Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blast from the Past: Ethnic Drum Night

Continuing my Blast from the Past series, here is another story I emailed back to friends while I lived in the Czech Republic from 1999 - 2000. This was what would become a typical night out in the Czech Republic when I lived there ... this one was only unique because it was the first one, and as would become usual the night started with an interesting idea and evolved into something else awesome I could not imagine ... as I recall this particular night started with the idea that we should go to a bar downtown, and ended up as a crazy dance jam in a gigantic underground auditorium.

Last night I went clubbing for the first time since I got here. Awesome evening. We went to a club called the Roxy, the cover charge was a bit steep (about 3 dollars) and the beers were almost a dollar [back then, that was quite expensive, although on the trip we just took beers were around 3 dollars. Big change for just eight years.] But it was ethnic drum night, so it was all worth it.First off, the place is 3 stories underground, with this huge dance floor in the front of a massive stone stage. A few old wooden tables and rickety chairs were are scattered about, mostly occupied by drunk Czech men and gorgeous, curvaceous women. Some people at a couple of tables are smoking fat splifs and there is a hot English speaking waitress at the bar. As we arrived, we were greeted by a bizarre combination of scratchy sticks, bongos and bagpipes, , but they left the stage soon after we arrived.

So we drank beer, gawked at girls and generally shot the shit, and soon the entertainment returned. They were wearing kaffiyahs (these rad head dresses) and white robes and DAMN GINA!!!! they were fucking cool. They played basically from 2200 straight through until about 0030. They played what can only be described as a ragtag band of instruments, this crazy bongo, a bagpipe, a didgeridoo, some scratchy sticks, a bead-coverd gourd, some rainsticks and a kazoo. It was SOOOOOOO PHAT!!!!!!!! Look, I know that I am white (and more than a little drunk - free beer tonight at the globe, I had 2 liters) and shouldn't say that, but damn I could listen to Jimmy. It was fresh. Against my better judgement I had soon left my fleece and scarf off to the side and begun to groove hardcore to the music. It was awesome, I was soooo bummed when they stopped, even after a 2 1/2 hour jam and 2 encores.

Afterwards, Scott bugged out and me, Billy (this 27 year old from New Zealand) and Jeff (a 23 year old from Chicago) hung out for about 45 minutes drinking and watching the ladies dance, then we headed off to Wenceslas Square for some fried cheese (smazeny syr) - the best drunk food in the world (just thick patties of cheese covered with bread crumbs and deep fried in oil, served on a bun with mayonaise) - yum. I am getting hungry now just writing about it. Then I showed some chumpy traveler a hostel, got home around 0230, read for about an hour and slept until noon. Altogether a successful evening ...

Wow, things have really changed in 8 years ... I often tell people that I don't see myself at 31 all that much different than I was at 22 or 23, but reading this and remembering how I felt at the time, I see that both the Czech Republic and myself have really changed quite a bit ...

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