Jul 11, 2008


First trip to Europe is the killer, eh? I still want to see everything and do everything and eat and drink everything, which finally left me at the end of yesterday, having done the selective in the morning with a very cool surgery in the fourth ventricle of an 11 year old, which was fascinating, despite getting a kick in the head from the green fairy the night before at the mixer party (great timing, that), only to go home to take a nap, get ten minutes into it, have Grr call, and go "Want to walk around the castle?" "Dammit... Yes." AND we got our token dorky pictures with the motionless castle guards (like England but no funny hats) AND discovered entrance to St. Vitus Cathedral is free, but they will still kick you out at closing, no Sanctuary!

So this ran me out last night and yesterday, upon not being able to get a ticket to Munich for under 180 euros, forced me to accept staying in Prague this weekend (awww, poor Ishie, eh?), and sleep until nearly noon. Ahhh.. Then to compensate, I walked about five miles uphill into southern Mala Strana, saw and walked up the fake Eiffel Tower, saw the Hunger Wall, had some pivo in a garden on the side of the hill, and went into a Renaissance style fairy art cavern museum that I found along the way before heading back in search of the John Lennon Wall only to overshoot and instead find a famous sculpture called "Piss" in which two computer animated statues piss with their animatronic weiners spelling out famous quotes from Czech literature. Tres classy. Naturally I got a picture of a small child playing in the fountain this display creates. How... cute?

So it's been a good day, and it only took me five minutes to get through all three tricky impenetrable doors of my walk up bombed out flat.

My apartment in Prague serves the function of field sobriety test (useful, considering the location), despite the fact that I love it. There's a huge outer door that opens into a courtyard/place for serial killers to choose victims. Then you go into a stairwell that contains an elevator that doesn't work, or works sometimes, but "works sometimes" is one of those descriptions that causes me to never use an elevator. Then you go up an unbelievable number of stairs. At night, the light is timed so you can flip it on, but it is likely to go out at some point when you are halfway up the stairs. Then you reach the second door, which should ostensibly have your apartment number on it, but doesn't, making it a real treat to find. This door also boasts having kept my roommate out for half an hour on her first day, and me out for 15 minutes last night despite being sober, despite my rising level of profanity perhaps indicating otherwise. The lock is VERY tricky. Then comes our actual front door, which is a little tricky, though pales in comparison to the one that procedes it. The entire process combined with the aesthetics does a decent job of convincing you that you're about to enter a crackhouse, and then it opens into a spacious, clean, high ceilinged, well lit, Ikea-drenched flat. And this pattern seems to be the norm. It's pretty cool.

I've also seen a string performance of, inexplicably, Vivaldi and Gershwin, at the Narodni Museum, which was a definite highlight. Baroque music is far more interesting live in a place with good acoustics. Last night, as stated, I found castle and dinner while my roommates went to the Wu Tang Clan concert. Yes, I'm a dork, but wasn't a big fan of the Wu even when Old Dirty was still alive, so I'm not going to feel too bad. Are the Stones coming back?

I finished the neurosurgery selective, which was really interesting, so will be reporting for ENT on Monday at a different (closer) hospital, and I've heard that particular selective is interesting as well, so overall I should net some good experience. My last week is dermatovenerology, which should be net me a strong stomach.

In the interim, I've been sampling Czech beers, Czech food, Czech streets, and Czech language. I've found that knowing about four words of Czech increases the surrounding population's knowledge of English by about 30:1. When I've seen people ask "Do you speak English?" (like asking for directions), about 85% say "ne rosememe" (I don't understand). When you say "G'daya _______? (where's ______?)", the answer to the question is in English very frequently, or it switches to English the second you try to elaborate. Bizarre. Thank you, Pimsleur language tapes, once again giving me just enough rope to hang myself.

I also haven't figured out if I look really really American or am getting confused for Czech, because while Czech people often figure out to speak English to me in restaurants before I've done *anything*, people keep coming up to me on the street and asking if I speak English. Unfortunately, they then assume that I know something about the surrounding area and can convey something to them other than "I dunno. I'm lost too." We also had a guy approach us asking us to speak Spanish, and as we tried to brokenly tell him about the route of the Number 14 tram, he realized by our internal conversation to each other that we spoke English and fluently switched to that. Speaking of Spanish, I'm discovering I know more of it than I thought I did because about 75% of the time I realize I need to ask someone a question here, I realize I can say it in Spanish but not in Czech. D'oh.

So... I may try to hit Cesky Krumlov tomorrow if I can drag up early enough. Here's hoping!

No comments: