The women in Prague are amazingly dressed. On the one hand, they all wear light, organic fabrics, and the dresses they wear are greatly varied. On the other hand, few are so intimidatingly dressed that I find myself incapable of doing something similar. In a way, it’s an inspiring experience.
Those who know me know that I don’t exactly have a handle on high fashion, but it would be wrong to call me completely ignorant of it. The truth is, I never realized how woefully out of touch with fashion I was until I came here; even in New York, my casual style isn’t the worst. Prague is full of shops like H&M, which sell really wonderful frocks at low prices. Also, no one limits herself on fashion here- sure, one must be aware of one’s weight and other reasonable limitations- but women “of a certain age” don’t limit themselves to “misses” sections, and there isn’t even such a thing as a “juniors” section. All women can shop at all stores and feel they’re not trying to fool anyone.
Most days here, I just wear a normal tank top and a varied bottom (skirt, jeans, shorts). It’s pretty basic, but the quality of the fabrics I’m wearing shows- they tend to droop in this humid weather! Now I see the value in all-cotton and linen items. Also, I rarely accessorize, as a result of my abhorrence of jewelry. However, women here find ways of adding on ascots and headbands and bangles in ways I can only dream of- and it seems so natural! So easy! And so carefree in its construction!
Like I said, I’m inspired. I hit the bottom the other day when I was walking around in an outfit washed and dried too many times in the system we have here at our dorm/hotel. I began to feel frantic as I shopped by myself and found that none of the looks I really wanted were available in my size or looked as I had imagined they would; or worse, I worried I couldn’t pull off a certain look. After all, I do have a very utilitarian husband who is an athlete to the point of finding Adidas track pants sexy. I went to H&M and many other European and Czech-based stores, where women of all ages were tearing sales racks apart like well-trained hawks who knew what they wanted and where to get it.
I’ve been passing by this store, Promod, and admiring the window displays. Even upon my first visit, I knew I’d be able to find something I liked. The one on Wenceslas Square has a whole first floor right now dedicated to clearance items, so when I found a wonderful dress I tried it on- I found I looked pretty good in it, though it still wasn’t the right size. I left, somewhat depressed, and moved on to my second H&M, only a few hundred meters away from the last one. As I came out of H&M completely empty-handed, I found the rain had finally arrived and had cleared the streets of all the poorly-prepared tourists.
I wasn’t unprepared. While in Oregon last, my mom-in-law hooked me up with my first rain jacket in years, and I was wearing it that day. I read the weather forecast; mama didn’t raise no fool! So I came out and walked down the streets, very proud of myself, and smugly smiled at the tourists in shorts and ballet flats stuck under store awnings. Then I arrived at the mall, near to our current home, which houses both another H&M and another Promod. The Promod was closest to the door, and what do you know- my dream dress was there in my SIZE! I quickly asked the return policy, as my pants (now soaking wet) would be a pain to get on after taking them off for a try-on. It was doable, and I walked out of the mall, finally pleased with myself. I finally got the dress!
So watch out, Prague, I’m about to start blending in… hopefully.
Is a little pub on the corner. We drink beer there every night- and sometimes for lunch too- and the waiter, Paul, is pretty much the best waiter I’ve met anywhere overseas. We sit out on the sidewalk during the day, and in the pub at night. Inside the pub, there is low lighting and there are ample wooden chairs and tables.
Someone comes in and plays piano there at night- last night, it was a young woman who knew her classics; tonight, it was a young man who knew all the pop songs and how to weave them into one non-stop medley, including “Fuck You,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” “Let It Be,” “Imagine,” “Pokerface” and several hours’ more worth of songs.
I can hear him playing now from our open window. Last night, we waited out a very serious thunderstorm and hunkered down in this cozy pub. Paul was good to us and continues to be. I hope we go there every day!
We made it! We are alive! The weather is beautiful, except when we are in our fifth floor dorm— it gets stuffy. All the more reason to be outside exploring and only use it for napping and sleeping. I won’t have steady internet access until we find an ethernet cable (or our next wave of Petersons arrive with one for us). Until then, there is a Starbucks around the corner that is the only place I’m comfortable trying out my Czech yet.
So far, I have said the words “Prosim” (thank you), “Prominte” (excuse me), “Mluvite anglicky?” (do you speak English?), and “Voda” (water).
I found a hair salon around the corner and need to learn how to say to them, “Make me look Czech!”
The great photographer Ansel Adams developed a system in taking great photographs, particularly black and white ones. This eleven-point scale relating to darkness and lightness and how much texture is shown in each realm is a great way to take visually intriguing photos. There ought to be varied levels of texture, and brightness and darkness, but the ideal points on the scale are those where the texture stands out.
The way I see it, humans have the ability to see beautiful images just by opening their eyes. To take a photograph of something very solid and attainable in the human experience and still call it “art” means one must highlight some of what we overlook every day. (Most photographers already know this, but bear with me, I’m pretty new to it!) Therefore, Adams’s focus on texture really planted a seed in my mind on getting the most out of my camera’s capabilities in order to capture texture.
Read more and see my photo examples of my “early successes” by clicking above.
Photography Concepts (for remembering the big ideas)
June 7, 2011
I am taking the month-long lead-up to Prague to familiarize myself with information on photography. This will be an ongoing list form a study guide of reminders while traveling with my Canon EOS Rebel T3, my first DSLR. I truly believe the greatest souvenirs are excellent photographs, and I aim to achieve this over the summer…
Here’s another song by the Beatles where you get two for the price of one. The piano in the first part is fantastically dark and driven in a way that reminds me of the early 90s grunge scene.
Cry, baby, cry. Make your mother sigh. She’s old enough to better… So cry, baby, cry.
Then the last 30 seconds are something random I never consciously recognized as anything until I was researching the White Album more today, though I’ll admit its eerie nature always chilled me a bit. According to a Recording Sessions book I have, this was part of a take off of “I Will,” which appears on the White Album as well.
Few Beatles fans nowadays know that John Lennon was in a war comedy in the mid-1960s with Michael Crawford. It’s called “How I Won the War”, and I have never found it at local rental places. Well, we’re in luck- it’s now an instant watcher on Netflix! Go see it while it’s still there!
I mixed the last page of the epilogue (read by the amazing Stephen Fry) with Leaving Hogwarts, changed the levels and unfortunately to make it fit, cut some bits out. But yes. This is what it sounds like.
I know everyone thinks their own music is the best, but sometimes you just have to share how awesome that music is. I have been honing this station for sometime, and finally, I think I managed to weed out this station’s tendency toward Latin music. I have been going for French/American lounge, jazz, and big band singers. It finally worked with a combination of Madeleine Peyroux, Edith Piaf, and Melody Gardot. I hope the link works for you… now go relax and stare out a window.
(PS: Have anyone you think would go well with this station?)