Thursday, January 3, 2008
You see how the Prague is nice
Aloha and Happy New Year to those of you not from Hawaii, a place I would have spent the last week of 2007 if it were not for the historian inside me - the one that thought 20 degrees F was somehow superior to a beach in Maui. So instead, my family and I headed for Prague, Czech Republic for five days of fun replete with a complete lack of sun. Czech is a country rich in history, most of which involves the people there being bludgeoned by a stronger foreign power. Sort of a junior version of Poland. The Hapsburgs, Nazis, and Soviets have all taken their turn at the invasion buffet that is the Czech land. They have supped repeatedly on goulash, pig's knee/knuckle (they really do use every part of the pig - more on that later), and pivo (beer, usually pilsner) and found it to be quite delightfully delicious. It is not for me, though to use this spot boring you about history that will be quickly forgotten. Who would bother to teach or learn bullshit like that? Instead, today's episode will discuss some of the idiosyncracies of Prague that I noticed along with the crack research/drinking team that accompanied me upon my visit.
1) Lost in translation. Prague is a tourist city and the main language of these travellers is English. As a result, many of the Czechs speak English and many of the signs are also in that language. Some Czechs spoke the language better than others and those that were less fluent provided some humorous moments for our group. My favorite language errors came from a restaurant we visited that had some interesting English sentences written on their menu. One example used the phrase preparednessing to digust. Feel free to contemplate what the hell that meant. The best, however, was this amazing sentence - "As you look out the window you will see how the Prague is nice." Obviously as someone with a twenty word knowledge of the Czech language I am hardly in position to criticize. Oh well, its never stopped me before. I did learn how to say beer, please. What else could you need to know?
2) Erotic supermarket. That the Czechs are amazing hornballs became quickly apparent as we journeyed throughout the city of Prague. There were ads all over the city advertising naked women (or more precisely places to see them). My brother Colin and I saw a man with his three year old daughter, checking out a tv ad for a restaurant complete with topless waitresses. But the coolest incidence of hornballery in Prague was the Erotic Supermarket, featuring topless cashiers. I really can't think of a better place to see naked women than at the grocery store. If you get too excited there is always a moldy canteloupe located conveniently nearby. When you are not sure which syrup is best to eat off of your lady's upper body, just let the cashier know you need a sample titty lick.
3) Czech music. Apparently there isn't any. All we ever heard was American pop music. A Czech rap station did play one song in the native language but that was it. Having heard the Czech language spoken for several days, I can assure you that it is not in any way a musical tongue. Its not even very good for writing - the most famous Czech author, Franz Kafka, wrote in German.
4) Bidet! Our apartment included a bidet in both bathrooms. I questioned their usefulness (and preparednessing) until someone suggested to me, "You wouldn't wipe shit off your hands with toilet paper would you? Does your beautiful poopshoot deserve anything less?"
I could not argue with this logic.
5) Beer is cheaper than water. If you go to a restaurant you will pay less for a beer than if you order water. I am not joking. Who would not want to live in such a place? Of course they have a ridiculous level of alcoholism there. You've got to take the good with the bad I suppose. If you ask for ice in your water they will look at you like you are retarded. Keep in mind that it is around zero celsius outside anyway, then rethink your request.
6) Pig Knees. Remember when your teacher told you that the Indians use every part of the buffalo? The Czech people have this same philosophy in regard to their good friend and dinner guest, the pig. Almost everything dish they consume is composed of pork and they eat parts of the animal that would cause an American diner to disgorge a week's worth of meals in horror. Our friend Jacob, who was born and raised in Brno, Czech Republic, dined on pig knee at one restaurant we visited. When the dish arrived, what I saw boggled my simple mind. A roundish, basketball shape hunk of flesh and fat, served utterly without vegetables or even some sort of potato product. Jacob let me try a piece and my heart immediately jumped out of my chest and ordered me to cut that shit out if I was going to get any further cooperation from any of its four chambers. The grease and fat explodes in your mouth with the force of a nuclear explosion, destroying in moments any chance you had at making it to retirement without undergoing more surgeries than the Chicago Bear's superfans.
7. Expanded vocabulary. While in Prague I learned the word defenestration. Definition: being removed from a building from an exit not on the first floor. The word dates back to an incident in the 17th century when the Protestants and Catholics were fighting over whether it was cool to bribe God to forgive your sins and let you into heaven. The Protestants (a term whose original meaning is "constantly bitching") were opposed to buying God;s forgiveness with dough (the money was held by bishops until they could go to heaven and deliver the money in person - some was accidentally spent) and the Catholics were in favor. The Catholics punished the Protestants for their silly beliefs by defenstrating twenty two of them, whose lifeless corpses' made abstract splatter patterns on the City Square upon landing. In other words, they threw them out of the window of the Town Hall. The Protestants retaliated by ejecting two Catholics from another building, where they fell on a pile of dung and walked away. Guess who won that war?
So you see now, why the Prague is nice?