Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Workers' Bar and Unfiltered Beer

When Zach and I got to Pilsen we immediately searched for a watering hole close to the dorms. We found one. It was hard to see, the entrance was somewhat confusing, and when we went inside we saw a room of about 30 square feet, with some tables, a few booths and a small bar. At first it felt awkward, quiet and uncomfortable. At this point we spoke no Czech, and babbled something we thought might bring us beer, which worked. As Zach and I sat in the corner, pondering this new bar, I noticed the eclectic decor and a few choice posters made my affection for this new establishment grow. It was not long after this that a man from a small group of people nearby began speaking to us in accented, but pretty decent, English. They invited us to join them and we spent the next several hours speaking a variety of Czech, English and French to each other having a marvelous time with our new-found Friends. Later, Zach and I told some of our colleagues who had been to Pilsen before that we went to this particular bar. In disgust, one American replied "the workers bar?" Little by little we have pieced together the American perspective of this bar that Zach and I found to be grossly mistaken. We were told things must have changed, that before the people in that "workers bar" were impolite and cold to foreigners. Maybe. But the night that Zach and I were there I met some of the warmest people I ever have in my life. I know that when we came back again our English speaking friend shouted to everyone in the bar "Sara is here!" And I know that each subsequent visit, we have been met with warm smiles, and the occasional drink invitation.
One of the many wonderful new things that we've tried is unfiltered beer. I don't know what that means, exactly, accept delicious. We got our first taste at the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Pilsen. This resulted in my favorite picture of me ever taken. We've been having a marvelous time here in Pilsen, and I would love to write more but I have things to do and my computer is driving me crazy. Na Schledanou! (that's Czech for "see you later"!).

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