Archive for June, 2007

2007.06.28

Pictures from Paris, Prague and Liberec

I’m back from my trip to Europe. I’m very tired but, despite this, I posted a few pictures so you can see some of what I’ve seen. I haven’t added any details to the pictures yet, but I will… Especially if I can get used to typing on an American keyboard again (I got used to typing on the French keyboard layout and it’s very different in subtle ways).

Gallery One: Paris, Prague and Liberec. These are the pictures I took in Paris, as well as the pictures from Prague and Liberec that had familar people in them.

Gallery Two: Pictures of Prague. The pictures here are just of the city of Prague. I love this place!

Comments Off on Pictures from Paris, Prague and Liberec | Catergorized: food-drink  friends  life  memories  paris  photos  prague  work

2007.06.26

Pluie

View of the Arc de Triomphe from Work
Arc de Triomphe
I fly back to San Francisco tomorrow. Paris has been a non-stop affair after Prague. Two days of walking and about 14 (15?) hours of work. I’m hoping today will be a bit calmer since most of the office leaves this afternoon for Spain and a conference there.

Anyways, there has been an interest in seeing pictures and I will be putting some online when I get back… Probably two sets just to get it all out there.

It’s raining in Paris and has cooled off from the excessive temperatures of last week. I kind of like it since it reminds me of San Francisco, though the locals are hating it. I’m assured it’s never like this in June.

2 Comments | Catergorized: life  paris  photos

2007.06.21

Re-Acquaintance

Prague, view of The Castle
Prague Castle
I’ve been Prague now for the better part of a week. I have no idea what’s playing in the theaters, or which bands are playing around town, or where the people I might have known are hanging out. I haven’t really thought about it much. Instead I’ve been walking. My legs are desperately sore every night when I return to my rented apartment. I sack out like I’ve run a marathon. Honestly, I’m probably putting in a good 15 miles a day.

No, I haven’t seen a show. I haven’t done those myriad typical touristic things. I’ve been walking and looking at details in the architecture of the city. I touch the stone as I pass and I reconnect with the flesh and bones of this city. I feel I’m reacquainting myself with an old lover. Our relationship was happy and intense and kind of scary at times.

I’d thought my feelings for this place had diminished over time but seeing her again… I walk and I watch and I feel ashamed I waited 13 years to come back. The dresses she wears in the form of new shops and fresh paint make her at times unrecognizable but the places my eyes don’t remember, my body does. We’re still more the same than different.

I forget how deep a connection I feel with this place but Prague, I realize, is where my heart lies. Every city I live in will be compared to her and can only hope I’ll be returning someday to stay.

13 Comments | Catergorized: life  photos  prague  thoughts

2007.06.19

Tourist in Old Town

Me in Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
Me in Prague
I spent a huge chunk of yesterday roaming the streets of Old Town (Stare Mesto) doing what I never really did when I lived here… taking pictures just like a tourist. I’ll put together a gallery after I get back to the States (or perhaps back in Paris if I can find a fast internet connection) but for now click on and enjoy the view of Old Town Square as seen from the top of a very tall tower. Not a good place to have vertigo as there is nothing to stop you from falling. Personally I loved the height!

Later in the evening I went to my old place of employment, Radost FX. I don’t know what I was expecting, but there was no one I knew there. The bartender seemed to not even know the owners (pretended? I don’t know). I ate dinner and was disappointed that they are still breaking their pasta into little bits so it’s impossible to spin onto a fork. We had that argument with the kitchen 13 years ago; I thought we’d settled it then!

Anyways, I was supremely disappointed. The place has been remodelled to the point where it doesn’t even look the same to me. I mean, the rooms are the same shape, but how it looks -how it feels– is completely alien. I ate dinner, had a drink, and went on my way. Another door on history closes.

Comments Off on Tourist in Old Town | Catergorized: food-drink  life  memories  photos  prague

2007.06.17

Getting Lost in Prague

Being back in Prague after thirteen years is something of an adventure. My intellect, which knew these city streets so well when I was living here, just can’t seem to find it’s way anymore. Yes, the passage of time dulls memory, but these are walks I used to do in my most stoned drunk moments, when intellect was nigh impossible.

I managed to get myself royally lost on my way to meet AH. We agreed to meet at Namesti Miru, which is just behind the main museum on Vaclavski Namesti. Somehow coming out of the metro (the wrong one it turns out) I got myself completely turned around and walking in almost completely the wrong direction. Fortunately asking a few questions got me back on track.

I keep telling myself that this is how I first learned the streets here but honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to tell AH just how lost I’d gotten. It’s so easy to get lost in these old cities. I think it’s time to buck up and pull out a map.

4 Comments | Catergorized: life  prague

2007.06.17

Can’t Escape Laundry

I have a ritual. Every Sunday I do my laundry. It’s kind of a silly thing because I’m obsessive about it; the only break in the rule is when Monday is a holiday, in which case I do it on Monday.

So here I am, on vacation in Prague, and I’m out of clean clothes because I’d spent the past week in Paris working. The apartment I’ve rented has a laundry machine so after some much needed sleeping in I threw two loads in. Then I realized it’s Sunday and I’m still doing laundry! It’s like I can’t escape the ritual even here!

3 Comments | Catergorized: life  prague

2007.06.16

Finally in Prague

A long time ago on a continent far, far away I lived in one of the most beautiful cities on the planet, Prague in the Czech Republik.

I returned to America in the summer of 94 and this is my first trip back in those 13 years. I knew much had changed and, for me worse, my memory of Prague will have changed but knowing this doesn’t always mitigate the shock.

The drive from the airport into the city center was raw anticipation. I’m sure the driver found it amusing as I explained to him in my broken Czech that it had been so long since I’d seen this city I love so much.

Within the first hour I knew much had changed. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is when we came around the hill and the city hove into view. Getting into the city, though, it was more obvious. Massive amounts of reconstruction had made many of the old buildings beautiful, and many of the buildings from the last half century appear to be next in line as they are being gutted.

New shops appear to be everywhere the tourists are likely to see them. Shockingly I saw a TGI Fridays and several KFCs. Not the kind of thing I particularly appreciated.

On the day I arrived I met AH at the Americký Bar, where an old wreck of a club called Repre used to be located, then we walked the city up to the Castle (Hrad) where she works. It was Museum Night (Pražská Muzeyní Noc) and all of the museums in the city are open to the public for free for the evening.

After goulash and a few drinks I walked back to my rented apartment. Of course it was a Saturday so the streets were crowded with tourists. For better or worse this has been one of the prime economic arteries for Prague and the Republic. While I know this time around I am a tourist myself, I feel more like I’ve come home again.

3 Comments | Catergorized: life  prague

2007.06.13

Paris So Far

Just a few quick thoughts on my adventures in Paris so far.

People are generally thinner than Americans. Maybe this is diet, maybe this is walking around much more, maybe this is a less intense consumer-minded society. Regardless, I’ve seen very few oversized humans here, and one of those was American herself.

Women are generally more beautiful. This is not to say they are all beautiful. Some have definately been whacked by the ugly stick several times over. That being said, people definitely dress better and carry themselves with more confidence. Sometimes that confidence crosses over into, “Look at me! Look at me! Cleavage!” Not that I mind these hot summer outfits at all.

There are no garbage bins on the streets. At least none that I can find anywhere. Instead you will occassionally (very rarely) see metal poles on which clear plastic bags are hung. Apparently the bins went away with the fear of terrorism. I’m not even going to comment on that. Surprisingly the streets and sidewalks are pretty clean.

French keyboards are hard to use. They are very close to the layout used in America but with enough small differences that I keep screwing up. For instance the A and Q are switched as are Z and W, and to get the numbers or a period you have to hold Shift.

There are tons of police here. Even better they are very often on their feet walking around in groups of 2, 3 or more. Personally I think this is a good thing. It also helps that they don’t seem as serious as American police.

In addition to the many police there are tons of mopeds. In Paris you don’t need a license to drive a moped if it’s under (I was told) a 125cc engine.

And that’s all for now. Tonight we’re going to get steak. Hopefully it won’t rain (we had a thunder shower just a bit ago).

1 Comment | Catergorized: life  paris  technology  thoughts

2007.06.11

Champ d’Ellyse

Eiffel Tower from Hôtel De Castiglione
The Eiffel Tower
What a crazy day. We had an offsite meeting which will set the agenda for our Europe offices for the coming year. Jetlagged and tired as I was I only started falling asleep one time. I felt bad but what can I do?

This took place at Versailles although not in the Chateau. I wish it had because we drove by it on the way out and it was amazing. There are many similarities between Paris and Prague in terms of architecture and over all age but Prague is intimate and Paris is grand and the Château de Versailles is immense beyond anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

After a long day JE and I had a few drinks and talked about work and what we had to accomplish in the coming days, then wandered up to the Champs d’Ellyse in search of nutrients. While we weren’t really hungry and wished that we were, we did settle down to some nice pasta. Walking around the tangled streets that you only find in Europe and seeing the nightlife and the population density that allows it I realized that a previous argument that happened here could have been avoided if I’d mentioned to NHK that I didn’t want the “Manhattanization” of San Francisco, but the “Europeanization” of the city. This means that five or six story buildings become de rigeur.

Anyways, now I’m getting really tired. This hotel charges an idiotic €10 an hour to access the internet and my time is almost up so I might as well hit the sack. See you next time!

1 Comment | Catergorized: paris  photos  work

2007.06.11

Now In Paris

I’m in Paris now after a long and mostly sleepless journey. I left San Francisco on a non-stop flight to Heathrow. I thought ths was a brilliant plan as if I slept on the plane I would be arriving the next day and I could avoid much of the jetlag associated with transcontinental flight. Unfortunately just as I was trying to fall asleep the woman in the seat right behind me decided she’d be sick and proceeded to quietly heave for the remaining five hours of flight. While I felt badly for her I rather wish she’d have moved or that there was somewhere else I could have moved. At the very least I wish she hadn’t have decided that resting her head against the back of my seat wasn’t a brilliant idea. I’m glad I’m not the type to get sick myself at the sound of heaving.

But otherwise the flights were lovely and I was happy with the flights themselves. British Airways had an excellent crew on both legs of the trip. They definitely need to work on Heathrow, though. What a sucky airport.

So now I’m in Paris, checked into the Hotel De Castiglione right downtown. It’s a nice enough place and not cheap. Which is why I’m wondering why they charge an arm and a leg to use their internet connection. Why is it that expensive hotels charge you to use their wireless and yet less expensive places like Motel 6 are alway touting their free wifi? Seems ass backwards to me.

My room has a balcony and I can see the Eiffel Tower. It was only 9PM when I was done unpacking and the sun was still up! So JE, my co-worker, and I decided that we needed to get some food. Apparently we’re in a primarily shopping district so we anticipated a long walk, but right around the corner on Rue Bojssy d’Anglas was the buddha-bar. Typical of big cities, the outside leaves no clue as to what to expect inside. This place was HUGE, and dark, with massive and dimly lit chandaliers hanging from the ceiling, a balcony bar surrounding the main floor, and a giant statue of Buddha presiding over all. Talk about atmosphere. It’s a good thing I’m not one to care much how others perceive how I dress because I was definitely underdressed.

The food was quite nice, too. They really need to work on their sticky rice (as in, make it sticky at all) and the fish not nearly as good as what we get in San Francisco, but their pseudo-Japanese stylings were well done and they had these fried tapioca balls for desert I wouldn’t mind trying again. JE and I decided we’d go back there for drinks at the bar but we were both too tired to worry about a late night.

Despite the lack of sleep (thanks a lot, Puke Lady!) it’s been a brilliant first day! And as an aside it’s 7:30AM here and I’m on the balcony and I just saw a woman walk by on the street below in a full kimono. Brilliant!

3 Comments | Catergorized: food-drink  life  paris
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