Tuesday, September 13, 2016

we are cocktail legion

A cocktail is either a medicine or drug
Anonymous is many things. He’s a writer. He's possibly Shakespeare. He’s an artist. He’s that public masturbator that lives down the street. He’s an internet activist group. He is that guy who got arrested for revealing the identities of a ring of rapists. 

Anonymous is also a coffee shop in Prague. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

a city at war

Gabriashidze Square in old town Tbilisi
Tbilisi is a city at war. At war with pedestrians, at war with cars, at war with good sense. A walk down the side of the street is akin to an acrobatic obstacle course, where one must lunge past opposite walkers, over roots, under branches, around cars. A drive through Tbilisi must be accompanied by the sign of the cross, a blessing from a priest, for the dead die before they know it. It’s a demolition derby of Ladas, Mercedes, and Land Cruisers, where no one leaves alive but some just might enjoy going down and taking a few pedestrians along with them. 

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

it's the little things

Ukrainian Airlines, photo from wikipedia.org
Ukrainian International Airlines. Their motto should be: “It’s about what you can expect from the name.” Now I’m not saying Ukrainian products or services are bad, it’s just that they’re not very well known for them, and the airline stands as a clear example. Starting in Prague, we sat one hour in the plane. Now, I thought this was just a fluke. We arrived in Kiev for the transfer and were already thirty minutes late on a 2-hour layover, so there wasn’t much room for error. We ran to the transfer security desk, where they were calling out for other flights, trying to find other people who were in a similar and worse situation. But the line moved okay, with Ukrainian airport staff barking orders in Russian, while Americans and British seemed to be a bit confused at everything. “She said go over there, there’s another security line behind that wall,” I let one older couple know. “But where does it go? There are no signs!” they replied. Indeed, where did it go…

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

the museums of Orlik and Zvikov

Orlik Castle















It’s surprisingly cold in the newly re-branded country of Czechia. The climate has been on course for the change, though to something slightly more comfortable than all the warming mumbo jumbo. Last year, I remember sitting up in my attic apartment at night, soaking in sweat, unable to do much but drink water and breathe heavily. This year, I’m quite happily relaxed in blue jeans on my balcony, sipping coffee while I watch all the plebeians pass me by down below. But summer isn’t over yet, as there are still some things to be done and castles to be seen, and truly some borderline summer spirit to take you there.


Monday, August 1, 2016

the church of bones

Kutna Hora

I first visited Kutna Hora nearly six years ago, during my great trek across Europe. I went for a day trip from Prague with some mad Greek. We explored the ossuary and the two main churches, and then ended the day hidden in fog at the train station—I was trying to figure out which of those ancient electric trains to jump on to get home while he was trying to figure out how to score some weed from some neighborhood kids that were huddled nearby. Many years later, weed was decriminalized and I moved to Prague (the two are not actually related). It’s one of the most premiere tourist sites in Czech Republic and really, if you’re in Prague for three days, then you should take your time on one of those to visit the village. Why? Because there’s an ossuary there that’s filled with bone sculptures.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

another Prague beer spa

Bathing in beer is something I imagine the gods taking time to do up there on Mount Olympus, next to drinking ambrosia and playing fatal games with mortals. So when at first I heard this could be done in Prague, I jumped on it and went with my wife to Spa Beer Land on Zitna. It was a good experience, but one thing let me down, I wouldn’t be bathing in actual beer. It was tepid water with some malt, barley, and hops added. Not quite the real thing. But with unlimited pours of beer and my beautiful wife, a good time was had anyway.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The treasure of the Clementinum

View of the Castle from the Clementinum
There was a heavy knock at the door. Pavel was kicked out of bed by his wife, who whispered loudly to answer the door and it better not be Vasek coming home from the hospudka again! Pavel muttered something about his wife as he stumbled through the kitchen and opened the door. There in the hallway were two men in heavy monks’ robes, the hoods up so their faces were only deep shadows. Pavel was somewhat surprised and rubbed his eyes a bit before making out a groggy “Hello?”