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english Hitchhiking In Europe

— Hey, you know I ran into John today and he’s gonna actually be doin’ some travelin’ in Europe. He’s, uh, he says he’s gonna spend a lot of time in Prague.

— Oh, Prague’s awesome. Ah . . . did I tell you I lived there?

— No, get out of here. You never told me that.

— Yeah, I lived in Prague about 15 years ago.

— Oh, whoa, du-, what were you doing there?

— Well, I was traveling. I didn’t actually know that I would end up in Prague. I was just gonna do whatever came along.

— Wait, where’d you start out traveling?

— I got a one way ticket to Amsterdam.

— [laugh] Oh, nice.

— And one of the only people that I knew in Europe was this chick that I used to go out with. So I figured I’d look her up. I knew she had another boyfriend at that point. But she said she could get me a place to stay and she was in Prague. So I figured I’d go there for a few weeks and see how it went.

— She was from Prague? Or…

— No, she was American, but she was over there teaching English.

— Oh, nice, nice.

— Yeah.

— So wait, how long did you spend in Amsterdam?

— I only spent about four days in Amsterdam before I got kind of sick of it.

— So you were just goin’, you were just basically like, uh, travelin’ through.

— Yeah, and then I started hitching.

— Oh, nice, nice.

— And kind of hooked up with some English chicks and just kind of spent a little bit of time with them on the road. And then eventually ended up, uh, on a train late at night and, uh, didn’t have any money, but pretended I didn’t understand what anyone was saying and ended up in Prague.

— Wait, when you first took off, um, from the U.S., were you actually traveling alone?

— Totally by myself.

— Oh, sweet.

— Yep.

— Nice…

— It’s funny, looking back, I didn’t have anything with me, y’know.

— Yeah, you could just like basically, uh, take off on a whim.

— I had like one pair of shoes and no health insurance and I was just, uh, livin’ large.

— [laugh] That’s nice. And you know what, now you would probably look back and think that you were totally broke. And, uh, that, now that you have kids, that would be a difficult, a very difficult thing to think of.

— If I had to be responsible for them it would be difficult. But, y’know, I, uh, I was only responsible for me. And I kind of… I was, I was in the mood to, uh, to feel anonymous. I wanted to go where no one recognized me.

— Yeah, no that sounds great. So you, I, that’s great that you just traveled alone. A lot of people, uh, are not into doin’ that, y’know?

— Yeah, well, it’s a big deal.

— Yeah, some people…

— You’ve got to kind of put yourself out there and just see what happens, y’know.

— Yeah, exactly. I actually, I’ve never traveled alone. But, uh, I, I’m sure I could do it, y’know, because, uh, I’m good, I, I feel like I’m pretty good at meeting people, y’know?

— Yeah, yeah. Well sometimes it’s fun to meet people and other times it’s fun to just truly be on your own. And, y’know, you get into a situation where you, where you realize that nobody knows where you are…

— [laugh]

— …and you just have this total sense of, uh, freedom.

— Yeah.

— It’s crazy.

— Yeah, I can only imagine.

— Yeah.

— You took the train from Amsterdam to, uh, to Prague?

— No, I took the train to somewhere in Germany and then I started thumbing on the side of the road.

— [laugh] Oh, how long did you stay in Germany?

— Uh, like two days.

— Oh, that wasn’t long at all.

— Yeah, just long enough for a couple of weird people to meet me and, uh, help me out, and take me to different places.

— So they actually picked you up?

— Yeah, at one point I decided that I didn’t really care what direction the car was going as long as it was warm and dry, I was getting in.

— Wait, did you, were you actually like, uh, did you believe that you were headed to Prague at that point or were you just…

— Yeah…I was…

— …headed wherever?

— No, I was headed to Prague, but I didn’t really care if it took me a while or what.

— Oh, that’s cool.

— So I just kind of went with the flow of what was happening.

— Yeah, what did you think of Germany while you were there, because I’ve never been there…

— Kind of weird…

— …either.

— …kind of weird. Uh, y’know, being, uh, being a Jew, uh…

— [laugh]

— …I was kind of aware of the history.

— Yeah, I’m sure that that’s something that is pretty hard to forget.

— Yeah, although, you know interestingly, the only person I met in Europe who was a deadhead was in Germany.

— Oh really!

— Yeah, and he was like so happy that I was into the Dead when he met me and I gave him one tape that I had…

— [laugh]

— …and he was just ecstatic, because they weren’t able to get tapes like we were at that point.

— Oh, so he was actually German.

— Yeah.

— [laugh] That’s great.

— Because this was before computers.

— Yeah, well if you think about it the Dead played there in, uh, ’81, and, uh…

— Yeah, he, he knew about them. He knew what was up, but he was like, y’know…

— Yeah.

— …I could use some music. And he had a Dead shirt on. He showed me. It was funny.

— Wait, he, he was actually wearing a Grateful Dead shirt when you met him?

— Uh-huh.

— [laugh] That’s great.

— It was like underneath a sweatshirt. He was like, “No, really.” He pulls over… He lifts up the sweatshirt. He was like “Look.” It was like an old tie-dye.

— Were you wearing one also?

— No.

— Oh, so how did he know?

— Uh, I just started talking about it and I had bootlegs with me.

— Oh, that’s great.