Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I know people (Howard) have been waiting with bated breath for this post, so I hope it is up to your approval. I was very excited for this weekend because it was an exhausting week of waking up early for Czech class. On Saturday I walked around the outside and was able to go inside of the Cathedral. It is very pretty. Later on in the afternoon Joanna, Erin, Julia and I went to Palladium. Palladium is a giant shopping mall, it is four or five stories, in the basement is a grocery store and on the top floor is a huge really nice food court. There are several restaurants, cafes and a sushi place where the food travels around the restaurant and you take it off the conveyor. We didn't try this but it looked interesting. I'm a little nervous to eat sushi here though. We ended up going to a cafe and getting coffee. Later that night since it was Valentine's Day the four of us went on a date. We went to a restaurant that we had been wanting to try, BarBar. It is known for its pancakes which are crepes to us. We all split a cheese crepe and then a chocolate and nuts dessert crepe, which were both really good and we will definitely be going back. They also had fun fruity drinks so it was very Sex and the City.
On Sunday I did nothing. It was great, I just slept in, read my book, studied very little Czech and relaxed. Yesterday we had Czech class and went to the Czech museum. This museum was really cool because it had the history of the Czech Republic on the first floor and had information on all different aspects of life. In each exhibit it also had clothes that people wore, things they used and the rooms were decorated as they would have been during that time period. It was like little bits of Plymouth Plantation moved inside (minus the pilgrims). Then last night we decided to go see the opera Cinderella. However, when we got there the opera was a ballet. I think it was probably more fun as a ballet. It was pretty good and I really enjoyed it, but there was one time where it looked like the prince dropped Cinderella but based on Joanna's professional opinion he just didn't lift her up. The stepsisters were really funny.
Today I had Czech class all day and we did not go anywhere fun so it was a very long day of learning this extremely difficult language. One of the words we learned today was chtel bych. ch does not make the same sound as in English so it kind of just sounds like a throat clearing sound combined with sh. This word means I would like. Also the word for ice cream is zmrzlina. The Czech language also uses the accusative which is when for words that end in a or e you change the ending to u or i. Then you also change the ending of the adjective to ou. This is extremely difficult, especially when you do it for 5 hours a day every day. But anyways, after Czech class today I went to Tesco and bought a bunch of stuff. Then Joanna and I made dinner on our lovely hot plate. We made tortellini with sauce that she enhanced with green pepper and then a salad. It was actually really good.
Some interesting things about Prague and the Czech Republic:
There are very few handicapped people here. I haven't seen one person here in a wheel chair. Most people use arm braces or canes.
There are also more blind people than I thought I would live in a big city, and they don't have seeing eye dogs they use canes.
Babies and children here wear full on snowsuits since it is so cold. Most parents have their babies in giant strollers where they are wearing hats, snowsuits and then put in a sleeping bag and blanket. A lot of young children walk around in snow suits and older kids are also still pretty bundled up.
People on the trams are silent. Very few people talk on the tram and the ones who do are usually under the age of 14 or are obnoxious American tourists (fun fact, the Czech word for American is pronounced americhunky). Anyone who was alive during communism does not talk at all on the tram or metro while younger people will speak a little but very quietly. Also, people are extremely polite and respectful. Whenever an older person, pregnant woman or mother and young child get on the tram people jump out of their seats to let them sit. I don't think that this happens in the US but I also do not take public transportation that often so I will give people the benefit of the doubt. One thing I don't think would be possible in the US is that all of the public transportation is run on the honor system. Senior citizens ride for free and then students and children get discounted fares. Everyone is supposed to buy a pass for a certain period of time and always have it on them. You can also buy tickets at every tram stop and those daily tickets you are supposed to stamp once you get on the tram. To enforce the fact that people must actually buy the passes, police will randomly ask people to show their passes and if you don't have it you get fined, usually more than it would cost to buy a 90 day pass like I did. They come up to you show you a badge and then you have to show it. They usually have a whole tram show them their passes and the men look completely normal so you can't identify them and get off the tram. This system seems to work pretty well because the three times I've had to show my pass the tram has been full but I've only seen one person get fined.


  1. Han, I am so amazed at how much you done already. The opera, art, museums, dancing, chair breaking, venturing to restaurants, and keeping up with your blog.
    It sounds like you are just living it up every moment! Way to go...
    love ya, your GM

  2. Thanks Marymeister! Love you too!