Canaries and Sealions…Czech it out !

Man, it has been a long time since I last blogged. I think I have had bloggers block or maybe I am just not cut out for blogging. Seriously, if someone asks me a question I can talk for England to Olympic standard. Really, any question, doesn’t even have to be something I know anyting about. But, faced with a blank blog post and an imaginary audience, I am really pushed to string two words together.
Anyhow, aside from failing to blog I have been up to my ass in Project Alligator and travelling a lot. I spent two weeks on Grand Canaria with no computer and no phone. I sat by the pool or on the beach and read 4.5 novels. Blissful. My holiday adventure was to take my whole family swimming with sealions. My two year old son has been obsessed with sealions ever since he saw a sealion show at Whipsnade Zoo and as Grand Canaria has a centre where they train sea lions for zoos all over the world it was too good an opportunity to miss.
I know people rave about swimming with dolphins, and I have never done that so I can’t compare the two, but I have to say that swimming with sealions is amazing. The first thing I found out about about the sealions we met was that they were not the Californian sealions I was expecting. They were Patagonian sealions. These guys grow up to 8.5 feet tall and weigh in at over 650 lb. The second thing I learned is that the sealion is actually a bear (or a member of the bear family) and when one stands up in the water next to you, you don’t doubt it for a second. Thirdly, as one of the sealions demonstrated, they are amazingly strong and agile on land (unlike seals). Buzby, the sealion in question, was able to lift his whole 600 lb weight into the air on a single front flipper (effectively doing a one-handed handstand) with amazing ease. Lastly, they are, if well treated, gentle, playful, good natured and friendly.
I have also been to Prague for two days out of each of the last 5 weeks. Part of my project has been sub-contracted to a development team out in Prague so I have been oiling the wheels of integration. Still, they are a great bunch of people so it has not been a chore at all.
Prague is a great city. If you ever have an evening to kill there I can really recommend Ambiente which is at Celetna 11 just off the old town square. There are several Ambiente restaurants in Prague but this is my favourite and it is as good an Italian restautant as I have been to anywhere in the world. It looks like a tiny doorway at street level but don’t be put off. The passage beyond leads you to staircases that take you down into catacombs that must be as old as the city itself and these have been stylishly brought to life as a first class restaurant. This restaurant is very popular so book in advance if you can. If not the excellent staff will always try to find a way to squeeze you in.
Once you are done there, wander round the corner to the Ungelt. This is the area behind the medieval church and its name means tax. This was where all goods sold in medieval Prague had to be brought to be taxed. Like the worlds oldest bonded warehouse. Anyway, yet more catacombs hold the Ungelt Jazz & Blues Club which is open every night from 8pm til midnight. The band generally goes on about 9pm and it is absolutely fantastic. Tiny, cramped, silghtly wierd…but fantastic. The sign outside the toilets reads “Big funny toilets”. They aren’t big or funny. Those crazy Czechs !
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