Let's start with one of the more snappier letters we've received yet:
You guys are dicks.
I really like your magazine. That`s all I want to say.
I recently read your great magazine while in Prague. Do you have a website?
- Thanks, P. Kolenda
Not yet, but thanks for the idea!
My name is Philip, and I have been following the development of your magazine since the first edition. Often me and friends sit in a bar, flipping through the latest issue, making comments on what we like and what we don't like.
Anyway, a magazine can only reflect readers, who do more than that. So that's why I want to get in contact with you. I work as a copywriter in an advertising agency and would be happy if I could contribute to the content of your magazine from time to time. If that is possible, please tell me how. With this e-mail I am also sending you a poem I wrote last autumn. If you like it, you are free to publish it.
2 a. m.
Wet steps on dry stones,
it has been raining, and it still does.
The shoulders beside your ears,
you try to dodge the drops,
falling on your head.
While you hear the fresh drops hitting the pavement,
you see the old drops rushing down the Vltava.
The stonebodies that some lives have left in Prague,
are as grey, as the water pouring down their gowns.
Hours behind you, sleep in front of you,
the young past is pushing your feet forward.
Konstant light with the sound of a generator.
As you look down, the artircial sun seems to be pumped, out of the stones.
At night in Prague, the bridges cry tears of sun.
"Dear editor" (Think 20, pg. 6)
Hi, not quite sure what your reason for publishing N. Wood's letter was, I personally think coming to Eastern Europe with a van full of "precious irreplaceable" personal stuff, parking the car (unattended?!?) by Muzeum is basically asking for trouble (hele, vole, vidis ty kytary! Jak Grateful Dead!). That's what paid parking garage are good for.
Yeap, there are other things to know about Prague besides the fact that it's "so cheap" - BTW, probably quite an insulting description of the city, at least for a lot of Prague citizens for whom the beer is not US$0. 50, but 18Kc... Should have gone to Germany instead, our poor Nicole...
A small note on tipping: The way the Czechs tip these days is they usually round up the amount on the bill to the next 5 crowns (currently about $0. 15). The tip is to show your satisfaction with the service, you don't tip if you were not happy.
"5 crowns?" you may say, "I would look cheap, besides I make more money than $300/month." (which is the avarage income of a Czech).
I'm Czech, I've been living abroad for more than a decade, so I am quite used to the 10-15% tipping elswhere. During my last visit of Prague I went out with a few friends of mine and, paying the bill, I added some 10% as a tip. My friends asked me to take back the money and leave only the mentioned 5 crowns.
I explained all the reasons for why I think giving the waiter more by a "foreigner" should be rne. But their point was that if a foreigner who has no sense of what is really going on within the society/culture gives the waiter too much money, in some place like Prague it's hard for a typical Czech to go out and get good service while only being able to tip his usual 5 crowns.
They talked about situations where they'd walked into what used to be their own locals' bar for 40, 100 or 500 years - now they walk in, sit down and watch the waiter serving foreigners while the Czechs have to wait.
This whole discussion was going on in the presence of the young waiter, who was at first somewhat upset seeing my friends taking away his big tip, then he sat down with us and actually asked me questions about why it is that foreigners do pay such big tips (he knew nothing about the 15% tax waiters are required to pay in the US).
I grew up in the Czech Republic, I see the good old pubs disappearing or being turned into empty, overpriced (at least on the local scale), quite unimaginative copies of foreign restaurants, and people who used to fill these pubs are being forced outside the city center. Please keep that in mind next time you tip there
- Vzdy s vami, Elina Eldridge currently in Hong Kong