We’re going to Bohemia Bagel because it is the only place within the next hour that we can get free wifi and coffee before the show. The decor is funky and I do like feel of the place, with its earthy tones and familiar foods. I buy a brownie and it’s satisfying. I also buy a mug of tea. Tom gets a beer and the others buy other caffeinated nicks and ‘nacks. Eight of us split two booths and Tom sits alone at a table across the cafe.
Chatting and snacking. A girl with a blond ponytail and a white t-shirt walks up to our group.
“Hey, how’s it going?” she begins “You guys enjoying your classes so far?”
Cautiously, we look at each other. “Yeah,” “Uh, sure,” “It’s great,” some of us reply.
“Cool, yeah, it’s really exciting,” is her response. “Isn’t Prague is such a cool city? There’s so much going on. What classes did you guys have today?”
Again, sideways glances. No one has approached us so eagerly about our study abroad program since we landed. This feels weird.
“Um, we don’t really have classes,” Claire replies. “It’s sort of an independent program where we do research in the field. Today we went to a lecture in a cafe about theater and the Czech National Movement-”
The blond girl has a raspy voice, the kind that comes with smoking too many cigarettes. “Oh wow, well, that’s sort of cool,” I get the feeling she isn’t really listening. “So did you hear about the all-night party?”
No, we haven’t heard about the “all-night party.”
“It’s going to be awesome,” she rattles on. “There’s a 24-hour bar crawl where we just go from bar to bar and some clubs, and there’s tons of beer, it’s a lot of fun. It’s $25 for three hours but if you want to do the all-night party with an open bar, it’s only $40. So do you guys think you’re going to come?”
Earlier in the day I’d discovered that, with the conversion rate, a glass of beer in Prague costs about $1.50. I’d have to consume about 26 beers to make back the money I’d spent on the open bar. That equaled automatic alcohol poisoning for someone of my stature.
No, we don’t think we could make it.
“Okay, well, if you change your mind, the sign-up table is back in that room,” she looks annoyed. She’s probably not used to getting rejected, especially by a large group of American students fresh off an airplane and looking for activities to do during their first week abroad.
“Hope we get to see you guys, it’s going to be a drunk-fest!” She bids us farewell and prowls over to the next table of eager young students.
We never go back to Bohemia Bagel. I’ll admit, I do stop in one day attempting to curb my Long-Island-Bagel craving, and am sorely disappointed after having spent 60Kc on a sub-par snack (bagels where I come from cost less than a dollar). Bohemia Bagel represents everything I dislike about other study abroad programs. Bagels are not a part of Czech cuisine, and I’m alright with that.
Get out of America. Get out of the bagel shop.