A ship passing through the Vltava river

Spring is behind us and the weather is a fascinating hint for the coming summer day. Long days and sunny days can mean only one thing … it’s the grill season!

There is a hidden spot on the banks of the Karleen area with gentrification, and the punk remains great.Appropriate name “Přístav”This outdoor venue, which means “harbor” in Czech, serves as a crossroads for people of all disciplines.

Hiding behind a rugged tree line next to a large concrete facility, it serves as a strong reminder of the unity of food and drink. Just as a ship moored at a foreign port and dropped the crew into a local tavern, we were gathering from an unlikely trail on this wonderful grill afternoon.

I arrived to find that the designated cooking area occupies the majority. There was a Czech family with kids making a fuss at the playground, a cheerful Spanish-speaking student, and a group of Korean couples full of their trademark spices and sauces. One of their little sons passed me to the playground and I gave a friendly greeting in Korean, “Annyong”. Fortunately, he replied “Dobreeden” to me.

I had to call my friend who organized this grill to find our place. It’s usually easy to find a lot of internationals, but due to the popularity of Přístav, it wasn’t so easy this time.

“Oh yeah, look for my friend Kenny! He looks like a South Asian.”

The explanation was brief but straightforward and narrowed down the crowd options for me. European cities such as Prague have different groups of people from across the continent, but what is the proportion of other races with different hair and skin colors? Just say, we still tend to stick out.

When Kenny and I got acquainted and started coaling on the grill, we experienced the classic “foreigner living abroad” conversational movement.

“Where are you from? How long have you been here? What do you do here? Do you speak Czech?”

For those of us who have lived here for more than a few years, conversations are mostly mechanical. Perhaps it’s a temporary nature of these friendships, or a nature that has reached the thirties and isn’t very interested in meeting new people … but unless there’s a particularly lively connection, no one is particularly exchanged. It’s like a script of rules that I haven’t enjoyed (in this case, fortunately, Kenny and I have united over food, a great universal unity.

I remembered another exchange in a similarly dirty place on the outskirts of the gentrification area of ​​Prague 7. “Altenburg 1964” is a popular boating venue that attracts locals and foreigners, and was thrown from 2021 to 22. Season closing party.

This place has served as a meeting place for punk, techno and alto children for the past few years. But as the number of apartment buildings surges and investment funds flow in, I wonder how long such places can survive …

It was a warm day, so many people weren’t prepared for the cold spring night air, so we gathered around the bonfire. People around me were adorned with a combination of earrings, an oversized leather coat, and what I found at a thrift shop.

The grill party is a symbol of universal openness and commonality, while Prague’s underground clubs and techno scenes represent exclusivity and mystery. Literally in the dark, party attendees go to these events, disappearing into the crowd and engrossed in music, rather than meeting new people.

When I was chatting with an American, I was approaching from the outer edge of the circle.

“Good! I think you are the only one who speaks English throughout this circle!”

He smiled with a toothy smile and informed us that he had just arrived from England that day. He and his friends came to hear about this party and check it out-French, Belgian, and Brazilian, some like-minded individuals to increase the crowd at their party. I’m definitely looking to find one.

And thus the script of an international folk story was played.

“Where are you from? How long have you been here? What do you do here? Do you speak Czech?”

After drinking beer, I had little intention of returning to this conversation and forgave myself to the bar. Ten years ago, this kind of encounter would have been exciting to me. To meet many nationalities in one place? This is unusual for people who grew up in the suburbs of Australia. But ten years after these little discussions, sometimes it’s not the only one.

On the banks of the Vltava, at two different sea locations, “Psistav” and Altenburg, I remember the “ship-like” idiom “passing through the night”. The rest of the original poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a long story about love and courtship. This particular stanza looks like this:

“Ship passing through the night and talking to each other as they pass,
Only the signal shown and the distant voice in the dark.
So in the sea of ​​life we ​​pass by and talk to each other,
Only the appearance and voice, and again the darkness and silence.

That is what I sometimes feel as a foreigner. Of course, Prague has no sea, but the Vltava is a strong river, flowing into countless other streams and rivers. If you want, you can also take a boat to Amsterdam.

Undoubtedly, some ships set sail to dock longer. But most people stop by for drinks, food, conversations, social gatherings, and perhaps singing and dancing. Then they go to the distant coast and dock again. It is sometimes overwhelming when we consider the sea of ​​encounters and chance encounters that surround us. Still, of course, it’s what the ship is designed for-to explore and travel as far and wide as we want to take them. A ship passing through the Vltava river

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