Have you ever wondered what a Frenchman in the Czech Republic would look like?
Well you do now.
In no way does it capture the romance and mystique of an American in Paris, our man in Havana or an Englishman abroad. In fact you might well think that he is a local Czech tourist, out on a Sunday afternoon stroll on the way to the bar, as he seems to blend in so well to the local landscape.
He should do. He has lived in the Czech Republic for nearly twenty years. He speaks the language like a native and has embraced the culture with both arms.
His taste in cars may be eclectic. You don't often see these little Subaru people carriers around. Possibly this is because when they are filled with large Europeans such as myself who have just devoured large plates of Moravian pork, the enging tends to struggle to get the overburdened vehicle up the Bohemian hills.
His wife is fortunately a very good artist. An artist who is beginning to go places (even in a Subaru people carrier with a two stroke engine). Remember the name, Nikola Novakova http://www.nikolanovakova.com/
She will be sought after one day. Her paintings, I mean.
So this is who I am staying with in the Czech Republic. It will be a blast. It always is.
Though this was not the first blast I had received in the Czech Republic. I had already had a blast on the outward flight from the UK. Having once watched Air Crash Investiigation on the Discovery Channel and having had seven close shaves whilst flying from missing the runway, an enging falling out of its casing and being close enough to an Air India jumbo jet over Bristol that you could see the passengers faces, makes you a little more observant when boarding a plane. It has never stopped me flying. If you are going to go, then youare going to go and there is nothing much you can do about it. Statistically speaking, it is less likely that it will be on an aeroplane.
This particular plane looked old. There were rust marks and the odd crack on the outside. Inside the plastic pannelling was ill fitting in places and coming away from the wall in other areas. So I suppose it wasn't a great surprise when the plane touched down on the runway at Prague, a spray of cold water splashed down on my head. The more the plane breaked the stronger the shower of water was.
'Oh that's not nice,' said the stewardess matter-of-factly. 'And they've just repaired it too.'
Vitejte v Ceske republice.