20 August 2014

Do it like a Czech: Public Transport style

Question: Why is it a cultural faux pas to be loud on Czech public transport?

A. Because Czechs dislike your drunken singing.
B. Because Czechs hate foreigners.
C. Because Czechs view public transport as an extension of the public library - a place for quietly reading.

Even Smalls' Duplo people know the correct way to sit on the bus

Fall seems to have come early to the Czech Republic with a noticeable crispness to the air. There is something so calming about the cooler, less bright days that always fills me with a pleasant combination of satisfaction and excitement.

It also serves as a constant reminder that the new academic year is quickly approaching and I haven't gotten anywhere close to the bottom of my summer List of Things I'd Like to Do.

One of these things is reading more. I have a small library that I've carted around between countries, but considering I've read most of my books at least twice, my goal this summer was to treat myself to a few new books.

I'd like to think of this as my way to not just improve my mind, but also fit in with my chosen cultural surroundings.

A good game to play on public transport (I say, as I push my heavy glasses a little further up my nose) is to count how many people are reading on the tram*. THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED AS A DRINKING GAME. Primarily because there is a very real danger that you will be so sloshed within a few stops that you will miss your intended exiting point.

Also, all of the drinking will probably make you louder and might make you feel the need to sing.

After one tram ride near I.P. Pavlova, where the tram was very full of people and their books (seriously - all of the people around me were either reading a book or a newspaper), I decided I should use my public transport time to catch up on my reading.

It turns out there must be some skill to this. Or possibly people chose to read less interesting books. My first attempt to join the reading room on wheels resulted in me jerking out of my pleasant reverie and jumping off the bus at what I thought was my stop, only to discover I'd actually gotten off early.

The second attempt, not only did I miss my stop, I spent the next hour in a grumpy funk as I hadn't had a chance to finish the very engrossing chapter.

Perhaps I'll stick with reading web-nonesense on my phone.

*There is even a book store in the metro station Dejvicka in case you forgot your book at home.

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