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inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #26 of 161: Berliner (captward) Thu 22 Mar 07 21:00
    
Cousin Knowland!
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #27 of 161: Paulina Borsook (loris) Thu 22 Mar 07 21:56
    
yeah, i had been thinking a joyous family reunion might
be in order! what i dont know is if that was the name
of the publisher, or the -taxidermist- or ghastly
game-hunting organization (given the source of the
lamp and the documentation, anything horrid is possible...)
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #28 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Thu 22 Mar 07 22:19
    
Berliner is right. I did stalk the dik-dik in the sense that part of
the book is about me going on safaris in Africa. (Actually, safari
means journey in Swahili so it's about one long safari.) But the
dik-dik got his revenge. I realize the title might be considered
suggestive by some, but that's fine. That's why it's funny. And it
gives school-age children who see the book an excuse to say "Dik-Dik"
endlessly in front of their parents without getting in trouble. 
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #29 of 161: mother of my eyelid (frako) Fri 23 Mar 07 08:38
    
One day while reading this book, I glanced at the cover at the cute little
photo of the dik-dik then suddenly noticed that my bookmark, which is a
postcard from a California state park, was a photo of a bighorn lamb. The
resemblance between the two animals is stunning: heart-shaped head, huge
ears, enormous eyes and eyelashes, face tapering into an adorable little
nose and mouth. Small bodies and hooves. So this is the image used to sell
us on leaving our homes: cute little animals with cunning little names!

I confess that when I was still maybe 50 pages into your book, I was
thinking, Hmmm, this is literally going to be about stalking dick--it's
going to have too much man-chasing in it. But that impression evaporated
when it became clear that the road was more interesting to you than going
after the man.

Still, I've noticed that we both have our own “Marlboro Men”—guys who
show up when we’re feeling lost or incapable and who make things safe and
right for us. In my case it was Take my Nepali porter, who would hitch up
his blue-jeaned leg, lean his blue-jeaned elbow on it, and have a smoke off
in my distant view. When he wasn’t taking his solitary breaks, he was
lugging my enormously tall pack up and down 17,000-foot passes in the
Annapurna Sanctuary and showing us the way. How about you? You have a
Marlboro Man who shows up unexpectedly—and you call a rugged night spent
with him “the single most romantic night I’d ever experienced.”

I guess my question is, Compare your solo pleasures with the pleasures of
experiencing the road with a male companion.
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #30 of 161: mother of my eyelid (frako) Fri 23 Mar 07 08:44
    
(NOTE: Offsite readers with questions or comments may send them to
  <inkwell@well.com> to have them added to this conversation)
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #31 of 161: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Fri 23 Mar 07 08:53
    

(While we wait on Marie to share, I'll note that those of you reading along
on the World Wide Web but, sadly, not (as yet) members of the Well, may yet
participate here. Just e-mail inkwell@well.com with your question, comment,
or observation, and we can post on your behalf. So, back to where we were.)
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #32 of 161: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Fri 23 Mar 07 08:53
    
Hahahahaha! <frako> slipped with saying what I was saying! Hahahahahahaha!!
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #33 of 161: mother of my eyelid (frako) Fri 23 Mar 07 08:54
    
Hope I didn't step on a toe . . .
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #34 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Fri 23 Mar 07 10:20
    
Ah, Herr Marlboro. End of the book. Did people get that he was the
same man I was living with in Uganda in 2005, from the first chapter?
The man who was with me when we were chased by a hippo and everything
went to hell with the relationship? The hippo wasn't the problem. He's
just my symbol of the moment this long-term relationship went to hell,
the big hippo in the room. 

H.M. was also a regular cast member on my blog in my Uganda summer in
2005, and finally I fled the breakup for Namibia and a long recovery
across southern Africa, the NE US, Kuwait, and Cairo.

From here, it's a bit hard to remember all the positives because the
negatives at the end overwhelmed them. (It was a baaaaaad one.) In
Dik-Dik, he's only there briefly, so I can't really classify that as
traveling with him. We talked for 20 hours on a ferry. And we never
really traveled together--we stayed in one place together, in many
places. The joke was that he "had one in every port," but the one was
the same one. Barcelona, Portsmouth, Jersey City, Kampala. But we had
homes--mine, his, ours. This isn't traveling together. 

But I've traveled with another partner, Turbo the Aussie, who I was
with for two years. There were great rewards to traveling together.
Activities are simply more fun with your best pal. We caught the Copper
Canyon railway together, camped around New Zealand, and camped across
the USA for three months. We had an absolute blast. 

But there are disadvantages to traveling with someone else. You are
less approachable. When I am alone on a local bus--that's when I have
cultural interactions. That's when people who don't normally approach
tourists are happy to talk about anything--their families, my hair
color, where they went to university. In some ways, solo travel is
irreplaceable, the best and only way to do it right. 

In other ways, it can be incredibly lonely to eat alone in cute
restaurants, to have no one to laugh with over something funny, to have
no back-up if things go wrong. And traveling with someone--the right
person--can be so much fun.

The best way to travel is a combination of the two. Go solo for a
while, then have a friend fly in to meet you. There are benefits to
both methods.
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #35 of 161: mother of my eyelid (frako) Fri 23 Mar 07 10:51
    
Travel insurance: What kind do you get, from where, how much is it? Have you
ever had to file a claim?
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #36 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Fri 23 Mar 07 15:09
    
I usually buy IMG <http://www.imglobal.com/> from Travel Insurance
Center <http://www.worldtravelcenter.com>. This one
<http://www.worldnomads.com/> looks promising, but I've never tried it
before.

My goal is not trip cancellation or minor medical care. In Uganda, I
was in and out of hospitals with gut issues for a while, and I paid
less than $40 for the entire experience. Not even enough to meet a
deductible. 

No, the reason I get travel insurance is for major problems and
med-evac. But even then, it can be hit-or-miss, depending on
communications. When the truck went over in Ethiopia, there was no
chance of cell phone communications so I was lucky I could walk out.
The helicopter can't pick you up if you can't contact it.

One thing that I think is a great bargain is annual travel insurance.
This usually covers multiple trips within the same year, up to 30 days.
I seldom fall into that range, but it is a great deal for people who
do several shorter trips in a year.
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #37 of 161: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 24 Mar 07 04:05
    
Great discussion, Marie.  I like the way you point out:

But there are disadvantages to traveling with someone else. You are
less approachable. When I am alone on a local bus--that's when I have
cultural interactions. That's when people who don't normally approach
tourists are happy to talk about anything--their families, my hair
color, where they went to university. In some ways, solo travel is
irreplaceable, the best and only way to do it right.

Can you also talk about your favorite modes of transportation for
cultural interactions (Trains, Planes, Automobiles...)? 
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #38 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sat 24 Mar 07 06:01
    
Unfortunately, the best way to culturally interact (that is, meet
people not from the US, Oz, UK, or Europe) is also one of the most
uncomfortable ways. 

To endure a hellish stew of intolerable hours together--that is how
you bond with strangers. Suddenly, you're a team of equals against
corrupt policemen, they are using your wristwatch as their own, and you
are helping a woman hold a chicken while they adjust their skirt for
modesty as the last pothole dislodged it, but it's pointless since
there are seven more hours of potholes and you're on the back of an
open truck bed with the wind controlling how your clothes sit anyway.

Not every traveler is so keen to hold a chicken through hell, so I
suggest a long bus journey in relative comfort as a compromise. Not a
tourist bus, which is something you'll find in Thailand. A local bus
line. 

I took a bus for about 28 hours from Lusaka to Dar Es Salaam in late
2005. It was a luxury coach, made hellish by the number of hours and
swollen ankles, not by discomfort. <http://www.scandinaviagroup.com>

During this time, I brushed my teeth into a ditch with four Zambians,
accumulated a stack of business cards and phone numbers from my new
friends, and learned that everyone else in Zambia and Tanzania seems to
have a more high-tech mobile phone than I do. These are fairly
simplistic examples, but in short, if you want to meet locals, go where
the locals are. They are not hanging out at the Hilton or the
backpackers lodge. They are not sitting around an expensive coffee shop
wishing a tourist would walk up and ask about their apartments. They
are going to work, going on the bus, doing what people do every day in
any country. 

Just two weeks ago, here in Egypt, I went to a temple off the beaten
path and ended up on a second-class train for seven hours (this train
had no first-class). Normally tourists go on a first-class train
because they are much nicer and the price different is nothing to us. 

But in Egyptian terms, it's a huge price difference, so most everyone
local goes second-class. 

For the next seven hours, I held babies, posed for photos, and talked
about education with an Egyptian college student. 

The downside is that sometimes, you really don't want to be a "tourist
attraction" and you just want to sleep! I was happy when Herr Marlboro
strode onto the Sudanese ferry in 2001, because with his motorcycle
and Arabic language, he got all the attention and I could sit back and
be in the audience for a change. 
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #39 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sat 24 Mar 07 06:05
    
Oh, and by the way, Scott, I just clicked on your name and saw the
Antioch LA address. I went to Antioch OH from 1984 to 1988!
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #40 of 161: David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Sat 24 Mar 07 09:58
    
I'm definitely with you on the discomfort:meeting people factor.  One
of my fondest -- but not most pleasant -- memories is a 72 hour Chinese
train ride from Tianjin to Urumqi when I was 11 or 12, in the "hard
sleeper" class.  We were all miserable, Chinese and foreigner alike,
and we talked a lot.

One thing that kept striking me about your stories was the repeated
theme of "and then I dropped into the internet cafe to check for
messages".  Can you talk about how the proliferation of internet cafes
has changed travel in your experience?
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #41 of 161: mother of my eyelid (frako) Sat 24 Mar 07 10:06
    
So Marie, looking at the Lusaka-to-Dar Es Salaam schedule at
<http://www.scandinaviagroup.com/Scandinavia%20Express/index.htm>--you say
your trip was 28 hours long. It matches up with the "approximate" schedule--
so these timetables can be trusted?

Speaking of time and timetables, one passage from your book fascinated me.
Someone tells you to catch a bus at 11 o’clock. You say, “I knew that
eleven Ethiopian time was 5AM by my standards. Ethiopians measure the day
from daybreak, so their ‘one’ is our 7AM.” (261) This must result in
all kinds of misunderstandings and strandings!
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #42 of 161: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sat 24 Mar 07 10:40
    
To add to <davadam>'s question--how did the regular blogging change
the travel experience?  You wrote at one point about your reader's
pushing you to take the balloon trip over the Masai Mara, but did it
change your day-to-day approach in other ways?
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #43 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sat 24 Mar 07 15:50
    
Frako, YES, these timetables can be trusted. This is the top coach
line in East Africa though. (Here's the southern Africa equivalent:
<http://www.intercape.co.za/>)

I've been on regular non-luxury buses where an 8-hour trip became a
12-hour trip. Outside of the luxury lines, there is practically an
obligatory flat on each bus trip. Once, from Livingstone to Lusaka
(Zambia), the bus didn't make it at all, and after a few hours of
mechanical tinkering, the driver paid minibuses to take passengers the
rest of the way. What's remarkable is how patient many passengers can
be--after all, there is no hurry in Africa. 

All bus lines schedule in time for anticipated problems, such as
difficult border crossings. Most seem to arrive at border crossings an
hour or two early before the customs offices open. Then you all sleep
or hang around outside, changing money with money guys or just
stretching your legs.

It can take several hours to get an entire bus full of passengers
through Customs. One technique I have used to decrease down time is to
catch local transport to the border, walk across the border, then catch
local transport on the other side. Two hours crossings turn to
10-minute crossings. This one is really good for the Tanzania-Kenya
border, where groups of tourists can hold you up for hours. One person
can just push on through and be done in moments.

By local transport, I mean minibus taxis (matatus in Swahili) or
Peugeots (called service taxis in the Middle East). Both are shared
rides. Matatus carry more people, are less comfortable, and cheaper.
Peugeots are more expensive, more comfortable, and once in a while
feature seatbelts. The last one I was in was from Arusha to the Kenya
border and included two Masaai men who kept up a running banter the
entire time. Apparently they were hilarious--the other passengers
couldn't stop laughing. But I could not understand their Swahili.
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #44 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sat 24 Mar 07 16:22
    
"Can you talk about how the proliferation of internet cafes
has changed travel in your experience?"

Internet cafes (and later wi-fi) have really made my lifestyle
possible, and I love them for it. My jobs--comic book editing, comic
book coloring, writing--depend on my ability to get work trafficked or
turned in, and I couldn't do this from anywhere but New York if the
internet had not spread across the world so rapidly. For a few
years--2002-2004--I only colored comics and wrote (a book about camping
in New Jersey, a book about camping in Virginia). These are freelance
jobs done via email or FTP sites. I've never met the people on the
other end of the email, and spoken to them only a few times by phone.
What does it matter where I am emailing the files from? It's the same
to the editor. It shows up.

I have to admit that when I don't know an editor that well, I don't
tell them "I'll be in Africa for six months," "I'm moving in with my
boyfriend who happens to live in Australia," or "I'm renting a flat in
Barcelona for the fall." I just turn the work in by email or FTP, same
as always. And they send a check to my PO Box. Once they are confident
that the work is coming in, I may mention "Oh, it's funny that I can do
this from Uganda." "Er, what? You're on your iBook on wi-fi in a
coffee shop--IN KAMPALA?" "Yeah, coffee is real good..."

There is a lot of disdain out there for people who check their email
on the road. Bah! I wasn't working on my job when I was going around
the world--I'd quit that. I was talking to family and friends,
researching my next steps or a bus line, doing my banking, paying my
credit cards, and updating my website. There was at that time no other
way to contact me. And I was gone for a *year.* People can go ahead and
sneer at me from their living rooms while I check upload files in
Uganda. Not my problem.

That said, it *is* creepy to sit around a restaurant and watch 20
travelers with laptops all lost in them and using wi-fi. But they are
just talking to home too, or doing their work, or updating their blogs.
Mustn't sneer, mustn't call kettle black.

I think the proliferation of internet cafes makes it possible for
travelers to stay gone for longer. I could never have stayed away so
long if I hadn't been able to run my life by remote control. Nor could
I have researched as I went. I would have had to plan everything before
I went.
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #45 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sat 24 Mar 07 16:54
    
"To add to <davadam>'s question--how did the regular blogging change
the travel experience?  You wrote at one point about your reader's
pushing you to take the balloon trip over the Masai Mara, but did it
change your day-to-day approach in other ways?"

I don't like to think of MariesWorldTour.com as a blog... though of
course it fits the definition of a blog. But this was 2001 and blogging
was far less common. I coded the HTML on the journal entries by hand
(once I'd convinced my webmaster that I knew what I was doing). I
scanned in photos whenever I could find a scanner (there were digital
cameras but there weren't many places that could offload the images
onto a CD, and all cameras required drivers then but internet cafes
don't generally like you to put software on their computers). And
laptops bring with them a host of problems on an extended trip--they
break, get stolen, require different adapters, and they are heavy.

So for journaling and notes, I went low tech. Pen and notebook,
supported by film camera. Then I'd go to the internet cafe and type as
fast as I could. After all, I was paying by the minute.

I didn't actually launch my blog <http://mariejavins.blogspot.com>
until mid-2005, when I was living in Uganda. I couldn't control the
design so easily as on MariesWorldTour.com, but things like blogger and
wordpress sure made posting entries easy!

For me, projects like MariesWorldTour or my blog enhance my travel
experience. They give me a mission rather than "visit museum X, see
statue Y, and don't forget to try the dessert at cafe Z." And as part
of MariesWorldTour.com, I gave readers the option to vote on my route
and some of my choices. They voted me onto the balloon! I usually did
what they said I should do, but I disregarded them on Sudan and went
through the country in spite of their "Overfly" vote.

It did and does sometimes feel like a burden. Like I can't lay around
and do nothing for a day because it is not interesting reading. I can't
just say "to hell with it, I'm flying from Uzbekistan to Moscow"
without making a major production out of it, disappointing readers, and
feeling guilty. 

But if I didn't keep these websites, I'd probably forget everything.
Now, if I can't remember a detail, I just click around a bit and find
out what I was doing on July 21 in 2001. 
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #46 of 161: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sat 24 Mar 07 17:35
    
I just clicked on your name and saw the
Antioch LA address. I went to Antioch OH from 1984 to 1988!

I went back to college through Antioch's low-residency MFA in Creative
Writing program (2003-2005) where it was like going to summer camp
with other writers twice a year.  Similar to your experience on the
road, we had on-line interaction with those in our mentor groups during
the program periods between the intensive residencies. Antioch worked
great for my situation. Of course, no one hassled me there about my
fixation on hippies, either. (Is a Wi-Fi Sci-Fi degree going to be
offered in Tanzania soon?).

I hear so much talk about Prague as a new bohemian center. Have you
come upon any cool emerging neo-beat enclaves out where the Dik-Diks
roam, or elsewhere???
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #47 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sun 25 Mar 07 04:04
    <scribbled>
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #48 of 161: Marie Javins (mariejavins) Sun 25 Mar 07 04:17
    
Scott, I was looking at a lot of MFA low-residency options for a
while. In the end, couldn't afford it (though I can't afford to write
books either), but I love the idea of it. 

I might be talking out of my, um... elbow, but I think Prague as a
bohemian center is a thing of the past. Or maybe it's for really rich
hippies. I can't claim to have seen any emerging neo-beat enclaves,
that's for sure. The Dik-Diks roam through the rastafarian town of
Shashamene, Ethiopia, but that's not exactly a welcoming place. The
Dik-Diks roam through some swell, happening places like Jinja in Uganda
and Swakopmund in Namibia, but you're more likely to find someone with
an adrenalin obsession that anything bohemian. 

Elsewhere--I am probably missing something obvious--things seem bleak.
Most countries have a more offbeat region, and there are places that
attracted hippies originally but now attract people carrying worn-out
copies of "The Beach." It's funny to think of the original London to
Kathmandu Hippie Trail now, as I can't imagine busloads of hippies
running around Afghanistan.

There is a funny thing that happens in travel, and that is that
various off-the-beaten-path destinations become "hot" to the point
where the "secret" destination has pre-packaged tours and four-stars
hotels. Sometimes it doesn't get the tours, but just fades from
popularity. Anyway, it gives the visa stamp carrier instant
credibility. "Oh, that's so last year. I was in Papua New Guinea when
they were still eating people."

Places that were sizzling hot for a while:
Vietnam
Peru
Cambodia
Nicaragua (or maybe that's in the next list)

Still on the upswing: 
Laos
Ethiopia
Balkans
Bolivia
Colombia

Eternal hot list: 
Thailand
India
Italy
New Zealand
Bali

Serious cred: 
South Georgia
Papua New Guinea
Cameroon

Places I liked a lot: national parks in the USA, New Zealand, Bali,
Bangkok (yes, I know it's dirty), Cambodia, Luang Prabang (Laos), Hoi
An (Vietnam), St. Petersburg, Tallinn (Estonia), Berlin (I know it's
over--I still liked it), Uganda, Namibia, Buenos Aires, Guatemala,
Esfahan (Iran), Red Sea (Egypt), and I go back to Barcelona over and
over.

Have you taken a look at Nimbin, Australia, and the surrounding area
for your hippie studies? Problem is I think you want less drug-oriented
and more literary and intellectual thought, right? Dahab, of course,
is my local mecca (oh, that is the wrong word here, isn't it?) for
backpackers. (I'm in Cairo.) I'm not sure where a hippie ends and a
backpacker begins, but they is surely some crossover territory. I
really am talking out of my elbow here. 
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #49 of 161: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sun 25 Mar 07 08:09
    
To heck with the druggies and hip intelligensia-- I want to find my
pocket of peace with those people-eating Papua New Guineans.  "Please
pass the long pork."

Thanks for the fantastic, thoughtful response. 

By my asking the question and your impressive reply (your elbows have
been a whole lotta more places than mine or most of ours), I realized
again that the Hopi term "Bahana" has much merit.  Six or seven years
ago when I lived in Arizona, a Hopi woman took six of us non-Hopis to
her her village at the top of one of the mesas.  We met the tribal
chairman, saw the Kachina dancers, and visited some other families
there.  One articulate man said that the Hopi had foreseen when the
earth would be encircled by a great spider web (the internet).  He also
said that the Hopi call non-Hopi, non-traditional people "Bahana." 
"The Bahanas are never content with what they have," he said. "They are
always looking for more things, the next place, or the next
experience. Bahanas are never satisfied."

We are so privatized in our mass society where popular consumerism
substitutes for our collectivist yearnings to belong, for our desire to
share and be a part of some enlightened larger experience.  Maybe we
fail to stop and fully appreciate those enlightened, collectivist
moments when we authentically connect with our fellow humans.  Perhaps
the neo-bohemian place I queried you about has as much to do with
allowing ourselves to be fully within those "on the road" magical
experiences you've described. By definition of the term, maybe true
"bohemian" bliss occurs while holding someone elses clucking hen on the
second class bus from Bumswana to Swahililand.  Maybe my question was
misguided.  There are definitely incredible places to visit on the
globe. (Thanks for naming some cool ones I never would have considered.
In your stalkings, you are definitely a traveler and not a tourist).
Yet, how much does any of this have to do with being at the trendy edge
of "You Shoulda Been in the Haight in early '66 before the Saturday
Evening Post slouched in and killed the scene"?  

Hey, even this place called The Well has much to savor (even though we
know it's part of the Bahana's spider webbing). 

I think my own elbow's talking now.

Thanks, again, Marie.   
  
inkwell.vue.295 : Marie Javins, "Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik"
permalink #50 of 161: Berliner (captward) Sun 25 Mar 07 08:17
    
As a student of the European scene, your 20-something nascent hipsters
discovered Prague in the early 90s because it was, as a Texas musician
I was showing around said, "Europe at Mexico prices." It was
beautiful, alien, cheap, and had that literary cachet of Franz Kafka,
whom 20-something nascent hipsters love to misread. 

It also had legal pot, a little-discussed factor I wasn't even aware
of until I saw that it had been made *il*legal -- along with LSD. This
was when the Vaclav Klaus conservative government came in. As
post-revolution economics kicked in, Prague got more in line with other
European prices, and they started enforcing some of the laws about
residence and so on, which included a Czech fluency test. 

Things really do seem to have shifted to Berlin, because the economy
is collapsing and it's cheap. As with all such scenes -- Prague in
particular -- the hipster crowd tends to stick to itself and ignore the
locals as much as possible. One person I know calls the Friedrichshain
district, the new hot center, Friedrichsburg because so many people
from Williamsburg, Brooklyn have settled there. The good thing about
these folks is they usually go home in a year or two when their money
runs out. Or on to the next hot spot.

Hopi slippage!
  

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