Archive for April 2011

Tuesday, 26 April 2011, 11:30 p.m.

April 26, 2011

The problem with growing up is realising that–not only does The Emperor Have No Clothes, but, The Emperor Is In Fact A Nudist, and YOU’RE the one with the problem.

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Czech, mate.

April 21, 2011

On our first day in Prague, my mother and I were corralled at a small outdoor cafe by the man seen above. Not visible in the photo are the man’s exceeding long ponytail; his diamond-encrusted ring and bracelet; his Mercedes SL (which he claimed was one of six Mercedes he owned), and the small piece of red pepper lodged above his right incisor. Though able to enjoy the above-listed sights in person, my mother and I were left only to imagine the 3 apartments (of minimum 100 sq.m.) in downtown Prague he claimed to have, as well as his office in Prague Castle, and the many russian clients with whom he claims to conduct the delicate property transactions that have brought him to his present state of comfort.

It all began innocently enough–mom and I had decided to have a late-afternoon glass of wine on a sunny terrace near our hotel.  Two men–one a local, one a german; each unacquainted with the other–sat next to us. Soon after the introductions, the one closest to me–Boris Trump*–was offering a shot of the local good stuff, Becherovka, to the german. A pleasant, middle-aged business man, Frank* insisted that he didn’t want to have a drink so early in the day. Boris, however, would not be swayed, and he was so insistent in fact, that when the waitress appeared with their shots, she had brought two more for mom and I at Boris’ behest. Well! Nothing says ‘my name is… ‘ like a friendly tap of the glass✪.

Of course, there would be a second Becherovka. For if a little herbal liqueur is good for the gut, then a lot’ll have you digesting things you don’t even remember eating!

And so it was that Boris plied us with drink and told us about his cars and apartments and his office in Prague Castle, and his brother who plays for the Berliner Eisbären and daddy–daddy was a diplomat and that’s how he lurnd zich gud ingleesh. Yes daddy died it was in not one year ago. In not one year ago, deddy died.

Well. Let’s all dreenk to deddy.

But then of course everything should be enjoyed in moderation–even good herbal liqueurs. That’s why Boris then  insisted that we turn our thoughts to that one-time brother country of the Czech people with a Cuba Libre. Despite our insistence, the rum-soaked anthem was set down in front of us by our enabler-waitress. Mom took one sip and began hacking, turning away from the table to face the street. When she had finished coughing she dismissed my concern with a wave of the hand, muttering only that she had got ‘a liver caught in her throat…’

By now, it was evident that Boris might just be seeking his Natasha at the bottom of his glass.

Another round of Becherovka was ordered, despite our refusal. It was at this point that generosity began to look more like aggression as our refusal was so insistently ignored. I actually went to the point of following him inside to the bar, and telling the bartender not to bring 4 shots as 2 of us wouldn’t be drinking them. Much as he probably expected, Boris and his money won, and the waitress brought out 4 shots.

By now it was clearly a game between Boris and I–a battle of wills you could say. He knew we didn’t want to appear rude and not take what was offerred and so he kept pushing and pushing to see how much further he could make it go. At one point when he walked around the corner to take a phone call, mom actually leant over to me and said that she hoped he wouldn’t be ‘expecting something’ from me in return for his over the top display of kindness to strangers. While it had of course occurred to me, her articulating it in such bald terms whet my appetite to deliver some comeuppance. So it was that I enjoyed telling him as we got up to go that–much as we appreciated his generosity– he would just have to learn that no means no and he’d  have to find someone else to drink those two shots.

Someone else like…

*Names have been changed as I didn’t bother to ask for them in the first place

✪ …or maybe that’s why I never learned their names!