Friday, December 30, 2016

My New Years Night with a Whore

After I spent great evening talking to Daniel Vach, sharing stories and learning about his Cricket floor bars startup Sens Foods, I left the pub and I started looking for a bus to the Prague Airport. It was December 31th, 2016, about 2 am. The bus left just in front of my nose, so I decided to walk a few stops in order to stay warm and burn some alcohol. I enjoy the night scenes of Prague. Whilst the days are dominated by conservative locals and annoying crowds of tourists, the nights belong to the drunks and the rich underground. I was walking past a bench and I noticed a cheerful middle aged lady sitting – somewhat rare! Just think, it's the middle of the night, it's freezing, and she is happily sitting alone on a bench. So I commented: "Having fun?"
She replied: – "Why you smile like that? ...you want a blow job?"
"I think I'm good. But thank you kindly." (Really, am I sure what I'm losing?)
– "Where are you going?"
"I'm on my way to Miami."
– "What there?"
"There is a sailor I'm going to hang out with."
– "Lucky you! Boy, come and sit here for a bit.  ...you won't mind inviting me for some fire water – since it's the New Year – would you?"

We got into a conversartion.
– "So you go to Miami? How much is the flight?" She asked.
"About $300, not much, besides need to go to US anyways, I later continue to New York where I study."
– "You must have reach parents to study in New York?!"
"Not really, I'm paid by school."
– "How did you manage that? The school really pays you? I want to study there too!"
"I know some math, I think that helped me."
– "Math? Holly shit, what's that? Hehehe, that's something I don't get. I admire you! How do that, something wrong in your head? I never could get those quations or what is it. I studied chemichal high school, you know... They gave me samples to analyze, I fucking drunk them,...by the end of the school, we were just making alcohol in the labs. But those quations were beyon me."

After a while I bought her a small bottle of vodka and coke. She took the bottle of coke, poured part of it away, and refilled with vodka.
– "Do you also have fire water in New York?" She asked.
"There is coke and vodka, but no fire water there!"

We got into the topic of her profession.
"So you serve mostly forigners, don't you? Germans?" I asked.
– "Come on, locals are the best, the fereigners suck. Worst are the British!You'd think they come to Prague loaded with cash, but then they ask for a BJ and want to pay 200 Kč ($10). Am I a slat or what? Locals are the best, you know, it's different, I do a quick one and I get 1500 Kč."

 She continued: "It's good that I met you, I'll warm up drinking, I get into the mood, and money come instantly."
"What time you got here?" I asked.
– "Just moment ago, when I met you. It's too early, customers come towards the morning, you understand, Pavel?"
"How long will you stay?"
–"6 am or something."
"That's it, only 3 hours of work?"
–"Sure! I do two quck blows and I can go home with 2000 Kč. You know, this is my life! Should I work as a cashier or something for the pennies they pay? I'm not insane! I sack a few ones and I get what those slaves sweat all month for!"
...
– "You know, sometimes I'm lucky. I finished with this guy and he asked me how much. I said 700. He was surprised that it is so much. Cheap ass! So, he went to the ATM for cash and gave me 7000. Then I understood. You know, they are often out of mind, it's like that, or I say 500 and he pays 5000, that happens."
...
– "Some people are strange. That guy, he told me to get naked on a table and play a han – Kocko-kocko-daaak, Kocko-kocko-daak, and like that. Then he got naked and started playing a kock – Kikirikee, Kikirikee, and went on jerking off! ...Holly shit, I was wondering what will come next, and then he wanted me to lay eggs.

"That sounds exactly like one of the stories in the radio series Tlučhorovi! You know Tlučhorovi? The endless stories by Kaiser and Labus."
– "Ah, Kaiser! He is also my customer! He is fun, he always says that if I manage to find his little one while doing the BJ, he will pay me extra.
...He pays well, once he was so drunk that he just gave me his card and a PIN. He told me – you will never have money because you are a whore, but just in case, I will teach you how to withdraw money now."

I'm skeptical about someone claiming to know a famous actor closely, but the way her story was resembling the one I knew from the radio amaized me. Perhaps a radio listener of the Tlučhorovi series got real inspiration in it!

– "Once my 32 years old son was passing by in a car with his colleagues here. He works as a policeman that idiot. He slew down as he was passing by and shouted out – Mum? What are you doing at this place, here at night?! I said I had girlfriends here and added – Honney, with your degree from the police academy you should know! But he never figgered that out, hehehe."

"Your son is so old? I thought you were younger!"
– "No, no, I'm 56, Pavel."
"You look like in your fourties! How long have you been doing this job?"
– "Thank you, thank you. I guess its thirty years. The best times were before the revolution, I was living like a queen!"
"And you never got any disease over all those years?"
– "Come on, why? There are condoms no?! Look, like this. Besides, I do mostly BJs."
"Never breaks? How you make sure they use it? What if they do from behind?"
– "I rarely let anybody in. I don't have mood for that, it's not for me any more. I don't enjoy it. You know, I won't have sex for months sometimes. You understand? When I need 15000 Kč quickly, then I tell him to do it from behind and I let him fuck my hand. They are often so drunk they won't recognize the difference."
...
– "Recently, I saw this beatiful, but really beautiful girl. Young, maybe 24. But really beautiful, you know what I mean? And after chatting for a while she told me she got Syphilis. She had it long untreated and it got all over her. She is gonna be on medication for the rest of the life. Luckily, I never fell into this. Or you know, many of these girls are on drugs."
"Cocaine?"
– "No, they are all on heroin, that is the worst. They get the that think, how is it called, you know what, after, when they don't have it. So they run without rubber to quickly buy more. That is the end!" ... "Many girls are homeless here. Before winter I was walking here past the water fountain and I saw this girl washing herself in it, her hair and everything. That is too bad." ... "I always lived well. I would buy apartments. I bought one for myself, one for my mother,...I bought a house there in the north. I always had good base."

"How did you get in your profession?"
– "Hehehe, I always wanted to be a bar tender. A friend told me that bar tenders are all whores. And you see, here I am!!!
I saw my Mum how she would destroy her health working. So I told myself I don't want to end up like that. I was working in a bar, and then you know, step by step. In fivee minutes I would get what others for a month working long night shifts. And so what? Everybody does it!"
...
– "I didn't know what a tram or tube was thise days. I was taking only taxi everywhere,...buying flats. Before the revolution, the normal monthly salary was 2,500 Kč, I could have it in an hour. Super! Others barely had any Tuzex vouchers, I was only buying stuff in Tuzex. And shortly after the revolution it was even better, you can't imagine how much we were making!"

"I thought that everybody had to have a job during communisim?"
– "Come on, I just needed a stamp. Some cleaning..., we had friends you know, it was easy to get a stamp."

"You never had problem with macks?"
– "Not at all, there are none here. They tried a few times, but the police caught them all, they have no chance here in Prague."

"And how about there near the German borders, the E55 I mean."
– "I worked there too, it was a paradise, but then as you say, the macks came, there are many gipsies there..."

– "Look at these taxi drivers around here. They don't have much. It used to be different, but they don't have much. One said – give me a BJ! – How much you have? – 200 – No, thanks, I have eaten!"

–"Next week is gonna be cold, like -10 C. Imagine those girls here, most of them will work no matter what, they have no where to go. I'm so glad I work only when I want. I just got a pension of 15000 Kč a month, so I take it easy. I live in the house there in the north, have indoor fire place, beatiful house with the view of nature. I watch deers right from my window. And then you know, I go to Prague time to time – to see my son, and I stop here to make a few thousands sacking Ds."
...
–"I do everything myself, you know, what I don't do for myself, I don't get. These guy have schools, fancy jobs, and when something happens they are all screwed...and they ask for my help. You know, all those schools, useless!"

"It's almost 4 am, I should go to catch my flight."
– "When you have it?"
"I think 6:30 or something, let me check. ...Hmm, so 6:00 already, I should better run."
– "I need to work now anyways."
"I'm a bad customer, I know."
– "Never minds. But catch the flight!"
"Happy New Year!"

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interview

This is the full version of an email interview part of which was used in the article Unusual Homes.


Can you describe how you ended up living on a houseboat?

Pardon me, a houseboat? Do you mean my sailboat?

It all started two years ago. I was unhappy about my PhD studies as I still did not feel excited about any of the topics in Economics. Then, I went for a weekend meditation retreat and during one meditation I suddenly got the idea that I need to have one year break to travel, and let the world, not the academia, inspire me into my research topic. Traveling was not what my school wanted me to do, the only reason I could excuse a whole year of absence for would be family reasons or some form of depression. Excusing myself for the poor health of my parents and then traveling instead of helping them would be too much even for the little morale I had; and convincing the faculty about having some kind of mental problem would not be a hard task for me, yet it won’t be the most appealing thing to have on my resume.

Taking a one year break was not an option for me. So, I come up with a plan B: Travel over the summer and continue my PhD in NYC as if I was traveling. I hitch-hiked through Mexico and Central America, and after I came back to NYC I did not rent any place. I knew how to sleep just anywhere while traveling, so what should prevent me to do the same thing when living in the city? Besides, I lived in a jungle for three month when studying my Master Degree in Mathematics in Taiwan before, so all I needed to do was to adopt that way of life from the animal-jungle of Kaohsiung into the human-jungle of NYC. The beginning was not easy, I got some sleepless nights before I learned how to avoid poison ivy, mosquitoes, cops, and other pests.

Over time, I got the knowhow for camping in the city and I became very comfortable doing that. I found all the beautiful parks, beaches, and rooftops that I had no idea about before. Only I missed about having an apartment was hosting travelers from the CouchSurfing project. But then, why not to break even that concept? I did not have a couch, but I had an extra sleeping bag, bivy sack and a camping mattress to offer. What is more, I knew how to hide! I did not get any “couch” requests for a while, some guys considered it as a plan B (or, a plan Z, to be more precise) on their trip, but then they got scared and never showed up. Ironically, as it was getting cold, I suddenly started receiving “couch” requests from young adventurous ladies.

Having a question mark about waking up the next day, night by night, made me live wild even in respects that I am not so proud of. I was yet recovering a wound in my heart from losing two of my lovers when I met this beautiful spontaneous Colombian girl with a big heart and a great passion for life. The romantic natural scenery of the Prospect Park made us turn camping into camp-in. As we started dating, the winter arrived. The down sleeping bag I had was good in providing heat for both of us. However, in terms of room, it was not really enough for our extracurricular activities.

Even reading the book “Kamasutra in a bag” did not help. And after all the unsuccessful attempts, I remembered that a new friend of mine, Tom, was offering his boat to me. I knew nothing about his boat besides that one-plus-one can sleep on it. Tom was too busy to show me his boat those days. Not realizing how much I was saving each month by not renting an apartment, he simply did not believe that a grad student could have enough money to buy a boat. Eventually, I lost my patience and I told him: “Come in front of my university, I’ll give a you a suitcase with $3,000 cash in exchange for your boat.” And that is how I came to my blue sailboat, Amarena.

How would you describe it briefly?

When buying it, I knew nothing about boats and I did not really like water. Soon, I learned that the blue boat with elegant rounded curves was a sailboat. It is not too spacious, but the way it is cozy matters more to me. When I visited my parents for Christmas after I bought the boat, I had no idea how to answer their question about the material it was made of. Later I learned that almost all recreational boats, including mine, are made of fiberglass.

It is a 28-feet-long Ranger built in 1978. People say that a boat like that should be enough for crossing an ocean, although it was not exactly designed for it. As a backup for the sails, it has a diesel inboard engine: Inboard means that the engine is more reliable in a storm; and diesel means that the boat is less likely to explode.

What are some unique challenges you encounter in your living situation?

There are many things we take absolutely for granted when living in an apartment. You have electricity, toilet, running water, stove, heat, and you can walk out of your doors and you are on land. The situation on an old sailboat is quite different, especially if it is docked or moored at a low-cost marina. After I got the boat, I spent most of the winter in my home country, Czech republic, and in Colombia. Yet, the few days of living on the freezing and partly leaking boat was something memorable. A special moment was when I tried to heat up the boat a bit using a cheap portable stove and the butane was first frozen and then it exploded. The traveler I was hosting will surely never forget that night.

If you had to give a tip to someone who wants to do the same, what advice would you impart?

Follow your heart, the rest will come!

What's the most surprising thing that happened?

There is always something surprising on a boat. I come back from holidays and the boat is half sunk, or I find an ice arena inside. When a storm comes, I am in the middle of all the noise and I don’t know if I wake up on the bottom of the sea or half way to the ocean. Except for the winter, my boat is moored about 5-10 mins rowing away from my marina. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and there are big waves, strong current, and I need to go to school to teach. You never know what can happen - exactly as it is in life - but the water force makes the unexpected things happen unexpectedly often. It is as if you lived thousand lives in one lifetime.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bath

For those who keep asking me how do I take shower on my boat. I don't take shower, I take bath in my jacuzzi!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A dinghy trip to North Brother Island


I met a crazy free-spirited traveler passing by NYC. Her name was Fey. Hey! Let's do some adventurous before you leave! I was thinking about bivouacking at creepy places in NYC, but none of that sounded challenging to us. Finally, I remembered one place in NYC I read about a year ago and it has been on my to-crash-on list since. The North Brother Island! I originally found North Brother Island in the list of "10 Secrete Sites of NYC": http://www.buzzfeed.com/emmyf/10-secret-sites-of-new-york-city. Its main selling point to me was, citing: "Accessibility: Welp…it’s sort of impossible..." Besides, who knows what might have been happening on the island before it got abandoned half century ago - there must have been numerable people going through paranoia there. I have a dinghy. I know a crazy fellow. And I've tried a dry suit on few times - giving me the feel that this piece of rubber could help me to survive almost anything. What should prevent us from going to the North Brother Island then? Still, there ware some factors making it a challenge: 1. My only experience with using the dinghy was the daily 5 min commute between dock and my boat, before I moved to the dock three weeks ago. Just once I made a trip to a nearby beach (1km away) and I remember that even that short rowing trip was kind of tiring - my dinghy is not really designed for longer trips. 2. The weather has changed since I moved from the mooring to the dock - it is colder, more windy, and time to time there are waves that could easily sink my dinghy. 3. I had no idea how long it should take us to go from City Island to the North Brother Island, I did not know if there are places where we could land on the way, and I needed to count with that the dinghy might sink anywhere on the way (once water goes in, it does not float). Before the trip we went to rent a dry suit for Fey - my City Island friend Mike has a diving store nearby. Mike immediately picked the right size of suit for Fey. While he was finding all the pieces of suit, Fey mentioned to him what kind of trip we are planning. His first reaction was like: "Are you crazy? How are you gonna do it? It is far, you want to row all the way? There are strong currents, there are tug boats, the weather might get crazy... I have 20 years of experience with diving and I have gone through shit, this sounds crazy to me!" We spent an hour or two discussing with Mike. After hearing Mikes concerns about our safety, we turn the conversation into what we should do to make it safe and possible. Mike checked the tide tables and explained us the best timing for our trip: "Do this and you will go along currents almost all the way. First, leave around 10am or 11am from City Island to Throggs Neck. Then catch another tide from there to the North Brother Island in the afternoon." People often describe the early stage of life as being Young, Strong, and Stupid. I used to be young, and since moving to City Island I feel young again. I have never been strong, perhaps "crazy" is my version of "strong". And stupid, yes, that is one thing I have always been excelling at. Nothing has made my life more fun and ridiculous than the S thing. Even this time the S thing did its job! Being too slow in the morning we started our trip too late. It meant that we had to go all the way to the Throggs Neck against the tide, taking us about 4-5 hours of intensive rowing instead of 2 hours of leisure. Besides, we missed the other tide from the Throggs Neck. I suggested we land somewhere, eat, get some sleep, and continue once the tide goes out way. I woke up several times over the night and watched the water. Wrong way, all night! Strange, the direction of the tides should change approximately every 6 hours, so I was expecting we could leave at 4am. Late in the morning the tide became weaker and we gave up waiting. Again, hours and hours rowing against the tide. Going against the tide means that you don't want to stop rowing or you lose a lot of hard work in a few moments. Eventually, the tide became so strong against us that we were almost not moving even at the full PhD student's arms power. I suggested we better land and try to find some food. Our first trial to land was unsuccessful. A security guard kicked us out the property that looked like a public packing place to us. Anyways, I'm glad the guard did not fill us with lead. We went a bit further against the tide and landed on a mini beach that was part of a the Barretto Point Park. When we were entering the streets from the park I told Fey: "We should check what time the park closes so that we can get back" She replied: "It closes at dusk - which is now. Should we care? Can't we climb?" Feeling impressed I brought the attention of my eyes to the spiky metal bars at the top of the hight fence. After having fun hanging around and filling our stomachs in sort of weird neighborhood, we came back to the boat. (Mike, don't worry, the reason we have no returned the dry suit to you yet is not that one of the spikes went though while climbing over the fence.) It was night already and we were excited to enter into the UNKNOWN. The North Brother Island! It took us less than an hour rowing to get there. I had absolutely no idea what kind of creepy people might have lived there at the point we landed. I proposed my standard approach to bivouacking: Hide self in a very discrete way and sleep. Fey replied: "Let's explore the island, no?" We left everything on the dinghy, I just took one oar in case someone attacked us with a knife. I was trying to walk silently so that we are likely to be heard and that we can hear if someone was to approach us from behind. Whilst I was pretty scared and ready for an action, Fey was chilling. What is more, Fey suggested "Let's sleep in one of the abandoned buildings!" It sounded attractive to me to face the fear of doing so, but then I did not really want to do it: I like sleeping in nature on fresh air. In my experience abandoned buildings have strong smells, feeling of darkness, strange energies,... I hate the sharpness of the corners of the concrete walls. The next day we explored the island. Pictures can perhaps tell better. There were lots of strange machines (at least to me, I wish I knew a bit about those things). One building was half fallen down, many walls, floors and ceiling were missing - we had to jump from side to side in most of the rooms. I was holding to whatever I could find being ready for the floor to break. The biggest surprise on the island ended up to be the library whose floor was filled with random books. Imagine you just go and pick any book from the dust and search through it. Many books have notes and drawings done by drug addicts half a century ago. We left the island late in the afternoon. Instead of going back we decided to visit my friend Poli who lives on a boat in Newtown Creek. It meant we would have to go down the East River - which we only knew about were Mike's words: "Don't even think about it - there are strong currents there." However, for stubborn people like us that translates into: "Remember! You need to try this - you will learn on the way". Before we left, I packed everything to be very ready to leave everything and only save our souls by swimming to any shore... and hopefully rescuing the yellow water proof bag with electronics too. Imagine, we lose one oar for example and a tug boat is going towards us; the only thing we can do then is to instantly put the fins on and swim away without hesitations or regrets. First, we had to cross the Hell Gate. The tug boats we saw there before were very very fast. We had to watch carefully and cross from one side of the channel to another as fast as possible. The water was rough and waves were reaching the top of the dinghy. As we learned later, there is a good reason behind the name "Hell Gate". Once we got on the East River, we had strong currents going our way. Finally! It is so different to let the currents take you instead of fighting them all the way. They were so strong that I could not go against them even if I tried my best...meaning we were moving very fast towards my friend without much effort - except for watching for the boats and pushing the boat closer to the middle of the river where the currents were faster. Well, there was one scary moment when we passed by a whirl. Finally, we made it to Poli's boat late at night. It was the first time I visited him in Newtown Creek. I was impressed by all the little ingenious tricks he uses to live the way he loves to live - breaking all the concepts of the consume oriented society. Ohh, Poli, I live your ways!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dinghy lost again

Time ago a friend told me how he sometimes comes to his boat on a dinghy, puts everything on the boat including the ores and then realizes he forgot about the rope once he becomes helplessly being carried away from his boat by the drift. I though - sounds so silly - this is exactly what I fear of, so I always attach the rope to the boat before doing anything else.

The day D came. I was coming back to my boat last night, thinking about what to do: I love to be on the mooring, being surrounded by water all around and being able just to jump down and swim around my boat every morning. People say that it is too dangerous to stay on mooring over the winter - you fall in the water while rowing and you have 5 mins of life left on average. But I want to break the concepts and push my limits. Nobody else here stays on a mooring over winter, but also nobody else goes swimming in this weather. I believe that I could train myself step by step to bare the cold water and be able to swim to the dock once my dinghy sinks; I could also have dry suit on when rowing in a really bad weather. And after all - the most dangerous thing in the world is not being in the present - your life slips away before you even realize you lived. Danger is one of the most efficient ways to keep your mind in the very present moment.

So, I've been dealing with this puzzle - owners of my marina don't allow me to stay on the mooring over winter, and the mooring I was offered at another marina is too close to the bridge, so there is a lot of noise. And even if I find a safe way to go to the boat myself, how will I take care of the safety of my guest?

Having my mind in the future brought its cost.

I rowed to my boat around midnight, jumped on it, and started enjoying the beautiful view. I was looking around and...DAMN IT, don't believe what I see - my dinghy is floating away! And pretty fast! And this time not direction to the bay, but away to the Long Island Sound! If I don't act fast, I will lose my (beloved) dinghy! I did not hesitate a second: I quickly threw away all the layers of clothes I had on and jumped in the water. The water was cold, but it felt nice. I reached the dinghy and I did not feel like swimming all the way back to my boat in this water. I thought - here I have chance to try if I am able to get on the dinghy from water without flipping it over... The trial was successful. I lost one ore though, but with the help of the other ore I managed to bring it closer and pick it. So I'm on the dinghy with both ores - my dinghy and I are safe! Hmm, but where is my back pack...I forgot to attach the rope to the boat, perhaps I also forgot to put my bag pack on it. If it was on the dinghy it would have easily fallen in the water when I was getting on. I don't see it anywhere around. Hmm, with my heavy computer in it no wonder it does not float. And my brand new iPad in it! Should I remember the spot, put on my dry suit and dive there for it? Bunch of nonsense, I just did not want to admit I lost all that in one instance. So, I just rowed back to my boat ....and already from distance I see ....YES!!! My bag is on it!

That night I felt so fresh! There is nothing better than losing everything and getting it back. Losing itself is refreshing, but losing and finding it back gives you yet another chance to lose it! It's like watching an exciting movie at cinema and getting a free pass for another one right after.

From then on, Pavel and his dinghy has lived on City Island happily ever after!