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PRAGUE,
CZECH REPUBLIC
LASZLO, OUR DRIVER, GUIDE, FRIEND AND FATHER OF ANIE
STALIN TOWERS ON WAY TO PRAGUE
WORKER'S WIFE OFFERS BREAD
TOWN CENTER PARK, BRATISLAVA
We left Budapest in the morning to drive to Prague, lunching in Bratislava, now capital of Slovakia.  These two young men came up to us in the square looking for the French Embassy.  We could not help, but we found it later, as it turned out it was just around the corner.  They were cute, polite and patient as they made their way on their search.  The statue was on the stairs as we left the parking lot in Brne, second largest city in the Czech Republic.  The bland gray contours were not appealing;  "Stalin style" Laszlo said with disgust in his voice.  The concrete circles around the trees just appealed to my sense of symmetry.
PRAGUE CASTLE, TAKEN FROM  OUR HOTEL ROOM AT THE PACHTUV PALACE.  CHARLES BRIDGE OVER THE VLTAVA RIVER.
APT. BACKVIEW,  PACHTUV PALACE
LINDA ALONG THE RIVERWALK
DOWN RIVER VLTAVA FROM  RESTAURANT
LINDA READING
WELCOME TO PACHTUV PALACE     
(nicest accomodation we have ever enjoyed)
FRED AND GINGER
AVANT GARDE ARCHITECTURE, PRAGUE: LOCALLY CALLED "FRED AND GINGER"
THE USUAL SUSPECTS
WINDOW GOBLINS
REAL EGGS, SEALED AND DECORATED
CZECH POTTERY, PRAGUE
GLASS FIGURINES
PAINT IT WHITE; PAINT IT DARK GRAY; THEN ETCH "BLACK AND WHITE GRAFFITI"
ASTROLOGICAL CLOCK, PRAGUE
ONE OF MY FAVORITE BUILDINGS IN PRAGUE
Walking the streets of Prague, we saw the poster for Boy George.  Walking the streets of Guayaquil, Ecuador, we saw the poster for Mozart.  Boy George seems to be a transitory figure in entertainment, but people around the world are celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday.  We joined them in Prague, enjoying Don Giovanni which was presented in the Estates Theatre.  This is the same theatre where in 1787, Mozart conducted the orchestra for the first performance of his opera.  It is also the theatre used in the filming of Amadeus. While it does not have an aria which would sound familiar to us, Don Giovanni has been proclaimed by critics and musicians as "the perfect opera".   We enjoyed it thoroughly.
INSIDE ESTATES THEATRE
OUTSIDE ESTATES THEATRE
Recently, the Californian ran an article on a young man, Cris Velasco (Garces High School, Bakersfield College, UCLA), who re-arranged Monday Night Football's introductory music (not Hank Williams, jr's "Ready for Some Football").  Keep it the same, but update it he was told.  He did.  Upon reading more about Cris (formerly known as Cris Liesch), I learned that while at B.C., he took an array of courses seeking something to study.  His epiphany occured in a class on Music Appreciation;  he was introduced to Mozart.  At the time, he could not read music, but he majored in it at UCLA and went into the business.  For seven years, he found no work, and then, on a day when he really was ready to give it up, he got a call and was hired to do the music for the video game, Battlestar Galactica.  Other work has followed.  I noted to myself that Paul Cartwright, the violinist that we used on my CD "Life's True", has been working for Sci-Fi Channel on its production of Battlestar Galactica. Not sure if the two musical arrangements are linked, but clearly Mozart's music continues to influence people's lives today.
While we were in Prague, this project was going on outside our hotel.  Three men on left digging out a manhole down to about 5 ft depth.  "Tevye" talks a lot, watches and occasionally empties a wheelbarrow.  I think he is in charge.  From the manhole the ditch extended down about 40 yards, same depth.  They got a machine to dig that.
RED HAIR....
VINTAGE CARS... FOOD...
JEWELRY...
TOURISTS...
FAN...
HOSE...
VENT...
AIR
COOLING THE STORE
In Prague there are a number of very dramatic sculptures relating to the Soviet occupation, innocence and protest.  A plaque gently placed in a walk-by wall on Wentzceslaus Square memorializes the decision of Jan Paleck, a 20 year old Prague student, to burn himself to death in 1969.  Paleck's purpose was to shake the city out of its lethargy in accepting the occupation of Soviet troops who occupied the city following the Spring Riots of 1968.  His funeral brought 500,000 people into the streets; it was a peaceful testimony and the Soviets remained.
This larger piece portrays the gradual de-humanization that communism creates in mankind.  As one procedes up the steps, the full human figure, becomes less so, as portions of body disappear, until what remains is unidentifiable as a person.
YOUTH, WATER, AND THE JOY OF LIFE
JOHN LENNON MEMORIAL, PRAGUE
THIS PIECE IS IN THE GOLDEN LANE, PRAGUE.
Interpretation is all yours to make.  Mine is: "if you can't shed  your burdens they will kill you".
CRUCIFICTION, ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL
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