The Train Ride To Prague
I open up my eyes at seven in the morning trying to figure out where the hell am I. All I remember I boarded the train yesterday evening at twenty nine past seven in Utrecht, halfway through sleeping only been waken up by uniformed officer with POLIZEI word on his uniform. And now, we were not moving. The Chinese girl next to my couchette were not around. When I jumped on my couchette yesterday she surprised me with her facial mask on her face, I put on small smile as a simple greeting but I was laughing inside. She reminds me on Wen when I first met her at the farm, it even outrageous, she had green lotion on her face, like She-Hulk but with proper cloth on and towel wrapped on her head. Trying hard to hold your laugh when your first time meet someone is really hard.
The Grandpa and Grandma below already awake, with a smile and morning greeting, I step down looking for a place for urgent urination in the morning.
Where the hell are we?
I take a peek outside and read the sign.
Ber…I‘m in Berlin!
We were stoping in Berlin Hauptbahnhof, apparently there were some delayed due to bad weather last night. I was sleeping like a log the entire ride, my body still sore after the bone-crushing picking up sick potatoes. I slept with my shoes on, didn’t want anybody pass out from my stinky socks. The top couchette is too near to the ceiling compared to the bottom couchette, either lie down or bow up here. After all, it was design for sleeping ride.
I don’t know for how long we have stopped in Berlin, but I know that we already behind the schedule. I wonder whether Mimie still waiting for me at Prague or not. I step outside the train with my hand holding the train and my feet on the ground, now I can say that I’ve set my feet on Berlin or Germany itself. There is no signs, clues, officers or what so ever that I can get information of what is happening right now, all the information I got were from passengers next compartment. With that situation I didn’t want to take the risk missing the train and jump back on the train looking outside like a fish inside a tank. The Chinese girl were brushing her teeth, with her limited English she said she’s on holiday and will stop at Dresden.
Half past eight, off we go from Berlin. We pass by small villages along the train track and occasionally stop picking up passengers. With trees and wide river next to a hill blends into a beautiful landscape of Germany. It reminds me on my train ride to Machu Picchu, only this time the destination is a big city. The Chinese girl, Grandpa and Grandma get off in Dresden, leaving the compartment all to myself.
The train stops longer and longer each time we reach a train station, kinda like LRT system in Kuala Lumpur when its on bad mood. We stop in Děčín, a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region in the north of the Czech Republic. There were a group of young teenagers on the same coach, based from their accent, sounds like American, one of them says it’s going to be delayed for another couple of hours and they start debating to get off in Děčín and took a bus to Prague. It’s a different vibe when travelled in group, your tendency of making decision usually comes spontaneous rather than to think. I watch them carry on their backpacks getting off the train to the ticket booth. As I watch them trying to figure out how to get to Prague our train’s door close and starts moving. The look on their faces look like celebrity got Punk’d, jaw opens wide, shocked, lots of regret. One of them jump and hang on the train’s door before let it go when the train pickup speed. There were at least ten of them. Young Americans backpacking around Europe during summer back to their ancestor root. Doing fun things, doing stupid things, there only thing to regret is not doing it.
“Why did they took off the train?” says the dude next two compartment from mine. Dark brown shirt, black short black socks with no shoes on.
“Hmm,” I give a long thought. “‘Murica.”
“I’m American too but I didn’t took off,” he says while crunching red apple. “Maybe they just realize this is where they want to be.”
That dude is from New York, I heard him talking with Australian girls on the next compartment once our train picking up speed. I assume he tries to look cool or to get his hand under their pants as he keep brings up his Iceland trip and currently on backpacking Europe.
“Are you guys backpacking or sightseeing?” he ask.
“Sightseeing,” one of the girl answer.
He sits inside the girls’s compartment and starts talking about Ireland, Amsterdam, hostels, Prague, wiki travel and his job involves with lab work. For some reason, EuroTrip movie were playing in my mind, I locked myself in the compartment, afraid of Italian gay man stormed in. We supposed to arrived in morning but to unforeseen circumstances, we finally arrive in Prague at noon after four hours delay. Making my way getting off the train, following behind the girls next to my compartment, each of them carrying a Macpac backpack, I could see the dude carrying his trolley bag down the aisle. There is other passengers in the girls’s compartment too when we were walking along the aisle, I did not heard that guy trying to make conversation to them.
“Would you like to find money exchange together?” asks the dude to the girls.
My alpha male instinct kicks in, I would love to spying on them comparing that I’m far more awesome than him and when the time is right I’ll get the girls before him. But I need to get to the Burger King as soon as possible, someone is waiting for me, I didn’t know whether she’s still there or not since the train delayed. I walk fast avoiding over crowded passengers, steps up stairs, turns right follow the flow didn’t know where the Burger King is.
Then, among the crowds I see a girl on hijab checking her phone in front of Burger King.
I’m in Prague.