Friday, April 14, 2006

Random thoughts on a Good Friday

Wow. It's been nearly two months since I've posted. What the hell? There's no real point in having a blog if you're only going to contribute to it an average of six times a year. So I guess I'd better get back on the exercise bike or risk turning into a literary potato.

I have no topic today. Many people in Prague don't. It's raining again, a cold gray wash that is a remnant of the long winter we just endured. Despite the looming holiday, people in the streets seem downcast and not particularly happy to be there. Meanwhile, the magazine I edit is in the middle stages of being laid out, which is tricky because we're simultaneously carrying out a redesign of the entire thing. Our target date for printing is a little over a week away. Will we make it? Bets can be placed at your local lottery office; odds seem to be around 3 to 1. Meanwhile, the reporters have their assignments for the next issue, save for a freelancer or two I'd like to keep contributing, so I get a little bit of a rest. For now. Mmmmm.

I'm renovating my apartment, as most of you probably don't know. My neighbors sure do; in this country, it's necessary to obtain a signed "souhlas majitelu" (agreement of owners), i.e. a statement from the co-inhabitants of your building that they have no objection to your reconstruction project. So we submitted the thing and it turns out that...the neighbors DO have an objection to our project, namely the fact that we want to plant a toilet on a narrower-than-comfortable old waste pipe (and boy, isn't THAT a lovely image to get your weekend started). It's heartening that the neighbors care so much about my toilet arrangements, but what this means for myself and girlfriend/architect Marija is more negotiations, more paperwork, more time and more effort. Or maybe we can just piss from the side of the balcony. That would solve the pipe issue quite elegantly. Sorry, Mr. Cihelka. Was that your dog we just hit?

Hmmm. Jesus Died for My Sins, they tell me. Guess I shouldn't be talking about toilet pipes and gambling. I'm not Christian, though, so I think I can get away with it. But if anyone happens to talk to The Son of God this special weekend please don't tell him, just in case.

He's got a lot on his mind anyway. Did you read the news? Turns out Judas was his favorite apostle after all, and Jesus ASKED him to turn him in to the Romans. Of course, this is all based on a second-hand account 200 years or so after the fact. Which is, uh, actually what the New Testament is, too. Ah. Hmmm.

Meeting a friend for dinner tonight at a new Indian restaurant in Zizkov, the ex-working class district of Prague just down the hill from where I live. Once upon a long time ago (okay, the mid-1990s), you were lucky to find ANY restaurant in Zizkov. Now you can have your choice of Pakistani, Greek, Mexican, Thai, Japanese or even Hare Krishna vegetarian, among numerous other cuisines. What happened? Damned if I know. I was too busy worrying about toilet pipes.

Zizkov is an interesting area. The largest equestrian statue in Europe (or maybe the world; it depends on which account you read) is there. Also, back in the bad old days, the "first working-class" (i.e., communist) President, Klement Gottwald, was interred in the Vitkov Hill mausoleum set aside for Czech leaders. Not only that; the Party wise men tried to preserve his corpse and put it on display, like Lenin. Problem was, their crude freezing techniques didn't work and despite a massive effort, old Klement rotted away piece by piece. They finally gave up in the early 60s. However, if you're lucky, resourceful or good at bribery, you can get someone to show you the rooms where Klem was frozen and watched. Yes, watched. Constantly, in shifts, by Party loyalists. Not only that; the instruments doing the monitoring were installed in PAIRS, in case one of them broke. The Vitkov cryogeny rooms get my vote, hands down, for the weirdest historical attraction in Prague. And in a city with this much history, that's saying something.

My mixed-religion family did, in fact, celebrate Easter when I was a kid. I remember a few Easter Egg hunts on the front yard with the neighbor kids when I was little. At some point, my dad wrote little riddles on index cards to guide us to the eggs. Maybe I even won a hunt or two, I don't know. Better than that was Easter Sunday's trip to Nana's (my grandma; dad's mom). She used to buy us these big milk chocolate eggs, which opened to reveal more sweets inside - jelly beans, foil-wrapped mini-chocolate eggs, marshmallow bunnies. Packed with strips of green plastic "grass." My mom, who always made great efforts to keep us away from sweets, probably had a heart attack every year when she saw those big eggs. Poor woman. She knew we 'd be working on them for another week.

Funny what the mind remembers 25 years after. Nana and mom are in their graves, the chocolate eggs a distant memory. I probably won't do much this Easter save for keeping dry and figuring out a negotiation strategy for dealing with the neighbors. Ah, adulthood. But I wouldn't have it any other way. So much more interesting. Ain't that right, Jesus?

1 comment:

Prague Hotels said...

Hello Eric!
You have been in Prague ,so you might know many places.
I have been living in Prague for 4 month and probably I will be there at New Years Eve. So, could you give some advices where to go, how to celebrate. I was told that Prague is not interesting at New Year holidays, but I do not want to believe it. I think Prague is a really fascinating mystique city at New Year.