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Prague: Monstertown

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The cabdriver who picked me up at the Prague train station looked like a cross between Ivan Drago and the punching machine that Drago uses to show how much stronger he is than Rocky. So when he charged me eighty euros--about $115--for a ten-minute ride to my hotel, I thought it best to pay.

I went to an ATM and withdrew cash while a man stared at me intently. He was wearing a track suit with dress shoes. When I'd finished, I gestured to the machine as if to say, "All yours!" The man shook his head slowly. He looked at me as he punched numbers into his cell phone. He clearly wasn't waiting to use the ATM.

To avoid being robbed of all my korunas and left for dead on a Mala Strana sidewalk, I ducked into a bookstore. In the window, two books were prominently displayed: Mein Kampf and Winnie the Pooh, or as it's known in the Czech Republic, Eeyore's Kampf.

Back at my hotel, I encountered a different breed of monsters: a Scottish bachelor party. They seemed nice. They welcomed me into their group by forming a circle and surrounding me. Worried that I wouldn't understand their accents, they got really close to my face and spoke very loudly. They were also generous enough to share their three-step plan for enjoying Prague: drink a thousand beers; punch some old buildings; drink a thousand more beers.

At dinner, I had a cup of strong coffee in preparation for a night of beer-drinking and building-punching. Then, as I walked out of the restaurant, one of my dining companions was struck with something. A few feet away, a grinning teenager was standing with a metal bowl in one hand and a fistful of potato salad in the other. I decided to call it a night.

Too caffeinated to sleep, I turned on the TV in my hotel room. There was one channel in English: it was showing Hostel 2. When you're staying at a creepy Central European hotel, it may sound like fun to watch a movie that takes place at a creepy Central European hotel. A voice in your head might say, 'It's just a movie! You'll have no trouble falling asleep! And when you are finally sleeping, there's no way you'll have horrible nightmares about being scythed to death!' Don't listen to that voice: it's a monster.

Travel tip: daytime in Prague is relatively monster-free and good for sightseeing. I recommend the Castle!

On my last night in Prague, I was taken out by a friend's parents. They wanted to try a famous bar; when we got there, it was closed. There's nothing really scary about this story but missing out on that bar was kind of a bummer.