Showing posts from November, 2011

smog--gone (sounds kind of poetic) and Selbu knitting

Finally the temperature inversion lifted, and the smog is gone, at least for now. I've been sticking close to home with a bad case of bronchitis, but knitting away furiously. Tonight three Norwegian women, dedicated knitters, will visit our Prague stitch-n-bitch group. Should be fun! We meet at the Friend's Coffee House just off Vodickova, at 7 pm.

The women are from Selbu, which is famous for its knitting patterns:

here's one of the women (no, not really!)

Fall with a hat on it

Prague follows the Vltava River as it winds through Central Bohemia. The city is built on both sides of the river, on numerous hills--for example, Hradcany is on a bluff overlooking the river. Prague is full of ups and downs, hilltops and valleys, making it charming and intimate.

But these same hills and valleys produce frequent temperature inversions--they "put a hat" on the weather. According to Jan Moravcik from the Hydro-meteorological Institute in Prague, 

"temperature inversion occurs when cold air close to the ground is trapped by a layer of warmer air. As the inversion continues, air becomes stagnant and pollution becomes trapped close to the ground."

For the past week-and-a-half, we've had a constant temperature inversion in Prague. The air is smelly, like an old wood fire mixed with sharp petroleum smells and car exhaust. It stings your eyes and gets in the back of your throat. Kids and old folks are warned to stay indoors. Jarda and I have both had…

Taking care of myself

My friend N and I were talking about living and working in Prague. We agreed that it can be a tough place to live, as there's not much of what I call "lubricating oil" in human daily transactions--that is, not much pleasant chitchat or everyday courtesy of the "hello, how are you?" benign nature.

N made a remark that stuck in my head, along the lines of: "About once a week, I find that I have to stop what I'm doing and take care of myself" (sorry, N, that's not a direct quote!). I knew just what she meant.

Maybe it's the effect of two horrendous world wars with long periods of totalitarian rule (Nazis, Czech communists, Soviet Stalinists and the "normalization" rule after the Pargue Spring in 1968). Whatever is the cause, the result is a culture in which everybody takes care of himself first. And if you live here, you have to do the same--take care of yourself.

I don't mean simple independence and self-reliance, which is nece…