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Banbury Cross

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Post details: Brother from My Hood

Brother from My Hood

This planet is really bizarre.

So I come from this little town in the Czech Republic called Hradec Kralove. It is fairly modest by European standards. I bet even most Germans wouldn't be able to locate it on the map. It lies at the confluence of Labe and Orlice, preening its inconspicuity like a suburban girl. And since Prague hoards almost all the tourists, you hardly ever meet a foreigner there. Certainly not a person of color. The population is almost exclusively Slavic.

Now today, as I parked in front of my building, I noticed that there is this black guy looking at my car and then slowly approaching me. He says: "I noticed you have a CZ sticker on your bumper. Are you from Czechoslovakia?". I said I was, and he volleyed: "Well, I spent 5 years studying in Hradec Kralove."


Hradec does have a regional pharmaceutical college, but its international reputation is roughly equivalent to that of the Boondock County Community College, so you could count the Americans who ever studied there on the fingers of one hand. Especially those of a different race. Yet, somehow I was lucky enough to bump into one of them in front of my very place in McLean, Virginia. What are the chances? I'd be less flabbergasted if I stumbled upon a two-headed dog deeply engrossed in the Wall Street Journal.

And I know he wasn't lying. He knew how to pronounce the "R" with an accent mark. That's like a secret sign. Only people who spent considerable time living in that part of the world would know how to tame that phonic beast.



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