Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prague – Day 3 – Friday, September 24

When we came to Prague, we had only booked one night at the Residence Tynska, and we figured we decide what to do next after we got here. We decided we were going to stay in Old Town Prague, and we liked the place we were staying. So we booked another night. We would have booked the whole weekend, but it was already booked for Friday and Saturday night.

Around the same time, we got an email from a guy named Andy. Andy is a friend of Ulrich, who is one of Jeff’s co-workers. Jeff had mentioned to his boss that we were headed to Prague, his boss had mentioned it to Ulrich, and Ulrich had sent an email to Andy. Anyway, Andy sent us an email that said he lives in Kizny, a close-in suburb of Prague (a little more than a mile from our Residence), and has plenty of room, and would be happy to have us stay. The timing was perfect, so Jeff and I wrote Andy and said we’d love to stay at his place for Friday and Saturday night.

So, after the SGC activities for that day, I met up with Jeff and we headed out to Andy’s house. It was a really nice two-bedroom apartment, so there really was plenty of space. We decided to all go and grab dinner together.

So, two years ago, in Summer 2008, I lived in Barcelona and did the International Space University summer program. Food was provided, but rather than coordinate everyone going to the same place, they would provide these tickets that could be used at restaurants. Then we’d all search for ‘Ticket Restaurants’ to use our tickets. Anyway, I found out from Andy that they have the same thing in Prague – almost every restaurant is a ticket restaurant. In Prague, offices can choose to either have a cafeteria or to provide employees with tickets so that they can get food at local places, and most places choose to give employees tickets. (Andy says that when he first got paid and saw all these food tickets, he was worried he was getting paid in food stamps.) The tickets are worth 100 krowns (about $5), so almost every pub or restaurant sells lunch for 100 krowns or less.

After dinner, Jeff, Andy, and I met up with Ariane and Clay. Ariane runs the SGC that I was attending, and Clay was one of the speakers – they’re both colleagues that I’ve met with previously in DC and at other conferences. We had a beer in the Old Town Square, and later made our way down to Wenceles Square, where Andy brought us to a bar that has model trains all over the place. Your order your beers from the waiter, and then they come to your table on a model train that stops right on your table.

An interesting aside – Clay bet that no one at the table could list all 50 U.S. states within five minutes. Jeff took the challenge, but only got to 49 (he missed West Virginia!). Apparently, people almost always think they’ll be able to beat the challenge, but almost no one ever does.

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