Friday, September 15, 2006

Life in the Czech Republic

Qualified as I am to comment after about 2 1/2 weeks here in Prague, I present Gwan's guide to the Czech Republic:

  • It's compulsory to own a small dog. Bonus points if you take it on the metro with you. Although the prize goes to the woman who took a bunny in a basket on the metro - with no visible restraints on said bunny.
  • Want to cook like a Czech? Step One: Select which 12 meats you would like to cook with today - be creative! The suspect parts of an animal are more than welcome here. Step Two: Add a couple of buckets of salt. Step Three: Serve - dobrou chut!
  • Why not have things salty? Beer, beer, and more beer should accompany every meal, no matter what time of day.
  • The national dish is fried cheese. Mmmm, fried cheese. Goulash is also pretty tasty, as is chicken breast in potato batter... fattening...
  • The English versions of menus are a great source of hilarity. Want 'headcheese' or 'mildew cheese' - CZ is the destination for you!
  • Despite the meat-heavy, fatty foods that are the nation's signature cuisine, the obesity epidemic has yet to hit CZ - in fact, there would probably have to be a 'normal-sized epidemic' first.
  • Related to the above point, skinny, pretty girls abound here, whereas the fellas are decidedly average - not the place for Gwan to catch a man (sorry to disappoint Sue).
  • Perhaps they're skinny because Czech chocolate is pretty blah :(
  • The nation's fashion sense often seems to have stalled at 1989. And why not, it was a good year all around for CZ. However, she-mullets, heavy makeup and all-denim outfits (for guys and girls) are de rigeur
  • You will see men taking a whizz on the side of the road - just avert your eyes
  • Central Prague is full of people who love nothing better than sucking their new financial-imperial overlords - um, I mean tourists - dry. Fair enough, I suppose, but live like a local and avoid! Walking just a few streets back from the main squares can save you a mint.
  • Most people here do speak some English - but try and explain to them you just want to look at the menu and you'll get into all sorts of difficulties - especially out in the 'burbs.
  • As some of the others on the course found out, leave the lift door ajar so no-one else can use it, and they'll somehow sniff out the culprit and leave a sign in the lift reading "Dear English friends, please make sure you close the lift door" - gotta wonder how much collaborative effort went into the production of that!
  • Cars roar down those narrow cobbled streets - pedestrians or no pedestrians
  • Jaywalking is ILLEGAL and if you do it you're liable to be snapped by a cop waiting on the other side of the road (eh Sonja?)
  • Jaywalking is illegal but... when you've got the little green man it won't stop cars continuing to come around the corner

I'm sure I'll have more pearls of wisdom to impart as the final (?) two weeks of my time here in Prague tick by...


  1. Ah - but do they have V?

  2. No, no V. Gwans been virtually caffeine-free since coming to CZ. I say "virtually" because there has been once or twice where I"ve sampled a Czech energy drink. Can"t find the apostrophe again...

  3. Can't wait for the next installment.Love the photos and your commentaries.
    Aren't you climbing the walls without your V?

  4. Things to do to be cool in CR:
    On spotting a small dog, vomit on it and state (in Czech of course) - funny I don't remember eating that.
    Create your own Czech signature dish. Suggest a firm cheese dipped in Czech chocolate and fried in beef (or pork) dripping.
    Write your own Czech-English dictionary (Czenglish) and fill it full of nefarious meanings - see Monty Python training video for examples.
    Leave a hand grenade in the lift with a suitable note - Dear Czech friends, remove the pin and count to 7 for a pleasant surprise, (guaranteed to break the ice at parties).
    Remember the age old idiom when trying to get foreigners to understand English. If they don't respond, simply speak louder.
    Take the sport of urinating in public to new heights, e.g. a fourth storey window overlooking a crowded square, or from the clock tower etc


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