Dijon & Mulhouse

My favourite answers to problems are the combinative kind, when two independent problems can be act as each other’s resolution. Somehow more elegant and satisfying, it’s indecently pleasant when the tetrominos settle together and disappear, with an electronic buzz, into the hellish aether from whence they came. All of this, of course, is my long-winded way of saying that I’ve started writing in my journal when I eat lunch alone at restaurants. Since I had begun to resent the obligation to do this in the evenings, this allowed me to kill two birds with one stone. Or make two birds kill each other with the same stone. Actually, I think I’m going to stick with my tetris analogy. Continue reading

Prague – Czech Republic

Dobrý denProsím and Děkuji. Hello, please and thank you. If I thought my German was sparse, being in the Czech Republic was an even more illuminating experience. Before going, I was repeatedly told that everybody there speaks English, and that one need not worry about Czech too much. This is more or less true – I only encountered a few people who didn’t speak English, leading to a hilarious but ultimately successful game of charades in a newsagency. All that said, the language barrier can still be quite isolating; everyone around you is incomprehensible, in shops, on the train, on the street. It’s an interesting feeling.

Unfamiliarity is also often the source of mistake-making. It being my first time in Prague, I made the error of taking out entirely too much money each time I went to an AT machine. This wasn’t because I didn’t do the calculation – at the time, one euro was about 26 CZK – but rather because things in Prague are surprisingly cheap. For example, a great many bars advertise beers at around 30 koruna. It’s actually pretty great. Many places also accept euros out of concession to their proximity to the euro zone, but they typically attach their own extortionate exchange rates.

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