prague first impressions

I’d always associated Lufthansa with “luxury”. Now, flying international in economy class sucks on pretty much every airline, but this was my first time in the steerage section of an Airbus 340. From now on, I’m going to fly Boeing equipment as much as possible for the simple fact that each passenger gets that little adjustable air nozzle thingy. The temperature of my blood is roughly equivalent to the surface of the sun, and I spent pretty much the entire flight sweating. Boo Airbus (or Lufthansa for not selecting that cabin option, who knows).

The unit of currency in the Czech Republic is the koruna česká aka Czech koruna aka CZK. The exchange rate is something like 17 CZK to 1 USD, but one CZK doesn’t buy you much. A can of Diet Coke (aka Coke Light) is 30 CZK, my Prague ham appetizer (literally, deli ham on a cutting board served with butter and gherkins) was 85 CZK, and so forth. Doing the mental math to try and figure out the “real” cost is always much harder with prime numbers; thus I officially give up, and now think in “whatever units”, as in “Oh, that postcard costs 50 whatevers and my hotel stay for two nights was 2200 whatevers.”

Speaking of hotels, apparently, “3-star” in Czech, where you pay 1100 whatevers a night, means blasting pub music directly into your room and “non-smoking” means “but only inside the room” as smoke from the lobby just drifts in. You could blow your nose with the walls here.

I don’t know what I was expecting regarding architecture or infrastructure, but for a country that used to be communist, I guess I would have thought there would be lots of dowdy utilitarian concrete box-buildings and the like, but Prague looks just as old and beautiful as the other old and beautiful parts of Europe. Avoiding WWII destruction was pretty handy, I guess.

The Prague castle was indeed old and beautiful, but there were lots more cafes, restaurants, shops, and people than I would have expected. Oh wait no, I did expect teeming hordes of tourists, and was happy being one myself, at least for a little while before bugging out at the mass gathering of humanity.

The John Lennon wall was pretty lame.

Saturday is not the day to attempt a visit to a Jewish cemetery.

The Czech Republic is supposedly famous for beer, and even though I’m not a huge fan of pilsners, I did find the Cambrinus to be quite drinkable. Kozel is nice too, much darker than I would have expected for a pils, and despite the sweetness, I quite enjoyed my half litre. I guess I’m just an ale guy.

Salty pork products are a staple here. I’m in heaven.

That’s enough for now. Tomorrow, I travel to Liberec, for the start of SUSE Labs conf, which reminds me, I should probably put the finishing touches on my slides.