Day 3, Wednesday 15 April 1998, Neuhausen to Treben - In the early morning I crossed the border into the Czech Republic at Asch. I didn't reach Treben until 8:40 p.m. The sun had set by then. There are a lot of prostitutes along the roadside in the Czech Republic. I can't imagine that I can pass as one dressed as I am in untidy overalls, baggy sweater, sneakers, expensive Japanese camera around my neck. Nonetheless, at midday a small orange car tries to wave me down. I imagine this man to be the town drunk and pay no attention. He follows me waving something shiny at me through his windshield, pulls alongside me, swings the passenger door open and motions me to sit inside. I say no and continue to walk. By now he is shouting and gesticulating angrily with what appears to be a badge in his hand; a man in an unmarked car in a strange country where I don't speak the language and a badge that could have been purchased at the five and ten. Rebecca is in the car a good distance ahead at the side of the road. I lean into his car and point my finger in his face and say the word passport. Then I run ahead, get my passport, come back and hand it to him. His face drains of color. He stares at this unbelievable document for a while longer, hands it back to me, curses, guns the accelerator and is gone. In that moment, for the first time, I realize what it means to have a U.S. Passport. Had it not been for the war, I too would have one of those sad, powerless little green Eastern-bloc type books.




15 April 1998 - The New York Times reported that Czech President Vaclav Havel was hospitalized while on vacation in Innsbruck, Austria. He was said to be out of immediate danger after emergency surgery.


Helmbrechts Walk, 1998-2003
Day 3, Wednesday 15 April 1998, Neuhausen to Treben
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