Prague is as gritty as Munich is clean, a Kurt Cobain follows Robert Palmer sort of experience going from the autobahn to the Munich airport at 200 KPH, then sitting next to a young couple passing a large bottle of red wine back and forth as the purple-dreadlocked woman holds a small dog in her lap on the Prague subway.
A bit jarring, but having had roughly 36 hours in the Czech capital now I can report that this city now meets with my full approval. Too many tourists, and too crazy near the public transport areas, but with plenty of quiet nooks where one can just stare at beautiful, grimy architecture and narrow cobblestone street scenes. Very, so very Europe.
And having always had a strange fascination with incomprehensible languages, we’re having great fun figuring out menus and other signage. Too bad in a way that Prague is so popular with Brits (the Pound must be absolutely killing the Czech Krona in exchange), leading to plenty of dual Czech/English signs and a concomitant high level of resentment by those Czech workers who don’t know any English. In a way, I much prefer the point & nod head system of ordering required in cities like Budapest, where I had no chance in Hell of learning Hungarian and Budapestians (?) knew little or no English.
But here I am in an English language bookstore/Net cafe just down the street from our nice, quiet apartment, and it’s all very well and good, almost a bit too well and good. I’m making a note to speak to a defiantly non-English speaking local as soon as I leave this Net cafe. I need some tourist hostility to balance out all this easy travelling, perhaps a day trip to the countryside will take care of that.
Lastly, speaking of hostility, I am reading with increasing smirk the peasant rise against the All That is UnHoly Marty-led “Red Light Camera Horror”. Oh, the Fascism! Oh the Humanity! Oh, the “They’ll take my foot off the accelerator the day they take my cold, dead fingers off the steering wheel!” outrage of it all! I guess my idea about putting “governors” on the accelerating preventing cars from going over the speed limit will have trouble catching on. We pernicious car Nazis have such a problem gaining root in the U.S. Pity.
I can hardly wait for the first eighteen-part series in the Journal about a wreck caused by someone rear-ending a motorist who tried to stop at a Red-Light camera red light. I fully expect a downloadable Zapruder-like film capturing the impact in frame-by-frame detail. Maybe Marty can sell the film to some Driver’s Ed. curriculum to help raise money he thought would come from the fines generated from the cameras. Oh, the humanity.