Monday, August 9, 2010

Eastern Europe Part 1

The three weeks I spent in Berlin were the last few weeks of about the past 2.5 months of putting in extra hours, so after wrapping things up there, George and I headed to Prague and later Vienna for a few days of relaxing before heading home.

Prague sucked!

Creepy statues in Prague

Okay, Prague didn't really suck, but getting your camera stolen can really ruin a first impression. Add that to the Czech people's genetic inability to smile, and your overall impression of the city might be affected a bit. Maybe it's just me (I can be a jerk at times), but Prague seemed like a pretty negative place sandwiched between the super-friendly cities of Berlin and Vienna.

More creepy statues in Prague

As mentioned above my camera got stolen, therefor the only pictures I have of Prague are the couple I took with my cellphone because I wanted to use them as wallpaper. So you'll have to take my word for it when I tell you Prague is a beautiful city (or just search google images, as there are thousands of photos to back me up). Despite the best efforts of the United States Airforce, Prague was remarkably damaged very little during WW2, so many of the historic buildings remain in excellent shape. The historic downtown, the bridges over the Vltava river, and of course the famous Prague Castle that dominates the skyline, are all just as amazing as the postcards make them look.

Check out the wikipedia article on Prague for more pics

Prague was a bit touristy though. Some things seemed quite expensive for what you got, and if you didn't specify up front that you wanted the cheap version, or the cheaper seats, you were automatically sold the most expensive version, without any explanation of the options. We got suckered into spending 26 bucks for seats that were only about 5 feet closer to the stage than the 16 dollar seats for a show that should have cost about 5 bucks at most. It looked promising from the outside--a large billboard that displayed a large band playing songs from various American musicals, but once inside it was a sole pianist and a singer who was occasionally accompanied by a saxophonist.

All three performers were definitely talented, but the production values were pretty low, the venue not very impressive, and the singer had the strongest Slavic accent I heard while in Prague. As she sung songs like Somuh Vere Dere sa Place fer Rus (you might almost recognize that from A West Side Story), I could only smile in amazement. Her voice was excellent, and she even did a bit of tap at the end that was pretty impressive, but she was extremely difficult to understand at times. I certainly do not want to poke fun at anyone's accent, I know I have a horrible accent when trying to speak any language, but I wouldn't even attempt to sing songs in a foreign any language in public, much less ask you to pay me for it.

Other than amazing architecture and unintentionally humorous musicals, Prague is also home to a ridiculous amount of Thai massage parlors. I'm not sure what brings all of these Thai masseuses to Prague, but if you have the endurance for that kind of stuff, the price is good and the service was friendly.

Does this look like massage to you?

I love when my wife rubs my neck or shoulders, especially after driving for a long time, or working in the yard or something, so I assumed that paying a professional for their massage services would be incredibly relaxing and invigorating. However, after paying the professionals at the Venitian Hotel's Spa in Vegas for something called a deep tissue massage, and then having someone literally stomp on me during this Thai massage, I have to say that I just don't get it. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, which is hard to imagine since I am just laying there, but professional massages just hurt!

Overall Prague was cool. But skip the pay performances and just hang out at the cool bridges listening to the street performers. They put on a better show, and you only pay as much as you like.

I leave you with this bit of street art from Prague.

The Infinite Ignorance of War

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