Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Life after TEFL

Oh wait, I am in Prague after all. Nice.

The famous clock that like at least 100 people stand around at any given moment. This is probably one of the busiest tourist areas in the city, so I maybe it's everyone's meeting point. Who knows...

A stroll up Petrin Hill.

Across the river from Old Town, Petrin hill is the best place to get a bird's eye of Prague (a steel tower rises out of the trees at the highest point). The walk up is exhausting, but scenic. Looking forward to picnics up there...

Petrin tower is Prague's answer to the Eiffel. Not exactly a comparison, it still has some killer views.

Hark! A local without a beer in hand!

On our way up, we stopped at this memorial to the victims of Communism. Heavy stuff.

"The memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all victims, not only those who were jailed or executed but also those whose lives were ruined by totalitarian despotism."
On the lighter side, the gold-leaf domed Opera House.

Czechisms of note.

Public urination is a way of life. Our instructor Trish told us stories of her husband teaching their son to do it, while she would try to un-teach him. While convenient, it does make for some strong smells at unexpected moments. It can really ruin your enjoyment of a great cultural or historical monument.

I thought the music at bars and clubs in Spain was bizarre. Touche! The Czech Republic seems well behind in what is considered "new" music. 80s and 90s hits dominate. The other night I heard The Blues Brothers followed by the Ghostbusters theme, Poison, Queen, and Run DMC. Hm.

Fashion is also a little bizarro-retro. They do not fear the ridiculous. The jean capris are a European staple, but they LOVE to combine them with cutoff t's, epic mullet haircuts and brightly colored crocks. Army camoflage is also a big hit.
I recently saw a grandma with florescent pink tights and a leopard-skin blouse. In her typical garb, I think Lydia Rose could pass for a Czech kid. On the whole, they may not appear quite as sophisticated as their neighbors to the West, but it grows on you and gives you an opportunity to pull things off that would never fly elsewhere...more character sketches as they come in.

The super Czech carmaker is Škoda(pronounced SHK-ODA) and I read a little bit about the company in my guidebook. They were the subject of many jokes about the poor quality of their automobiles. "How do you double the value of a Skoda?" "Put a liter of petrol in it" (drum fill). Those were the days of communist state-run business, they are actually are a very well-respected company today. However, for one reason or another they are still saddled with an embarrassment that I just found out about the other day. In Czech, Škoda means "pity" or "shame." Geez, talk about setting yourself up for ridicule. I'm trying to think of a clever way to play on that to slam GM and Ford, but why kick em' while they're down?

I already own a piece of Škoda greatness. While looking out my window at Hloubetin, I noticed an abandoned hubcap in the bushes. It's now the main decoration I have out on the balcony in Vinohrady. I didn't clean it, so it's a little greasy and I trust that it escaped the public urination custom.