It was a day remarkable for its unremarkableness. I was invited by a friend (by his mother, really) to a meal. I went, had an enjoyable time, and left before the conversational pauses got too long.
The meal itself was very tasty; an excellent beef noodle soup (“handmade noodles,” Martin’s mother explained, “with my hands!”), followed by a plateful featuring two different kinds of potato dumplings and two different kinds of cabbage (czech variations on sauerkraut), all framing a lovely roasted duck breast. It was an excellent meal. conversation was convivial, I managed a bit of czech, I understood some of the jokes and the rest were explained to me, which gave everyone a chance to laugh at them again.
Martin’s father has a very impressive collection of books. He was able to travel to the west during the communist times, and he would smuggle books back into the country, at considerable risk. We talked about the weather, about how warm things have been so far this year, the warmest in almost 50 years (or was it 80?) and that was fine with them. The entire family agreed that there’s no such thing as a winter that’s too warm. Personally, I waiting for the payback storm. After the last two winters, it seems only a matter of time before the bottom falls out of the thermometer.
Feeling bloated, I declined the offer of a lift the short distance home, and instead walked home through the light rain, and reflected that what not long ago would have seemed a sure opportunity for culture shock was instead just a pleasant meal with a family I didn’t know very well.
On a not-very-related note, this evening the downside of my new favorite place was made abundantly clear. Saxkova Palačinkarna is closed on weekends. Spending the evening there with a chocolate crepe to fill in the gaps that are starting to appear in my stomach would have been perfect. I was halfway there when I realized what day it was and that I would likely be disappointed. I wandered up and down the street for a while, and ultimately ended up at U Kormidla, which is nice enough but doesn’t have readily available electricity. Ah, well, I can always write at home.