"Exile on Main Street"

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not for such a long time have I felt so out of my depth.

With absolutely no language skills whatsoever now, I am reduced to pointing and smiling to buy things. Rob has been a trooper in this respect.

The first purchases this morning are tram tickets and then train tickets out to Venice. This requires two tram rides to the main Prague station but takes us three after catching the first one in the wrong direction!

The station is a refuge for the Prague population of drunken and homeless (mainly) men. With beer selling at 25Kr/500ml - that's about AU$1.50 - beer is cheaper than water. It's no surprise really that both tourists and locals indulge! Although they were of no threat, I was glad when we were back on the tram and into the commercial heart of town.

There are signs of emerging affluence in the economy - a Tommy Hilfinger shop, for example - but there is still work to be done. The old buildings are lovely but look as thought they have been 90% cleaned or restored and then left. Tram shelters are uniformly vandalised and graffiti is rife. The power fails twice in the breakfast room this morning and likewise our hot water. Good infrastructure is just not quite there yet...

We have a comfortable one bedroom apartment with Rob and Liz downstairs and me on a real bed in the upper living area. We dined out well last night for around AU$20/head and cook ourselves a roast chicken tonight after exploring Czech Tesco. It's quite a challenge shopping for groceries with no English on any packets! Grocery prices seemed quite cheap compared to the west (our chook was AU$3 for a size 15) but fruit is expensive.

Tomorrow we will join a walking tour to take in all the tourist sights and will have more photos to share then.
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