Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Czech Adventures I

I walked all around Prague today. It is amazing that I remember certain things since my first visit. For example, we walked across Charles Bridge and all of a sudden I remembered that the John Lennon memorial was nearby. We searched, and we found it. It was a little surreal. I wish David and Sarah were with me. I also remembered how to get to the astronomical clock randomly. It is crazy.
I love the Czech language. There are some letters that aren't found in English and they are really fun to pronounce. One letter is ridiculous. It is a combination of T a rolled R and a Zh sound (like the je in French). Whenever I manage to pronounce it, I am really excited.
Last night, we went to a restaraunt with the entire group. They served amazing food. I had a fresh mozarrella cheese and tomato salad for the appetizer, pheasant over gnochi for the main course, and a chocolate dessert. It was phenomenal. Of course, they also served us wine. Which they kept refilling (for free). So I got a little drunk....
Funny story, I was at this restaurace (how it's spelled in Czech) the other day, and ordered gnochi. I pronounced it correctly (the Italian way) and the waitress gave me a weird look. So I pointed it out on the menu and she said "Oh, it is called guh-know-chi" Our group tried not to laugh. But then again, I'm sure we mispronounce many words that originally came from another language. Spaghetti, for example, actually has an sh sound at the beginning in Italian. Weird.
Czech uses the case system. Which can be difficult. It is also really entertaining. My name, for example, changes depending on the situation. Mark in Czech is Marek. But when you say, "Hey, Mark!" as a friend, you would say, "Ahoj, Marku!" There are 8 cases I think, maybe 7, and we will learn them this semester as well as the past, future and present tense. I really love my Czech teacher. She makes the language super fun, and she is a great help.
The Czech people respond so positively when you use Czech. The second we say something in Czech, it becomes easier to do transactions. It is also cheaper. We went to a restaurant that we heard had great lunch specials. However, the waiters gave us the regular menu. They try to trick non-Czech speakers into buying more expensive entrees. We asked for the lunch menu and they gave it to us. It was in Czech, but we figured it out. We probably saved like 3 bucks.
I'm going to go see what my friends are up to for dinner. More will come later.

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