May 18, 2007
My friend Paul is coming to visit this weekend. We became friends back in Boston, when we both interned at the Atlantic, and now he’s the Business Editor of the Prague Post. I guess sometimes those unpaid internships really do pay off.
As he’s in town, I won’t have a chance to blog this weekend, but I thought instead I would post pictures of my trip to visit him in Prague, back in February. (Yes, I often fall very, very, very behind on the blogging).
Seeing Prague again after so many years was very strange. Kevin and I stayed there for several weeks back in the summer of 2002, when I was in college, and for me, Prague has always had the distinct flavor of the American “junior year abroad experience.” While Paul was at work, I toured the city visiting some of my old “haunts” from my first visit: the Globe Bookstore, Bohemian Bagel, the historic Kvarna Slavia restaurant and the hookah bar, Café Dahab. They were all almost exactly as I’d remembered them, except this time around I was less struck by their Eastern European flavor than how over-run they were American undergrads. The bathroom stalls in Bohemian Bagel were covered with graffiti (in English), that only the particular species of American liberal art student, abroad for the first time in her life, would think to write. A sample:
“Every man beholds his condition with a degree of melancholy.”
“Happiness sparkles on the sea like soda.” – Walcott
“Hemingway, bagels are the way forward.”
“Laws are like cobwebs which may catch small flies but let wasps and hornets through.” –Swift
“All who wander are not lost.” Scratched out and corrected to read: “Not all who wander are lost.”
But touring Prague the second time, with Paul as my guide, I got to experience it the way a local would: visiting neighborhood cafes like the kitschy Medusa, an all night movie marathon out in the suburbs, and dinner at a Papua New Guinea-themed restaurant downtown. There wasn’t an American undergrad in sight.