• Elaine Mendoza

Prague: How Not To Upset the Locals


Is this a photograph or a painting? Answer below.

Few cities have left me speechless at the first glimpse of them. The first one was in Paris as a romantic twenty year old and the second is Prague two decades later. See, I had the chance to do a semester abroad in college and I had to choose between these two.

I guess it always stayed with me what if I had chosen Prague as a twenty year old and how different was it in 1995 vs. 2015? Prague is crazy beautiful and it is one of those cities where you can take a photograph and it ends up looking like a painting. However, numerous articles have already been written about this city so I wanted to take a different approach. Sometimes it is not about what to do, but about what NOT TO DO. Below are just seven things you should not get caught doing or saying in this city. I did not mean any disrespect and I wrote this with my personal sense of humor. I loved this city so much, that I wanted to capture as much of its culture as possible. I hope you understand:)


1) Do not call them Alcoholics: It is true that the Czechs consume more beer per capita than any other country. They have a reputation for creating a tolerance for the drink by the time they are in their teens. It is also true that beer is cheaper than water in this country so what do you expect? Please do not call them alcoholics. They are simply "liquor holders" and they will drink you under the table. I had to use this photo of my beautiful classmates and now friends. Doesn't this summarize our time in Prague?

2) Do not confuse Budvar for American Budweiser: "Nothing says America like a Budweiser." Oh really? Why travel to the other side of the world to request an American Budweiser? There have been many legalities surrounding the rights to the Budweiser name. It is in bad taste to order an American beer when you have Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, Gambrinus, and Budvar. A Czech Budweiser has been made by Budvar Brewery since 1895. An American "Bud" is from Anheuser-Busch. They are not the same at all. However, the name was registered first by "Bud." It is a complex issue and not what this article is about. Simply put, do not confuse one for the other.


3) Do not get caught taking a photo of this library: Did you know that the world's most beautiful library is in Prague? The Klementinum library is a beautiful Baroque building that first opened in 1722. You are not allowed to take photos to protect everything that is there. In reality, it is the flash that damages old books not so much the photo itself. I cannot tell you how I got my photo, but I do what I must for my art:)

4) Do not call them Russians or Eastern Europeans: Prague is further west than Vienna folks. It does not hurt to take out a map and learn your geography. They are central Europeans. Also, they are not Russian. The Czech Republic is blocked by Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus. A look at history will teach you that the Russians invaded the country with tanks in 1968 and ruined everything. So please, for your safety, do not call them Russians. Seriously, just stop. Did I mention how unbelievably beautiful Prague is? Just in case it is not clear, it is very extremely out of this world obnoxiously and outrageously beautiful.


Views from Klementinum a Photo or a Painting?:

5) Do not get caught taking videos of drunk locals: I do not know what would have happened if he had seen me catching a glimpse of this moment, but I felt it was a couple of seconds in time that I wanted to freeze. Lunch at The Brewery and Restaurant UFleku is a lot more fun as a fly on the wall. Can you believe this place has been here since 1499? They also have the most delicious beer.

6) Do not judge their lack of smiling: Czechs can come across as grumpy and one Czech friend talks about "sour faces." (Shout out to my buddies Vasek and Petra.). However, they are not depressed. They simply do not believe in fake corporate laughs or smiles. However, once you win them over and they feel they can trust you, you have a friend for life. I think I am in with these two? Until next time. I am glad America taught you how to smile or was it the beer? Vasek picked me up at the airport when I first arrived. I am pretty sure I pronounced his original name like a silly American trying to speak Czech, but it went from Wenceslas to Vasek very quickly.


7) Do not call them Czechoslovakia: Did you know that in 1993 Czechoslovakia split up? Now it is technically called Czechia (although not many people like the name). It has been over twenty five years folks. Let's accept this divorce already! This has been lingering longer than Brad and Jennifer. Get over it!


***Bonus: Czech is a hard language. Do not pretend like you can figure out the menu. I saw something that I thought "Oh this must be some type of delicious local treat." Well---sort of. After a very long day flying from America to Prague, I ended up with packaged bread-sticks as my first meal. A local treat indeed!




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