Monday December 12, 2011
Monday morning I got up early and met my friend Jana at the train station in Tabor. She works part time at the hospital in Tabor but lives in Prague. Since I left last year, she and her boyfriend bought a flat (apartment) in Prague. She is now a doctor in Prague but still works sometimes in Tabor. We rode the train together to Prague and then had to take the metro to her stop. It was interesting because we were talking in English as we entered the metro and of course I got stopped by "control". I only got stopped because I was speaking English. They were checking to see if I actually purchased a metro ticket, which I had. As soon as Jana spoke Czech to them, they waved her off. She told me on the metro later that her boyfriend had got stopped once and had forgotten to sms (text) his ticket to himself and he got stopped by control. They demanded a fine before he could leave. A $1.50 metro ticket turned into a $40.00 one after the fine was paid. The control mainly targets tourists hoping that they don´t know the system and therefore get them to pay a large fine.
After we got to her flat, we had a great visit and then decided to get some coffee at a cafe near her place. She and I were speaking English and a man sitting at a table asked me where I was from in English. I responded that I was from Seatlle (most people in Europe probably don't know where Lake Stevens is so I go with the standard 'Seattle' response). He got very excited at my answer and proceeded to tell me that he just watched a great movie about Seattle. He couldn't remember the name and by his clues, I finally guessed it was a movie about WTO...which I would not put anywhere near my top 10 list of best movies. Always something interesting happens and gives me something to write about.
After my time with Jana, I took the train back to Tabor and took a much needed nap. Later that evening we decorated the Christmas tree. Michal got a tree from the Ecology school in Tabor. Normally in the Czech Republic they decorate the tree on the 23rd or 24th of December. Since I was here, they wanted to decorate it early so that we could enjoy the tree while I was here. Johana (Katerinas daughter) was organizing the ornaments while Katerina and I were placing them on the tree. From my observations they have beautiful, simple oranaments made out of wood or straw. Johana had also made many of the ornaments that we placed on the tree out of clay. Michal placed the last three ball ornaments and we stood and admired the wonderful tree.
Learned today: that metro police can charge any amount of fines that they want if you don't have a ticket