Prague for Beginners, a novel of Prague in 1994, by Sara Tusek
Orloj (the famous Astronomical Clock) on a grey day
Chapter Two: Back to the train station by the tourist route on Saturday
My wanderings have taken me to the Orloj, the large astronomical clock on a corner tower of the Old Town Hall, where tourists are lining up for the 10 AM show. The clock strikes, the figures do their parade and the tourists take pictures. These pictures will show up in albums all over the world, the Orloj being the equivalent of the Eiffel Tower for instant identification with its home city.
The tower was built in 1381 and the clock installed in 1410, so it’s pretty old. There are legends that the clockmaker was blinded by the city council after he made this orloj so he could never make another, and that he climbed the tower and tried to destroy the clock before he died. Problem is, the man who they say was blinded was not the clockmaker but a guy who repaired it two centuries later, so the legend falls a bit flat.
Even though Prague is my home, I get as excited as any tourist when the cock crows and the chimes tell the hour. The morning sun is producing a very flattering light on the scene and I am lifted out of myself for a few seconds, feeling connected to the past and to the people around me, all of us privileged to be here at this particular moment. It’s a tiny epiphany, and I am grateful to whoever arranged the world so that I can be part of it.
Elizabeth goes to Prague to teach English to beginners, but she discovers she's only a beginner when it comes to understanding other people.
Prague for Beginners will be published in Spring 2015 at amazon.com
Sunshine on St Vitus Cathedral, at the Hrad
In Žižkov, near Elizabeth's flat
What was it like to teach English in Prague in 1994? The Communists had only been gone for 5 years, the city was in the throes of adjusting to the open market, and English-speakers were flooding in to teach Czechs how to communicate in the business languages of the world, English. Tennessee-born Elizabeth, not what you'd call a risk-taker by nature, takes her chances on teaching English in Prague!
Prague for Beginners follows Elizabeth as she lives and loves in Prague; she likes to teach beginners, but finds she's the beginner when it comes to stepping outside her own culture and really understanding why she is in Prague.
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