Donate Button



Donate a dollar. Seriously. You lose more in people's couches and don't care.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

CHOCKERS OF GOODNESS?

An omelette and two slices of tomato handed to me on a plate. I'm not sure if the waiter was trying to tell me anything.



RESTAURANTS

At a place we went to breakfast in, they had both 'omelette with onion' and 'omelette with cheese' on the menu. I asked the waiter if it was possible to get an omelette with both onions and cheese. His expression was the same if I had just farted loudly on him. "No, just what is on the menu."

Right.

The picture above is what passes for a cheese omelette here - American ones are about 4-5 times the size and served with hash browns, toast and other stuff. I have no idea what the tomatoes are for.

I'm thinking if people can keep their fat asses out of the numerous fast food places that have sprung up like mushrooms they may leave the country a bit thinner. Since I've been here, I haven't seen or heard the word 'buffet' aside from the food hostels usually serve and charge extra for. And nobody wants any of that.

Breakfast for two, simple fare, two pastries, bread, butter (yeah, you pay extra for that shit) an omelette and two cups of tea, 190 CZK at a hotel dining area. Felt posh I did.

Lunch - tea, two beers, two main courses, 397 CZK. This was a meal of 'goulash' which is apparently a traditional Czech food. OK but not as good as our previous 'traditional Czech food' meal.

Later, Pete and I wanted to test the Logan stomach and went to an Indian fast food place. For two, 250 CZK. No sudden Hershey squirts! Happy days!

A note on Czech etiquette - when you're done eating and want the waiter to remove your dirty plate, you lie your fork and knife side by side to indicate you're done. With the level of service in many of the restaurants in Czech, I also put my napkin on top. Should that fail to get it removed from the table, place the plate on the ground and kick it towards them.

Another miscellaneous note - if you want to order wine, just get a bottle. The amount of wine they give you in the glasses made me think they wanted us to taste it and say if it was good or not. When I drink wine, I generally look for the American size half bottle. Merely dampening the inside of my glass isn't enough for me.



SHOPS

Figuring out where shops are and what they sell is not easy. Even Jana who claims she has lived here all of her life doesn't seem to know where anything is. I suspect that while people sleep, the city is shuffled around like in the movie Dark City. Perhaps these are the upir (vampires) Jana is always talking about.

We met up with a guy named Jan (different than the one mentioned before - seems to be a common Czech name. The 'a' is a long a sound) in a small sporting goods store. He was helpful and friendly. He also had shirts for the 'average American' (ie fit on my fat ass). T-shirt with some weird assed logo on it, 250 CZK. Pete thinks it is one of those over sized t-shirts that women buy to sleep in. I am ignoring this. It fits. I have no clue at all what will happen when my underwear start to go out. Small shops that don't deal with food/beverage seem to get better service - it's about 50/50. I'm guessing the better service is probably partially due to the fact that if they don't get customers they will close. Honestly, I'm not sure how some of these shops sell enough to remain open.

Places seem open at weird, random times. A place that serves breakfast isn't open at eleven AM. Posting the hours of operation is optional. Opening your shop a half an hour late, no big deal. In America, people would probably get fired over this sort of thing but here it is 'business as usual'.

Bakeries don't seem to be open on the weekend. I'm not joking. It is not all but a surprisingly large amount of them. Unless you are in the district with all of the other tourists, consider the hours of much of Prague to be M-F, Noon till 11 (get home before midnight!!).

Before noon, it is very hit and miss as to what is open. My guess is that things in the city center (read as 'tourist-ville') have more reasonable hours. I haven't bothered to find out as everything in that district is a bit more expensive and I'd like to see more of 'the real Prague'.



MUSIC IN PRAGUE

They are in the 1980's, I swear to God. In some places you'll hear other music. The internet has made all music styles and time periods available to anyone with any sense but at least half of the music I hear is either from the 1980's or remixes of '80's tunes. I have no idea why.



BARS

About half of the bars in Prague insist on playing music that is either from the 1980's or absolutely horrible - especially given the setting. Of the remaining bars, about half (so a fourth overall) of them have so many patrons talking so loud that you may as well be at a concert. The last bars (1/4th - if you're keeping track) are the kind I like - quiet conversation bars.

The most common color worn by everyone going to bars is black.



PRAGUE AND DRUGS

The drug culture is alive and well. We've seen people rolling their own pot into cigarettes, carrying large bags of it and heard about people who grow their own. While it is something I have no interest at all in doing I find it interesting in this setting. Word from people we've talked to is that you can carry a small amount on you without the police giving you any grief. This is interesting.



PRAGUE AND OTHER HERBS

According to Pete, if you order tea in most places, they have a huge range of different sorts. They are kept normally in a largish wooden box that is brought to your table and you get to choose which 'Lipton like pack' you want to have with your cup of hot water. Pete said fruit and herb are common. Not being a big tea drinker, I just grunted and drank my beer. If you want milk with your tea, you have to ask for it. They also have a couple of tea shops where you can buy it in a more natural, not pre-packaged format.



LET'S GO TO THE MALL

Malls suck worldwide to me. The Czech Republic is no exception. It's pretty much the normal tripe served up in a fancy troff. If women didn't shop at the malls, very few men would consider entering one.

In the mall they (naturally) had a movie theater. So Jana, Pete and I went to see 'Sucker Punch'. "Life has a flavor the sheltered will never know." - Sucker Punch.

We got to see it with Czech subtitles. Thank God it was not dubbed. I've always despised dubbed movies.

As far as the 'Czech movie theater experience', it was pretty much the same as American movie theaters with a few little changes:

a) you can buy beer there. Jana said "Of course! It is like lemonaid."

b) the tickets you get have assigned seating. We ignored that as Sucker Punch was down to just one theater, one showing and sat where we wanted. It would have been interesting if someone came and demanded their seats.

c) They sold jelly beans by the weight. I got what the others said was a very small amount. I wanted the taste more than the sugar if you get my meaning. They were awful. Worse with the beer.



MOVIE REVIEW - "SUCKER PUNCH"

This is a weird fucking movie. Both Pete and I were making comparisons - for reasons I can't mention due to possible spoilers - with the movie "Jacob's Ladder".

Pros: Visually stunning. Everyone says that and it's true. Plus, hot girls not wearing much.

Cons: It's really grim. I'm not really into grim. If you are into grim, see this movie. The movie was not internally consistent. It looked as though they were going for a 1950's feel to it but then they had a mech, androids and microphones that people use today. Pete pointed that out and I think he is correct. It's just weird. While I know that for some reason people have this weird fascination with giant walking robots, I say 'give me a hover tank and keep your silly robots'. I felt sorry for the actor who sounded like he was making voice clips for a video game and making trite quotes and misquoting things.

Weird shit: Every girl looks like she's wasted good money on eyelash extensions. I have no idea what the hell was up with that. Seriously, it didn't even look good - unless you are into that sort of thing. I'm not.

I'm not sure if it is a pro or a con but the movie was over two hours long. My ass hurt from sitting so long in the comfy chair. I guess you could say you get your money's worth if you go by time alone.

This movie (even at 5/10) would not make it into my collection.



OTHER WANDERINGS

Pete and I visited a really large Czech cemetery. Everything was covered in ivy. I sang the song 'Cemetery Gates' for Pete and the dead. Pete said he thought it was very nice but I'm not sure if he was just being polite. The dead said nothing. As Pete would say "Probably for the best."

In the RPG we use to play, the skill 'spot hidden' as in see detail or notice something of interest was a skill that every (surviving) player had high. Most people in real life have about a 'medium' level of this skill. Some things they notice, others they miss entirely. I have a bit below that. Pete would say 'more than a bit'. Pete has a 'freakishly high' spot hidden. While we were riding around on the street cars he noticed in the dark and at distance some shops. They turned out to be a hardware store and a 'clothing for disgusting fatbodies' store. I bought the 'experimental backpack securing cable' and a black t-shirt. Right near where we are staying. Doh.



GOOD AND BAD TRAVELING WITH THE LOGAN

I had asked Pete and Jana what was the best and worst thing about traveling with the Logan. Interesting and depressing answers follow:

Worst thing according to Pete "You expect everyone to do everything for you. Like knowing which subway routes and such. When you have the opportunity to do research on the computer, you are usually 'off with the fairies'." My first question for Pete was naturally "Are they hot fairies?" He explained that I generally tune out and work on my blog and such instead of trying to learn where things are. Pete has no clue how I will survive out in the world. Neither do I, but I'm willing to give it a go. And he didn't want to elaborate on the hotness of the fairies, claiming it was an Australian expression for 'mind's gone wandering' or 'spaced out'. I thought he'd bring up the snoring but he said that 'sleeping near Logan is like sleeping near a construction site - you eventually just get use to it.'

Best thing according to Pete "You make the journey less boring (in part due to 'twisted American humor')." I attempted to get Pete to elaborate on this being that the good is only a sentence and the bad is a fucking paragraph but he just laughed and went back to reading his book.

Jana's answers to the same questions:

For the bad she answered the same as Pete after Pete told her his answer. I suspect her brain had gone on Czech Strike when she wasn't expecting it. Or she was just enjoying being mean to Logan. Probably a preemptive strike as I would never do anything mean to Jana.

For the good, her answer is enigmatic - "Funny when not too funny." You can puzzle that one over in your spare time.



WHATS IN THE BAG?

Again, I apologize for not getting all of the photos uploaded yet but the internet in this country that I've had access to has been absolute shit. That being said, I'm sure people have noticed that I always have a black bag on and perchance even wondered about it. Well, if you haven't piss off - you get to hear about it anyway. It may help someone who wants to know.

The bag is an old army ammo bag, I'm not sure of the style, model number or any of that.

What's in the bag:

Medicine in a seven day dispenser that sometimes like to pop open a chamber and spill the pills to the bottom of the bag and get them dirty. Happy.

Cigarette case - cost for that was about $10 from Amazon somewhere.

Fake billfold with the days spending money in it. If you've read the old blogs you know that in America they like to send fake credit cards 'John Customer' to people too stupid to know what a credit card looks like. Keep these because at first glance, they look like real credit cards. Use them to keep in your fake 'give to the robber' wallet.

Two pens (pilot G-2, 07) to write with.

Small notebook (no spiral) to write on.

3 Lighters (smokie smokie - or somehow start a fire to survive in the wilderness for the first ten minutes till it spreads out of control and consumes me and the wilderness.)

Cheap digital folding clock - which oddly enough looks like a cell phone. In this manner, I can fool people to think I am on the phone instead of ranting like an idiot. I suspect many idiots cover in this same manner. And madmen.

Sunglasses - which it hasn't been bright enough to use yet.

Flashlight - unexpectedly handy - both for helping little old ladies to read street car time tables as well as peering down into the below ground catacombs of a Czech graveyard and ponder Cthulhu and his minions.

Bandanna - good for cleaning glasses, can double as a big Kleenex or something in a pinch.

Unused city map - Pete likes to know where stuff is. I know I want to travel south to cheaper places. Big difference in traveling styles. But, I carry it to show Pete I am trying.

Shrapnel - this is an Australian (and possibly other places) word for small change. Local change used by local people.

Metro ticket - see 'traveler's tips' below.

Blog business cards - they have my name and web address of the blog on them.



TRAVELER'S TIPS - PRAGUE

Assuming you are going to be in Prague for over a day, buy several days's worth of one day passes (you won't find the five day passes and probably won't need the month long passes) when you get there. They last for 24 hours after initially stamping them at the machine thingees you'll see when you are going into the subway or getting on a streetcar. They are good - presumably indefinitely - when not stamped. Getting to the station every day to buy a new one is a stupid waste of time.



LIES ABOUT PRAGUE

In Prague, the 'Czech table beer thing' - where they put down beer when you get there and all that - complete bullshit. It's just like any other drink. You have to order it. It is not $1 as previously led to believe - but $3-4 depending on where you go. Sure, it is still a little cheaper than American beer at a restaurant of similar caliber and this is a major city but meh. Lies, all lies. I am hoping to later get out in the countryside and see if it is true there.



JANA'S FRIENDS (AKA FRIENDS OF JANA)

We met up with Anna and Hanna. I think Anna will want to meet up with us again but I wasn't sure if Hanna liked us. Maranna was also there. People may note the similarity of the last syllable of girls names in this country...

They took us to a fashion show in an abandoned warehouse in Prague with several hundred other people. It was an interesting ambiance - totally put on by college students - but my leg was giving me enough pain that Maranna managed to borrow a chair from one of the booth ladies to lend me to sit my fat ass down. As a side note, this country does have some benches and places to sit that aren't associated with restaurants but not nearly enough. Damned healthy Europeans...

After meeting those nice people, the next night we were going to be meeting up with some of Jana's college acquaintances from one of her classes in a tavern.

We went to the 'Red Hook' tavern and met up with everyone. We were completely and totally ignored by these people. Jana moved to a different table entirely with Pete and I - still no reaction. Not a nod, wave, nothing. We ended up having a meal there and were ignored the entire time. I told Jana that if she ever came to the USA, none of my friends or acquaintances would ignore her. Hell, they could have been Czech waitresses for all they ignored us.



CZECH VOCABULARY

Nas-dro-via! = Toast!



WHERE WE ARE STAYING

'Accommodation 15'

Bad:

Echoey corridors. If people come in and talk in normal tones of voice, it is quite loud. If they are in their rooms chatting, you can hear it.

Slat beds: in other words, instead of one sheet of wood, the mattress rests on wooden slats. You can feel them through the mattress.

Office closes at 11PM. I count this as 'bad' if you were wanting to buy a cold soda (20 CZK) or try to get closer to their wifi connection though it doesn't seem to help.

Shit wifi. Weak assed signal. Since it 'works for them', they don't seem to care to upgrade it.

The walls are quite thin.

Small assed rooms. Pete and I were quite lucky when we checked in because we had asked for a two person room. They gave us a four person one for the same price. This is fortunate because I got a look at a two person room. The beds weren't on top of each other but almost touched side by side. You have to squeeze around them to move about in the room. Fucking tiny.

Noisy tile floor.


Neutral (or 'could go either way' or 'both good and bad'):

They don't clean your rooms till you check out.

You can easily hear people wandering by out on the street. They don't have window screens, double paned glass, soundproofing etc. This is in the 'neutral' category because after the pubs close and people go the hell home, the street is fairly quiet.


Good:

Get a shopping bag of laundry done for 100 CZK.

The rooms are not freezing cold.

Not a bad location - not out in the sticks.

Plenty of hot water for the showers, decent pressure.

Place seems clean (well, when we got it I mean. Now, my side is dirty. Pete's still looks pretty much the same as when we got it. I suspect he's been paying the cleaning staff on the side and sneaking them in to clean when I am asleep. Either them or the fairies.)

Plenty of 'power points' (plug in's) in the room.

Room has it's own sink and mirror.


End question is naturally, would you stay here again? Possibly while Pete is here but the only reason I can see to come back to Prague is to visit my buddy Jana. So, I would crash at her place. Under her bed (like a monster) or something. I think it would be especially funny if she got married and got excited if I was coming over but forgot/didn't bother to tell her husband and he opened the door to see me standing there. "Honey!" He yells, "There is a fat, grinning, weird American on the doorstep - should I call the police?" Then again, Jana might just ponder and say "Yes, call the police." You can never tell.



PRAGUE MENTALITY

It seems to me that the people of Prague have a great lust for all things foreign - food, music, cigarettes - which is a pity because it is diluting what they have to the point where finding actual 'Czech stuff' is becoming increasingly hard to find. Foreign stuff is perceived of as 'better' or 'cooler'. Pete (being a wise individual) speculates that by embracing foreign things they may be trying to escape the past. hence, the youth embraces the outer world with relish. Things outside of Prague are (to them) better than Prague. Logan speculates this may help explain some of the graffiti. Graffiti and the trash tossed in the city (by Czechs) kind of tell me many of them don't really love the city - it is just a place they live. Pete went on to say that in addition, large corporations are using their market power to slowly decimate the smaller players who are unable to adapt to the changes. The cycle of commercialism. With some other parts thrown in.



CZECH WOMEN AND TATTOOS

Pete made the observation that not a lot of Czech women he has seen have tattoos - at least in visible areas. I'm fairly ambivalent on tattoos. Some are interesting, a couple are cool and most worn by idiots. If you really have to get a tattoo, I recommend Pete's method of taking a couple years to select a design.



WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN LIFE?

I had asked Jana and Pete and here are our answers.

Jana: Not lying to yourself.

Pete: Friends.

Logan: Live every day as though it is your last.



AUSTRALIAN SLANG

Here is a bit of Australian slang to keep you happy! Chockers = chocker block full = amazingly full.

This blog has been chockers with information!

5 comments:

  1. How would you feel about putting a link to pictures at the beginning or end of each post. I've read them all, and can't remember where the pictures are, and new peoples won't know where to look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It would make sense Tim - I'll have to work on it but my life is chaotic right now (I'm going Chaotic Evil!) and I forget stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Better yet, add a gadget to the top of the blog (see my blog to see what I mean). It allows readers to click on the pictures and go directly to your photo site. And once you do this, you don't have to link them again.

    From your blog dashboard, click 'design' instead of 'new post' - then add a gadget. Its fairly easy.

    I agree with Tim on this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, and a note for Pete and Jana - Logan will be fine. He only predends to be inept when others are around because he knows you will do it for him.
    Since I don't want to add to what Logan might take as a paragraph of bad, let me offer up some more positives because I have much experience traveling with Logan:

    Logan is the best story teller ever. Even when I've heard the same story several times it doesn't get old and I love to hear his stories about the army, NERO, gaming, etc. This makes him an excellent traveling companion becaue there are often hours of downtime getting from A to B and Logan is your own personal comedian. He makes the dull more interesting with funny commentary. He can be depended on to keep you up on long car drives, supportive in near death experiences when just a little encouragement is what is needed to get you both out alive, and lastly, Logan is a great friend. And there aren't many of those. So there you go...there is a lot of good to traveling with Logan! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the kind comments Amy. As to the photo thing, I'm going to try stuff when I get to a place with better internet. Every place I've been in CR has horrible internet thus far.

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap |

For videos with a Loganesque slant, be sure to visit here. You can also Facebook Logan.

If you enjoy this blog, please donate! Help Logan keep on traveling.