Each spring brings new transformations to a city and no one place can escape the power of nature’s changes. The city of Prague is undergoing that process now. The leaves on the trees begin to bloom, the birds return from hibernation and start chirping once more, and the patios, gardens & terraces reopen – much to everyone’s delight. In spite of all these post-winter alterations, nothing is more noticeable than the emergence of Prague’s warm-weather companion. I am speaking, of course, about the tourist.
The tourist goes into hiding during most of the wintertime, relegated to warmer climates and more desirable locations – such as Spain, Italy, or Greece. It gives no warning of arrival back into the city, often appearing overnight when the thermometer exceeds 5 degrees. However, one can usually estimate that it will occur no later than the third week in February, with their numbers peaking in mid-July.
The tourist arrives quickly and stealthily, instantaneously crowding all streets & shops & trams. In doing so, it will effectively (albeit unknowingly) obliterate your carefully timed commute process. A process which, over the last four months, had been painstakingly drawn up and designed down to the very last detail. All for not.
The tourist is a seemingly docile species. It often finds itself standing stagnant and staring, mouth agape, at street signs and transit instructions. Though, it is a crafty creature and will ensure to do so in only the most inconvenient locations. Street surface, subterranean, no matter the setting the tourist has the ability to disrupt.
Even in grocery stores you are not safe from the exploits of the tourist. Drawn to places of commerce on account of a weak Czech currency, the tourist is habitually seen stealing the surviving seats at the pub, or holding up the check-out line to paw though unfamiliar coins and bills in order to pay for the discount beer they’ve decided to indulge in for inebriation.
Yes, the Prague tourist is nothing if not a pain-in-the-ass species. They should be avoided at all costs and, thankfully, they can be easily spotted thanks to their spots. The tourist is incredibly predictable and will always be seen in possession of an expensive camera, a guidebook, or both. They will often travel in slow moving herds, bellowing out their familiar calls, most of which are not normally heard on these streets. Naturally, I refer to drunk English nonsense. Take caution if you find yourself in the vicinity of these wild creatures, for their tongue will do nothing but burn your ear if you haven’t heard it shouted so liberally for such a long time.
Football chants on the street at night; puke on the street in the morning. That’s what we have to look forward to in Prague until the winter rolls around again.
And yet, this time last year, I was no better. I might have even been worse.
Hold on to your butts.