Mobile phone, flooding the room with light. Off. Off. On. Dim. Off. On. A modern morse code, of sorts. Closed eyes, danced across my eyelids. Fell asleep holding onto the idea that this is what modern conversation looks like.
5:30AM start. Lift. Train. Plane. Plethora of people. But less and less contact. De-humanisation. Online check in. Electronic boarding pass. Printed luggage tags. Noticeable transition. “One day a machine will do that job.” A line circling my mind.
Meet old friends. Spend money on coffee, pastry and a Prague book. Try and establish currency equivalents. Czech Koruna : Great British Pound. 350 : £10. 100 : £3. Can’t quite grasp it. Unnerving to be in possession of a note with the figure 1,000 on. Psychological. See through the eyes of another. Swipe picture reel. Right to left. A different culture. A trip to India. Phenomenal culture differences.
Eight hours from West Wales to Central London. Two hours from Central London to Prague. Askew.
A decision. Digital passport control versus employed airport security. The latter. Train. Metro. Walk. Pick up a three day (72 hour) travel card. 310 : £9. ‘Stamp your ticket only once’, she said. New surroundings. Use your instinct. Find the bus. Everything becomes a challenge. Are we going the right way ? Are we on the right bus ? Which stop are we at ? Where is the Metro ? Which line ? Which direction ? Decisions becomes so apparent. Transport official. Digital scanner. “Do you speak English?” he barked, “This ticket is not validated. 800 fine.” Tears spring forward. Stubbornly avoid spilling. Honest mistake. Landed an hour ago. Indifference. 800 : £22.50. An emotional knock. Deflated.
Meet the host. Welcome words. Push the setback, back again. Points to patisserie. Fresh bread, conjures hunger pangs. The smells. Garbage to incense. Walk up the stairs, try and breathe in all the details. The yellow, textured walls. Wooden handrails. Stained glass. Hanging festive wreath. High ceilings. Familiar furnishings. House rules explained. Keys handed over. An amazing connection and opportunity that would’t exist without the technological transition.