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Post details: Night Prague Fauna

Night Prague Fauna

Shortly after college, me and one of my college buddies landed on the opposite sides of Prague; me in the so called "South Town" and him up there in the northern suburbs. In those years, we started a little tradition that we called the "Night Crossing of Prague".

It was pretty much what the name says. We'd set out around 11pm from one of our places, and then we'd cross the whole city on foot - a solid 10-15 miles hike, depending on our route. It was a unique way to experience the solemn charm of the sleeping capital, its depopulated streets and abandoned factory districts, the moonlit river and the silhouette of the Prague Castle and to quietly observe its nocturnal denizens in their natural habitat.

Another friend of mine has a night job in the Wenceslaus Square area these days, and since I was in Prague overnight and she had a little break from 1am to 2am, I took her for a short inspection tour of the Old Town to see how much has the fauna of the Night Prague changed over the years. We made a little round trip from Mustek to the Astronomical Clock, then to Prasna Brana and back. Just enough to get a good look at all the species that call Night Prague their home, whether indigenous or introduced. And things did change quite a bit from the days when most of the night traffic could have been attributed to a bunch of local drunks returning home from the cheap pubs, maybe few migrant workers mostly from Slovakia and here and there to an underground peddler looking for customers.

Our mini-expedition lasted about 40 minutes, but it featured variety of life that even tropical oceans might be envious of, and we were just skimming the surface. What lay beneath it, I dare not surmise.

In no particular order: we saw a group of jejune German boys who figured that their worldly sophistication is best manifested by pushing each other noisily into a row of low trimmed bushes; we saw a curly haired well tanned gentleman with a tie dangling loosely around his neck, who sat on a curb with a half empty bottle in his hand and appeared to have entered a highly meditative state of sorts, pondering whether the Universe is going to collapse on itself in 2012 or whether the hedgehogs are ticklish or possibly both; we saw a herd of ruminants besieging a fast food kiosk and paying homage to the art of Moravian sausagery by generously greasing their shirts; we saw a Mediterranean looking beau, obviously a proponent of global dilly-dalliance, who was severely under the influence of the belief that the surest way to seduce Czech girls is compulsive elbow pulling reinforced with a tirade rendered in an unknown language by a tongue equivalent of a submachine gun; we saw generic male tourists lying drunk on the cobblestones in front of the Tynsky Cathedral, we saw security gorillas cruising robustly through the crowd like icebreakers keeping the Northern Passage negotiable, we saw a bevy of dressed up Russian ladies who made me think that the fashion sense of a nation changes less rapidly than its political milieu, and finally we saw two Japanese tourists who were doing what Japanese tourists do best - wielding their expensive Nikons unsheathed like some magical Samurai swords and proving for the umpteenth time a corollary to Descarte's famous dictum, whose Japanese mutation reads: "Photo ergo sum" (I take pictures, therefore I am).

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