Krasne Vanoce a Hezky Novy Rok

Trip Start Sep 06, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Czech Republic  ,
Sunday, December 31, 2006

Despite unseasonably warm weather the Czechs haven't been exempt from the seasonal craziness... but they do celebrate in a style all their own.New Year in Prague boasted loads of fireworks... I've never seen such a display in my life. The biggest difference was really with Christmas though. Czechs tend to celebrate mainly on the 24th (though they do stretch it out over the following 2 days.) Also, instead of turkey, ham, or goose, the main course is Carp. There are Carp stands set up on every major corner with barrels full of fish... pick your favorite and watch the fun begin! The Carp is brained and flayed at record speeds, then wrapped fresh and ready to be devoured for Christmas dinner. Actually the number one holiday injury to Czechs is choking on Carp bones. :)... I'm not making that up either.

Personally I rang in my New Year atop a hill just north east of Prague Castle; near Checuv most (probably misspelled that. ;)) Sitting along the large rock overlook, I drank champagne from the bottle; passed between me and a lovely Czech couple. To be perfectly frank, I don't see the typical grouchy Czechs that tourists seem to complain about. My experiences have been that Czechs are definitely a reserved bunch... however, beneath the stoic facade, I've found them to be warm, hospitable, and helpful.

It was a strange feeling to be so far from home during this time... not bad, just different.  The friends that I've made here made it unique and unforgettable.  I also felt slightly more aware of the other foreigners around me.
 I've noticed two distinctly different types of ex-patriots. The first seem totally oblivious to the fact that they're in a different country... they find a couple safe bars around the town center, befriend other ex-pats of the same nationality (or mother tongue), and only know the phrase "nemluvim cesky" (I don't speak Czech)... clearly. The second group tend to be more working class, generally Asians, Slovakians, Poles, (a few) Brits, and (even fewer) Americans. I am awed by these people, especially the Asians, who not only bust their asses, but also speak Czech really well (at least to my untrained ear.)

...anyhow, best wishes for 2007!
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