Previously in my blog, I may have forgotten to mention one minor detail. When we had returned to the hotel, after witnessing the greatness that is Muse, I found a text message on my phone from Lad’a. For those who don’t know, Lad’a is a junior at our school, who lives in the Czech Republic. In the message he was asking for the address of the hotel we were staying in. He had sent the message at about 2:30 am, and I replied shortly after. He then thanked me and said “See you soon.” I didn’t realize “soon” would be 9:00 am that same morning, only a few hours later. I woke up at 9:00 am to a knocking at the door, opened it and was greeted by the friendly face of a familiar Czech. He had taken a train and tram to get here and surprise us. Regardless I was very happy to see Lad’a and welcomed him into the room.
At 10:00 am we left the hotel room to get tickets for the football match, Czech Republic versus South Korea. After retrieving our tickets and indulging in some Česky football merchandise, we headed home to get ready for the game. The match was very intense; though there was an equal amount of dramatic acting as there was actual gameplay. In the end “we came up short”, losing the match 2-1. Despite the loss, the game was an amazing experience that I greatly enjoyed. Even better was the fact that tickets were only 200 crowns (~8 dollars), which is a great deal.
The evening was much more relaxed, but just as interesting. The group got to have a discussion with Mrs. Tallman’s parents. They had been alive during the time of the Communist occupation and her father had been a very young boy during World War II. Their answers to our questions were fascinating, and the tales they told were captivating. When the Russian tanks had rolled into Prague, the Czech’s fought to fool them. The Russians had no idea what direction to travel so they followed the street signs to find their way; so many Czechs would turn the signs the wrong way, and have the tanks end up in a dead end. This stalled the Russians but in the end they still took control of Prague. Living under Communism was hard for Mrs. Tallman’s parents, they recalled how there were long lines to get simple resources like bread and fruits. There were no exotic fruits during this time, like bananas. The situation paralleled the world that was described in the book 1984. The media was highly censored, the news only spoke of how things were so great, life is better than it was yesterday, the economy is booming, people are happy when in reality things were not so. If you repeat a lie multiple times and expunge the truth, then the lie becomes the only truth that you know. As Doc Booms would say, “Doublespeak, doublethink.” The only books and children’s stories available were very dull, pro-communism, and full of propaganda to influence the youth. Music was also made duller, as if the heart and soul had been sucked out of it. Sometimes Mrs. Tallman’s parents would go to a cabin in the woods with their friends to listen to banned music by bands like ABBA and the Beatles. They had to be careful even of what they spoke, for fear of being turned in and executed or imprisoned. They are very happy that that form of government has left the Czech Republic, and their freedom has been restored.
On a side note, at dinner that night, I discovered the greatest drink ever created, Kofola. Tomorrow we head to Terezín, to visit the concentration camp.
Vyzvánění klíče svobody,
Ainesh Shintre, Signing Off