I love the trams. The metro is all right, it’s efficient and everything, but I love the trams. The network is complicated; even the natives don’t know where all the trams go, but they go everywhere. For less than it would cost you to drive you can get where you want to go, and there’s no worry about parking when you get there. As you trundle along you see the city.
Just like any city, Prague has its good parts and its bad parts. Graffiti is everywhere. There’s a section on the route of tram 26 where it passes through a grim concrete junction and there the art spraypainted on the concrete is welcome. Other places it is simple defacement.
Riding home from my czech lesson today (we introduced numbers and plurals in the nominative and accusative forms for inanimate masculine, feminine, and neutral nouns with hard, soft and other ending consonants, and the corresponding changes to possessive pronouns and adjectives. Plurals for masculine animate nouns will have to wait.), the pilot of tram seven could ring his bell like he was playing guitar. The bell is a distinctive sound and the Czechs are wise to leave it be as they upgrade the trams.
You get a feel for your driver – some of them are patient, others put the hammer down and woe to anyone who gets in their way. I love standing at the back, watching out the window as the city falls behind, carefree, knowing where I’m heading but letting someone else do the work.
I went to a wine tasting tonight; Tram 26 got me there with no problems, and when the dude poured me the first of thirteen glasses I said to my self, “I’m glad I’m taking the tram home.” I was doubly glad when after the thirteen rounds were over that Petr, my new best friend, ‘captured’ a few more bottles of wine for us to drink. Some of the wine was pretty good, others, well, not so much.
I was there with Andrea. She got pretty toasted. Not sloppy drunk, not even ‘I love you guys’ drunk, but she’d had enough. She rode on 26 part of the way home with me, and I’m reasonably confident she knew how to connect with other stuff to get home. I offered to accompany her the rest of the way, but honestly I didn’t have much to contribute.
Some time after that, I offered up a prayer to any deity that might be listening. I promised everything I have for any sort of bump or lurch of the tram that would fling the girl hanging casually to the pole in front of me into my lap. I’ve been on many a tram filled with pretty women, and I am not ordinarily a praying man, but tonight she forced me to make an exception. No deities responded, the tram carried on as the trams always do, and no one fell in my lap. Some might take that as a sign that there are no deities, but I think it is more just proof any and all gods out there are not interested in anything I have.
There is a politeness on the trams – seats are limited but the punker-anarchist will give up his seat to an elderly person. I expect it’s one of those moments you never forget, the first time someone offers you their seat on the tram. I don’t have any facts or anything like that to back this up, but I expect among a certain age group that has to be a topic of conversation.
Now I am home, safe and sound, the amount I paid less than what I paid to insure my car for a day in California, let alone gas it up. I saw people, I saw the city, I did some in-head writing. This, friends, is how it’s supposed to work.