Friday, March 19, 2010

Last night's view. Hey big kids - forget Disney world, come to Prague.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Czech has gotten decent enough that I managed to do our post office errands. Most used phrases: "excuse me, where is the post office," "I understand very little Czech," "do you speak English" (the answer, a little), thank you, and I'm sorry.

If you're ever looking for a powerful, poignant historical monument, it's the Pinkas Synagogue and, beside it, the Old Jewish Cemetery, part of the network of monuments and exhibitions that make up the Jewish Museum in Prague. Many people may not realize the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia, since split from Slovakia) has such a rich history; in this case, its history includes a concentration camp which the Nazis used as a model for how "well" they treated Jews there, though the propaganda was obviously false. The walls of the synagogue were inscribed with the names of over 80,000 Jews from that camp who died. It was overwhelming. Then, the cemetery followed, where because the cemetery ages before had been confined to the ghetto it was layered rather than expanded, making the ground level far higher than its surroundings. No pictures were allowed, out of respect for the pious nature of the site.

The highest atm in the city.
Uploaded all our pictures and videos to Jason (the laptop) so we can post all our back-dated video entries once we have internet. Meanwhile, I've been very gastronomically adventurous these past two days - yesterday was lard sausage, elk goulash, and the few sips I could manage of grog. About half an hour later we tried to clean up the palette with dessert and mulled wine at a fancy outdoor cafe. Well, fancy didn't make the food taste better - if you're ever looking for mulled wine, I recommend finding it at one of the street or window vendors that sell pretzels and bread snacks. Also, never drink it after even w few sips of grog. I don't know if it's the food or drink that has me feeling a little ill, but that experiment with rabbit may have to wait until dinner. Right now, I'm very ready for something very plain and familiar.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Up at the crack of one am home-time. The "adventure" never ends, or as mom put it, "at your age it's adventure, at my age it's scary." The hotel is a charming little period renovation...down an alleyish side street across from what looks to be some kind of girly show. Apparently what we wanted was not city centre (New Town) but Old Town Square. This is a little like what I imagine Times Square was like once. Well, headed to shower and then down three flights - true to period form, there are no elevators, which we found out the hard way with our luggage in tow. Adventure! (Can be a little less adventerous now.)

Plane. On it.
No one seems to know where our luggage is. Czech Airlines won't let us board without it. The last flight leaves in just about an hour, and we have already lost a day.
Never use Iberia airlines. If we do not make this next transfer I am suing for the extra costs and for those incurred for services that could not be used because of their incompetence.

Flight got into Madrid at 14:20ish. Prague connection - 14:45 departure. Gate was marked 26 minutes away. Take a guess as to where we're not.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And How About That Airport Food?

Had to include this: Mom ordered a salad of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes with bbq chicken. This is what they served. ...make-your-own?

Surprise! Flight delay. Where once we would have departed at 7, now it's 12:40. But we only get there three hours later, and look! Dinner's on them!

Lightweight/Language Barrier

Heading to the airport and not even a block out, I spurred this conversation from the rents:
"That's it, I want you to buy her at least three drinks on the plane."
"Fuck no, one drink does her in! I'm not carrying her sloshed ass off the plane!"

On a related note, Mom has learned two words in Czech - hello (ahoy), and shit (hovno).
This is going to be an interesting week.

AFTERTHOUGHT: My Czech word of the car ride was most definitely 'krootsi!' - "for Christ's sake!" This is not how you're supposed to use a phrasebook.

Two Hours and Counting Oh God

In about two hours we leave for the airport. We want to get there at least two hours before our flight because it's international.

I should mention something: flying freaks me out.

Maybe that could have been more articulate, but it isn't like I know why they freak me out. Generally people are nervous about flying because of this "availability heuristic" - even though we know there's a much higher chance that we could die in a car crash, we SEE more airplane crashes on tv. So, since we see it more, it's readily available in our minds. Availability heuristic.

But uh...I crashed the car on Tuesday so I don't think that's the problem. (Oscar - the car - is surprisingly ok.)

Whatever it is, I have no problem with most of the awesomeness of this trip. Wandering through a country where I don't actually speak the language? No problem. Poor sense of direction? I have that here, I just know the maps better. Pigeon listed in the menu translation section? Come on -- that's just awesome.

Taking the plane to get there? know, I'm taking two different classes this semester all about how drugs are bad, but valium is sounding really good right now...