Needed to grab an Uber today as I’m recovering from some travel bug and didn’t want to be out in the rain for ten minutes waiting for the Prague city tram to get to the office. Fired up the app, got a driver assigned, went to the lobby to wait. I had entered the office address in the Uber app, but Prague addresses have a variety of slashes, vernacular annotations and other information that remind me more of disk formatting than street geography. To be safe, I told the driver “MSD Riverview, Smichov, Prague 5.”
“No English. Sorry.”
The smart play, of course, is to type what you want to say into Google Translate, then either have it spoken for you or attempt to further butcher the native tongue. Given that Czech has an accented r which is the love child of the Spanish teacher who rolled her Rs for 20 seconds and Crazy Ivan from “Red October” emphasizing his Cyrllic “X,” I always opt for help. Then again, the translation of “MSD Riverview” is reflective in any language. Google untranslate back to self.
Inspiration strikes – I know a landmark and know about six numbers in Czech.
“Pivovar Staropramen, dve ste meters (indicate straight through with karate chop motion)”. Rough translation: “Staropramen brewery, then 200 meters further on”.
Got it in one. It’s amazing how much you can pick up from reading the denominations on currency (I know 100, 200 and 500, as well as 1, 2 and 5 this way), and knowing a local landmark is always helpful.
So far this trip I’ve learned the words for “right” and “left”, “emergency” (not needed, I was wondering what a sign said that translates to “Beer Emergency!” and yes, this is a thing in Prague) and at least I understand there are seven declensions of nouns and verbs, none of which I will remember. Unless they are currency related.