Wednesday, 20 January 2010


I've got a letter to post. It's been sitting in my bag since before Christmas and it really should've been sent already. One of my colleagues said the nearest post office is near Pankrác and since I haven't done Pankrác I thought how convenient. Except I don't know where the post office is.

When I exit the station I head to a map by a bus stop. Unfortunately, the scale is too small to show specific buildings. I figure I could ask someone, but finding the post office gives me a good reason to explore, so I head off around the large shopping centre above the train station.

It's very new, dropped from the sky new, even the cobblestones of the footpath seem to shine. Attached to it are large colourful names like badges, already to be taken down when fashions and economic situations change. Quite a lot of English is spoken around here. Three Americans discuss pot as I walk past and then I see the post office. If only I had gone clock-wise.

The post office is off the block with the train station but I'm going to bend the rules since I don't think I've written about visiting a post office. I mentioned the GPO once before but I haven't written about using the post here.

When I enter I take a number and join the large but evenly distributed crowd who are also clutching their numbers and staring at the number display as though it will provide succour. One of the numbers is 666. I mention this not because I'm religious or into apocalyptic revelations. It's just a funny co-incidence because I was reading about the number last night. The reason I was reading about the number was because I was doing some research on phobias and was drawn to the spikiness of the word hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, the fear of the number 666. Apparently, Nancy Reagan suffered from it. If I were the superstitious type, or Greg Araki, I might place more significance in this. My letter is posted without any fuss. Not that I expect any.

Leaving the post office I decide to continue stretching the rules and head to a block further on. I think a shopping centre is beyond my powers of imagination or observation to make it interesting. I do have one fond memory connected with the place. Last year, I took part in a photo story for the magazine I work for. By photo story, I mean one that resembles a comic but with still shots for the panels. I was one of the characters. Strange that they never asked me to do another.

The other reason is that I've spied a tower across the street and would like to investigate it close-up. Also across the street I see the older apartment blocks before the shopping centre crash-landed. They're painted birthday cake pastels apart from the side wall where a giant knife has sliced through to the brown grey underneath. Maybe, the impact of the shopping centre destroyed part of the building.

Getting to the tower is not as easy as I first thought. It seems to be behind a large DIY centre. I figure all I need to do is walk through the car park and I'm there. When I get the end, there's a barrier and only when I lean over do I see the side of the tower.

So I had the other way around. It's a long way round. Fortunately, the tower is just tall enough for me to keep it in sight. When I get around I see my final approach to the tower is blocked by a scrap yard, which is private property, and there are too many people around to simply walk in. I have to make with a photo taken by standing up on a cement wall.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Stylistic Decision

This was written before Christmas but I decided to keep it in the present so as not to break the style of the blog so far. Probably my first real stylistic decision about what I'm doing. The reason for the delay is that I was quite ill from the day after I wrote the original notes. No doubt it was a result of standing around in the snow. By the time I recovered it was Christmas and then and then. Please read on.


This station sounds like a good name for a dog not that I know any dogs here with the name. I think I've mentioned before that Czechs tend to give their dogs English names, so I won't pry open that old chestnut again.

Speaking of chestnuts, there don't seem to be any stall selling them here. Though this station is surrounded by shops, there are no Christmas markets. This means no bloody images of carp, no sweet trdelník (Did I mention that this cylindrical sugar coated pastry comes from the word trdlo - which means, among other words, bumpkin?), no tacky gifts for me to riff on about and no chestnuts. I guess I've exhausted my more Christmas friendly stations.

I'm not really in the mood to explore yet another supermarket. My sense of wonder can only go so far. Instead I try to see how far I can go along the block. Above the sky is cataract and the ground talcum white. The block doesn't stretch so far, so instead I try to work out which direction Stodůlky would be by following the ventilation towers. Unfortunately, I'm not exactly which direction it is. I see a church which for a moment I think is one I saw from Hůrka, but church designs tend to follow a common design, so it I can't be sure. My feet have become so cold that they feel wet and I have a Christmas party to be at. The last for the year.