Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ice Ice Baby

I almost hugged the man at the crape restaurant I ate dinner at last night when he brought me my drink I don't understand what other countries have against ice but they seriously seem to hate it. How can you hate something so nice and refreshing?

Moving on. Nothing too exciting has happened to me. Last night when I got home from work, I thought I had been locked out of my hotel. That was interesting. The taxi driver wasn't sure where my hotel was. He got me to the main square in town which is all that he really needs to do so I had to walk a couple of blocks to the hotel. No problem - I've spent all my evenings wandering around town looking at stuff and taking really dark pictures (seriously if my camera tells me one more of my pictures is underexposed it's getting crushed. It's not like I can make light out of cobblestones and potatoes).

Anyway, so I walk up to my hotel like I have everyother night except the front door is closed. Weird, it's never been closed before. Okay, try the handle. It's not budging. Try the door that is always closed, not budging either. Try previously always open door again with all my girth because honestly, what am I going to do if I can't get into the hotel? Call them on my phone with the phone number for the hotel I don't have? Cue random man running across the street to help me. Where did you come from random man? (I can't even get strangers to smile at me on the street much less help the stupid American open a door). I look across the street and see other man with tripod set up across the street with camera pointed at the hotel. Man running to save me has tried unsuccessfully to open door.

Cue two womens voices on the other side of the door and the door shaking a little. Give strange man a face that says, I really hope you know what's going on because I just want to get inside and change out of my uniform and get some dinner. Then there was a "click" and the door open to reveal two laughing women. They leave. I say thanks (dekuji) to the man that didn't fix it but tried and probably caused the issue in the first place and moved on. Am I still wondering if the whole snafu was caught on the camera? Absolutely. Will I ever know? Nope said mysterious men with camera were gone by the time I had changed and left for dinner (5 minutes max). Good times when you only know 4 Czech words and you're in a small Czech town so they don't really care to know English like you would if there were actually tourists.


Before I begin this post just one work comment, my stupid computer makes me very inefficient. It is the slowest thing known to man. If I could, I would bring in my 4 year old Mac from home because I guarantee it would do things faster than my 2 year old PC. I think I'm just going to start emailing the IT people once a week asking for a computer upgrade. It should be time, right? I can promise at least a few people here in the Czech think I am crazy because all I do all day is tell my computer how much I hate it. I glare at, I even try talking nice to it. Does any of that change the fact I wait 15 minutes for a 1 page word file to open? No! And don't think it's because my server is half way around the world. I deal with this at home too. I came to the Czech prepared, with all the files I knew I would be using on my own hard drive to prevent the transcontinental document opening. I can only imagine the hours I could spend waiting for that. Wow. I'm done now.

On to some Czech adventures? Honestly, nothing really exciting has happened. Monday morning my Taxi to take me to the plant arrived on time and got me there on time. I met the engineer I'm supposed to be helping and gave him the slew of parts I brought. (I'm really hoping to leave some here so my luggage won't be so heavy. Dragging it up the thousand year old flight of stairs my first night in the hotel was not fun.) We started working on the machine and made some improvements, decided to let the machine run the rest of the day so I went and worked in the office until the Taxi came back to take me to the hotel.

After changing out of my uniform, I went walking around town to find a place to eat. It feels so late when I get back to the hotel even though it's only 6 at night. It's dark and none of the shops are open in the town by then (luckily the restaurants are). Hopefully I'll get back before 6 one night so I can do a little bit of shopping.

Monday night I dined at a sports bar in the main town square. I had some really good pizza. In fact, all the food I have had here has been good. I was really worried when I read online that they have a hearty diet. In my mind that means meat, meat and more meat. So far it hasn't been that bad. At the sports bar I got to watch some weird hand ball sport. It kind of reminded me of water polo but on a court instead of in a pool. Anyone know what I'm talking about? After that they changed to snowboarding so at least I could tell what was going on. I did get a lot of stares in the restaurant. I'm figuring since it's not a big town, they don't see people eating at restaurants alone often or maybe I had something on my face. Who knows.

Yesterday was pretty uneventful. We made some changes on the machine that really seemed to fix the issues I came out to correct so I'm glad this visit was successful for at least one thing. There were some other people from my company visiting the plant yesterday too so I got to share my hotel with them back to town. They're all the annoying staff type people so I tried not to say much to them. They tried to convince me to go to dinner with them but I successfully declined. I doubt I will be so lucky tonight. The one good things is they go home on Thursday so I won't have to deal with them much longer. It was nice to speak English with people and not worry if I was using a word they understood.

Last night I took another nice long walk around town and after thinking about going to a Chinese restaurant in the town square, I decided it would be a good night to try the hotel restaurant in the basement. I'm glad I did. It was really good. I ended up having a ginocci with broccoli and cheese. I'm pretty sure that's not Czech food, but judging from the cafeteria at the plant all Czech food is a different combination of the following, meat (chicken, pork or beef), carb (rice, pasta or these really good potato dumpling things) and brown sauce. I'm not kidding about the sauce either, that's what the plant people call it "brown sauce." Maybe it has a real name in Czech. It tastes pretty good but there's not a lot of variety there. Hopefully someone can tell me the real name of the potato things because those are seriously so good. I would like to know how to make them.

Now that I've fixed the problem I came to fix, I'm getting really excited to go explore Prague on Friday. It will be nice to take pictures in the daylight.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wheel of Fortune

I found out last Tuesday that I was heading to the Czech Republic for a week for work on Saturday. I’m planning on updating as much as possible to keep everyone updated on the fun.


Today all I had to do was get to the airport and get on my flight to Paris, sleep on my flight to Paris and get on the right plane to Prague. I accomplished two of the last three things listed. That’s pretty good. Which one did I miss? The sleeping one of course. I was even super prepared with drugs to take, ear plugs, my sleeping app on my iPhone. None of it worked. Even after I turned off the overhead light for the nice French lady next to me when she fell asleep (it was really bright, you would have done it too.) I was no where near sleep. Needless to say when I finally arrived in Prague at 3 PM the next day, I was exhausted. So exhausted that I made it to 7:30 that night, and decided instead of finding somewhere to eat, I would just go to bed. I doesn’t help that it was dark at 4:00 so I didn’t really want to venture out into a strange foreign city in the dark.

So yes, my first night in the Czech Republic and I went to bed at 7:30. Don’t worry, I woke up at 3:00 ready to go. What do you do in the Czech Republic at 3:00 in the morning when you can’t sleep. I don’t know what you do, but I watch the Czech version of Wheel of Fortune. At least that’s what it kind of looked like. I don’t really know, it was all in Czech. But there was a wheel they were spinning and it looked like they were guessing letters to add to the blanks on the screen. A few major differences, no Vanna (doesn’t she just make the show? Is Vanna still on wheel? I haven’t watched it since I was at least 10, anyway.) You don’t have to buy vowels (or at least what I would consider vowels) because I swear 60% of the Czech words are made up of vowels. No one would win anything if they had to pay for them. The last and most entertaining difference, the studio audience looked like they were forced to be there at gun point. I’m not kidding and maybe they were but the kind of clapped when something good happened and that was it. No smiles, even the contestants weren’t in the mood to smile. Except when the host made a lame joke, you have to suck up to the host. (Yes the entire show was in Czech but you don’t have to speak a language to know when the game show host is being a jerk to be funny.) Thank goodness I fell back asleep after one episode.

So far it’s been an interesting adventure and I haven’t really even left my hotel room. I can’t wait for more fun.