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20 September 2005

the chill in the air

systems online. after one point five months of reconnaissance in prague, czech republic, recon:one was go for roll out. destination: krakow, poland.

i'd packed most of my gear the night before. 0730 wakeup for the 1100 train from prague to krakow. took a shower, finished loading gear, charged all batteries, bid daniel farewell and exploded from the door of karmelitska 30 in praha 1 to continue the global reconnaissance mission 2005/6. the chill in the air the accelerator, i walked to the malostronska metro stop, on and off at staromestka, a mission to bohemian bagel to get a morning meal for the long train ride and more importantly, to connect my laptop to the worldwide net in order to transfer funds from savings to checking, lest i find myself in yet another iteration of the checking savings embarrassment.


train station. i'd already investigated train numbers and times and had written out the information on a piece of paper to facilitate the ticket purchase. yes, i'll have one of these please. the most friendly ticket agent at the counter asked my age. ah, the under 26 discount. i smiled. older than i look. no discount for me.

1100 -> 1730 on the first train to katowice, poland. czech republic/poland border and a troop of armed personnel boarded the train. the woman smiled as she flipped through my passport and handed it back. you are clear to proceed, recone:one. arrival in katowice, poland.

the train from katowice to krakow wasn't scheduled to leave until 1742, but when i arrived at the katowice train station at 1730, i saw only one train to krakow scheduled to leave at 1730, delayed five minutes until 1735. i wasn't sure if the departure times had changed or if this was an earlier train and the 1742 was still scheduled. the information board is god of all trains. after one minute of intense internal debate, the counsel decided to board the 1730/1735. 'krakow?' nod. this might not be my train, but it's going to my city.

by the time i arrived in krakow, the sun was gone. had i arrived fifteen minutes earlier i'd have been able to properly capture the most blazing sunset sky out of reach during the train ride. fifteen minutes late and fifteen levels below. through the train station... three times 'accomodation?' 'no, thank you.' to the town center through the darkness, florianska street, towards what i knew was beautiful. the massive town square was shaking from excitement and passed on the shaking to me. krakow was glowing and even more impressed me than prague, this a fifteen minute first impression. an openness which still had the chill in the air, the chill makes you pull your jacket tighter and feel warm inside. and i was in poland and i had my sweatshirt and jacket on both.

i found my hostel quickly, three flights up, and then three flights down quickly to the openness where i watched a collective of they who pretend to live on the streets spin fire, perhaps the most skilled of any i'd seen, one twenty four i'd guess the best who spun two with one hand. a revolution of light blurring behind his back and over his head. the others less so.

in the hostel i met anders (australian), daniel (austrian), serena and helen (british), and chen (chinese american). i'd forgot a little of what hostel living was like. the standard questions did not cause me to sigh; it was a new oldness that i didn't mind. after all, i was burning inside again.

posted by paul on Tue 20 Sep 2005 at 00:00:00 est (-05:00)

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