Saturday, May 3, 2008

bureaucracy in prague

So, now I know what Kafka was talking about. The bureaucracy of eastern europe, namely the former communist countries, is outrageous!

Alex and I had just gotten into Prague. We were excited. We were happy, ready to see the gem of central europe. After a few poorly marked signs and hard to find ATMs we made our way onto the metro. We bought a 90 minute ticket, or so we thought. We waited around at our hostel for a ridiculously long check-in procedure with some Thai students in front of us in line and then finally got our room and headed out to the city. We finally got back on the metro to go into the historical district and as we slipped off into the crowd two burly slavic men stood at the bottom of the escalator, checking tickets. Ours was 30 minutes less than valid. Not knowing this, I took our tickets out of my back pocket and presented them with confidence. He pointed to the clock, the 75 minutes on the ticket, took us to the posters that explained his badges and the penalty that was about to be forced upon us. A whirlwind of both disbelief and clarity ensued.

There was no way out, we were about to get fined, and I cannot believe it was over such a small thing as this. shit shit shit. ugh. no! 90 dollars. A days' budget. Bureaucracy. The men seemed to get a sick pleasure from walking us over to the atms, holding our American passports. Getting thieved by bureaucratic thugs is somehow more rewarding than getting robbed by the poor. They aren't desperate, they don't need the money, they are just doing their vicious jobs and holding us accountable to their flawed system.

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