|<img src="http://126.96.36.199/assets/users/dougiegyro/default/gallery-1083369060-msg-16821-2.JPG" alt="Workers prepare to raise the European Union flag for the first time over Prague's Old Town Square."||The party celebrating Czech membership in the European Union was pretty nice, and what follows are a few flashes of my memories of the night. These pictures are from my Buzznet photoblog.
The fireworks from Letna plain were spectacular, and the atmosphere on the Old Town Square was surprisingly mellow, given that much of the crowd were hockey fans in town for the World Cup.
A Spanish TV crew walked around the Old Town Square, trying to ask if any of the crowd were Czech. “Vy jste ČeskÃ½?” the reporter asked. Nobody he asked was Czech. So he settled on a group of three young and beautiful British girls and asked them their thoughts on EU enlargement.
I saw Pavel Telička, the newly-confirmed EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs. He was chatting with a guy in a hockey jersey and with another bodyguard-looking guy, trying to ignore a drunk who was teetering dangerously close. At the end the drunk guy fell down and threw up.
There were a few moments where I thought things could get ugly because of the various hockey fans, who chanted their various national slogans. Loudest were the Slovaks, followed by the Latvians.
I don’t think I’ll ever find another country that loves lip-syncing more than the Czech Republic. And that’s saying a lot from a guy whose country gave you the Britney Spears Onyx Hotel tour. On the stage at the old town square, you could tell crystal-clearly that everything was lip-synced. As a group of dancers came out to back up Petr Kotwald, one Czech standing next to me said, “jeeeee, uÅ¾ jsme v Mumulandu! (Heeeeay, we’re in Mumuland!).”
I didn’t know whether I should celebrate with a shot of alcohol or a big cup of coffee, because I know that the years to come will mean a lot of hard work.