:: Life on Planet Dan-E ::

Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Monday, April 11, 2005 ::

:: First week in Praha ::
It's been fun so far. Prague is an amazingly beautiful city to walk around even if it's just the neighborhood I'm living in. Outside of the agency, Jason (my creative partner) and I spent most of our time is Venceslas Square. One of the main tourist traps, there's an abundance of restaurants that caters to both locals and visitors, some of them being McDonald's, KFC, and TGI Fridays. But there's a bookstore with a decent selection of English language books and magazines, a small musical instrument store (I'm dying not having my guitar with me), and quite a few very cheap hot dog stands. You can get a good-sized Polish sausage or bratwurst for 30 krowns, or about $1.30. The aforementioned "cheeseburger" is only 25 Kr.

There hasn't been too much of a language problem so far. Everyone at the agency speaks English and most of the people I've run into either at restaurants or stores speaks just enough rudimentary English to be able to understand. Culturally, I haven't committed any major gaffs just yet. Fortunately, the influx of tourists in the last five years or so have made the locals a bit more tolerant of other friendly foreigners who can't speak or completely trash the Czech language. I do get the occasional stares when I ride the subway but the people of Prague have otherwise been cordial. Try as I might to blend in, it just isn't happening. Must be the hair.

One of the nice things about the culture is that these people really love their beer. It's not uncommon for workers to down a couple during lunch, nor is it odd to have one with your breakfast. I haven't quite reached that level yet but so far, the beers I have had is quite good. The Czechs invented the Pilsner type beer and it results in something with a lot more flavor and bite than any of the American big three beers. Even the Czech version of Budwesier - called "Budvar" - is better than what we get in the U.S.

As far as stuff to do, I've done a lot of walking around and sightseeing. I haven't been able to take any more photos since the battery died and I forgot to pack my charger.

The people at work are all very friendly. It almost seems like any other ad agency in the United States; casual dress, artsy personalities, posters and photos plastered over everyone's workstations, an endless supply of tea and coffee, and a couple of dogs roaming around trying to sniff out food. The people are all very laid back and the guys have an affinity for foosball. I never really got into foosball and while I've seen a few intense games, these guys seem to take it to whole different level. Jason and I played against a couple of the guys once and got thoroughly whooped. However, our record against each other is 4-3 with him having the slight edge. Considering I haven't played in over a year before coming here, I'm doing ok.

One thing around Prague is that there are a lot of hills. It's good in that every walk back and forth from work is almost a form of exercise but the two times I went running, I was left gasping for breath after just a few minutes. Jogging through hills is way different than running around a track and it sucks. Of course I'm gonna keep at it since I seem to thrive off doing things I hate.

Which is good since Czech cuisine is more hearty than fancy. Let me put it this way: it's very meat and potatoes, greasy, artery clogging, bad-for-the-body-but-good-for-the-soul yummy-ness that almost seems like food from a bygone era if you spent too much time in L.A. or Miami. And it’s cheap! A couple of lunches I had at pubs near the agency were essentially chunks of pork and a side of potatoes. My favorite: this one "BBQ" restaurant had a pork steak covered with slices of sausage and smothered with cheese accompanied by a side of garlic potatoes. I told my partner about it and his response: "dude, your arteries are sore." One thing I have to get used to is pacing myself when I get my Diet Coke (ironic, I know) is to pace myself since we get only a bottle and there are no refills. And I tend to drink a lot. You don't get free glass of ice water either.

If the following weeks are anything like the last, I'm gonna enjoy my stay.

:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 4:34 AM [+] :: | 1 comments

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