This weekend, the group and I traveled to Prague. Its antiquated center city is marked by castles and gilded Art Nouveau cafes at every corner.
(The latter photo here, references Franz Kafka, Czech-born but German-using surrealist author)
It’s at most times an overpriced city, especially in the center, but father away one can find an absurd amount of cheap kebab diners and secondhand stores. Away from the medieval tourist traps, it seems normal to live on a dime. Much easier here than in Leipzig.
A few monuments here and there stand to honor the city’s past:
Since I don’t read Czech and the Wifi bandwidth here isn’t strong enough to do thorough research, I don’t know the meanings of these statues. But they sure look mighty.
I find myself mesmerized the most by the artistic culture here…
I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of it for the sheer awesomeness of the experience, but seeing an original Gustav Klimt at the state art museum has been the highlight of my stay here. Here are a few examples of some works I did stop for a photo though:
Ai Weiwei, famous contemporary Chinese artist with a political edge, had an exhibit open there offering statements over the experiences of refugees coming to Europe.
The other night back in Leipzig, Germany, I got lost late at night in a city neighborhood called Dolitz/Connewitz. On my way home, frustrated that no late night kebab eating came out of my midnight expedition, I walked past a collection of shacks that I could only assume were inhabited by Germany’s migrants. There was obviously no city planning put into these ramshackle quarters. Since that’s been on my mind, this exhibit had an extra potent effect on me.
(“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me” – Carlos Fuetes)
This quote above particularly resonated with me as I’ve passed the glossiness of international travel and realized that… everyone is the same. In the videos shown to kids in high school German students, it’s easy to think that “Oh, wow – these people are so different! So cultured! So much ahead of the rest of the world! Their systems and governments are so much better!” Likewise with other international language classes. A lot of people get wrapped in the mysterium of a foreignness and get the idea that all is good in the far off land.
The reality of it is, is that the governments of Europe are messing up hard right now. There’s a gross misconduct in the treatment of these people who, to my point, are human just like you and me. Instead of fighting over space and the nonsensical idea of “borders,” we should use the little time we have on Earth to appreciate the fact that we get to live under the same sky as these beautiful souls.
We’re all upset with the political system, the absurdity of modernity, and how long it takes for the crosswalk sign to turn green for GO. When we are able to relate on the most humane, universal level, then we can start to work towards building a healthy world for everybody to live in.
(A mural attached to each side of the hall way on the path into Weiwei’s exhibition)