11 Dec 2009

Progress Report

Since a few (very few) of you have been great enough to send me a few virtual moneys to help me finance my book, I thought it would be appropriate to write the first progress report, so you can see that your money is at work and that I'm not spending all of my free time doing things like looking after my daughter.

I've already started wandering the streets of Prague gathering material for the book and I've come across many new places that look quite promising. I've already visited a few and have a couple of (I hope interesting) stories to share with you.

In a small, lost street in Letná there is this small, pleasant café/bar/restaurant that stocks Pilsner Urquell, Kozel and Kácov Kvasnicové (though I think is nefiltrované). I went there the other day to have a beer, I don't think I need to tell you which (if any of you thought of PU and Kozel, go away, read another blog).

When the waiter, a relaxed and rather affable bloke, brought my kvasnicové (I insist is nefiltrované, but I'm not 100% sure, either way, it was really nice) I asked him how well it was selling. "It's our best selling beer", he answered with a mild smile and a hint of pride in his voice. That made me really glad and renewed a little my faith in humanity.

It also made my ask myself why there are still idiots that  offer pseudo-imported crap at luxury prices, when there are so many outstanding Czech beers that, not only people will like more, but are also cheaper. (They are idiots, that's why. Good answer).

A few days earlier, after having a pint of Kout in Vršovice at a very rough looking hospoda where I didn't feel unwelcome (it really looks rough, it's in a cellar and you have to ring a bell to be let in) I noticed, on the other side of the street, a small bistro with sings of Klášter and Ježek outside.

I walked there to take note of the address and see what the place looked like, thinking of a future visit. While I was standing in front of the door I heard a voice, surely asking for way. I stepped aside to let its owner go in. He turned out to be a geezer that looked as old as I hope I will at least get to live. When walking through the door he turned round and told me to follow him because "tady mají dobré pivo" (they have good beer here). Since I still had some time and "tady mají dobré pivo" is the best excuse in the world I know to walk into a new place, I did as asked. 

He invited me to his table. We shook hands, introduced each other by first name and he started ranting about the takeaway pizza shop next door. From then on I was hardly able to understand what he talked about. I don't know if it was because he was a bit pissed or because he was missing half his teeth, but his slur made it basically impossible to follow what he was saying. Fortunately, I am a master in the fine, yet under-appreciated art of keeping polite conversation with drunkards, so I was able to nod, shake my head, make approving or disapproving sounds and even make comments like "fakt?", "tý vole!" and "ježižemarie!" at right times. When my new friend made a question I asked him to repeat it hoping to catch enough words to help me get an idea of what he wanted to know. The chat was so pleasant that this gentleman even paid for my beer (Ježek 11°, pretty good).

In short, this research work is bearing fruit and is presenting me with interesting personal experiences. What else can you ask?

Many thanks once again to those generous souls that have contributed to this cause (those who want to follow in their steps can do it by clicking on the "Donate" button below my mugshot)

Na Zdraví!

4 stars Hotels in Prague with 75% discount.

2 comments:

  1. Don't be stingy with the locations! I live in Vrsovice and this is the first I've heard of Kout around these parts. Just finally had my first pint of it this past week in Černošice and though it was a little bit too honey-flavoured I'd love to give it another chance. No recollection of a Klaster/Jezek combo either, and I keep my eyes out for that kind of thing and have wandered Vrsovice from one end to the other...

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  2. Majk,

    I have to build hype for the book :)

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