On Tuesday, I took a train ride back in time to the medieval city of Prague. Because Prague is one of the few European cities that was spared from the destruction of Hitler’s Blitzkrieg, its architecture dates back several thousands of years. The world’s oldest working Astronomical clock, dating back to the 1400s adorns City Hall and is the focal point of the Old Town Square.
At this time of year, the Old Town is loaded with local artists and musicians that entertain the tourists with their music and magic. Although the people of Prague seem friendly, I can’t help but to feel that thieves and pickpocketers lurk in the shadow, waiting to prey on innocent fools. To ensure that I am not that fool, I frequently kept checking for my wallet.
When in Prague, you must take in a concert or an opera – I chose the opera. Although Madam Butterfly is not one of my favorites, I did feel that seeing it in a such a small theater really dramatized its impact – I sobbed throughout. I had also forgotten how sad Butterfly’s story truly was and I was reminded of my own past relationship in which I was the foolish young Butterfly waiting for her love to come back. And just like Butterfly’s love, when he returned, he was married to someone else. As the story continues a distraught Butterfly kills herself herself, while in my story I simply told him to go fuck himself.
While in Prague, I did a walking tour of city. Martin, our tour guide was a friendly fellow who tried his hardest to keep everyone interested. Although his English was quite good the inflection in his voice got lost in translation resulting in longwinded and monotone sentences. Martin sensed that he was losing people’s attention and he started to stress. I felt bad really bad for him, so at the end of tour, I game him a sizable tip of of $20USD. You would think he just won lotto, by his reaction.
Because tourism fuels the local economy, all the businesses cater to this population which brings out a culture that seems artificially created for the benefit of its visitors. And although Prague is a beautiful city, I found this aspect of its culture be distracting and to interfere with its beauty not unlike other touristy cities such as Venice, Positano and Wildwood, New Jersey.