Culture · Expatria · Istanbul · Prague · Spain · Vampires

Nibble Nibble Here, Nibble Nibble There

A strange local phenomenon: Czech people eat in public all the time. Not just normal eat-on-the-go types of foods like gyros, ice cream or pizza. You see them at tram and metro stops nibbling on peices of bread. Not French bread, or croissants, or even decent healthy-looking bread. It’s always the cheap, nasty Czech bread you can buy for like 2 cents in the crappy bread shops. It’s all over the city, and they do it All The Time.

I didn’t realise how strange this is until we went to Greece for a week. I didn’t see a single person eating while walking or while waiting for a bus, taxi, whatever. Then I thought back on living in Turkey, and yes people there eat a dry pretzel-esque bread, but they usually sit down for its consumption. In the meydan, or on a bench. You didn’t really see people eating while waiting for the dolmush or bus. In Spain, same thing. The only thing people seemed to eat on the go were sunflower seeds, and usually that would have to do with Processions or botellones. If people got food to go you’d see them sitting in a park with a cerveza and then enjoying of their food. Switzerland, same thing. Very little of the food being enjoyed while in transit.

The more I thought about it, the stranger it started to seem to me that the natives here are always with the constant bread eating. Then I started to think about reasons why they may be found all day, all night, with little rohliky (Czech bread rolls) in their hands. I mean, it’s not very sanitary is it? Personally, I don’t put my hands anywhere near a mucus membrane after being on a tram (or metro). It’s dirty, people cough all over the place and I haven’t gotten over the surprise of finding out we had a Hepatitis outbreak in Prague that supposedly originated on tramvajs. Yuckadoo. Yet, there you find them: Bread in hand, hand to mouth, hand to bread, hand on tram. Eeeeesh.

So why this incessant eating of bread? Is it because this is a vampire city and so people constantly need to replenish the energy that’s depleted from a few hours out and about? Does this relate back to Communism in some mysterious way? Why the bread? I seriously have no clue.

All I know is that it is really bizarre and I hope by the time we eventually leave here I will have some answers on this native Czech behaviour. Until then, I will have to settle for being weirded and grossed out by it.


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