- Canon Eos 300D Digital SLR (used almost exclusively)
- Canon 18-55mm EFS equivalent 29-90mm with 300D
- Canon Eos Elan film body
- Tokina AF 19-35mm f3.5-4.5
- Quantary 70-300 f4-5.6 1:2 macro
- Canon 50mm f1.8
- Zenitar 16mm f2.8 full frame fisheye
- Canon 420EX flash
- Kodak Royal Supra 800 speed film
- HP negative scanner
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11.20.03 We were delayed leaving SFO because the planes radio stopped working, doesn't that inspire confidence.
11.21.03 The fog was really bad when we approached Frankfurt and the Captain announced over the intercom "...well, the landing gear is down, but I can't see anything, we're going to try landing one more time". We approach the runway and at the last minute we take off at full throttle, it was quite exciting. Looking out the window we could only see the fog light up from the planes strobelight. We ended up landing in Dusseldorf, and had to sit there grounded for 4 hours till the weather cleared. They would not let us off the plane, and needless to say we missed our train to Prague.
Ritchies hostel was originally 3 separate buildings. Doorways and steps were made to join the buildings together. The end result is a hostel with a few 4 foot tall doors, and showers that are 18" above the floor.
This hostel is in the most perfect spot in Prague, a block between Charles Bridge and Old town square. Around 3am the drunks put on an entertaining kareokee performance as they stumble home.
The train from Prague to Krakow Poland cost us 890Kr, or 27 Euros each. Our connecting train was late by 10 mins, and we ended up getting on the wrong train. We got off in Bohumin, and ended up stuck in Ostrava, CR for the night.
11.24.03 Ostrava was pretty nice, we stayed in a hotel for around $40 (cheaper than our hostel), and the next morning got to the train station.
When we arrived in Krakow, we were bombarded with people asking if we had accommodations. Nathans hostel had a booth setup with brochures and such, and gave us a free taxi to check the place out. It was very nice, free tea and coffee, lots of fellow travelers, we'd definitely stay there again.
There were several people at the hostel that have stayed there for several months. One of the guys we met also had an apartment where he frequently threw parties; he describes the "Polls" as drunken barbarians who only show up to break his dishes. In the two days we were in Poland, he had been robbed of his passport, phone, tv, dvd player; basically everything except 2 zloty.
The tour of the Salt mines starts with 30 something flights of stairs, the lowest point of the tour is 130 meters underground. The tour takes about 2 hours, and shows just a glimpse of the 300km network of tunnels.
We had been repeatedly warned about taking night trains from Krakow from fellow travlers and the hostel staff. We didn't take any chances, so we paid an extra 240 Zloty for a private sleeper car with a lockable door, this was about 60 Euro for the two of us. The room had a sink, closet and two beds.
11.27.03 Arrived in Budapest. First thing we did was search for a Budapest card, this card allows you rides on the metro and free museum entrance. Everytime we asked to buy one, the sales person would say no, and point to another line to wait in. They even had a picture of the card hanging above their head. After being redirected to three different places, we finally gave up.
This hostel wasn't that great, mainly because there was never any hot water. They did have internet and laundry, but all the little posted notes we found were annoying. Particularly the note on the heaters thermostat that reads "risk of electrocution do not touch!" Another one reads "once you check out, you are not allowed to use the bathrooms." What a bunch of sticklers.
After dinner, we played cards for a bit, Craig and I left to check out the clubs. Craig crashed around 3am, and I managed to party with these two local girls Sari and Clara till 6am! Good thing I had a long train ride the next day.
Despite our bags meeting the size requirements for carry on baggage, we were told they were still too big. "Im sorry but it is impossible, you must check your bag" We arrived in SFO 2 hours late, at least we only paid 320 bucks roundtrip.
Radio Free Europe, RFE, besides being an REM song, is a radio station in Prague; it was started in 1950 under funding from the CIA. RFE allowed Czechoslovakia to broadcast news over the Iron Curtain to countries under communist rule. The Soviets responded by no longer supplying radios capable of receiving the shortwave signals. Addional measurenents taken by the Soviet union include building "interference activity generators", or huge radio towers designed to jam international broadcasts. These towers ironically today are used by RFE for broadcasting. Currently, Radio Free Europe broadcast in 43 different languages and resides in the former communist parliament building in Wenceslas Square, Prague. listen to radio.cz Stories from an Estonian radio interference operator
What's the frequency kenneth? Another REM song about Russian attempts at maintaining their censorship. So the story goes, an American student, "Kenneth" had found a way to filter out the jamming frequencies generatated by Soviet radio towers. Kennith was recieving Russian television and rebroadcasting it here in America. Soviet officials (KGB?) had mistaken reporter Dan Rather for Kenneth, Dan was beaten up by the men who were repeatedly asking "What's the frequency Kenneth".