Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Hourglass

Like an hourglass, my bottle of Tabasco has signaled that time has run out.  I have only 2 weeks left in the Czech Republic or I will die from lack of flavorful "zing."

I haven't been writing much since Seattle, mostly because during the month of May I didn't really do a lot of fun or interesting activities.  I went to work, came back, ate dinner, went to bed.  And although I had plenty of interesting thoughts and ideas for blog posts (notably a rant on the human factors of this country's transportation system), I just didn't feel like writing.  Since the end of May however, I have done some fun things and I'll describe those shortly.

Work has been a steady stream of writing, meetings, and about 2 straight weeks of working on a scenario and script for a simulation experiment.  I wrote my evaluation report from my Redmond trip and made recommendations which I hope will be implemented soon.  I started on a detailed design for a project using Illustrator, however Illustrator interface is in Czech and even my colleagues can't help because most words from the program do not have a direct Czech translation.  I learned to program scenarios using MS Flight Simulator, although it was not easy or fun.

Right after my Redmond trip I visited Valtice which is south of Brno.  The town is part of a large landscaped region known as the Valtice-Lednice Cultural Landscape.  The land was originally owned by the Lichtenstein family, who built castles, hunting lodges, gardens, and monuments throughout the area.  I wanted to bike through the landscape, but couldn't find a rental place on a Sunday.

Valtice Castle

Near the edge of one of the gardens looking back at the town

Throughout May, I kept seeing an advertisement for a "doctor."  Seeing the photo, I figured no one would actually give this guy a license to practice medicine and figured the advert was a "doctor plumber", tongue-in-cheek kind of thing.  The photo is ridiculous.  The man is trying to keep a firm expression, but the photo tells more of a story.  He has long hair, and one of his curls sneaks out from behind his neck.  The curl is kinda like "hello there!"  So here you are: a man with a firm expression, but subtle cues that tell you "I'm being serious for the cameras, but you know how I roll.  I'm cool, I still party."

My colleague informed me he is Professor Jan Keller, a communist party sociologist running for European Parliament.  Figures.

For my birthday I decided to take off work and travel to Cesky Krumlov, a place which was recommended to me.  I booked a bus which connected through Prague and figured the connection would be at the same bus terminal I arrived at in Prague.  Turns out however, I had to take the subway to another bus station.  I did not realize this until about 5 minutes before the bus was scheduled to depart.  So I was stranded in Prague, what a tragedy.

One of my new favorite places in Prague

Arriving in the square next to the town hall I got a surprise:  a dixieland
jazz band.

So I checked into a hostel down the street and walked around the town.  This time I didn't feel the pressure to see everything and capture photos, I just strolled.  I brought a book with me and read whenever I found a suitable seating place.  On my birthday I sat down in the grass in a park and read and subsequently caught a tan.  I also had to eat a delicious birthday breakfast.
Breakfast Kolac on the river Vtlava.  Poppyseed, cream cheese and strawberry.

In the evening I visited a few pubs, mostly ones that served my favorite beer,  Kozel.

How it starts.

Fascinating phenomena.  Beer-rings.

How it ends.
In one pub I saw a  T-shirt that I promptly translated to say "Good Goat, best fireman."  I don't know why but it cracked me up.  The goat is so serious.  Unfortunately they are completely out of the shirt.  Even on the website.

On the night of my birthday I attended a concert of 4 strings and a trumpet playing George Gershwin composed music.  The music was incredible and the venue was the Spanish Synagogue, just as incredible.

Just last weekend, my mentor Daniela invited me to travel to Kromeriz (unpronouncable) with a visiting lecturer.  The castle in Kromeriz was apparently a filming location for the movie "Amadeus."  We didn't see all of it, but the castle has lovely gardens.

Bentley.  Wish I was in Le Mans this week!  (too expensive)

Thats all for now.

1 comment:

  1. You're doctor plumber lookes like Ron Swanson in the eighties. I liked your description. Enjoy those last two weeks Monkey