27 August 2006

When In Czech

5 Things Not To Do

1. Don't smile too much or suggest that you are happy or content
For example, to answer the question "Jak se mas?" (How are you?) the best answer is inevitably "Ujde to" which is equivalent to "considering how terrible everything is I suppose I'm surviving". If you do come across too happy, at best Czechs will think you are stupid, at worst they will hate you and choose every opportunity to wipe that smile off you silly Western face.
2. Don't get familiar immediately
Czechs don't expect personal questions immediately and take a while to warm up. Keep your powder dry.
3. When you receive a fresh pint, don't top up from your other glass
By all means drink from a chipped glass, but don't spoil your fresh pint with an old one. Also, don't leave any beer behind. Sacrilege.
4. Don't talk about how things are done in the West or elsewhere
At that moment the majority of Czechs will stop listening.
5. Don't indicate your real wealth unless you are very poor
I met a rather rich Serb who had this one figured out perfectly. He lived outside of Prague (probably in a mansion) suggesting to all who would listen that he couldn't afford to live in the city. If your flat is luxurious, lie by saying that it's paid by the company/you got it at a discount through a friend.

5 Things To Do

1. Speak freely
You can say what you like. You're in a non-PC world. You won't be litigated against, you won't be ostracised, you're free.
2. Get out of Prague
There are beautiful places to see outside of Prague (Telc, Cesky Krumlov, Karlovy Vary). I particularly recommend the Karlovy Vary Film Festival held in the first week of July each year.
3. Learn a bit of Czech language and history
Handy, for pubs, restaurants, taxis and a bit of off-the-cuff humour.
4. Be bossy
Czechs sort of expect it from Westerners so you might as well. I have found it has good results with taxi-drivers, colleagues, gfs etc.
5. Be wary on public transport.
There are some good pickpockets out there and some of them are dressed as tourists!!!

Bonus for men
Make the first move.
Don't be a loser. Most Czech women aren't going to jump you no matter how sexy you are! You've got to make the moves.

Any comments or ideas?


Peter Smallbone said...

Here's another one: if you're into dance music, pay a visit to Radost FX. At least it was good the last time I went there, which is admittedly a few years back now.

And another thing: don't try to get 'in' with the locals by claiming you drink Staropramen back home. I don't think it's well liked there.

Anonymous said...

Perfect - love it.

One thing (on a slightly more serious note) - whilst Praguetorys suggestions involve heading into Bohemia, try Moravia too...it's cool :)

Ellee Seymour said...

I can't wait to book my ticket. I would definitely hire a car and drive around.

Praguetory said...

I drove out to the UNESCO Heritage town of Kutna Hora at the weekend. It was great, but I'll probably get a guided tour next time. In the past I wouldn't have advised UK tourists to drive here, but as previously blogged driving standards appear to have improved markedly since the new regulations introduced in July. Let me know when you're coming.

Anonymous said...

Learn Czech properly and don't be bossy, understand that there is a lot more to this country than beer etiquette and you have a lot to learn from - or you will just be another boring expatriate tosser.