Sunday, June 8, 2008

Prague is a City of Old Souls

Prague - I remember the first few weeks I lived in Prague back in 1993, I was starting to learn the Czech language and was exploring the Old Town pubs, making friends with the locals. The first real Czech friend I made was Honza, at the pub U Kata, and during that summer we used to enjoy drinking Gambrinus beer together on the sidewalk terrace while mingling with the refuges from Sarajevo, who were using this pub as a sort of base camp. Honza had previously lived many years in the U.S. and had only recently returned to Prague, so he spoke English perfectly. One afternoon I related what I thought was an unusual coincidence to Honza. I'd been riding in a Prague tram the day before with my young Czech teacher Marketa, and while I was rummaging through my backpack for something she noticed my English copy of the Master and Margarita by Bulgakov. She exclaimed, "I'm reading the same book right now, only in Czech". It turned out we were even reading the same chapter. Honza's only reaction to this pretty amazing coincidence was to ask me quietly if I had ever experienced past life regression before. He then told me that Prague was indeed a strange place full of old souls and that this "coincidence" (I could actually hear the quotes) was likely only the first of many I would experience here. And he was right.

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