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Monday, 31 May 2010
South Africa - World Cup

Today is the 100th anniversary of the foundation of South Africa in 1910, and recently Steve wrote some interesting words about this.  I also recommend reading what he wrote about his memories of the 50th anniversary

The video above is of the unofficial South Africa World Cup 2010 song. Why? Because someone told me it’s better than the official World Cup song….

Posted by bigblue on 31/05/2010 at 08:57 AM
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Sunday, 30 May 2010
Demonstration in Prague


On arriving at the local metro station one morning last week I noticed this group of people demonstrating. It seems that they are protesting against the introduction of tourniket (turnstiles) on the metro, which will refuse entry to anyone without a ticket. At the moment there is a kind of “honesty system” whereby you have to “stamp” your ticket in a little machine before passing the line in the station which says “only ticket holders beyond this point”. Presumably this will result in an increased income for the city or the transportation body. I wonder if they considered any alternatives, such as making in mandatory for companies in Prague to pay a monthly season ticket for their employees.

Posted by bigblue on 30/05/2010 at 09:00 AM
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Saturday, 29 May 2010
Plastic bags


At most airports these days they give out free little plastic bags to put your miniature liquid bottles into.  Not so in Prague where they have installed a vending machine which will dispense these bags, at a price. They seem to be stealing a march on the other airports in this harsh economic climate.

Posted by bigblue on 29/05/2010 at 08:17 AM
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Friday, 28 May 2010
Prague cobbles


I noticed some different designs of cobbles in Prague last week.


Cobbles are an interesting subject, but (at the time of posting) the wikipedia article on Cobbles is dire, with rather random information about cobbles in various US cities. It seems it used to be worse. The word detective commented:

I have, on occasion, made a few snide jokes about the accuracy (or lack thereof) of the do-it-yourself online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Many parts of Wikipedia, as the curate said of the egg, are quite good. But every so often I come across a real clunker. When Wikipedia announces that “cobblestones” are so called because they are “cobbled (roughly assembled)” to form pavement, they stumble and land face down in the street. The verb “to cobble,” meaning “to join or mend clumsily” (source of the derivative noun “cobbler,” one who repairs shoes or makes simple repairs) has no connection to “cobblestone.” See me after class, Wikipedia.

“Cobblestone” is derived from the very old English word “cob,” which had a wide range of meanings, one of which was “rounded lump” with overtones of large size. The “cob” in “corn-cob” invokes a slightly different sense of “cob,” that of “top” or “head” (which, in some people, is also a large rounded lump, but I digress). “Cobweb,” since you were about to ask, has nothing to do with “cob,” and comes from the Middle English “coppe,” meaning “spider.”

“Cobble,” which appeared in the 15th century, simply added the diminutive suffix “le” to “cob,” and meant a small stone rounded by the flow of water, essentially a large pebble. It was these smooth “cobbles,” gathered from stream beds, that paved the first “cobblestone” streets.

Posted by bigblue on 28/05/2010 at 08:56 AM
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Thursday, 27 May 2010
Under Prague


Prague has one of the deepest metros (underground rail systems) that I have been on. According to Prague Czech Travel:

In 1968 the Russian communist came to Prague with guns and tanks blazing. They are not credited with doing much good in Prague. But there is one thing that they did really well and that is the Prague metro.

... there are 3 metro lines. They criss cross the city and touch on almost every section. You can just about anywhere in the city via metro. The three lines interchange near the center of Prague, forming a kind of metro ring road around the center.

Besides walking the second best form of travel within the city is the metro. It is fast, reliable and safe. Besides the peak hours in the morning with people going to work and in the early evening, people going home, the metro is not crowded.

At the time of construction the communists were worried that Prague might be targeted by the West as a great place to drop a nuclear bomb. So they created the metro deep underground to doubly serve as a nuclear bomb shelter.

The escalator pictured here also moves very fast.

Posted by bigblue on 27/05/2010 at 08:32 AM
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Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Prague town square


This is a view of the square from a far end, looking over at the stalls which I photographed yesterday.

Posted by bigblue on 26/05/2010 at 08:28 AM
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Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Prague foodstalls


There were a handfull of these stalls on the town square in Prague, selling “prosciuto di Prague”, “klobasa sausage” and “old - Prague ham”.  Klobasa sausage is a type of Slovenian sausage, while apparently Prague ham is even famous in Italy so I was wrong to chuckle when I read the food signs.

Posted by bigblue on 25/05/2010 at 08:20 AM
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Monday, 24 May 2010
Miniature street


More precisely this is a photograph of a street in Prague which employs a miniature faking technique.

Posted by bigblue on 24/05/2010 at 08:50 AM
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