Wet Hot Czech Summer

Prague was great. Yeah, it was a little flooded, which meant a bunch of the touristy stuff and ritzy shops downtown were closed while the employees hauled up trash from the flooded basements and stacked it in the streets. As you walked by the open windows, you could small the wet ruin and mildew. Thepower was out, so at night, walking through the dark streets was like wandering through some sort of Disneyland ride that had been turned off. Europe can be quaint that way.

A friend of mine who just up and moved there a few months ago was an ideal host. He let me crash at his place and tag along with him as he went about his business. He knew enough Czech to get by, but not enough to deprive me of episodes like this: One night we’re drinking beer with a table full of Czech speakers, mostly girls (not a boast, but an important detail). He’s trying out the language by explaining that he’s tipsy. In Czech, you don’t muck around with a be verb; you express it by saying, “I have tipsiness”. Using the appropriate Czech words, of course. When my host attempts it, haltingly, the girls shoot each other wide-eyed looks and then laugh nervously, at which point one of them leans over and explains that he’d just announced to the table, “I have a [insert extremely offensive word for female genitalia beginning with the letter C]”. “I am a Jelly Donut” has nothing on that one.

Although Prague is beautiful, jewel of Eastern Europe and all that, I had no desire to see castles and museums and cathedrals. I just wanted to hang out, read books, eat dinner, ride trams, and do what people who live in Prague do. Which involves drinking inexpensive beer that’s very good. Or so they tell me. I’m not enough of a beer fan to know any better. I’m impressed at any beer that costs only fifty cents and isn’t pumped into a plastic cup, but this was supposedly actual, no-joke, for serious dude, quality beer with vaguely German sounding names.

Also inexpensive are massages. Which I didn’t discover until late in my visit. On the last four days, I had an hour-long massage every day at about $15 each. Sheesh, in LA, I spend that much every morning at Starbucks.

Speaking of which, I’m an espresso fan now. No one in Europe just brews a pot of coffee, which was really annoying at first. “Don’t you people have Mr. Coffees?” I wondered. But just as I prefer my alcohol hard and honest (I’ll take gin over beer any day, ideally in a martini with a whisp of vermouth so you can really be sure it’s gin you’re drinking), I think I now like my caffeine this way as well. One of the first orders of business now that I’m back is to buy an espresso maker. Does this make me Eurotrash? “I shall wear tight poly Speedos and walk along the beach”.

Also inexpensive in Prague is the food. Great food, very cheap, as long as you go someplace that isn’t geared towards ripping off tourists (even then, great food, moderately cheap). Internet cafes are cheap at about a dollar an hour. Public transportation runs 24 hours and runs from free to very cheap. Since I was crashing at my friend’s apartment, my greatest expense was English language books, which cost about as much as they would over here. I found lumps of dozens of books by odd authors, as if I was in the campus bookstore and there’s a GK Chesterton class no one is taking. There was a bookstore with a section of “used literary fiction” that was full of throwaway mass market paperbacks, circa 1970, as if someone had dropped off the stuff from a garage sale no one wanted. I found myself wondering if amazon.com delivers to the Czech Republic. Otherwise, I’d go batty trying to find reading material. You’d think those people prefer to read in another language or something.

Finally, no heterosexual male can relate being in Prague without mentioning the women. I live in LA. We have Hollywood out here, Melrose Avenue, Malibu, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive, Brentwood. Lots of beautiful women. Whatever. After ten years of it, you just kind of shrug and look all the harder for the ones who can participate in a meaningful conversation. But in August, Prague is swarming with long curvy Czech women wearing tight clothes and licking ice cream cones. It’s like some dopey MTV video with a respectable Old World backdrop. You couldn’t make up a cheesier adolescent fantasy.

Anyway, that’s my trip and I’m glad to be back. Is Duke Nukem Forever out yet? And what’s all this about Battlehawks 1492?

 -Tom

It’s an alternate-history game where you take one of da Vinci’s flying machines on a rampage through the New World. I think the demo came out a little while ago, not sure how it is…though people around here sure seem to like it!

Pearls before swine. You have to at least appreciate that’s what American beer would be like if there were no trailer parks. http://www.budvar.cz/

I’ll stand up for American beer. It’s light and is a beer that tastes good well-chilled, unlike the thicker European beers. When I’m out in the August heat standing in front of a grill BBQing some brats, American beer goes down good. It’s also handy if you need to pour something on the fire if it gets out of hand.

American beer is also good if you’re in the mood to drink copious amounts while out with friends. It won’t weigh you down like that European stuff.

>I’ll stand up for American beer. It’s light

You’ve got to be kidding. It’s “light” because it’s all water. Much as I’m pro-american, I can’t imagine defending its beer.

Yeah, but Mark is from St. Louis. He’d be strung up from the nearest tree if he said anything else. :D

Tom is right on about the cheap and free. I was in Prague last summer for work. We were going to meet one of our Czech co-workers so we said we would meet him in the Central Square <tourist central>. Told him to find us in one of the cafe’s where we would be having a beer. We were chatting to ourselves who great the prices were - about 1 dollar for a pint A PINT! of beer when our friend came up. He sat down and started laughing at us. When we asked why he says - No one from Prague would ever eat or drink at that square as it was so overpriced. He led us one block away to a brewery owned pub for some food and beer. We ate dinner for 3 and it cost us 20 dollars - total!. The beers were 24 oz and cost about 40 cents…it was amazing. Tom you missed out if you did not go up to the palace. There is an amazing cathedral and you can climb to the top of one of the spires and the older - Pre-Hapsburg buildings are wonderful.

Uh-oh! :shock: I don’t like beer at all, what are they going to do to me??? :?

Nearly anything tastes good well-chilled, because our taste buds have difficulty tasting things that are cold. That’s why the sugar ratio is so high in ice cream (try eating warm, melted ice cream sometime–it’s grossly oversweet). The reason it became popular to serve American beer (particularly mass market American pilsner) ice-cold is because American beer tastes like watered down goat piss.

Well, it’s not quite so bad these days. You still have your Bud and Miller and Old Style and all the crappy beers of yore, but there is also a lot of good beer in America today.

I will stand up for Battlehawks 1492, though. So far I’ve spent more time playing this demo than I have spent with any demo since Doom. In fact, I think I’ve spent nearly as much time with this demo as I’ve spent with any other full game this year.

Yeah, but I’d pit several American microbrews against the finest German beers any day of the week. Warm or cold. St. Louis has some of the best beer in the world, it just didn’t come from Anheiser Busch.

Me too. One nice thing about Rochester is a store called “Beers Around the World.” They carry thousands–literally–of different beers, all sold in single bottle form. They also do six-packs and cases at a discount, but I always do mixed cases now.

About a third of their selection is comprised of American microbrews, and I’ve found some pretty damn good ones that I had never heard of before. They also carry Hoegaarden, the original Belgian “White Beer” from the maker of the now-defunct Celis brewery in Texas. Good stuff.

The beers were 24 oz and cost about 40 cents…it was amazing.

Casper is helping a friend remodel a house at some tiny crossroads in the country an hour and a half north of Prague. We went out there one weekend and stayed the night. There’s a sort of pub thing across the street, which doubles as the local town hall and bus stop. Half liter beers were something like ten crowns, which is less than 25 cents. Not a lot of atmosphere, but with beer that cheap, who needs it.

(BTW, the Czech countryside looks just like something out of Operation Flashpoint. Go figure.)

Tom you missed out if you did not go up to the palace. There is an amazing cathedral and you can climb to the top of one of the spires and the older - Pre-Hapsburg buildings are wonderful.

The castle, Hradczeny, was certainly beautiful. Especially the way they lit it up at night. American philistine that I am, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Hey, just like Disneyland’. Actually, crossing any of those bridges over the Vltana was pretty spectacular any time of day.

But I intentionally eschewed anything a tourist might do, although I knew I’d miss out on some stuff. I didn’t take a single picture, buy a T-shirt, or go to any of those awful black light marionette shows. I did send a few post cards, though.

 -Tom

Uh-oh! I don’t like beer at all, what are they going to do to me???

For a short period (a couple of years), I lost interest in beer. Then I took a trip to Germany; that seemed to fix the problem. :)

  • Alan

Just caught a snippet of a story about Budvar beer on NPR; they only part I caught was that due to legal threats, Budvar is sold under the name Czechvar here in the US.

I’m gonna pick me up one at the local grocery store, if they have it, and see if I start hallucinating that my cat is a tall, shapely Czech woman licking an ice cream cone.

Wow, if you check out that link Supertanker posted to Budvar’s website, and look in the “news” section, you’ll see that Anheuser-Busch has engaged Budvar in worldwide legal battle, attempting to drive it out of markets on a nation-by-nation basis. For instance, in Australia, according to this website, they asked the court not only to reject Budvar’s trademark, but to “further require that Budějovický Budvar should surrender to AB all of its beer supplies and material used to promote and sell beer.”

What a bunch o’ arseholes. They can’t possibly win in a fair fight (as in people taste testing the two beers), so they want to use the courts to drive Budvar out of business. Scum.

[quote]Tom you missed out if you did not go up to the palace. There is an amazing cathedral and you can climb to the top of one of the spires and the older - Pre-Hapsburg buildings are wonderful.

The castle, Hradczeny, was certainly beautiful. Especially the way they lit it up at night. American philistine that I am, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Hey, just like Disneyland’. Actually, crossing any of those bridges over the Vltana was pretty spectacular any time of day.

But I intentionally eschewed anything a tourist might do, although I knew I’d miss out on some stuff. I didn’t take a single picture, buy a T-shirt, or go to any of those awful black light marionette shows. I did send a few post cards, though.[/quote]

My traveling experiences are by no means extensive but, of the cities I have seen, Prague is the most beautiful. The only city that even comes close is Venice.

I agree that you missed out if you didn’t go up the hill to the church, palace, etc., but you didn’t miss much else if you otherwise avoided the tourist places. You go to Prague for the beer, food, women, cathedral on a hill, and that bridge I forget the name of (St. Charles?) with the statues, not necessarily in that order.

Man, you guys are totally missing it. You should have come to Canton. Hell, we’ve got the Pro Football Hall of Fame! Well… that’s about it. Oh yeah, and the Hoover company.

Actually, I just found out today that I got approved by the realtors for my townhouse. It’s about 3 blocks behind Hoover… nice quiet neighborhood. No crackheads, chickenheads, knuckleheads, or rednecks. The neighbor lady has a ceramic pepe lepew in her front yard, and that’s about the most offensive thing in sight… $519 a month, includes the gas bill. 1100’ sq ft. Dead end street, so no traffic.

I’m moving out of a 1-horse, 1-stoplight town. It’s borderline Amish country down here… so it’s not like I’m wanting to drop myself in the most “urban” part of town. However, the lure of curvy Prague women… hrm… Tom, did you see any postings for “network admin needed” over there? I’ve got access to PLENTY of ice cream.

Also, Tom, I’m disappointed that you didn’t hit any of the wild underground techno bars - or the criminal underground hangouts like in xXx. And you took NO PICTURES. WTF? Man, if I ever went to europe they’d think I was Japanese. (BTW, those aren’t Japanese tourists going camera crazy in LA… they’re real estate guys.)

Sure, but the watery taste is good. It’s light. I enjoy the heavier beers, but they make me sleepy. They’re hard to take.

I can’t imagine that they would sell the same Budwar in the US,since I believe the alcohol content is around 10%.Is that correct?Anyway,it’s my favorite beer.Lotsa lovely ladies in Prague,and many of them are American,even.At least that was the case when I was there about 7 years ago…no shortage of Turkish whores who try to swipe yer wallet while propositioning you,either…

AB owns or has an interest in tons of breweries. Also, under the Michelob label, they put out several different beers designed to compete with Sam Adams, Pete’s Wicked Ale, etc., that are pretty good.