Tales from Suburban Bohemia: Summer’s Here
This post originally appeared on Stumpy Moose on 20 May, 2002, and was migrated to PraguePig.com on 4 August, 2019.
Summer’s here and I have the mosquito bites to prove it.
In the dark days of winter, Prague summers are a distant oasis of lazy days and long nights spent hanging out with friends at beer gardens or parks or outdoor rock festivals.
The reality, unfortunately, also includes a high proportion of insect bites, sweat, athlete’s foot, and long hours spent in non-air-conditioned offices. And the rock festivals always suck.
Last weekend was the first truly glorious weekend of the summer, though, and anything seemed possible.
In a time-honoured tradition, summer officially began with the TV news programmes sending film crews off to the nearest reservoir to shoot scantily-clad sunbathing hotties – the Czech equivalent of the British tabloids’ annual “Phew! What a Scorcher!” feature.
I spent Saturday watching a cricket match, following up on a story I’d written for The Prague Post about the fledgling local cricket scene.
I’ve lived here for over five years now and the transformation from Communism to Capitalism has become a bit of a cliche: “Under Communism, [insert activity] was frowned upon by the old regime but today it’s blah blah blah blah blah…”
As jaded as I am, though, there’s something wonderfully surreal about watching a cricket game here and seeing a red-and-cream Prague tram sail by in the background.
After the cricket I headed down to Mala Strana to pick up a couple of videos. I was walking back towards the metro station, down the narrow, tourist-clogged roads near the Charles Bridge when I noticed the front end of a motorcade winding round the corner towards me.
Two rows of police bikes, lights flashing, preceded several police cars, then several unmarked security cars. Finally, a giant black limousine with Washington DC licence plates rolled by.
It had to be Laura Bush. We don’t get many bulletproof limos with DC plates in Mala Strana – except perhaps when Jaromir Jagr’s in town.
The limo passed within a few inches of where I was standing and I caught a glimpse of 20-year-old Jenna Bush in the backseat.
Disappointingly, she wasn’t snorting coke or even swigging vodka from a bottle, but it was still slightly exhilarating to get so close to the First Family. (It wasn’t as exciting as the time I met Tony Blair, but that’s another story.)
I went home and watched the videos. It was an odd day, but a good day.
I’m not sick of the summer yet.