What I know about Bratislava and its people after a week….
So, after a week of observing the people and getting to know this city and its people, here’s a summary of what I have learnt:
The men all look the same.
The women have an obsession with nasty heeled boots and usually pair these with a shiny puffa coat of the same colour, nicely topped off with some fur, usually on the head or trimming whatever they are wearing. They also like their perfume strong, really strong.
Scarves are tied outside the neck of your coat.
They want to help you: especially on buses. I learnt this on a rainy day this week when three attempts to tell me something useful were made on the same bus journey. First a man was desperate to remind me that the front pocket of my bag was open. Little did he know that after 5 years in Barcelona I never carry anything of value within reach of anyone (or myself as I am often scrabbling for my wallet from some deeply hidden pocket). The second was a girl asking if I wanted to get off the bus when I was straining to read the name of the stop. Of course I haven’t had the chance to learn “no thanks, I was just checking to see where we are”. And the third was a woman who needed to tell me that the belt of my coat was trailing the floor as I stepped off the bus. It took a few full circles for me to see what she was pointing to, but we got there in the end.
If someone asks you if you’d like tea, coffee or water, then tea will come black and unsugared, coffee comes black and water is always fizzy.
If it’s raining, stand at least 2 metres away from the kerb.
Not all bus and tram stops are listed on the scrolling screens inside vehicle and when you get to stop, you can’t get out unless you press the button!
Litter seems to be part of the decoration. Despite the fact that rubbish collection points are about 20 metres apart on my housing estate, they seem to like decorating any green area with it.
Petrzalka, after a week living there, isn’t as bad as it looks. I have students who work in high positions in the back who also live there. And the badly parked cars are actually quite nice cars.
Unless you specify, beer comes in a large glass. Bryndzove Halusky is nothing to write home about. So-called Slovakia’s speciality of sheep’s cheese dumplings topped with bacon reminded me of overcooked tangy macaroni cheese.
Oh and Kofola is Slovakia’s post-communism Coke. It’s like coke, dr pepper, dandelion and burdock and root beer all in one glass. I might need a few more before I decide if I like it!