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Showing posts from November, 2010

Of cigarettes and rain

Sometimes I think I'm in Paris--no,not really, it's just that this blog title made me think of some French film stereotypes. It was raining when I walked Klaus--the kind of gentle yet persistent rain that we've had off and on all month. Not a Florida deluge, where you're soaked through in 2 minutes, but a soft rain that most people don't even bother to open their umbrella against.


As I passed the potraviny (little food store), a man came rushing up. He had a lit cigarette in his mouth. He placed the cigarette on a window ledge and went into the potraviny.

Ugh! I guess the potraviny owner doesn't want people smoking in his 9' by 9' store. So the man left it there, in the rain. No doubt he stuck it back in his mouth when he came out. Mercifully, I was gone by then.

Korea in Prague?

Yesterday I had a few half-formed plans when I left the house, and one firm appointment at 3 PM.I got off the metro in Devicka, but it was so gloomy and gray that I went back to the metro and rode downtown to Mustek. I visited my favorite bookstore, LUXOR Palace of Books, on Vaclavske namesti.

I wanted a book about Korea,and was surprised to find only one overpriced ($35.00) book from Lonely Planet. I found tons of books on Greece, Rome, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Burma, Argentina, Wyoming, South Africa,Latvia, Iceland--all over the world, but almost nothing on Korea, South or North.

This is not smart on the part of the bookstore, as the G20 summit in Seoul has splashed Korea all over the newspaper and Internet. The story of South Korea rising from the ashes of war in just 60 years is an inspirational story for every country. I predict that South Korea will continue to prosper, and that its companies (LG, Daewoo, FILA, Samsung, Hyudai, and Kia, to name just a few well-known businesses) w…

Five things there are "more of" in Prague

In Prague, as compared to the US, there are more:

1. Policemen on the street. About 1/3 of them are women, it appears. The police travel in pairs. You see them walking around town, driving around, and motorcycling around.

2. Really steep escalators in the Metro. People appear to be leaning backwards as they go by.

3. Doggy doo-doo bags. They're all over the streets, and free.

4. Accordion players


5. unexpected views

Josefov, Part III

Tiny stores and stall line the Josefov street that links the cemetery and the Old-New Synagogue.

Josefov, Part II

The urban redevelopment program fortunately did not demolish the main synagogues and community buildings of Josefov, or its ancient cemetery. You can walk around the neighborhood, taking a guided tour or simply taking in the sights.

Josefov, Part I

The Jewish community in Prague was one of the largest in Central Europe prior to WWII. Their traditional neighborhood was called Josefov. Most of the tenements were pulled down at the end of the 19th century in an urban redevelopment program that gave room to build mansions for the new middle class "nouveau riche" of Prague. You can still see the mansions, especially on Paziska ulice, a grand boulevard filled with luxury stores such as Prada.

Introvert nation

The USA, no surprise, is an extrovert nation. 75% of Americans are, it's estimated, extroverts. Extroverts are turned outwards (that's the literal meaning of the word). They gain energy from their surroundings. Being with people "pumps them up." This is not to say that all extroverts are loud: some are by nature quiet and peaceful. But all extroverts enjoy scanning their environment for information, taking in new sensations easily and moving around in the outside world with comfort.

Introverts are turned inward. They gain energy from reservoirs within themselves. They take in information and store it in deep "holding tanks," bringing it up when appropriate. Thus new environments exhaust their energy, as they are working so hard to process and retain everything around them.

In an oversimplification, extroverts are broad and shallow; introverts are narrow and deep. These classifications refer to a person's preferred way of dealing with the world around hi…