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One Last Leisurely Day Before The Job Hunt Begins

August 12, 2012

I’m still recuperating from last week, which was pretty exhausting.  I think I was running on adrenaline until Friday night. Saturday and Sunday,  I slept until almost noon.

I’ve located the food shops around my hostel; they’re more like NYC bodegas than what most Americans would call a grocery store, but I like cramped, funky, little places with odd assortments of this and that.  The coffee is mostly instant, but that’s okay, I kind of like instant coffee.  It always reminds me of traveling in Mexico.

The best part of waking up is any damn kind of coffee at all in your cup.

Look, the people across the street are looking out the window, too.

The fresh fruit and vegetables I’ve bought here taste much better than what you get in America.  They’re generally very ripe and are not cosmetically perfect… they would probably get thrown out at the WalMart produce department.  But the taste is amazing.

It’s odd what I can and can’t find. Mustard?  Apparently, they’ve never heard of it.  Excellent Asian ramen?  Check.  (Let me just say right now, once and for all, that there will be no puns on the word Czech in this blog.  You’re welcome.)

OMG, thank you, Asian people. You have saved me a million dollars everywhere I have traveled in this world, AND made the journey so much more delicious.

I’m learning my way around Brno.  My hostel is quite close to the city center, which is a large hill with all the historic buildings on it.  It’s very pedestrian-friendly, far more than any city in the US that I’ve ever seen—which is not saying much—but still, I love the absence of cars.  I hate cars; the American fetish for cars is one of the things that has driven me abroad.  (That’s right, I said driven.  There are other meanings to the word. Look it up.)

I walked around for a couple of hours this afternoon and took a few pictures.  The more postcardey ones are in this gallery on google+.

I love these lonely concrete canyons.

These are everywhere. Herna means “game room.” I have no idea what they’re like inside, because I rarely go into anyplace that advertises gambling, girls or sports. I thinks that’s why I’ve been able to travel rather widely and never get into trouble.

The grand cathedral that towers over the city, seen from below. I can’t help but think of the Nick Cave lyric, “As a steeple tore the stomach from a lonely little cloud.”

Gold-plated Jesus. And they wonder why the flock dwindleth.

As I wind down into the night, I am accompanied by a few more local purchases.

That bread is unbelievable, pungent and nutty, somewhere etween rye and pumpernickel?  It cost about 50 cents for a loaf.  I’m pretty excited about watching a DVD of a Czech film.  The booze is Božkov Tuzemský, a Czech rum.  I would have thought it was a brandy, but I’m not much of a connoisseur of spirits.  It’s remarkably good at the price: 149 CZK for 500ml, about $7.50.

Finally, for once, an understatement in packaging copy. This is way better than good.

Well, tomorrow I’d better get down to business.  I need to update my resume with my Czech phone number, and get some copies printed out.  (There’s a print shop right around the corner.)  I need a haircut and some job-hunting clothes.  Dressing like an adult has never been a particular strength for me.

And in conclusion, your honor… I got here.  I have a place to stay.  I have a little money.  I have a teaching certificate.  Soon we’ll find out whether  my plan was grounded in reality. Wish me luck.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Norbert permalink
    August 12, 2012 7:51 pm

    Ha! I knew it wouldn’t be long before there was a KFC in one of the pictures. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place which didn’t have one of the Big Three – McDonalds, Starbucks or KFC.

    I love the trams though, I used to go mad for them when I was a kid. It’s like being on a train on the road!

    Weird that they don’t know mustard. I would have thought it would be everywhere on the continent, especially given the proximity to Germany. Maybe it’s a specialist thing there.

    Good luck with the search for employment. And mustard of course.

    • August 12, 2012 8:02 pm

      Well, if I can’t get a job teaching, perhaps I can become a traveling mustard salesman. Seems like the field is wide open.

    • August 13, 2012 2:15 am

      Am I the only one who noticed that in the KFC picture the clock reads 4:20? I giggled and I’m not even a stoner.

      I find the entire mustard thing weird as well. Are you sure they simply aren’t pranking you? “Pssst, Svengi, don’t tell The American about the mustard ha ha ha.”

      Of far greater concern is this whole “instant coffee” thing. ::shudder:: Of course, it reminded me of these twisted, old Wilkins Instant Coffee commercials. http://youtu.be/ZxLyuw5bdyk “Grocery store? Please send me some Wilkins Instant Coffee!” FOR THE WIN

      • August 13, 2012 5:08 am

        Whoa, there are a LOT of those. He was a Wilkins-peddling juggernaut.

        Can’t think about being pranked. Once I open that door, galloping madness will not be long staved off.

      • ErosLane permalink
        August 13, 2012 6:08 am

        Yeah, I don’t know if that was a pre-Kermit Wilkins-shilling Muppet or not in those commercials. I liked how now-familiar things were there, like the backstage Muppet phone on the stage.

  2. Louis permalink
    August 13, 2012 2:27 am

    You said the vegetables and fruit were “very ripe and are not cosmetically perfect.” That sounds like the grocery i shop at here. There are such places. I prefer the close-to-rotten taste. Most people turn their nose up and go where the shiny stuff is sold.

    There must be mustard somewhere. Or maybe we’ll have to ship you some.

    • August 13, 2012 5:44 am

      Agreed; that stuff that looks like wax fruit at Walmart, that’s not your friend. Real food should be a little messy. It should go bad if you leave it out and other living things should want to eat it.

    • ErosLane permalink
      August 13, 2012 6:04 am

      There is a farmer at our local farmer’s market who has crates labeled “ugly tomatoes”. All the Rich Moms walk right past these, but oh my they are the most delicious tasting ever! He is always tickled when we stop by and go through his crates. “You got it, it’s the taste not the look”. True dat!

  3. peter permalink
    August 13, 2012 2:47 am

    Hořčice (mustard) is pretty common. We like kremžská: http://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hořčice

    We always have my in-laws bring us some when they come from Christmas. 🙂

    Agree with the quality of vegetables. If you get a chance, get a šopský salát.
    Very tasty salad without all the oily dressings you get in the states.

    Avoiding hernas is generally a good idea, for many reasons. A regular Czech pub is much preferred.

    Hope your job hunt goes well!

    • August 13, 2012 5:17 am

      Thanks for the info, Peter. I’m sure I’m somehow just looking right past the mustard. You know how it is when you’re new to a place; you miss all sorts of obvious things. I do, at least. I’ll definitely try one of those salads. I’m a vegan, so I’m on the lookout for stuff like that. Cheers!

    • ErosLane permalink
      August 13, 2012 6:05 am

      Czech mustard mystery solved! 😀

      Verdict: deeeeeeelicious!

    • August 13, 2012 9:42 am

      Found all kinds of mustard at the INTERSPAR today. I bought the cheapest brand. It’s so good I’m just dipping fresh vegetables in it.

      • ErosLane permalink
        August 13, 2012 11:56 am

        Hooray for INTERSPAR.

        Also? DO NOT RUN WITH THOSE SCISSORS. Rules apply globally, you know!

  4. August 13, 2012 3:08 pm

    You inspired me to have Ramen this morning for breakfast. Also, sorry I ate your last packet of Ramen.

    • August 13, 2012 3:38 pm

      That’s okay. If I come back home without a job, the ramen in the pantry will be the least of my worries.

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