Jana’s friend Petra took this nifty picture of me and Jory in a bar near Biskupcova. We had both managed to put down about 8 beers each already, hence the gang signs.
Monthly Archives: February 2008
A nugget of Czech wisdom:
‘Lepsi teple pivo nez studena Nemka’
Better a warm beer than than a cold German girl
This blog’s California correspondent, the indefensible Kyle, is often a source of advice whenever a stupid problem arises. He has spent the last year and a half in school, learning how to draw with crayons and pawning his crap off to feeble-minded art collectors. Now, apparently, he has managed to raise $400 dollars to charity by being himself in a bar. The act of ‘marketing yourself’ has never been so abused.
Along the train route to Jana’s town lies the hamlet of Veselicko, which translates loosely as “Little Happy Place”. I am a lot happier when drunk, and have always remarked upon how inviting the town’s Hostinec* looks from the local train. Jana resisted my nagging until this weekend, when we finally visited ‘Hostinec Veselicko’, the Little Happy Pub.
*(Hostinec is among the many Czech words for pub, which include Hospoda, Hospudka, Restaurace, Pivnice, etc. It’s similar to the way Eskimos have like 300 words for snow.)
We made our first foray into the pub around 5 on saturday afternoon, and were greeted by a shocked silence. Two pretty young ladies accompanied by a beaming, balding foreigner are an unlikely sight in little Veselicko. We took our seat and were given menus by the bemused publican. The young ladies were immediately taken with the prices on offer, which included a variety of shots for 3 crowns, or 18 cents. This is at the current czk/usd exchange rate where the dollar is used as a substitute for toilet paper, so the real cost was far lower at PPP(purchasing power parity).
We happily chatted away as two more of Jana’s friends joined us at the table, and added to our repertoire by chain-smoking for the next three hours. The locals (or townies, as I like to say when I am being an asshole) made furtive glances in our direction, as four attractive young ladies are obviously a rare sight in the Little Happy Pub. The patrons were a motley crew of middle-aged boring-looking-people mixed with some obvious drunks featuring bizzare hair combinations. I don’t mean mohawks, but wild beards and other strange facial hair distribution. Throw in some unattractive skin conditions and our local patrons were unlikely to have encountered the opposite sex in any fashion with the exception of a nurse giving anesthesia.
Around six some of the locals started staggering out, which was all the more impressive when one of the girls remarked that the pub only opened at four. The lights came on, and the pub assumed a more festive decor, as the previous new year’s party decorations had not yet been removed. By this point I had more than enough blog material, enhanced by numerous gin and tonics, to be satisfied with our little adventure. But then the real weirdos started coming in.
The first surprising sign was when someone under the age of 40 showed up and appeared mildly well-groomed. A few more young people came in, one of whom knew one of our party. She told us that a group of cartoonists was having a party in the attached ballroom this evening. Soon a few sailors, a slutty girl from a local cartoon, and death himself made an appearance. Finally a guy dressed as a television walked in the door, and our group broke into spontaneous applause.
The television later distinguished himself by hitting on Jana’s friend with the well-rehearsed line “Hey baby, wanna be on TV”, and earning my eternal admiration.
In retrospect, the evening couldn’t have gone much better. A new pub was explored, good fun was had by all, and I always enjoy being surrounded by pretty women drinking beer.
I sit down in an empty seat, and gratefully pull out my novel as the metro doors close. It was a long day full of numbers and spreadsheets and frozen computer screens. I zone out as stations pass and passengers board and disembark from our train. A dude sits across from me, and his smell wafts into my nose – i catch a scent of sweat, tinged with rotting garbage. I make the quick switch to throat-based breathng, huff a bit of annoyance, and continue with my reading. Stations pass, I read. A dude sits next to me, across from the first dude. The smell of old milk overwhelms my poor olfactory glands, and tears come to my eye. I lament my fate, close my eyes, and wait for my stop.
I was working through a GMAT math workbook today, and got to the section about multiplication and division of fractions. I have not done such calculation since the seventh grade or so. And yet, now, at the age of 27 I must learn it again. I have managed to get through high school, college, and several promotions without multiplying fractions. I’m probably not going to do it again until I’m helping my own kid with his seventh-grade math homework. Although by that time kids will probably be genetically engineered to do integrals in the womb.
Mostly I’m just complaining about the fact that I can’t do math without an excel spreadsheet. Damn you, Microsoft. Damn you.