1. Grocery bags. In the U.S. you go buy your things and the cashiers or bag boys load up your purchases in plastic bags. Well in the Czech Republic you have to pay 2Kc for each plastic bag. I repeat you have to pay for EACH bag. I have since adapted to this by supplying my own bags which is a habit I hope to take back with me to the U.S. The Czech Republic has been enforcing this bag business because they are apart of the European Union which is trying be as environmentally friendly as can be.
2. This is a difference that took me a couple of days to pick up on and it is not talking to anyone on the metro. No one talks. I don't fully understand why there is this unspoken rule but I feel like it has all to do with how intimate the people are here. Not intimate in the sense of romantic (which they are definitely that too which I will get to later) but when a Czech individual engages in conversation they like to talk quietly and very directly to one or very few people. Now that I think about it, I haven't seen one person have a group conversation since being in Prague, besides Americans. However, in the spring there are establishing a "talking car" on the Metro which is supposed to encourage meeting new friends while on the metro. I have a slight feeling that my friends and I will be the only riders in that car.
3. Another small thing I have noticed, when talking to Czechs who do speak English they love to add in the words perhaps and maybe at any point of a sentence. It's kind of hilarious and quite adorable.
4. No matter what you are doing, generally no one will care. You can drink publicly, dress eccentrically, or be just down right odd and no one will even bat an eyelash at you. As mentioned in 2, they only care when you are talking very loud/making a lot of noise.
5. This is difference is definitely my favorite one. Dogs. EVERYONE has a dog. I haven't seen one cat. The coolest part about everyone having dogs is that I see them everywhere and none of them are ever leashed. Ever! Dogs here are so well trained. You can take them on metro and bring them in the grocery store. And all of these dogs are sooooo well behaved. The next Czech phrase I have to learn is can I pet your dog. Even the homeless people have dogs, and they all look very well taken care of. I witnessed a homeless gentleman give over half of his meal to his dog and then wrap up the dog in a blanket so it wouldn't get cold when he was trying to beg for money.
6. I knew going into this trip that people from the Czech Republic (and most European countries) are not going to like me being that I am an American. Though I have definitely met people here that automatically hate me, I have also found that Czechs really like Americans. I had a waitress last night that was so excited to speak to my friends and I last night when she realized we were Americans. She said she knew we were Americans because our voices where lower pitched the English people. She didn't speak English very well (which she told us she didn't) but she tried so hard and I really enjoyed talking to her. She also mentioned that she loved Americans because we are more friendly than others.
7. A small difference here is that when you go out to eat, you are not in and than out. It is customary in the U.S. to take no longer than 45 minutes to an hour to grab a "quick" meal but there are no quick meals in Prague. Meals are an all day/night affair. You stay and talk and drink for hours.
8. This is by far the most inconvenient difference. Water. People in Prague do not drink water. They don't carry around water bottle. It isn't free here. The other day I was looking at beverage prices and I saw that beer (Pilsner Urquell) was 35Kc for a pint where as for a small glass of water is was 65Kc. Being a water drinker is not going to be cost efficient for me.
9. Last major difference in Prague that I have noticed is PDA, public display of affection. If I had to take a shot for every time I saw PDA a day, I would be dead in 45 minutes. People here love there PDA, especially on the long
escalator rides. This goes back to what I said about how people are so inanimate here, they just want one on one interactions. Being an American, PDA is very weird to be around just because we are firm believers on personal space and privacy. This is definitely going to take some time to get used to.
it's been real.
Until Next time,