Saturday, December 13, 2014

Howdy! First off, you may have noticed the new blog composition; it was time for an update. It was either that or a drastic haircut. I needed some metamorphosis. (See that nod to Kafka?)

Second, this post should be stamped with the hashtag #firstworldproblems because nothing I'm writing about is actually a problem. These are just minor little life blips. Kind of like sand in a bathing suit bottom. Nothing you can't deal with; just mildly irritating.

All in all, we really love being here :)

That being said, my inaugural CZECHACHE is prolific graffiti. I can appreciate good street art... but there's not much of that in Prague. Most of it is just a lot of tags that deface buildings. Fun fact: According to a journal article online, graffiti didn't appear until the fall of Communism.

Who are "Denk" and "Vimeo" anyway?
And then there's the rerouted public transit CZECHACHE. You plan to be at a train station by a certain time, not realizing that your tram route to the train station has mutated and you'll most certainly be late. However, this is still much easier to deal with than the flat tires or fender benders we had in the U.S.

My lovely mother points at the rerouted schedules
A confession: I don't know how NOT to have wrinkly laundry here in Prague. I've been spoiled growing up in America with a clothes dryer. Washing my clothes and then hanging them immediately does nothing to deter wrinkles. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a CZECHACHE.

I am NOT going to iron my flipping t-shirts!
There's no such thing as a free public restroom. (CZECHACHE. And bladderache.) If you're lucky enough to have coins, you put them on the little plate and the elderly lady who's munching on peanuts and reading a paperback behind the counter nods at you and you're in. Sometimes I wish I was a Czech toddler, because they're allowed to wiz anywhere - usually being held by their parents over a storm drain.

At the train station we arrived to late
thanks to tram rerouting.
Finally, there are books EVERYWHERE in Prague. It's like a dream - bookshops on nearly every-other block. An enormous central library. Literary cafes. Swoon! But... anything in English costs an arm and a leg. And we still haven't been able to procure library cards. Sigh. CZECHACHE.

In one of our beloved antiquities shops
Does your locale irritate you at times? Or am I just a curmudgeon who needs a good flogging?

Linking up with Yalanda and Elle for...

Laugh Anyway

...and of the #SundayTraveler linky party!


  1. I feel you on the English book Czechache.... obtaining a Kindle while here has been an absolute life saver after I took one or two looks at English book prices and said a firm and hearty, "NOPE!"
    Trams rerouting is a total Czechache too, fortunately don't have to deal with it here :)
    But my biggest Czechache (which really isn't big at all) is when nobody presses the street-crossing button and everyone just stands there as if they have nowhere to go and could happily (or, more like stoically) wait hours.

  2. It sucks that one of the joys of being an expat is finding out that stuff you rake for granted at home just doesn't happen elsewhere...

  3. I love the new look! I can definitely relate to your "Czechaches" haha. The graffiti one especially makes me so angry! Mostly because I just don't get it--why would you want to write "Bat-Kiss" all over a perfectly lovely building that's probably at least 100 years old??
    Also, we live near Andel and it was a horrible shock when I went to catch my regular tram and found out that the service had been re-routed for two months! Ugh. So glad it's mostly back now!

  4. I had to laugh when I read the "could stoically wait for hours." The sad or solemn faces around here are still an adjustment!! Even when a bus slammed on the brakes suddenly and we were all on the floor or in each other's laps there was no awkward laughing to diffuse the situations or gasps of confusion. Just silence!

  5. Books everywhere, that does sound like a dream!

  6. ARGH life without a dryer. I feel your pain. SO frustrating! (Especially when you forget to take it in from the balcony in spring and it accidentally freezes overnight XD)

  7. Hi Em - when I came to read this post, I honestly thought your site wasn't loading properly. I refreshed a couple of times before realising you'd changed the appearance by choice :-)

    I concur with you entirely about prolific graffiti. I've listed it as my first & foremost 'dislike'.

    With regard to the re-routing of trams, have you not found the DPP website? It speaks English as well as Czech & German

    I'm European so I've never owned a dryer. I overcome the problem by using an iron. But the lack of free access to toilets, can be a pain, especially for ladies. Places that do usually have them are shopping malls - for example, Palladium.

    I personally don't find English-language book prices too high. But that may be a UK-USA difference. However, if you have an Opencard for public transport, it should also work as a library card too.

  8. Yay! Your comment is back! Apologies again for that...

    I had a good laugh at your post - especially the bit on the backwards clock. So true! I'm surprised I didn't think of smoking as a "Czechache" as well. A man walking in front of me in Old Town yesterday literally exhaled his toxic breath right into my face. It was wretched.

    Yes, I've found the DPP website, but I don't think to look at it often enough. I should, though, for things like big train trips to ensure we arrive at the station in time. I've noticed that tram re-routings are labeled at bigger stops like I.P. Pavlova or Narodni Trida, but not the smaller ones.

    I'm curious - do you iron all of your clothes? Is this a typical European thing? I can understand dress shirts and slacks, but t-shirts? I feel like ironing would take up half a day!

    We tried using our Opencard at the central branch but were told we have to have residency visas and some other paperwork as well. Perhaps it's a non-EU thing? It's a matter of collecting all the bits and bringing them in. In the meantime, I'm reading out of the limited senior high library and book-swapping :)

    I need to think to refer to you, a veteran expat, more often when I have questions!

  9. Cold! :) I just don't understand how the Europeans look so perfectly pulled-together and non-wrinkly without dryers. I'm flummoxed!

  10. I may just take an intensive Czech course so I can tackle some of the cheap literature that is so abundant here :)

  11. Thanks, Amy! I also don't understand where it comes from; Prague is busy at all hours and I can't imagine that the taggers would spray walls in front of other people. But who knows. I wonder what the fines are for getting caught... Won't be trying to find out any time soon :) Andel's such a cool area - great pick for a neighborhood!

  12. It really makes you mindful! I'm still sort of embarrassed for whining about not having a dryer. But it's my frame of reference, nonetheless :)

  13. I'm with you on the button-pushing; maybe people don't want to get germs? And the stoic faces... when I first moved to Prague years ago, I went around smiling at strangers like we do back home... and got looked at like my skin was green. Definitely very different, culturally!

  14. Argh, that's rough! Perhaps trying to diffuse the situation would make it more awkward for them. I think it would be really difficult to contain myself like that all the time, though!

  15. Hi again Em - Thanks for rescuing the original comment & for this reply.

    I always check the DPP website, even for regular journeys such as those from our flat to Church, just in case a tram has been re-routed or the timetable has changed, as it does between summer & winter.

    Yes - I do iron all our clothes, with the exception of underwear, socks, towels & bed sheets. I always have done, so it doesn't seem strange.

    With regard to use of public libraries, you are correct in that you also need to prove where you live as well producing your Opencard. Sybille has successfully registered but did need to produce her passport & 'certificate of temporary residence' to do so.

    I'm always happy to answer expat questions so feel free to ask :-)

  16. Exactly! This happened to me the last time I was in Prague actually with the same reactions. I know the Czechs have their humor but sometimes you can't tell :/

  17. Haha, you had me nodding along with all of these! I definitely experienced my fair share of these while living in Budapest. Though, maybe with the exception of the bookstores - there weren't that many in the city and I managed to find a few second hand English bookshops. A Kindle also works too.

  18. I can SO relate to each of these and our life in Prague! We did eventually buy a dryer though. I love how you relate it to sand in your suit! Ha! So true!!

  19. Aw I completely understand - first world problems but still somewhat annoying from time to time! And oh my gosh I know with the books - I mean obviously I'm in an English speaking country, but I feel the same way about French lit :)

  20. Oi the no dryer here is such a problem! Also, English books here in Lithuania are so hard to come by that when I visited Prague I bought several!


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