(Vsetín, Zlinsky Kraj, Česká republika) –Every once in a while I get into the mood to clean stuff. Not often, mind you, but sometimes. Rainy as it was today, it was a good day to do it. I was only going to wash the kitchen floors and be done with it, but since it was too wet to go out and play, I decided to do all the floors in all the rooms. It always makes me feel better when I can actually see what great progress I have made. After I finish, of course, I want to show people. My friend Susan asked if I was expecting the Queen. Well, being Irish and all, that probably wouldn’t happen…ever. I even washed my everyday jacket in my dancing washing machine. Of course it weighs 100 pounds now while it’s drying on the line. I give it a couple of days before it returns to it’s normal 25 pounds. After all is said and done, though, the apartment does look presentable and kind of smells like a hospital, but it is clean and sparkly and it makes me happy. (Yes, I really DON’T have a life to speak of.)
I also thought maybe a short trip around my immediate neighborhood might be in order. So here goes for part one:
This is the school (EdCentre) in Vsetín where I hang out everyday except Wednesday when I am in another town. The picture shows the office and in the foreground you can see the spiral steps leading down to a small kitchen and three more classrooms.
Here’s what the school looks like from the outside and across the street. Above the school are apartments so the classrooms are on the first floor and in the basement. The building is kind of pinkish and grayish. The blue building is the water department…get it? Blue…water? Oh never mind.
Next up is Al Capone’s pizzeria which is decorated on the inside with a gangster theme. Surprise surprise. The store is about a block away from school on my way home to my flat. This is a picture of the delivery car (one of two) that zip around town with hot pizzas.
Are you still with me? Really exciting so far, huh? Now don’t get lost and make sure you have your “buddy” in sight. Below is the Brečva River which I cross 2 times each day to and from school. A while ago it was almost frozen over now it just meanders through the town. It’s too shallow for boats or swimming (not that I would do either). But there it is…a river runs…well you know the rest.
In the distance you can Vsetín’s sky scraper smack dab in the middle between the two main drags. I live just to the right of it in this picture. I also teach a class on the 8th floor so I have a panoramic view of the town.
And finally, here is the last stop for this part of the tour, the butcher shop. It is packed all day long. Fresh cuts of whatever are on display and for sale. This is where I buy my “bacon” and sometimes ground beef. I will certainly visit the shop more when I begin experimenting with Czech soup recipes. When we lived in Ireland butcher shops would also be separate from grocery stores and the guys behind the counter wore straw hats and red striped shirts. Yes, I do remember some things…for other stuff, I need reminding.
In short, I like my neighborhood and I am beginning to recognize the regulars that populate it. I can only say “good day” in Czech and that’s just about it, but now I recognize them and them, me and that makes a big difference. At some stores, the owners or workers recognize me and try to speak to me in English and I really appreciate it. They also seem to know how much of something I want (I am a creature of habit) without me asking for it in my pathetic imitation of Czech (or Czechlish). So all is good in the ‘hood. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, I do feel at home in this town now. Yeah, I know it’s an industrial factory town and I wish it was more Czech-village-like, but the people make the difference. So this road taken so far, has made all the difference.
and so it goes…