Prague, pt II:
I am currently listening to The Cure at some kind of hippie punk bike pot haze hot summer hangout. A man sprayed me with liquid oxygen when I walked in, then laughed in my face for a full minute when I told him it was like 'fresh morning rain.' He has been repeating these words to everyone who comes in, everyone who gets the rain face. He's got a huge red/blonde afro and keeps screaming czech/gibberish insanity into an internet phone connection and laughing hysterically. These people just let me use their internet and don't give a damn. There's a dog on a leather couch next to me.
Czechs love their dogs. Expats, the snarky boring idiot kind who seem to write exclusively for Prague Post, don't like the dogs. I like a good dog, a beagle looking thing following leashless down a cobblestone street and occasionally windowshoping only to find itself lost in the sea of feet. There's nothing more life affirming than seeing a dog recognize its owner from across a square, then it running like some animal kingdom porn at top speed slo mo in epic joy. Gross.
Today was the first day of class. Love the serious older student - four Americans, one Greek, two Germans, one Swede, one Belgian and one Camaroonian. An unlikely batch of humans if you ever saw them. Our teacher made us play two games that would never happen in the States: the first was 'tell me some stereotypes about X people' and she listed Skots, Germans, French. No one would budge on that one, except a German, of course, who confessed. The other was when the teacher asked one student to sit in a chair in the middle of the room while another stood behind pantomiming everyday tasks. She had to guess 'how often' he did these tasks, without knowing what they were. It was like some 50s standup or something.
I'm trying to think of other hilarious things, but really I've been sort of out of sorts knowing that my aunt who is in the hospital is likely passing away this week. I talked to her today on the phone at the hospital and she was in that delirious morphine state where breath becomes more sounding than words. What do you say? I've gotten sadly good at these conversations, having had them many times over the last few years. Never hesitate to say I love you, I have learned though I'm generally bad at those words from my 1/2 wasp upbringing.
That's all for now. Here's something that passes for headline news in the CZ, mind you, not for the day but for the last few days.
A decision by Czech police to break-up a techno music festival in Mlynec, west Bohemia, at the weekend has continued to draw political fire - from both the opposition and some members of the government. On Saturday around 1,000 police in riot gear forcibly broke up the techno party - attended by some 5,000 visitors - at the request of landowners who claimed visitors had damaged their property. Police clashed with dozens of partygoers, using tear gas and water cannons - leading to score of minor injuries on both sides. Around 20 people required medical attention.
Although the Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan defended police steps as "necessary", others, including the country's president, Vaclav Klaus, have criticised the move, with the president saying that the use tear gas and water cannons was "inexcusable". Mr Klaus called the move a "gross blunder" and has already said he will call on the country's prime minister for an explanation.
Others, including opposition MP for the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, Ivan Langer, called Saturday's use of force "unprecedented" - in his view evocative of police brutality in former Czechoslovakia preceding the fall of Communism in 1989.