Czech Courtesies. Virtually everyone offers their seat on the tram to the elderly, or says “hello” and “goodbye” on an elevator. The receptionist in my building will loudly scold those who fail to greet her in the morning. Good for her.
The automatic replenishment of one’s beer without asking (this can also be hazardous to one’s sobriety).
Laissez faire. Want to enjoy a beer on the street? You won’t be arrested. There is a form of tolerance here for personal choices (indulgences?) that exceeds American standards by far. I remember the huge legal debate leading up to – gulp – sidewalk restaurant seating in Boston. And this is one of the most liberal cities in the U.S.
The attitudes of Expats. First, let me say that I have made friends with some really nice Czechs both at work and in private life. But the expats here have a consistent trait about them: they are very open to new friendships. I think being an expat creates great empathy for other expats, and with that comes approachability. When move back to the U.S., I will look at immigrants through a new lens.
Retail banking. A prime example of the state of the service sector. Getting my wife a debit card linked to a joint account took 3 months, 4 visits to a retail banking branch and 6 hours’ worth of time. And this is from a bank owned by an Austrian parent company with presumed Germanic efficiency.
Lack of fresh green vegetables. This despite the proximity to the year-round Mediterranean growing zone. I long for selections of fresh lettuces, chards, herbs, spinaches, etc. Farmers’ markets soften the blow, but only for a couple months a year.
Dog poop. The city clearly ignored my protestations in this blog last year; the depositing of poop on pedestrian pathways continues unabated. Stepping in poop is inevitable. You only hope it’s on a rainy day where you can use a puddle to dissolve the crap from your shoe.