Friday, July 20, 2018

A Theatrical Experience

We finally went to the movies here in Switzerland. Rumors of high ticket prices, the uncertainty about what language the movie would be shown in, the ability to stream movies at home coupled with there not being many movies that seemed 'worth it'  has caused us to wait almost a year to see a movie in a movie theater. Then Ocean's 8 came out and Maureen REALLY wanted to see it, so we went. (As an aside, when a movie opens in the US, it usually opens here at the same time.)

We bought our tickets:
CHF 17.00 is not terrible, but not cheap.

The guy pointed upstairs so we knew which way to go to get to our theater. Once inside, we found some seats and waited for the movie to start.
We chose to sit in the last row.
Movie theater selfie.

The first difference we noticed from going to the movies in the US is that there are NO previews. The lights dim and the movie starts...ON TIME.
And just so you know, the movie was in English with German and French subtitles. I actually looked this up ahead of time and saw that every showtime has the languages listed. So for our show it was listed: Edf (capital E for language of movie, in this case English, lower case d and f for language(s) of subtitles, in this case Deutsch  and French).
Movies always play in the language they were made in - no dubbing, just subtitles.

So we're watching Ocean's 8 - enjoying Sandra Bullock's master mind and Mindy Kaling's jeweler skills when the movie stopped. Boom! Right in the middle of an action scene, the film turns off, the lights go up, and ads start to flash on the screen. We were like, what the what? Then we realized...INTERMISSION!
Advertising my favorite candy.

During intermission we noticed the people right in front of us looking back at us, whispering, looking back at us, whispering. I didn't know why they kept looking back, but I figured it had to do with them hearing us speak English or something. We didn't pay too much attention to them, we just waited for the movie to start again. 10 minutes later, it did.

After the movie, we walked home talking about James Cordon's role and Rhianna's dress, happy with our first successful outing to a movie theater. Then the next morning I took a really good look at the movie ticket. I was shocked to realize there was a ROW number:
Row 9!

And a SEAT number:
Seat 6!

It even tells you which door to enter the theater through:
Eingang = enter / OG = upper floor / Links = left

We entered on the RIGHT side of the theater, sat in the 20th row, in seats 6, 7, and 8 (got the seats right!). It is no wonder why those people were staring at us - we were sitting in the wrong seats! Who would have thought that they have assigned seats in a movie theater - the Swiss, of course! Now we know for next 2019?

Today's poem was inspired by that night:
trilingual movie
with an intermission
sitting in wrong seats
nearly an inquisition  
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Cherry On Top

Canton Zug, is known for many things: favorable tax laws, Blockchain/Bitcoin hub, and for cherries. Yes, the small, red, tangy fruit is a big deal in Zug.
Cherries are a big crop and...
...cherry trees are prolific throughout the Canton.

So much so that they have a huge, 200 year old, traditional festival, complete with the 'Chriesisturm' or Cherry Race.

To mark the beginning of cherry season in Zug the 'Chriesigloggä' (cherry bell) of St. Michael's Church peals at noon on the last Monday in June and then locals run a race through 'Altstadt' (old town) carrying 8.1-meter long ladders:
Down one street...
...and up the other.

Women run the race, too, but without the ladders. They run with a basket strapped to their back:

And kids from the local elementary school take part as well:
Boys and girls carrying ladders.

The winners of the races don't receive anything other than bragging rights. But it is big fun to be in a huge crowd shouting "Hopp! Hopp! Hopp!" (Go! Go! Go!) as the runners go by. And for being a Monday at noon, the crowd was big:
Lots of cherry fans.

Even TV coverage.

Things culminate with a large lunch for the participants and a cherry farmers market for the public by Lake Zug:

Lots of cherries for sale.
But the best part for our family is:

Today's poem is meant to be sweet, but may be the pits, depending on the reader:
cherry season
is the reason
for the ladder race

cherries fresh
pit and flesh
belong in my face
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Carbon Footprint - Our "Prague"ative: Part 3

This is the 3rd and final post about our trip to the Czech Republic. I previously mentioned that Joe is of Czech descent so we went in search of some ancestry. Thanks to the research from Joe's sister (shout out to Auntie Loretta!) and Maureen's keen interest in her Czech heritage, we set out for the place where Joe's father's side of the family originated, Klatovy.

But before we even made it to Klatovy we found out an interesting tidbit about his last name at the Prague Technical Museum:
Technically speaking, Uhlik is everywhere!
I always knew Joe was the King!

The word Uhlík means Carbon! And as Auntie Loretta pointed out, there is a little bit of Uhlik in everyone. Scary isn't it?

On our way back to Switzerland we traveled to the city Klatovy where Joe's grandfather, Joseph Uhlik, was born. Klatovy is about two hours outside of Prague. When we were driving there we were imagining a small, rural village. When we arrived, we found that Klatovy was anything but:

Klatovy is a bustling, modern day small town. In many ways it reminded me of Hollister, a town in California where we lived in the late 90's.
Updated historic buildings.
Of course, a church.

There is the town square with its locally owned businesses and restaurants.

And then there are the Catacombs.
Joe is wearing his very Uhlik T-shirt (shout out to Jessica!) "To Save Time Let's Just Assume I am Never Wrong"

 Because you can't go too long without seeing human remains in the Czech Republic.

Actually, we ran out of time and didn't get to spend any time in the Catacombs, but we'll be back.

Today's poem is in the form of a Cinquain* and is in honor of the 'base elements' of my family:
under pressure
a diamond in the rough
a jewel of a family
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.
*A Cinquain is a 5 line poem whereby the first line has 2 syllables, the second line 4, 
the third line 6, the fourth line 8, and the fifth line 2 syllables again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Dem Bones - Our "Prague"-ative: Part 2

In my last post I mentioned that there are a lot of churches in the Czech Republic. No bones about it, that is true. One 'bare bone' church in particular that is worth highlighting, and if you get the opportunity, visiting, is the Sedlec Ossuary. This small Roman Catholic chapel is in Kutná Hora, a village a little more than an hour outside of Prague.

Actually, the Sedlec Ossuary itself is located beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints:
The church and cemetery on the outside.

And has an alternative name, Bone Church. The remains of an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 people are housed here:

One wall inside the church.
Up close and personal with the 'inhabitants'.

You might be asking who are all these people and why are they all buried in this 'church'. Well, in 1278, the abbot of the monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia. He returned with a bit of earth that he removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it over the cemetery. Word of this pious act soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a desirable burial site throughout Central Europe.

Then in the mid 14th century, during the Black Plague, and after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century, many thousands were buried in the cemetery, so it had to be expanded. After 1511 the job of exhuming the skeletons and stacking them during the expansion was done by a half-blind monk.

Fast forward a few centuries to 1870 when the Schwarzenbergs, a Czech and German aristocratic family, employed a wood carver named František Rint to put the heaps of bones in order. His idea of order became the artistic affect that is there today:
Coat of arms of the Schwarzenbergs.
An artistic post.

The signature of František Rint.
A 'chandelier' in the center.

One of the ways you know you are in a Catholic church.
Another view of the chandelier.

The Czechs have a violent history with many of the remains showing evidence of this:
They are still excavating today.

You might think this a macabre and spooky place, but it actually is not. The bones are thoughtfully displayed and you can feel the humanity in your (and their) bones. It is fascinating more than anything. And the many tourists who were visiting at the same time we were moved through the Ossuary space in hushed reverence.

But make no bones about it, it is a tourist attraction. And there is a gift shop just down the street where you can get your own 'bone-afide' souvenirs:
Lots to choose from.
Mo's 'skeleton key'. Get it?
My poem today is meant to be a rib tickler, but I may have made a fractured attempt:
below the humerus
the funny bone
a bone of contention 
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Our "Prague"-ative: Part 1

My apologies for not posting for a week or so. We took a trip to the land of Joe's ancestors, the Czech Republic.

Today is Part 1: Prague.

We saw SO much:
Charles Bridge
Statue for Czech author Franz Kafka

City observatory tower...
...selfie from the top.

And churches...

...and lots...
...of churches.

But a trip to Prague would not be complete without a visit to the castle, Praha Hrad:
Complete with crown...

...and throne...
...and knights in armor.

But the most interesting part of the castle for me was the guards:
We thought they were mannequins...
...but they are real.

And quite popular for photo ops.

Granted, they don't quite have the hardcore hats like the Queen's Guards in the UK with their bearskin hats or the Pope's Swiss Guards in Vatican City with their distinctive hats, but these Czech Guards are serious about their job. 

First of all they stand perfectly still for an hour at a time - no matter the weather or who is taking a picture of them. Then, a few minutes before the top of the hour, they have the changing of the guards. A small troop of guards march through the plaza:

Then an army soldier with a real automatic weapon clears the tourist away from the guards on duty...
 the guards can do their fancy 10 point turn:
Meeting in the middle... join the formation.

Lots of pomp and circumstance (and large weapons).

My poetry skills are bit rusty because of our holiday so I am feeling a little 'guarded' about today's poem:
centuries of sentries
watch·men with a strong·hold
on their weapons
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.