pondělí 31. října 2005
pátek 21. října 2005
On the way back to the east, it’s getting to be a bit harder. Monday morning was my landing time in Prague, and upon arrival I had to do some work immediately at the Institute. Anyway, on Wednesday late night I thought that I’m finally back in GMT. Then I woke up on Thursday… It was neither 7 a.m. (usual time), nor 8 a.m. (wake-up time after a hard day), but 12 a.m. Of course I checked all watches, cell phones and alarm clocks to check if somebody is not playing with me. Well, to be honest, I’ve never experienced that before. The odd feeling is thus last but not least remarkable experience from Canada trip.
čtvrtek 20. října 2005
Across the Atlantic, things are a bit different. Canada is not as shocking as some parts of the US, since it blends European and American influences; yet also here it’s interesting to watch for differences:
- Trains. Have you ever seen train with 108 wagons, pulled by three locos in a row?
- Warnings. Visiting a park, would you expect hundreds of ”SLOW” signs on the biking roads, whenever a small slope or bend approaches? Not to speak of warning signs at the gondola station up in mountains (”Proceed at Your Own Risk”).
- Cars. Ugly, nasty, environmental-unfriendly boxes on wheels.
- Roads. Four-line highways are standard even for roads up to gondola station in mountains.
- Oil revenues. Alberta province is so rich because of royalties that Prime Minister Klein distributed CAN$ 400 to each citizen of Alberta.
- Refineries. The factories are built on large areas; 10 km sq. is no exception.
- Cities. Most cities were built as on the green field, so have structure of a chessboard, with streets going north-south and avenues east-west. You don’t get lost unless you interchange street and avenue numbers. (You can also get lost when you don’t change the numbers, but become confused and convince yourself that you must have changed street and avenue numbers. This happened to me, Lucka and Kamila.)
- Food. Junk food is real junky. Canadians have it even worse because of socialized health-care, which obviously introduces moral hazard.
- Trails. In mountains, you walk for five-six hours and don’t meet any human. On the other hand, you have a good chance to meet some bear, canibou, deer, beaver, and thousands of squirrels.
- Phone. One-minute call from National Park to Edmonton (400 km) costs CAN$ 2.5. The machine doesn’t return change. Well, the price is like a call from Prague to some deserted places in mid Africa, or into slums in Bangladesh.
- Relieving. You get sophisticated instructions on how to cover and dig your ”droppings” in a national park.
- Highway passage. Below highways, there are passages for animals to trespass. They put sand there to study which animals use the passages and how. People can go through as well, but have reserved a special human path (animals don’t follow it because of smell).
Proceed at your own risk!
úterý 18. října 2005
Myself, living in ivory tower, I tend to wear whatever I just find at hand. But sometimes even I realize that some outfit is totally out. Occassionally, it is so out that it's actually cool. Last weekend, I found such a couple at orienteering event south of Prague. What a style!
středa 12. října 2005
An outspoken urban affair writer James Howard Kunstler writes on his blog (quoted by Edmonton Journal, Oct 9), that Calgary is ”an archetypal city of immense glass boxes in a sterilized centre surrounded by an asteroid belt of beige residential subdivisions.” He adds that a typical Western metropolis (though Edmonton is an exception) features poor urban design, with a core of uninteresting glass towers from which radiate districts comprise cookie-cutter homes and big box stores.
Fortunately I spent in Calgary a couple of minutes only. Truly, the first look was horrifying and I hope we never end like that in Europe. Edmonton is much nicer, with a colorful river valley joined by several creeks, parks, and much greener residential houses. Check Lucka’s photo pages to see how beautiful Edmonton can be, especially in Fall.
Back to native teepees!
středa 5. října 2005
Ceiling of our villa room
Marx is not dead (fortunately only in Bologna)