Thursday, September 4, 2014

Between Prague and Paris

It's been nearly four months since my trip to Prague. The envelope with all the usual mementos -- a leaflet from the hotel, an entrance ticket to a museum, a postcard -- is still on my desk, along with my handwritten travel journal. The photos are on my hard disk -- at least the ones I took with my iPhone; the ones taken with a proper camera had been downloaded to my hubby's hard drive, which went kaput as hard drives sometimes do. Much good all that does me, or my readers.

But lo and behold: lucky me is going abroad again. Without having properly documented the previous trip. Tut-tut. So before I pack my bags and fly off, I'd better get a couple of things off my chest:

First of all, I wanted to share with you the image that has stayed with me from Prague. The one that's stuck in my mind and bothers me. It is not a pretty picture. It's not the beautiful old-world buildings, the amazing clock tower, the dizzying selection of handbags, nor the quirky modern statues nor winsome bands of musicians.
Clock Tower, Prague
Bag shop, Prague

Musicians on Charles Bridge, Prague

It was the beggars.
I don't have a single photo, but I can't get them out of my head. I didn't take pictures because I felt it was bad form; it would be demeaning, dehumanizing.
The beggars don't just stand or sit around. They crouch in the most abject posture I've ever seen. They crouch on their heels and bend forward, their forehead resting on the pavement, their arms stretched in front of them, holding a cup, tin, or their hat. 
If you go to Google Images and type in "Prague beggars" you'll see exactly what I mean. Because plenty of tourists have found the sight worth photographing. Far fewer bothered to throw a few coins into the beggars' cup or hat, as far as I could see.
Every big city has its beggars and homeless people. But the Prague beggars are still there, as if begging me to remember them.

On to two happier thoughts:
- My Prague posts focused, inter alia, on my need for medical cannabis. I'm happy to report that I'm off cannabis. It didn't agree with me. Interfered with my concentration and my work. And I'm doing quite well without it.
- And now, here I am preparing for my France trip, the first in -- gosh, how long has it been? Eighteen years or so. As usual, I'm agonizing as to what to pack. Weather in my home town in Israel is still hot and humid and sticky. Flip-flops and flimsy-sleeveless-dress weather. Whereas in Paris and the Loire valley it's cool (in Israeli terms...). At least I'm not worrying about which books to take with: I've got my Kindle with scores of books on it :-)

Pity I didn't leave myself enough time to brush up on my high-school French. Am trying to make up for it last-minute with the aid of Duolingo.

Au revoir, mes amis!

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