Get off the bus! An American Genealogist in Prague

4 June 2009
“Get off the bus,” the driver shouted at me in Czech. I could understand him because that was what the last driver had told me after I discovered I was on the wrong bus. And that was what the recorded voice had said when the bus stopped — something to the effect of, “Last stop. Get off.”

But I hadn’t gotten off. We were out in the middle of a field in the outskirts of Prague. Where was I supposed to go? My street smarts told me just to sit there and wait. Apparently the driver thought I had gotten off the bus because, after he pulled the curtain around the driver’s seat and got ready to go take his break, he turned around and with a startled jump yelled something like, “What are you still doing here? GET OFF!” So I did.

Why was I bothering with this adventure anyway? What did I hope to gain from going to the Czech National Archives? I should have taken the cue from the older lady on the first bus who tried to help me. She seemed extremely worried that I had taken the right bus, but in the wrong direction. I didn’t think it was going to be a problem. I figured I’d just ride the full route in a circle ‘til I got there.

I eventually did arrive at the archives, so I’ll share more on that tomorrow.

What I learned today:
–My knowledge of Czech is somewhat adequate when it comes to eating, drinking and telling the time, but not so good for directions, genealogy or much else.

–When things don’t go smoothly, I have to convince myself to not give up and go sightseeing.

Czech words used and heard today:
Ano – yes

Ne mluvim česky, ne mots dobje. – I don’t speak Czech, not very well

Rozumiem česky yenom trochu, ne mots dobje – I only understand a little Czech, not very well

Prosim vás, opakujte. – Please repeat it.

Prominte prosim – Excuse me please.

Dekuji – Thank you.

Osum – Eight

Autobusem dva jeden tři prosim – Bus 213 please

Výstup – Exit

Neh neh neh neh neh. Vypadni!– No, no no no no. Get outta here!

© Corey Oiesen and Genealogy Heroes 2009.



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2 responses to “Get off the bus! An American Genealogist in Prague

  1. It was just misunderstanding, weak knowleadge of realias, maybe wrong understanding of foreign language. At the place of the last, final stations are in fact two stations – one for ending route, one for starting route. The convention, maybe somewhere sing in transport rules, is, that the passanger have to get off from bus or tram at the final station in “get off station”, but if he/she needs go with the same bus/tram back, he/she will get in at “get in station” which is some 10 – 15 meters further. It is stupid, when it rains, but normaly it doesn’t make a problem, if a passanger is not used to another system. :o)

    • coreyoiesen

      Thanks Karel! It was really comical – and my fault . (-: Just the start of a day of stumbling around!
      Thanks for your help at the archives! Corey

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