntie dj