Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dude, where's my Kangoo?

Is there anything creepier than a statue of a pre-pubescent young boy painted in all black except for the genitals, which are painted metallic gold? What if said statue is outside of the world's largest toy museum?

On Sunday we went to visit Prague Castle which holds the Guinness Record as being the world's largest castle and covers an area greater than 7 football fields. On either entrance to the castle grounds are stationed two traditional guards whose sole purpose seems to be to give obnoxious tourists something to pose next to. We wandered around the grounds but only paid to go into the toy museum. We spent a long time looking at various exhibits of dolls and trains and so I am sad to report that the boys were fairly burnt out by the time we got to the glorious third floor dedicated solely to Barbie. I did, however, get this awesome quotation off the Barbie exhibit description which led me to believe that some curator seems to think that Barbie has not only been unfairly maligned but also that she might be an overlooked contender for the Nobel Peace Prize:

Despite her normality and gentleness, despite her artlessness and unpretentiousness, despite her peaceful nature and friendliness - the 29 centimeter-high vinyl doll again and again provokes disputes.

Today we went downtown again to grab lunch, hit the bookstore and wander around. We had the car with us and parking is a real bear in the old district. When we finally found a parking spot Jacob suggested we circle our location on our map; a suggestion I confidently ignored, feeling I could remember the name (later I would curse the Czech street names that seem to all sound the same while also sounding like nothing at all familiar). At 4:30 we started heading back to the car since our meter was up at 5:00 and it was also getting dark already. It became obvious fairly quickly that neither of us remembered where the car was. All we had was a fuzzy recollection of being near a park, a statue of man on a horse somewhere in the vicinity and maybe a street starting with the letter 'o'.

We went to four different parks on the map before Jacob began desperately hitting up strangers on the street to ask if they knew of "a man on a horse". We ran into what I think might be a control tower but it looked like the world's largest hypodermic needle with metal statues of babies climbing up the sides (the pictures don't do it justice). Just as we were about to give up and find an internet cafe (to do what exactly, I have no idea - report the car stolen to Renault and cut our losses?), we stopped a man on the street to ask our cryptic horse statue question. Not only did he stop and say, "How can I help you?", he knew of Prague's two horse statues and which one had parking nearby and he also said he'd drive us there except his car was further than we had to walk. In a simple five minute gesture he turned our whole night around, mostly by being present and genuinely interested in helping us.

Two hours after our search for the car began we found it and amazingly we didn't even have a ticket. Come on Barbie, let's go party.

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