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Excuse me, are you Jewish? The ethics of ordering a special meal on plane

Excuse me, are you Jewish? The ethics of ordering a special meal on plane I frequently order special meals on planes. Why, you ask? They are usually much better than the standard in-flight fare you get. I am neither a vegetarian nor a practicing Jew, yet I order vegetarian, kosher, low-sodium, or any other alternative I get, rather than ordering...

From the New Europe: Urinating and vomiting in the streets of Prague no longer cool

From the New Europe: Urinating and vomiting in the streets of Prague no longer cool Watch out, binge drinkers and pigeon-feeders! Offences such as feeding pigeons, spitting, urinating and vomiting in the streets will soon be punishable in Prague. As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Prague is trying to lure wealthy tourists. It's sick of budget...

Upgraded to cockpit. That's a new one.

Upgraded to cockpit. That's a new one. What are the odds of being upgraded to cockpit, if a flight is overbooked? Not great, but I will keep hoping. I read with envy the NY Times column of Greg Cohen, a corporate frequent flier, who got "upgraded" from business class to the cockpit jumpseat on a flight from...

Croatia bans tourists from arriving with their own food; Czechs are outraged

Croatia bans tourists from arriving with their own food; Czechs are outraged We've all heard of movie theaters banning food not bought on premises, and certainly it's a no-brainer that you just can't buy take-away food somewhere and go sit in a restaurant and eat it. But this is the first time I've heard of a country banning food not purchased in its...

From the New Europe: Eating bugs and worms because you can afford it

From the New Europe: Eating bugs and worms because you can afford it The luxury restaurant market in the Czech Republic is apparently looking for new, creative ways to cater to their clients and be "distinguishable from others." The strategy? Putting insects as an item on luxury restaurants menus, the Prague Daily Monitor reports. The Brno...

From the New Europe: Marketing beautiful women to tourists

From the New Europe: Marketing beautiful women to tourists God help us! Prague has unveiled its latest desperate attempt to find a new identity and market it to tourists. I hope you are ready. The punchline, in essence, is: Come here because we have beautiful women. (And architecture, but really, who cares. Too many syllables in...

From the New Europe: How do you like the new library design?

From the New Europe: How do you like the new library design? Perhaps never before has the Czech Republic been so divided over a piece of architecture. The winning proposal for a new National Library in Prague, which is supposed to be built in Letna, in the Prague 7 district, not far from the Castle, is a source of major controversy in...

From the New Europe: Self-tapping pub promotes drinking games (and drinking)

From the New Europe: Self-tapping pub promotes drinking games (and drinking) The world is definitely about to get fully automated any day now. Just yesterday, I blogged about a German restaurant that's based solely on automated service: no waiters, no tipping. Today, I have a new culinary efficiency concept for you: the self-tapping pub. Leave it...

From the New Europe: The Unbearable Appeal of Being in Prague

From the New Europe: The Unbearable Appeal of Being in Prague It is still a fairly common cliche in Prague: a backpacker with a beat up copy of Milan Kundera's 1984 novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, trying to discover the Prague Kundera once described. That Prague--desperate amidst the Russian invasion--does not exist anymore....

Drive-thru Easter story (and more about Easter in Ohio)

Drive-thru Easter story (and more about Easter in Ohio) So I actually made it to Cleveland for Easter. It was not exactly easy, but I guess Easter is all about suffering so I am not complaining. The flight from Prague to New York was delayed and the flight from New York to Cleveland was three hours more delayed because Ohio got...

From the New Europe: 106 cars collide in a snow storm

From the New Europe: 106 cars collide in a snow storm They don't call the D1, the major Czech highway, a "death trap" for nothing. Yesterday morning amidst a surprising spring snow storm which brought down as much as one inch of snow within minutes, the D1 turned into a bloody mess. Lucky me, I drove to Prague from Moravia just...

Traveling the day after St. Patrick's Day can be hellish

Traveling the day after St. Patrick's Day can be hellish Happy St. Patrick's Day, to all of you aside from the guy who sat next to me on an EasyJet flight from Prague to London a couple of years ago (the morning after St. Patty's day) and almost threw up in my lap. He had a black eye and body odor of a dying donkey. I am trying...

From the New Europe: Three hemp plants? No problem in the Czech Republic

From the New Europe: Three hemp plants? No problem in the Czech Republic On Friday after a hearty Czech meal, my Mom popped the question. She asked me if I could somehow manage to get her a hemp plant or two. At first, I thought it was a trick question. What do you answer? So I said what any good Czech daughter would say. "Sure Mom. I think I can...

From the New Europe: Want to live here? Must speak the language.

From the New Europe: Want to live here? Must speak the language. The days when foreigners could simply drift in and out of Eastern Europe, staying in Prague for 6 months, Budapest for 7 and Krakow for a year, might be over. With the Schengen agreement now applying to some Central/Eastern European countries, it has gotten more difficult...

What do they call John Doe in Iceland?

What do they call John Doe in Iceland? In the US legal system, parties who wish to remain anonymous or are otherwise unidentified are often given the names "John Doe" or "Jane Doe." Other titles, like "Average Joe" or "Joe Sixpack" or "John Q. Public," are used when referring to the typical American man, and some...

The New Europe: Prague now one of EU's richest regions

The New Europe: Prague now one of EU's richest regions If you visited Prague fifteen years ago, you probably didn't think it was on its way to becoming one of the richest regions of the entire EU. Prague now ranks No 12 among all EU regions. Tourism, of course, is partially responsible for the vast influx of cash. The...

First Starbucks in Prague is a hit

First Starbucks in Prague is a hit It's been a couple of months since Starbucks opened their first Czech Republic location. And, you guessed it, it is smashing success, and not only with tourists. I remember just a few years ago the idea of a $4 cup of coffee was a science fiction concept in this country....

What were your biggest traveling mistakes? Here are mine.

What were your biggest traveling mistakes? Here are mine. Every traveler makes mistakes. They are rites of passage that even seasoned travelers can never entirely avoid-- whether it's missing a flight or eating a regrettable roadside meal or wandering around lost for hours. If you have the right attitude though, mistakes are part...

Czech Republic celebrates an Academy Award. Beer flows for Once

Czech Republic celebrates an Academy Award. Beer flows for Once I was getting teary-eyed last night when Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard received an Academy Award for their song "Falling Slowly," which they performed in the indie hit "Once." Irglova is a 19-year old Czech girl from Valasske Mezirici in Moravia. Needless to say, that...

Hard alcohol banned from Wenceslas Square stands. Kielbasas saved!

Hard alcohol banned from Wenceslas Square stands. Kielbasas saved! The sausage stands on Prague's Wenceslas Square are probably familiar to anyone who stumbled its cobble-stoned streets after midnight, looking (unsuccessfully) for a more civilized place to eat. The after-dark scene around these stands is not what most people have in mind...

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