Friday, 30 August 2013

Interesting Week

This week was an interesting one. I returned to the UK for the bank holiday weekend. It was a great laugh, although the travel was pretty rough. I arrived back in Pardubice at about 0:30 Tuesday morning, and was in bed by 1:00. I arrived at work not overly tired, but definitely not in the best state. The irony is that Tuesday was the day I got the most visible results. The following three days have been pretty difficult. I don't really know, I just seem to have some things to be working on for which I perhaps don't have the most effective tools yet because I haven't been trained in everything. That being said, I gave it my best shot. There were likely things I could have done better, things I will definitely find out about for next week in an attempt to have a more successful time of it. I am hear to learn, and learn I shall.

One other interesting element was that this week I miscalculated the timings of certain things and ended up having to do something I had never planned on doing. Sad times. But as a silver lining to that cloud, I would never have seen this sign had I not miscalculated.

Having previously been in a situation where a fair few of the rules were directly related to things people had done, this sign leaves me with all kinds of questions. Questions probably better left unanswered.

I have a busy weekend ahead: busy with studying. I had hoped to travel to Kutna Hora and see the famous bone church tomorrow, but it looks like I will be hitting the books (internet) instead. Then, come Tuesday I will be free as a bird, and the following weekend will be the most touristy I have had yet...apart from when I went to Prague that one time...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

To Praha, or not to Praha.

Twas a summery Saturday morning. I sat, sunlight beaming into the sparsely furnished living room, eating cereal from my not-quite-plate-not-quite-bowl. I had slept in a little, but was too excited to sleep anymore. The sky was clear and blue, as it had been pretty much since arriving in Czech, (think it had rained once by then) the temperature was set to reach the high thirties, my camera was on charge, water bottles cooling in the fridge, and I was wearing shorts. Today was the day I was going to Prague.

I had put this off a week already. Myeslf, Kate, Dale and Sam (the group of trainees I started with) had discussed going to Prague the week before. I decided I would wait and go the following week because that was when Mathilde was coming to visit. Kate and Dale agreed to postpone it a week. Sam decided to to his favourite thing: nothing. Unfortunately, upon moving into my new place, it became apparent that the internet didn't work. I had no way of contacting Dale and Kate to arrange a meeting place. We had vaguely mentioned meeting at 10am, but I wasn't certain about if they would make it. They didn't. As such, my trip to Prague became probably one of my more adventurous attempts to woo a female. 

The train was pretty packed. It also looked decidedly old. It is the only thing so far to give me that real "Eastern Europe" feeling. The picture below doesn't really do it justice. There were no open seating carriages: only compartments. Walking along trying to find an empty one proved fruitless, so we just sat in one opposite a couple and a teenager listening to his ipod. The couple spoke a funny sounding Czech. Turns out they were Spanish and weren't speaking Czech. The train journey takes 68 minutes to get to Prague: plenty of time for a snooze.

By the time we arrived in Prague the heat was almost overpowering. We stumbled around the main station until we found the underground. Obviously we wanted to make our way to Charles Bridge and then work our way further out from there. The only trouble with visiting a major tourist attraction in the middle of summer on a weekend was of course: the foreigners. Oh the tourists! For shame, I was one of them. Here in Pardubice I occasionally see an item of litter, but generally the streets are clean. Even the graffiti seems classy. Czech people seem to know how to take care of their streets. But in Prague...the bins were overflowing with rubbish. Fast food and water bottles mainly, and it got steadily worse as the day progressed. 

So there I am. Casually walking around Prague, slowly melting, camera battery using itself up, frequent stops for water, so sweaty it feels like I am wearing liquid clothes, and it dawns on me: I am just casually in Prague for a day trip. This is my life now. Well...bring it on, I say.

This was the view from where we had lunch. We were sat right on the edge of the river. I ate some delicious schnitzel with a bowl of cucumber salad. Just what you need in such heat. Their home made lemonade was about as refreshing as it gets, and the waiter looked like a Thunderbirds puppet. I didn't get a photo of him, but you would know what I mean if you saw him. It was fun watching him speak English and German to passers by who tried to sit down without ordering food. He did, however, give me a mystery plate of vegetable salad that I mistakenly ordered. Were I not so passive aggressive in my outrage, I would have done more than just think mean thoughts in his general direction.

Below we see a lorry that just drove about spraying overheating tourists with water. What a great idea!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Czeching in...

I think by now it should be quite apparent that I will be using the word Czech in as many punny ways as I can. For that I make no apology. Puns are there for the taking.

It has been a couple of weeks since I started this blog. I had such grand ideas and high hopes...yet it didn't take long for the neglect to set in. For that I do make apology. I could list a hundred excuses, a hundred reasons why, and make a hundred apologies. I won't though. Suffice it to say, I was busy, and playing host. 

I guess the biggest news is I moved house. I spent just under three weeks living above Mundos, and was glad to leave (for the more astute of you readers, that gives some clue as to where I work). Don't get me wrong, my room was nice. En-suite, large bed, lots of space. What more could I want? How about plates and cutlery? Rumour has it a former resident of the hotel (technically former hotel) made off with a lot of the kitchenware upon moving out. Rumour, however, can't be relied on or used as evidence. It grew very wearisome having to wash up a bowl everytime I wanted breakfast. This doesn't even take into account those days where I shimmied on downstairs to the kitchen, fetched the milk from the fridge and the bag of cereal from the cupboard only to be confronted by a distinct lack of bowls, clean or no. I am not ashamed to admit to having resorted to washing up an empty Häagen-Dazs tub and using it in place of a bowl. It wasn't glamourous by any stretch of the imagination, but by golly it got the job done.

That isn't to say that moving into my new place has been without its problems. It has been recently refurbished, the rent is about 2,000 crowns cheaper, but it lacks a few things. Furniture for one. I mean, yes, I have a bed, desk, clothes hanging rack, bedside table, and chest of drawers. But in the living space, there is nothing. A table and chairs (two of which have been commandeered to serve as desk chairs), an ironing board, and an iron. That is it. No sofa. The room just looks empty. We also have no mirror. I actually had to get Mathilde to finish shaving me last time I shaved. One colleague shaves in the lift on the way to work. Now, we have been reliably informed that we will all be getting mirrors, the only question is when. Until then I will make do with my small mirror from Tesco (yes, we have Tesco here) that fell apart when I dropped it on the floor. 

We do, however, have really nice knives, plates, forks, tea spoons, cups, mugs, saucers and small plates. However, upon breaking my fast the first morning here (Saturday August 3rd) I had flashbacks of the not so distant past, pacnicking whilst coming to the realisation that I would need to eat my cereal in one of those strange deep plates that isn't quite a plate, but definitely isn't a bowl either. I remedied this situation as soon as I possibly could. 

But, all in all, I am pleased with the new place. It is really nice, closer to Tesco, closer to work, closer to the station, and closer to the kebab shop. The kebabs here are comparable to those of Germany. They will do the job, and are certainly far superior to the garbage they serve us in the UK. 

I feel like posting some pictures now. As I said, I was amazed to find Tesco here. But it is a welcome sight. There are also a few other familiar faces around who I never would have expected here, Billa and Pennymarkt! I expect to see Lidl everywhere, but Billa? No.

Love it.

My old Austrian friend! It has been too long!

So much has happened in the past two weeks, I don't feel like putting it all in one blog entry, or doing it all tonight. I have studying to be getting on with, although I may have studied myself out for one day. Trying to understand the Pharmaceutical industry, having no background there is tough. 

I imagine I will write something tomrorow about my trip to Prague. There may also be photos. Watch this space, although the chances are, you have already seen them on Facebook.