Sorry this isn’t Prague related
Sorry this isn’t Prague related
We got a late start Saturday . Got out of bed at 1045, and immediately got dressed to head out to the Prague Gypsy market that is held on the outskirts of town. By the time we got there most of the tents were packing up, but there was still a lot of good stuff to be had. It was in a big muddy parking lot and people were selling pretty much anything you could think of out of their cars or tents. Old CD’s, clothes, guns and knives….lots of guns and knives, food, beer, artwork, and more knives and guns. Of course beer was super cheap so we got the day started off right by drinking cheap Czech beer around noon while walking around and talking to the gypsy market entrepreneurs .
My quest for a guitar was not successful, and I couldn’t find anything that was worthy of my hard earned Czech Koruna so I left empty handed. Charlanne did get a bottle of cologne for me though . The gypsy guy said 150…..I scrounged around in my pocket and found enough, but decided to say i only had 135 and it worked . BOOM TAKE THAT GYPSY FAIR !!!!!!! 15 KORUNAS SAVED!!!!
We took the subway back to Vysocanska and headed to Cortez, a Mexican themed restaurant by the TEFL school. We continued drinking until we headed home for a well deserved nap after a hard days drinking.
We headed downtown around midnight , and went to a club right near Charles Bridge. Charlanne went to take a picture of the 12 of us when some douche bag Russian guy( I assume he was Russian because his girlfriend had a thick Russian accent, and he was very stern faced as well as being a douche bag) lifted up her skirt as she was taking the picture. She was very upset obviously and asked the guy why…he didn’t answer and they didn’t speak English. I didn’t want to cause a scene and ruin the night so I kindly went over and told him he needed to apologize and not put his hands on her . He said something that sounded like zhhzkkkhhaaarrfff which I assume means fuck you in Russian. I asked him again to go apologize and his girlfriend interjected and said he was very drunk. I said thats not a fucking excuse to do it and he stood up, mind you very wobbly, and said some other Russian pig talk that I couldn’t understand but probably the rough equivalent of ” want to fight”. His girlfriend pulled him back and apologized and his other comrade from mother country began screaming at me in Russian when his girlfriend got between us and smoothed the situation over with my associate, Logan.
After the Cold War confrontation had settled down things became much more fun when a drunk Scottsman began dancing around the club in a bikni top and jean shorts. He was talking to us at our table and here is the conversation:
Scottsman: heyyew whereglll from?
Him: yeekneww my friend is gitting marriednweheredrinkingtocleebrate!
us: ohhhhh how nice.
His ” English” was to the point that I could understand maybe half of the words. He began stripping ,taking off his shorts and showing everyone his balls. He let us take pictures with him and cop a feel.
He began following us outside the bar when we left. We got an American, fuck yeah! chant going in the street that lasted about 5 seconds , then we were off to a Latin themed bar around 230. I got a Cuban Cigar( how illegal of me) and it was fantastic. I felt out of place because I am not much of a dancer. The bar stopped serving beer around 330 and we left to go elsewhere.
Around 430 am we left the last bar we were at and began our trek back to Mustek station to catch the first subway car of the morning at 5am. We stopped in Wenceslas square to eat klobasa and fried cheese when we met a group of intoxicated Dutchmen…….they spoke English perfectly of course and were some of the oddest people I’ve ever met. They kept telling Charlanne to ” milk me” and were pretending to grab each others balls. Then they began motoboating each other’s boobs. They gave us tips on how to avoid being solicited for hookers, including grabbing their friends balls again and pretending to be gay. They invited us to go have some beers with them…but it was almost 530am so we decided against it.
we got home at 6am and finally went to sleep. A Saturday well spent.
The pub crawl was an awesome idea put on by Karin from the TEFL school. Friday night came around and most of the class went out to ” paint the town red”. The first bar we went to was the Prague Beer Museum….It wasn’t really a museum , just a bar that had tons of local(local as in Central European) beers. The atmosphere was great and the weather was nice , so we sat outside on the patio
here is an awesome photo of the bar. On par with everything else beer related in Prague…it was pretty cheap. At least in comparison to back home in CT. A pint of a super fancy beer was around $3 , which is EXPENSIVE by Prague standards.
Next bar we went to was called the Rape Dungeon….well at least that was what Karin called it. It was awesome though. the bar entrance was on the street, but it had a few floors going down underground. One bar was at the end of a long stone corridor deep in the darkness of Mount Doom. I felt like I was bringing the one ring back to the fired of Mordor. It also had a pretty awesome fooseball table.
The night ended with a cab ride home with a driver that spoke broken English. Charlanne and I attempted to direct him with what little Czech we knew. ” Rovnye! rovnye!” which means straight and Doleva which means left. We eventually made it home somehow.
Sunday was beautiful and I decided it was high time I take my talents to Zizkov to a highly recommended basketball court. I did not know what the Prague pick-up bball scene was going to be like. I started shooting around while a group of players finished their game. Once they were done I went over and began shooting at the hoop, which I took as a universal symbol of ” I would like to play”. One guy looked at me and said something that sounded like ” czkzkzkzvvvvrrryytterskkkiiooppccc”. I gave him a puzzled look and he repeated it. I said ” sorry, I don’t understand.”. he said ” oh, sorry. We are playing can you move”. Lol, I said fine I got next. I sat on the sideline and then more people showed up.
First game : 4v4. I czeched(hahahahaha) the ball at the top of the key and passed it off to the tallest player on the team in the post. He threw his shoulder into his defender a few times, spun right, and splashed a fadeaway jumper. I wasn’t expecting that. Next play I curled off a screen and got a wide open , straight away 2….nothing but…..nothing. Air ball. nothing of merit happened until a few plays later when my man, an athletic guy a bit older than me and about 3-4 inches taller had the ball and faked a shot that I went for. He drove through the lane and….dunked???….I really wasn’t expecting this kind of play. I drove lane going for a floater and was surprised at how physical everyone was. Lots of elbows, lots hand checking and body contact. The way the game is supposed to be played for sure, just not fitting with the euro stereo type. I managed to make my next layup and jumper to finish with a respectable 2 points lol
I guess Toni Kukoc was on my team for this game. Lots of the taller players had sweet outside shots, and the guy on my team must have been 6’6 or so, and didn’t miss. He could also throw it down from a standing position, and did so on a few occasions. A shorter guy got a pretty wicked cross over and blew past the tall guy, only for the tall guy to catch up and block it, throwing the shorter guy to the ground with all of the contact. I only got one to go in that game and decided I was done looking like the fat kid at school and left.
All in all, it seems like my stereotypes about how Europeans played the game was wrong. My small sample size makes me think that its actually more physical. Plenty of guys here are just as strong, quick, and athletic as guys back home. The biggest difference is that most players pass the ball more, and there is rarely an iso play. Not to say that guys dont hog it, a few guys I noticed were shooting nearly every time they touched it. But if they don’t shoot within the first second or two, they rarely take a dribble and just pass it off.
Also, they set more back screens, and pull the back of your shit when you are running through them, and also grab your jersey and throw elbows when blocking out. All in all, it was a good experience and just goes to show that the soft mentality stereotype we have back home is probably completely wrong. In fact, i’d say its opposite. The game I played were very physical, as well as the 3 other games I watched.
My second week of TEFL went rather swimmingly. I taught two lessons, one that went well….and the other not so much. I have to say that the Czech people that I teach to are fascinating. I got to listen to a story that one musician told of when he was young and played a music ” festival” here in Prague. Before the show, the communist government officials came back stage and gave them an exact set list for them to play, and told them exactly the the song would have to go. Music festivals that supported seemingly harmless ideas were completely outlawed when many of the people that I am teaching to were younger. It seems like a such a foreign idea to almost all of us native speakers to have to explain mundane or every day terms to adults in our own language. I had to show visuals and give examples just to elicit the word farmer from a group of people who are all at least 30 years older than I am. I couldn’t have guessed how difficult it would be to teach someone the English language. The biggest problem with English is ……it makes absolutely 0 sense. The rules are all made up. The spelling is a joke, and the grammar is confusing.
Did you know that English only has two real tenses? Past and non past. Everything else is derived from the context. for instance ” I am going to school tomorrow” is in the exact same tense as ” I am going to school” the only difference is the context. One is happening in the future and the other in the present. Or how about the verb ” to go” : I go, you go, he “goes”, we go, you go, they go…..WHY THE FUCK IS THAT GOES THROWN IN THERE?
Many students will end up asking” well why does this happen” and for the most part with the English language you just have to say ” because it does”.
In other news I am searching for apartments with classmates and charlanne, hoping to get a 3 bedroom place close to the city center. Too bad my real estate contact ” mr zmrzlak” doesn’t return emails.
This week got off to a good start. After making it all the way to Petrin Tower( Prague’s Eiffel Tower equivalent) It turned out that Charlannd and I had not brought enough coins to put in the machine to get tickets on the funicular that brings you to the top. To make things worse we only had about 40 minutes to make what would be a 30 minute hike….leaving very little time to see the city. So we opted to choose a better day and went home.
Saturday was fairly uneventful. At night we went to my classmate’s apartment a few floors above us to pregame before heading out. I finally got to introduce some card games back home to my classmate’s….including the famous Chris Ochman creation ” Pickle dick tree lick four sticks in the swamp”. We did not leave to go out until about 130am, and by the time almost everything around us was closed. We eventually found a gas station that was open and selling beer. I still can’t get around the fact that you can drink a beer out on the street while you walk around. An old czech man told us about an all night bar nearby and we headed out. Around 3am we eventually stumbled in to 777, a small musty bar with slot machines in the back. The guy came over to take our orders and said he didnt even work there. Nevertheless, he brought us our drinks. When he came over to give us the bill we were astonished….. ” 100 krowns please”…….We thought he meant each….but it was total. 5 pints for 100krowns or roughly $5….can’t beat that.
My teaching lessons went pretty well….until today. It is safe to say that I bombed the lesson. I wasn’t very assertive, and the class did not listen to many of the directions that I game them. One guy even went on for over 5 minutes about how he was in a band that demonstrated against communism, and I had to listen to one of the more boring stories I’ve heard in recent memory.
After my lesson, my teaching partner, Ritu, began her lesson. Her lesson was about how to give opinions on things. One of her questions was ” is there too much violence on TV?”, most of the students said yes. One student, Radek, an older Czech man turned his head,pointed at me and said ” and all of it comes from the United States!!!!”. Ok, Khrushchev, calm down. Turn the fucking TV off or get your own television channels.
So I have finished my first week of school in here in Prague. Living and studying here as been as great as I’d hoped it’d be. Sunday was my official tour of the city with my classmates. There are 16 of us. It’s a diverse lot, with people from the USA, UK,Canada, Germany, Czech Republic, and Togo. The tour took us to Prague Castle, the old town, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas square and then off to a pub after the tour was over.Prague Castle( not my photo) at night is very intimidating.
Wenceslas square is quite beautiful in its own right, and has significant historical importance here in the Czech Republic. Most of it attached to the fall of communism. Today, its beauty is marred by another, almost equally disturbing ” C” word: Capitalism. Prague’s beauty attracts millions to its streets every year, and wenceslas square is at the heart of it all. Mcdonalds, Burger King, KFC, two casinos, a dunkin donuts( what????) and numerous other ” western” establishments have made it look more like Times square , but it is still beautiful none the less.
Charlanne came and met me downtown and we walked to a place in the Old town called ” U Dvou Kocek” . We had Roast duck. Had it not had so much sauerkraut around it, it would have been better. I do not know if this is common around the rest of Europe but they put little side dishes on your table, in this case bread, and if you eat any of it you pay for it. They don’t tell you that you have to , but you do. Also, they charge for bottles of water.
I mostly stayed away from making anyone angry while trying to get by with only English. Opening up a bank account on the other hand was not so great.
Cesky Sporitelny: The largest and best bank in Prague. I walked in to a very small room with a stern faced woman at a desk. I said dobry den, and then said student bank account. She looked at me puzzled, and I repeated , this time pointing at myself ” Student. Can I open a bank account?” She then yelled ” Jrzi!!!” and a voice answered from a back room ” ahoy”. The woman then yelled ” Anglitski”. A very large Czech man with a shaved head emerged from the back room and said in a surprisingly friendly voice ” hey, you want an account?” I said yes. He said, ” ok great but you have to come back tomorrow, we are closing. strike 1.
A bank down the road. I was called over to a woman’s desk where I said if very slow english” I am a student , I woullllldddd liiiiikkkkeee toooo opppennn a bannnkkk accooouunntt”. she gave me a blank look and said ” Ok, its 40 krowns for a student checking account if you have long term plans in the Czech Republic” ( oops, no idea she spoke fluently and now I look like a douche). Well I do have long term plans here but no proof of that with employment or a lease. So anyways, that sucked.
welp, that was boring . Look for more boring posts about Prague coming up!