Wabash Blogs Prague 2006 Immersion Trip

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Tax-Free Crystal, Haircuts, and McDonald's

Kevin Shaw ‘06, Thursday — Prague has seduced me. She is beautiful and full of many curvaceous streets. Thursday provided a break from the grind of math research for some of us, myself included. My project advisor could not meet with me and I took the opportunity to explore the city with Cory and Hunter.

Exploring equated to shopping for me and I found perhaps the best crystal shop in Prague. It is a factory outlet and the store proprietor, named Anna, spoke only French and Czech with a little English. Speaking French ended up coming in very handy for our transaction. The store sold hand-made glass blown crystal for less than I saw machine produced crystal anywhere else during the week.

The owner was Slovakian and has lived in Prague for the past five years. Before this she was a middle school teacher for 22 years. She gave us a 10% discount on all of our purchases since we were students and she actually explained how to claim tax-free purchases in Prague. In Prague, if you spend more than 2000 crowns on a given purchase you are entitled to a 19% refund at the airport if you request the tax-free form when the purchase is made. This refund will amount to about $30 for the combined purchases of Cory, Hunter and myself. I recall this event to demonstrate how helpful and nice several of the people have been here in Prague.

I have interviews scheduled for Monday and Tuesday after we return to Wabash and I decided that I could use a haircut since I was rather shaggy. Getting a haircut in a foreign country may seem like a strange choice but I would highly recommend having it done if you ever travel to Prague. None of the haircutters in the salon spoke English which made describing what I wanted a little difficult. At one point I was pretty sure I was going to end up with a serious mushroom cut but was happily surprised with the end result. They do not use guards with the electric clippers when they cut a man’s hair but rather slide the buzzer along with an angled comb. I think this approach ends up making the cut look much sharper.

Well, it is time to begin the last day of research here in Prague. I will be sad to leave this city and certainly hope to come back again.

Nazdravi from Prague.


Top: The Charles University Department of Algebra where Wabash math majors are researching with on-site mathematicians.

Middle: Colin McClellend takes a break from sight-seeing.

Bottom: When in Prague... Kevin Shaw gets a haircut and eats McDonald's!