Day 4 – Ben Spotts

Today began with our journey to Prague from Munich, which was approximately six hours by bus. Oddly, when we stopped for a food/restroom break, our driver refused to resume our travel for approximately 40 minutes. A couple of us, including Prof. Tanoos, asked kindly to get going but the driver acted as if he did not understand. Eventually, one of us motioned to the bus and he resumed our trip. While this was a small part of the day, it made me think about how our cultures differ: American versus Czech. It seems the Czech may be more entitled to lengthy breaks rather than brute efficiency. The driver was unhappy to stop though, so this brings me to think that their culture may consist of a larger separation of work and peace. The gentleman drove very efficiently, but then ensured to take the appropriate break time he felt appropriate. I did not like this as I wanted to get to our destination, but I definitely respect his boundaries between work and peace and also believe that a little bit of that is a good thing to have (as long as it is not holding up the job too much). Once we got to Prague, I was at first uncomfortable with how different it was. The narrow stone streets filled with people (and lots more homeless people) were not what I was used to. However, by the end of the day I began to get more comfortable and be able to admire the beautiful scenery. I think part of the reason I was not comfortable is because it is a very dense city, and I grew up in a more spread out place. Having so many people brush by me walking did not sit well (Munich may have been similar but I was comfortable since I have visited previously). We toured a Russian bunker, which was interesting. From there the communists would spy on their own and foreign citizens staying in the hotel above it. It all sounded horrible, and it is great that the country escaped communism. I think this may be why they are in much support of Ukraine, since they once were communist and they do not want to see a country fall to it. I note this because there were many signs and flags we noticed throughout the city. Overall, I really enjoyed my first day!