- The outlets here look like this. Which means that if you have a power transformer, chances are you will need an extension, which is easily bought at Tesco
- Google is your friend.
- Google Earth
I hope to be posting my Google Earth Prague file when I get back, which will let you see where everything that I have talked about is located. It’s a great tool for becoming familiar with the city, or anywhere else.
- Google Currency Conversion Even if it may seem a bit awkward, searching for 100 czech money in american money can help out a lot.
- Google Earth
- Beer here is cheap. Anything more than 30 Kč is too much. Due to government regulations, prices for beer were capped for a while. Apparently these have been lifted but prices are still ridiculously cheap. A half-liter of beer (a velke, or large beer) is anywhere from 17 to 27 Kč. And it is the best beer I have ever tasted. Enjoy your beer responsibly. The Czechs are serious about their beer, so don’t make a fool of yourself by drinking too much. Don’t get ripped off in a tourist pub that charges too much for Czech beer. Imported beer will be more than 30 Kč, but you don’t want imports, do you?
- Be Quiet. I don’t mean to belittle you, but chances are, you talk louder than most Czechs. It’s an American thing. If you want to blend in, speak quietly. It’s one of my favorite parts of being in Prague: anywhere I go is much more peaceful than an American equivalent.
- Try to at least learn Czech pronunciation as soon as possible. Jeff got some very odd looks his first week, when he would go into a business and ask if they speak English (“Mluvite Anglicky?“). He pronounced it “Mloov-it ang-licky-ee.” The actual pronunciation is “Mloov-it-ay ang-lits-key.” The letters of the Czech alphabet are pronounced differently, and one of the best things you can do for yourself is to pick that up as quickly as possible, to save yourself some weird looks. It also helps when you are trying to find a location and you have to ask someone where a certain street or metro stop is. They might speak English fluently, but the name of the place is going to be in Czech, so it’s better not to butcher the name.
- Familiarize yourself with public transport. The trams and metro are your best friends. You can get a map of Prague from Lenka your first couple of days here, and you would be wise to familiarize yourself with the metro lines and (at least) the 22/23 tram lines. While you can walk anywhere in Prague (just like you can walk anywhere in the states) sometimes it is just smarter and safer to hop on the tram.
- Keep your tram/metro pass on you at all times. Going along with the above, always keep this on you. You should get one of these as soon as you come over from Lenka and never leave home without it. Even if you are just planning on walking around, you never know when you might want to just hop on the tram to get home. Better to be safe than sorry. Also, be aware of the fact that the pass that you get in the beginning of the semester is a 90 day pass. So you will need to get another, or start paying for per-trip passes when that pass runs out. I recently went and got a new 30 day pass to last me through December, so that I don’t have to worry about being nabbed on the tram without a ticket.
- If you bring a laptop, invest in a lock. While I don’t mean to instill fear in any of you, and I honestly do feel safe here, petty theft is a problem. Wallets, iPods and (unfortunately) laptops have a habit of finding legs. Within the first couple of weeks, several people had laptops and iPods nicked from their rooms. Whether that is due to leaving their doors unlocked, or a crack team of expert thieves repelling off the roof and swinging in through open windows, I don’t know, but one way or another, they’re gone. So I advise any sort of security you can muster for your valuables. And always lock your doors.
This is just a short, short list of helpful hints. There is obviously loads more to share, but there are also some things that you should discover for yourself. But if there are any other Prague-ers reading this, please leave any advice you have in the comments and I will add them to the list.