LILEKS (James) The Bleat: "Unless you've spent some time in DC you can't imagine the tremendous self-importance that possesses the people who feed off the government. They're like people who live in the same town where NASA has a tracking station, and think that it makes them all astronauts."

Nothing important about that, it just caught my eye because I notice this tendency whereever I go. Praguers are very susceptible to the conceit that they somehow get credit for the charms of the old city just because they live here. It's funnier when you think that they themselves are likely of a generation that did its damnedest to build as many existentially horrible buildings as it could in as short a time as possible. It wasn't that long ago and the crap is literally falling to pieces already.

But it's all actually king of charming. If I live here all my life locals will still be pointing out to me some old crusty medieval barnacle of a house or church and saying with a slight look of pity mixed with pride, "I sink you haf not such old buildinks in Amerika, yes?"

A French woman I know was once on a cycling trip somewhere in south Bohemia with some Czechs and one asked: "You like our beautiful nature?" Satisfied with the answer he continued, "Too bad France hasn't such nice nature." Oh yeah, the French countryside - what a wasteland. Game set and match to the countryside patriot. Unfortunates from countries with no old buildings and no beautiful nature can do nothing but offer sincere congratulations on the job well done.

Steve | 15:53 |