Watch Your Wallet

After the quiet of Visegrad and Bratislava, the waves of people in Prague are an unpleasant change. I have a strong desire to strike out with my fists, landing blows left and right on random passers-by. The worst are the hordes of loud and drunken British hoodlums on holiday, drinking beers and leering at women.

In the train station, there are a pair of uniformed police officers passing out little cards, warning that "When democracy came to Prague it was unfortunately accompanied by the inevitable surge in crime." (Which, when you think about it, raises more questions than it answers.)

On our first metro trip, a couple comes to a halt directly in the doors of the train, looking so thoroughly out of it as to be incapable even of befuddlement. Inside the train, a fat and sweaty hostel-monger leans over to us conspiratorially. "Romanians," he says, "They do it so you'll push up and they can feel for your wallet." Two stops later, Sarah, pointing out that he left the train following two young and female backpackers, pronounces him even sketchier than the pickpockets.