12 Surprising things about Prague & the Czech Republic

24 Jan

1) Everyone is in a Relationship

I teach about 40 Czech people, with a median age of about 28. Ninety percent of these people are either in a relationship or suffer from full-blown marriage. Hot and unhot alike. In Tokyo, it seemed like almost no one was in a relationship or had time for one. Little dogs were replacing the role of husbands. Most of friends in Vancouver were single too. It's doubtful the Czechs have unlocked the secrets of lifelong love though, considering the divorce rate is one of the highest in Europe.

I was going to insert a Jemini & Dangermouse song into the section, so I googled it, and a few curious clicks later I ended up at the above pic. Still suitable.

2) Dogs

Absolutely everywhere — in the metro, tram, pub, restaurant, workplace. Fuckers run the city. Generally well-behaved; I've only witnessed one dogfight in a restaurant so far.

I was at a pub tonight, and there was a huge husky dog,. When no one was looking, it stuck its head on a table and licked someone's birthday cupcake.

3) Dog shit

As the snow thaws on a lovely Prague morning, the moist dogshits of yesteryear reawaken to greet you on your way to work. Maybe the European is accustomed to public excrement. Last year on a stroll in Brussels I saw enough turds to be able step on one, every step, for 1 km. I've heard Paris is the dogshit capital of the world, though. I wonder how Prague would have competed a few years ago before the ordinance was passed forcing owners to pick up shits. Apparently the situation has improved, but cripes, I feel sorry the blind. If you are coming from outside of Europe, this will be one of the first things you notice. Thank god piss isn't solid.

4) Dreaded Whitey – The CR has the highest population of white people with dreads I've ever seen.

5) "Dumplings" = pieces of bread

When I saw the word dumplings on a menu here, I thought of gyoza/dimsum/or something perogy-like. So I was surprised to get 5 pieces of bread. But take one of these things in your hand to dip in the goulash, and prepare to hear "IT"S A DUMPLING, NOT BREAD. WE DON'T USE OUR HANDS!!!!!!!"

6) Warriors & Magic Cards

In fall I saw longhaired fat dudes on the tram carrying  swords and shields. The occasional fair maiden too. Medieval times/battle reenactment seems to be a hobby for a lot of people. It might even be normal behavior. I guess it's more understandable here, since there actually were knights and epic battles in Czech history.

Check this hilarious Prague street skirmish, known as "Aragorn vs. the Red Monster" for the resemblance of the characters to actual historical/mythical figures.

Many of my male students are also heavily into Magic Cards. In North America, magic cards are, stereotypically, a hobby for the ultimate nerd. Fuck it though. Maybe. At least people are actually "gathering" for Magic the Gathering, instead of being at home eating their toenails or looking at pron in their gitch.

Medieval Times clip from The Cable Guy

7) Metal – In connection with #6, metal still seems pretty huge here.

this guy scares the shit out of me

8) Respect the Rohlik

This little skinny guy, Rohlik, gets props out here. We don't really have a major rohlik scene in North America… probably because they are too thin to really do anything with, e.g. make a sandwich. I speculate the popularity of the soft rohlik is a result of the crappiness of regular Czech chleba (bread), which is hard and unforgiving, but I shouldn't say that too loudly. Considering the regular chleba, I'm glad we got the rholik. I guess they are  useful for dipping in soup.

3 rohliks, together

9) Adidas Popularity – Adidas seems like the most popular brand with Czech youth here, even above Nike.

r.i.p. jam master jay

10) No Voice Mail here

I missed a few calls on my phone from an unregistered numbers. I didn't have voice mail here, and they didn't send me a text message, so I thought nothing of it. Later I found out it was my employer, and they asked me why I didn't call them back. "????", I thought. But now I've learned to call (even unknown) numbers back and say the retarded "Someone here called me". I guess if this is the accepted norm in a society, maybe it is more efficient than checking voicemails.

11) Female Ass Cracks

Visiting Prague for a week last February, I noted to my friend about the high amount of female ass cracks I saw that day. Now that I live here, it's the same, albeit there are fewer in winter. I'm not sure what most dudes think, but in my opinion, 90% of the time, it's nasty. Here, try it:

* asses not to scale

(third pic is beer)

12) Czechs don't mind if you suck at Czech

It's refreshing to hear many people say Czech is too hard, or a waste of time for foreigners to learn. Of course it's discouraging, but at least it makes me feel better for failing.

a "kurva"


These are just some observations after four months. I hope you enjoyed them. There are other things too trite to mention, and probably oodles of radness I have yet to discover. What's your word? Leave  comments, corroborations, & repudiations below.

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