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07:00 pm: Czech in
On the long drive to Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ from Prague, I ate my third meal in six hours (bread with cheese and bacon, starting a two-week trend of fat and salt at every -- huge -- meal) and noticed that Eastern Europe seems to do really well with lumber as a crop. Instead of the ugly miles of bare earth left by harvesting lumber, which you sometimes see in the U.S., the Czech cycles of sylvan commerce are nicely blended together. Perhaps it's simply done on a smaller scale than I've seen before, but the patches of bare earth are small, with contiguous patches of growing trees at various stages. There's a definite sense of renewal and of low environmental (and aesthetic) impact.

Other, perhaps smaller, cultural differences favor the U.S. Toilets, for instance, and all the peripherals thereto. The toilet is in a separate room from the bathtub, which can be rather convenient, but also separate from the sink, which is less so. There isn't standing water in the toilet, so it gets stinkier faster. The toilet paper is awful -- harsh and narrow and (often) dark colors. You can't flush tampons, and there's no trash can in the room with the toilet. In fact, the only trash can is in the kitchen.

The mirrors in the bathrooms are hung very high. They're great if you want to pluck your eyebrows, put in contacts, or check your bangs. But if you want to see the rest of your hair, or make sure your lipstick isn't smeared, you're out of luck. I thought maybe it was like that in the apartment because Miloš (Peter's sister Helen's boyfriend, in whose apartment we stayed) is pretty tall, but Peter's parents' apartment is the same way, and neither of them is over 5'8".

I like Eastern European beds very much, though I missed having a box spring. Instead, our beds (all of 'em) were two twin mattresses pushed together (no crack for Teddy to wedge himself into) on a fairly low platform. Lots of room to spread out or, in Teddy's case, rotate yourself around to sleep sideways without impinging on others' space.

Oddly enough, the only other furniture in the room where we stayed was a footstool. This was excellent for Teddy, who enjoyed climbing up onto the bed (stopping for applause as he stood on the footstool en route), but meant we didn't have any place to store anything, except in our suitcases or on the windowsill. The window opened by pivoting laterally around the center, meaning that anything stored on the right side got swept onto the floor whenever we opened the window.

Both Miloš (and Helen) and Peter's parents live in apartments that are rent-controlled. They're very cheap, but sometimes they're not maintained very well. For instance, the light switch in Miloš' living room beeps whenever you press the remote control for the TV too long -- and the light will turn off and on under certain circumstances (but not necessarily when you push the light switch). When Teddy got his hands on the remote, there was a lot of beeping.

Our first night, Teddy slept for 12 hours, with a couple of substantial nursing breaks. 12 hours!

Of course, Doodledoodle only got 2 hours of sleep on the plane, and another 2 or so in the car from Prague, so he needed the extra hours.

Current Location: Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Move Away (Culture Club)
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