Sunday, 30 November 2014

At Few Random Thoughts from a Not-so-Newbie...

Dobrý den (hello) from Prague...

Just in case you thought I'd gone home, I can assure you I'm still here and still on the look out for interesting things to entrall you with. In some ways I think it's a good sign that my posts are starting to become more spaced out, because it means the I'm beginning to settle down and become more comfortable in my new environment.

While it's true I am becoming more settled, my excuse for not posting more frequently is simply that I've been so busy. My day job is ramping up rapidly and my the last couple of weekends have been fully booked. On one I went home, and on the second, my girlfriend Melina, came over from the UK to stay.

Anyhow, here are a few random thoughts that have occured to me since my last post...
  • Winter is probably not the best time to start a new life in Prague, whether temporary or permanent. It's now approaching the end of November, and not only are the temperatures declining, the days are getting seriously shorter. When my alarm goes off at 6:00am it's pitch black outside, and the light is starting to fail by 4:00pm. Although this is common to people living in the Northern Hemisphere, the downside of this in Prague is that it really isn't condusive to finding your way around, especially in the Old Town, where all the streets look the same in daylight never mind the dark. So, when Mel and I went off to play at being tourists last weekend we actually looked very convincing - mainly because I kept getting lost and had us walking around in circles. Indeed quite large circles. Several times
  • However, with it being winter, it's time for the Christmas markets that Prague is famous for. It is impossible not to feel a little glow in side as I walk through the little market in Námēstí Miru on my way home in the evening
  • There are still some things that take some getting used to in the Czech Republic. One of the strangest is the currency. The smallest legal tender coin in circulation is the 1 crown coin. But, almost without exception, goods and services are charged with fractions of a crown in the price. Actual prices are rounded up or down to the nearest crown. I'm not sure who the winner is here, and I'm not so anally retentive that I'm going to sit down and try and work out my P&L over the last 7 weeks!
  • Going to the post office to buy a stamp is not recommended. When you get to the entrance there is a machine with a large number of buttons on it. Pressing a button issues you a numbered ticket for the service you want, and when your number comes up you go to the appropriate service portal. Of the ten or so option buttons, not one had any words that vaguely resembled my phrasebook's word for stamp - and as it was a busy lunchtime I decided to beat a retreat. You can buy stamps at many of the kiosks in and around Metro stations (13CZK) with a lot less hassle!
  • Despite living largely on a diet of meat, dumplings and vast quantities of beer you don't see that many obese Czech men around the place, and even fewer obese Czech women. Unlike the lardies in the UK...
  • Jaywalking is illegal in the Czech Republic, but only if you get caught. So don't do it while there's a policeman watching!
  • Don't argue with trams. You have the legal right of way on a pedestrian crossing, except when a tram is approaching - and they are a lot bigger, faster and heavier than you!
  • It's definitely worth passing through one of the little local Christmas markets on your way home from work in the evening and sample a shot of local Medovina - a hot, spicy mead that will help take your mind off the cold!

Until next time...

Na zdraví (cheers)!

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