Monday, July 24, 2006

Team Ramrod visits Prague

I'm posting this from an internet cafe in Prague, next door to the establishment previously known as the Marguis de Sade (sorry girls, the rumors were true -- it went out of business). Team Ramrod is safe in Prague! It's been a blast so far, we are both exausted and smelly (well, Justin is currently posting a marathon sleep, but I'm exhausted, smelly, and tack on hungover to that list). The micra is holding up like a champ (rumors of clutch slippage are true but generally only take effect at speeds 20 miles higher than most other rally teams have attempted), and the frayed minds of the drivers are much soothed by a night of traditional Czech revelry, ie a bunch of brits (ok, and americans) drinking themselves stupid. We fell in the Wrong Crowd, of course, a trio of southern-route teams from the UK who had some local knowledge, a powerful thirst, and a hillirious and incredibly entertaining manner in that british way. We left the rally party at some point and went to a lame club in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful city and got properly saused. At one point, an american student from the next table starts a conversation with one of our crowd (in the middle, of course), collapses on the poor fellow, and spills her cocktail on Justin's nice threads. A shame. Our companions proceed to give her the sharp edge of their wit for the rest of the evening, not that she notices.

A quick recap: The launch party is strange, full of nervous tension. Lots of beaurocracy. We get registered, leave to get more minutes for the mobile, and come back to hear the mongolian ambassador give a speech and listen to some mongolian music. Suddenly its time to go, and justin's in the bathroom. He comes sprinting out and we head out onto the streets of London maybe 6th or 8th in line amid much honking, cheering, music blaring, and confused stares from the locals (the record will show that the Nirvana song that goes "I miss the comfort in being sad" played us out). Then hit traffic for the next two hours, finally open highway, and finally board the 5:20 ferry out of Dover to Calais. We are probably one of the first teams to leave the UK (later we learn that our dear friends from Newyorkistan suffered a clutch failure on their Lada, and as of last night were still in the UK! We are cheering for them to catch up ASAP).

Oh yes, text messages. we aren't sure what's going on there. I think they just haven't figured out the text messages on the website yet.

Anyway, back to the trip -- it's raining heavily the first night and we can't find a hotel, so we spend the night in the Micra in a parking lot at a rest stop. As I am going to sleep I suddenly remember that Europeans have freaky sex orgies in these places!! Every passing footstep freaks me out for a bit, then I realize it doesn't really matter. Later we hear of another team's experience sleeping in a car park where there really was freaky sex orgies happening. Crazy!

Next morning, we wake up, hit the road, take a wrong turn in Liege and detour through Luxemborg, zoom pretty much straight through germany (pretty, good sandwhiches, people drive like dicks and I saw like three people almost kill themselves including the guy who hit a large scrap of tire in his VW at about 13,000 miles and hour, which blew his own as well, creating a giant clowd of blue smoke and lots of chaos on the autobahn for a bit). We are consigned to the slow lane at 70-90 miles per hour. The pretty lady at the czech border crossing is the only person anywhere near here who doesn't speak english like a native, and justin and I desperately try to remember high school german enough to get our vehicle pass tax sticker whatever (let the record show that Justin remembers far more german, but she liked me better).

And that's that so far! Just two days on the road and looking toward a third. Prague is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, and almost completely ruined by foreigners such as ourselves. Ten years ago this place would have been the bee's. As for us? Push on to Krakow where friends of friends have just gotten in touch. Cross your fingers for us that things continue to go so well!


Blogger Kathryn said...

I kinda figured on the text message thing. I can understand some teams, or maybe most, being so caught up in the exuberance of the event that they don't text in when they get to Calais or Prague. But surely out of two hundred teams, SOMEONE would have phoned home by now!

Glad to see you're having a good time and that the Micra is behaving.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

i had wondered if you knew about newyorkistan. bum luck.

i am glad to hear that you guys are kicking ass and taking names as you fly across europe!

i find it ironic that justin is the one who ends up covered in the booze.

have fun!

8:50 AM  

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