I Almost Caught on Fire at the Roxy

“Because no one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.”

After enjoying a beautiful sunset on the Vltava River, I finally head back to the hostel to relax after a full day of walking. This hostel was chosen 100% due to convenience. Normally, I find a decent balance of location and quality, but Prague was the end of my trip and  I prioritized only location and I got… location only! This is easily the shabbiest, dirtiest place I’ve ever stayed on my travels. I’m good at talking myself into being happy about my choices, so I’ll start with being satisfied that my shabby hostel is atop the famous Roxy club, which is cool, and mere steps from the best parts of Prague, so I’m choosing to try not to be too bothered. Look at that, worked again (mostly.)

I wasn’t sitting in the room for long when two new roommates loudly enter and I’m being greeted and offered beer. Here begins my association with Benedikt and Ferdinand who are to become my companions for rest of my stay in Prague. Packing two small bags and their favorite Bavarian beer, they drove the four hours from Munich to see a favorite DJ at The Roxy tonight. They’re incredibly friendly and impossible not to like right away… they’re a party on the go!  We get to know each other quickly and it’s not long before I’m talked into joining them at the Roxy tonight. They tell me the three DJs don’t start until 11pm and the main event won’t spin until 2am. We have plenty of time, so we grab what’s left of the beer and head to the hostel bar.

The evening progresses as I’m brought beer after beer from the bar and eventually a shot of absinth, which is popular in Prague. I’m assured it’s not the wormwood kind that is rumored to cause hallucinations. Here’s hoping, I think, as I follow Ferdinand’s lead, drinking it with water. As expected, it was nasty… tasting like black licorice, which I hate.  We joke for a while and I tell them they sound like noblemen with names like Benedikt and Ferdinand. They laugh and tell me to stop calling them by their full names than since they go by Ben and Ferdie. Ferdie is the better English speaker, so over the next couple of days (considering I know about 5 German words) I’ll naturally get to know him better. Before long, we’re having the inevitable conversation about U.S. politics and the unawareness of many Americans. *sigh* I agree with much of it, as it’s true our public has less worldly knowledge. In our defense, Europe has dozens of countries, each mere hours away from each other, while in America you cross the border from one state to… another state… still in same country with essentially the same general culture. Also, our media doesn’t cover world news and politics in the focused way that Europe covers US news, and I say as much. It is a casual, intelligent conversation, which is always welcome.

fellow party-goers

Later that night, 400cK (Czech crowns) later, we’re entering the Roxy.  It’s a huge place with unlimited nooks and crannies. The club is packed full of people, all moving and dancing in hazy rooms to the pumping of the electronic beat. Drinks in hand, we ease into a minute space on the dance floor, walled in by other club-goers, in the large inner room where the DJ is found, front and center atop a big stage. I have a wonderful time, despite the thick cloud of smoke I “breathe” through the entire night, which is perfectly disgusting. Ferdie, is a chain smoker so I’ve gotten used to it throughout the evening anyway… supposedly. While this isn’t my normal scene, I dance all night… with the guys encouraging me to get more and more into the music as I wasn’t ‘feeling’ it enough. I ‘feel’ like I am sweating my ass off just like everyone else! At one point upstairs, where there is cell service, I realize I had a couple missed calls from R (my train buddy) and his friends. I call back, but due to shoddy service, I have a difficult time coordinating our locations before my battery dies! I guess I’ll try him tomorrow.

the night in full swing

As the night rolls on, we’re with a large group on a raised dance floor near the DJ. The crowd goes crazy when the featured DJ appears on stage walking directly past us. (it would be awesome if I remembered his name. Damn-I should have written it down) The crowd is fired up as giant, red balls fall from the SKY! ceiling and are bounced around the wave of people. I am careful not to get hit in the head, afraid they will knock me silly, which is certainly unreasonable! I’m still glad the guys are much taller than me and reach them first. I’m still dancing, sweating and inhaling smoke… when I feel a tap on my back.  It’s a man, who calmly informs me, “Um… I think you’re on fire.” … Say what? It turns out that some cursed fool’s cigarette ashes have landed on my bag, which is now smoldering. I have my scarf tied around the strap and immediately worry it will easily catch on fire too.  Like an idiot, I blow on it, which only intensifies the hot glow as the hole in my purse spreads in mini flames. Ferdie quickly grabs my bag and promptly puts the fire out. My hero!

Eventually, we walk outside for some much needed fresh air. I swear my lungs nearly cry in relief! Ben is anxious to get back down to the music, but Ferdie and I content ourselves on the bench, relaxing and chatting. Taking this break, I realize how exhausted I am from leaving Berlin so early in the morning and long day wandering Prague, so I bow out. It is almost 4am by this point. I fall asleep quickly and later hear the guys enter the room at 7:30am after the club has closed.


4 responses to “I Almost Caught on Fire at the Roxy

  1. I’m going to assume, because you blew on smoldering flames, that you have no fireplace. Secondly, I want to give Ferdie a hug for keeping my favorite travel writer from catching fire! 😉

  2. I remember you showing me the burnt hole in your purse when you got back! lol How you managed to not get claustrophobic in this atmosphere you describe and by the photo, I will never know!


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