After watching an evening documentary at CET, everyone in the class walked towards Wenceslas Square to get on the tram home. I immediately looked up at the sky to see a pink sunset forming. Then when I looked behind me, I found a giant rainbow over the National Theatre Opera House. It had been raining earlier that day, as it usually does in Prague, but we were all happy to see such a beautiful sky. The sunset that night seemed to mark the beginning of summer in Prague. Everyone in the city is ready to put away their umbrellas and start feeling the warmth and sunshine.
Compared to Prague, there seems to be so many sunsets in Austin, and it always brings happiness to the city. Before this night, I had been wondering when I would see a sunset in Prague. I loved how something as simple as the sky made all the people in the square pause and look towards the sunset. All at once, everyone was doing basically the same thing by either looking up or taking pictures. The sunset united all the different tourists from all over the world to share something in common. It is still crazy to me that everyone sees the same sun around the world. It’s comforting to know that my friends and family back in the US are looking at the same shining sun everyday even though they are over 5,000 miles away.
One aspect about Prague that I was really surprised about was how many American brand names are prevalent around the streets. I’ve seen a McDonalds almost on every corner of the major intersections. However, their McDonald’s menu is completely different. They serve fried cheese as commonly as their french fries. They also serve a “Mexican” spicy burger with peppers and a “McCountry” sandwich with fried chicken. Another strange concept within the Czech Republic is how they charge extra for condiments and sauces. I had to pay for each ketchup when I ordered french fries and I had to pay for the salad dressing when I ordered a salad. Also, I have seen a couple of Burger Kings, multiple KFC’s, one Subway, and one TGIF since I’ve been here. Furthermore, it’s strange to walk into any restaurant and hear the United States’s top 100 hits playing on the radio. I know that these name brands don’t fit in within the ancient surroundings of the city and I often wonder why they are here. I’m not sure if these companies are here to cater to those not from these parts or if they are really here for the people of the Czech Republic.
As I was walking through Wenceslas Square, I noticed the man photographed above. He had a bag around his neck for his binoculars, another bag hanging on his side for his camera, and a map of Prague in his hands. It was obvious that he was a completely lost tourist and he was asking people around for nearby restaurants. Later, I saw him walk into a giant nearby McDonald’s. Again, I ask myself if these brands here are for the tourists seeking the comfort and familiarity of their home or if possibly this for the locals seeking something completely different.