Every Country has their own set of "acceptable" norms. But that's what sets every place apart. Who would want to travel to a place that's exactly like their own?
My flight arrived in Prague around 11p.m. I was greeted at the airport by my friend Caroline. And that was the moment I didn't know that I was soon going to face my first culture shock.
We took the bus from the airport and from the bus to the metro and from there we had to take the tram. But, later in the night public transportation runs less frequent. So what better way to pass time than to drink a beer. So we lugged my heavy duty luggage to a nearby bar. Upon sitting at our table, I noticed the bartender filling a to-go bottle of beer for a patron. And I'm thinking to myself, "Where am I? Am I in heaven?" I have never seen anything like that in the States. Well, besides Savannah, Georgia and New Orleans where it's actually legal to drink on the streets. So I was amazed! I started getting a feel of the bar and my surroundings and I look to my right and I see a cute little dog sitting with it's owner at the table. I'm in awe! Not only because there's a dog in a public building, but it's actually well-behaved. What is this place? And why am I already in love?
There are so many culture differences between the States and Prague; From the people themselves and how they live life, the places they hang and meet friends, and how they treat people that's different from them.
One thing in particular that I've noticed about the men and women in Prague is their appearance. In America, it seems as though the mass majority of the population dresses for other people. What I mean by that is that they dress to impress or "show off" what they have to others. They don't dress for themselves, they are only worried about what others would think of them and they want to reach or maintain a certain status. America is all about being flashy and if you don't have the name brand clothes or shoes some people will attack you. That's one of the main reasons why kids are always being bullied. I feel that the citizens of Prague couldn't care less what others thought or what you wore. They mainly stayed to themselves. Maybe you would get a few glimpse or stares but they were harmless and not at all judged.
As an outsider looking in, I felt this vibe that Prague, and probably every other European city, seemed very laid back. They take their days one at a time and always found the time to catch up with friends. My friend Caroline said it best, "Back home they live to work, but here they work to live." And I found that to be absolutely true. Everything is centered around friends and family. In America, we are so caught up and wrapped up with work that we forget about the little things in life. Those are the things that matter the most.
I had the chance to visit some of the local hangout spots. I've visited a few cafes, beer gardens and parks. And they all have one thing in common; alcohol. I couldn't believe or even imagine such a place that serves alcohol everywhere. And even better, you don't have to sneak to drink it. It was just so relaxing one night to just sit at a park on a blanket with a bottle of wine overlooking the city. Definitely can't do that where I'm from. The beer gardens is exactly what you think it is. Its an enclosed outdoor place that is filled with tables and they serve beer. Its one of the most popular places to meet up with friends and one of my favorites, especially because of the cheap but tasteful beer.
One topic that I for sure was worried about was facing racism. I've never experienced any hatred or any acts of racist behavior in my lifetime, but that was the one concern I had while traveling. As you may know there's not many people of color, or black rather, in Prague so of course I stood out everywhere. Especially when I was no longer within the tourist area. The most action that I've gotten were looks, but they were harmless. They've just never really seen much of a person that looked like me. I've even been stopped a few times by people who were interested and amused by my braid hairstyle. Throughout my two weeks in Prague, I've probably seen at the most five people of color and that's not including a group of black British guys I've met at a bar crawl near Olde Town. And of those five people, three were in an interracial relationship. It was rare, but I love seeing those. I've never had the feeling that I was unsafe or unwelcome. I felt as though I belonged.