Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Thanks to Magda, my laptop is now "Czech ready".

Czech class has been going relatively well. Today we learned how to order food in Czech in a restaurace. So of course after going to the gym today, I went to the deli stand on the way home to buy sandwiches, ordered in Czech, realized he was Turkish and didn't understand Czech, pointed at the sandwich I wanted, paid and left. Hooray for applying one's education.

Can I tell you how bizarre it is to be living in some strangers' house? It feels like I'm some sort of friendly little animal living in their attic that they are feeding out of curiousity. Each morning, there's a tray of food outside my door which without variance contains the following items:
  • a small pitcher of milk
  • an apple
  • two poppy seed buns
  • a small cup of yogurt
  • 4 slices of cheese
  • 4 slices of a meat, like salami or ham

Each morning, I huddle over this little tray on my bed like a ravenous mouse (since the laptop has taken residence on the desk) and then on my way out in the morning, I leave the tray outside my door where I found it. Other than that, I have very limited contact with the people living usually consists of them smiling at me in the same way that I smile at the finches at Caffe Italy back home, and then me smiling back. I wonder then if after I leave the house, the whole family runs upstairs en masse, grabs my tray, and then brings it downstairs and excitedly huddles around it to marvel at what the critter in the attic has eaten today.

I know that most of this is due to the obvious language barrier...Somehow people automatically think that just because other people speak differently, they also eat differently and have different priorities. If anything, my Czech course has given me the limited courage to start saying a few things here and there. Like today, I came home from the gym, and the mother was cooking (is ALWAYS cooking, and from what I can tell also works every day) and the house smelled just like someone's mom had been cooking. I waved my hand in front of my nose, rubbed my stomach and said "výborný!" which (I hope) means "good". She then pointed at me and said that my Czech was also "výborný" which is an obvious lie. So, now I'm starting to think that maybe "výborný" actually means "ass" or "shit", which would then signify that: 1) I have planted the seeds for the 2015 Czech-American war and 2) She's absolutely right.

On the other hand, her husband do you say in Czech...a complete geeksky; a tall, lanky, oggly-eyed thing who is always in his room gazing at one of his 3 computer screens. But still, he's been very nice to me...when I came downstairs today, he took a dog biscuit out of his pocket and offered it to me with that cute little tongue-clicking sound. I didn't have to sit for it either...

In other news, I have 50 channels of television - none of which are in English. I do, however, get the main Italian station, Rai quando arrivo in Italia, parlero' perfettamente! (e pazzamente, senz'altro!) See there? Why can't Czech be that easy? Also, I've been downloading the Daily Show and Colbert Report every night for my 1 hour of home...Andrew's probably wishing that he never gave me internet access as I steal all of his bandwidth.

Heard that grandma's 90th party was a great success...still didn't hear if she got shit-faced off of white zinfandel. I wonder if she'd drink it still if she knew it usually came in a box. Wendi's going to be e-mailing me the pics. I would've liked to have been there...just one of the many events that I will be up, Magda's birthday.

Enough rambling...I PROMISE to have more pictures next time!

Dobrou noc,


P.S. Went to McDonald's yesterday for the first time in about 2 years, ever since Super-Size Me made quite the impression. I had a bunch of stuff that I'd bought at the grocery store and needed to get it all in my freezer, and Turkish Gyro homey was taking a smoke break...Conclusion: McD's sucks just as badly here as it does everywhere else that it has polluted the world's sense of good taste.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Stupid keyboard!

O.k. So I was all excited to come home from my first day of Czech class today and type my first e-mail in Czech, but I can't figure out how to type all the silly little characters. Magda, you have to tell me how to do it before I forget how to say "Jsem Bond....James Bond....agent nula nula sedm. Jsem anglican a atrataktivni'."

Christy, can you forward my blog address to all the Joneses (grandma, Donna/Gil, etc.) and anyone else you see fit? Don't have any of those addresses on my new laptop.

Sorry, but no pictures today...but it got all the way up to 63 degrees today! Very nice! I like!

Since no pictures, a little something from Ricky, Steve and Karl that had me giggling like an idiot in the gym today.



Saturday, March 25, 2006

The "ILF" Hotel...for when you don't want to limit your tastes to just "mothers"...

So what's the deal with the light switches here? I'm wondering if the first person to install one in the Czech Republic was a pygmy, because they are literally 2 feet off the floor. I guess they figure that if you can't find it at the top of the stairs, you'll atleast hit it with your head after rolling down to the bottom.

In addition to not being able to turn the lights on, I've got to finagle with 3 different keys to get into my room; one for the outside gate, one for the front door, and one for my room. For added security, I've put a moat around my bed because mom told me to be safe.

So yesterday I did my first bit of shopping. I was able to purchase all of the following for $8 US:

  • 2 one-liter bottles of diet coke
  • 3 bottles of Krusovice
  • 2 two-liter bottles of water
  • a bar of soap
  • 2 big bags of bacon flavored chips
  • a bottle opener
  • a small Bangladeshi slave child named Abu who makes a damn good soccer ball

Afterwards, I stopped by the school to check it out and met the course administrator, Lucie. Took a quick peek at the school's cafe:

Anyhow, don't have too much time to type today, so here's some pictures of Prague's main square. For March, there is still a decent amount of tourists here as you can tell by the pictures.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Amazing how things can change so much in 2 days. I always knew that this would be a drastic eyeopener for me, but that's like someone that says that electrocution is painful without ever having been electrocuted. So, this morning I went over to the supermarket here in Prague and bought some writer's fuel, otherwise known as Krusovice beer, which I've found to be damn tasty.

So the flight over was uneventful as mud...not a single problem, other than that it might have been colder on the plane that it is here in Prague. I swear that my mind has gotten to the point where I expect things to go wrong (crazy, since I've been mostly lucky in my life) so I was half expecting my luggage or my driver not to show up. But it did, and he did. I think he knew a whole 3 words of English....being "car" "yes" and "no"...and even though he was very friendly in a I-don't-know-what-you're-saying-but-I'll-smile-like-I-do way, I don't remember his name....I think it was something like Krczhechcwvl, or something else that is long and has one vowel in it. Still, new-leaf #1, make a serious effort to start remembering people's name. Not like I can refer to students as "hey you".

It was mostly dark during the ride over, which completely screwed up what I used to think was "incredible direction sense" on my part. It was a fairly long ride to the flat where I am staying, upwards of 30 minutes. And with the darkness, I had no idea if I was in the Czech equivalent of Sunshine St. in El Cajon, or La Jolla. But after many high-g turns, Kczcdsahrfhl got me there safely and I met my landlords. The best part is that their son, Andrew (which is probably spelled with a z, x, and some accented letters) speaks great English. I was showed my flat of which I'm going to attempt to attach pictures of below... Anyhow, when I booked the course and accomodations through Linda at Akcent, I was told that I wouldn't have internet access in my room...but my boy Andrew has hooked me up...and I have been reaffirmed how the internet is the most incredible thing ever invented by Al Gore...I immediately got on Skype and called Wendi and Mom so I could check on all my ladies.

*homesickness alert*

So, here goes my first attempt at posting some pictures. I've never blogged before, except for that time in Rome when Joe and I ate nothing but cheese and dried meat for 3 days.

I find my room to be cozy and practical, with a certain Ikea-ness that I think is all but uncommon in Europe these days. Some might use the word "Spartan" but for the next few weeks it has everything I need; internet, t.v., refrigerator for Krusovice, private bathroom, and I can' forget the perfectly matching 2 mattress pads. Sorry about the mess...unpacking has been a cumulative process. It is surprisingly warm in here...which is why they decided to give me one blanket. Might have to go to Prior (uber-mall 5 minutes walk) and purchase another for 37 cents.
And czech out that fancy rug and pictures..errr...

The rest of the room, with the door to where the airplane food went.

I think my balcony is bigger than my room. But as you can see, a decent view with a variable landscape of deciduated (is that a word?) trees, and mottled with a mixture of pre-1900 and communist era buildings.

I seriously have no complaints. I think the cost of my accomodations for over 5 weeks came to $550, I get breakfast every morning, and Andrew's mom does my laundry for me...if I beat her hard enough.

The amazingly quiet street on which I live.

After dropping off my baggage and airplane food, Andrew took me for a quick ride to show me where I can get money, metro, and most importantly, food. It all happens to be within a 5 minute walk. I'm in Prague 4, which is a good bit south of the main part of the city, but if you were to pull up a map of Prague's metro system, I'm a stone's throw from the Budejovicka metro stop.

My first dinner in Next to the metro stop there is an incredibly authentic Italian pizzeria called "Colloseum" (how freaking cheesy is that) and I shit y'all not...the pizza rivaled anything that I've eaten south of Rome. Get this...a pizza and a half liter of my new friend Krusovice for $6 US with tip. I was hoping to find authentic Czech food, but sometimes familiarity wins over exotic.

Afterwards, I took the metro over to the Vinohrady part of town so I could stand out in the cold like the rest of Prague, found a place to have a cappucino (FAUX-PAS but luckily, they don't know it here) and then came home.

Next post, pictures of Prague, discussion about light switches (the little fuckers) , and shopping in Prague. I have a date with a jazz club in the Old City (Staremesto) and I don't want to be late. In the meantime:

*Most amazing thing about Prague* - Holy crap, I love the metro system. Anyone that says that Amerkuh is "addicted to oil" needs to take a peek at how their rivals the Commie Bastards constructed a mass-transit system that works. Get this, my 15-day transit pass allows me to use the metro, city buses, and street cars for a whole 320 Crowns (or $13) Berlin was maybe a small notch above, but I still love it.

*Biggest ripoff* - Went to the Old Town Square and wanted to sit back and watch the world go by, so ordered a beer (again, Krusovice...because Pilsner Urquell is shit) at a little cafe right across from the Astronomical Clock, and it cost me a whole $5, BUT it made a great picture.

*Loneliest/Most Homesick I've been* - When I went into my digital camera to see how the above picture turned out, I saw this and almost started crying in public:

*Most Disturbing Thing I've Seen* - Last night going down into the Metro station in Vinohrady, I saw a middle-aged man trying to get onto the upwards escalator. Homey was obviously drunk off his Czech ass, and 1 foot up from the bottom of the escalator, he fell over and continued to roll over himself at the bottom of the escalator like a big lump of dough in one of those mechanical kneaders. No one (including myself) helped him...we just watched him roll....I think we were all thinking that 1) 200 lbs of dead weight would be just to difficult to help up the escalator and 2) there's a guy that drinks way too much.

*Thing that I've noticed most about myself* - When I have no one to talk to, I talk to metros, in my room, in the shower, and in public. Is this just my own thing or does the lack of social interaction make us all whackjobs?

*Most I've laughed* - Went to put on my shoes tonight, and Bella's rawhide chew bone was in it. It is now going everywhere with me since it has been my unknowing good-luck charm since I left.

To all my friends and family, PLEASE leave comments. I miss you all like a fly misses poo.