Welcome to Moravia. Do you want beer or wine with that?

Now that my hosts are back in town, I will have no choice but to have a social life again. The day they arrived back in country, weary from their long journey, we were invited to a party hosted by Marianna’s mother. The travelers tried to weasel out of going, but Jirka, Mariana’s stepfather, would have none of it. Eventually we headed over there “for half an hour”. I knew before we started that this would not be the half hour that the Assyrians invented so long ago. It was more a company party than anything else; not too crazy but not many people there that I could talk to. No biggie, I had some munchies and a couple of beers and fun was had by all. At the party Jirka insisted that the next day (yesterday) we go down to their house in Southeastern Czech Republic, the region of Moravia, to pick up a car that Phil (still working out what to call my brother these days) and Marianna will now have to look after (and, worse, park).

The adventure expanded (unbeknownst to me) into an overnighter. As the time to leave approached I was finally informed that we might be spending the night down there. Despite some anxiety about stayiing in touch with Piker Press (I have a new bit coming out today and I was worried about some edits) I packed up the laptop and toothbrush (what else could I possibly need?). We packed into a car and away we went.

I was rather surprised that wedged into the car, unable to see much in the darkness, not driving, I still got some of the road feelings as we headed out.

First stop was a 24-hour roadside cafe next to the motorway that Jirka had been visiting for years. Better by one beer and one schnitzel I squeezed in with my fellow travelers again and off we went. It was dark by the time we got to the smaller roads, so I didn’t see much of the farmland. We went around a giant Soviet-built nuclear power plant (since then the good people who built Three Mile Island have checked it over and declared it safe) and to a little village not far away. Before going home we stopped off to visit the villiage priest, whose name is also Jirka. That’s when things started to get interesting (sorry about those previous paragraphs).

We went up the stairs to the priest’s rooms and when we opened the door we were met by the small of cooking sausage. Jirka the priest is fairly tall but doesn’t look it because of his big belly. He sweats a lot, and his diet seems to be composed mostly of cooked meats. His slightly shaggy dark hair is in full retreat from his forehead. After he made us comfortable he left for a moment and came back with a bottle of wine from the vinyard of a friend in his home town. Then there was the next bottle of wine. There was an unlabeled bottle of what I assumed to be homemade slivovitce (distilled plum hootch) sitting on the table, but Marianna’s mother nixed the idea of breaking that out. Still, I’ve never hung out drinking with a priest before. He was a good guy.

Just up the road was our final destination, and after more snacks and beer we went to bed. In the morning after breakfast Jirka was trying to feed me more of the sausage I had complimented the night before, and I jokingly said, “No, beer is all I need.” I thought I had made it clear that I was joking, but not too much later I was wrapping up breakfast with Pilsner Urquell. As my brother pointed out as he raised his glass to mine, “You’re not in California any more.” That’s also what he said when we passed the fitness center/bar.