Posted by: Chelsea Novak | November 16, 2002

A discovery in Letnany

M and I decided to break with tradition and do our Saturday shopping somewhere else today. We usually head to the Delvita in Pankrac (for the non-Czech speaking audience: pronounced Pancrats)to get most of what we need, knowing that the selection isn’t excatly what we need it to be, but it has parking and is an easy drive from our place. Today we decided to give the shopping center at Letnany (Letneany) a shot. We had no idea what was out there, save a Tesco, and we can pretty much always get everything we need there. Why don’t we shop there all the time? There’s one in the center where I do a lot of the weekly pick up shopping and one across the river in Zlicin (Zlichine) near the Ikea. This is what we refer to as Super-Tesco as it’s size is beyond what any reasonable store should be. So much so that shopping there is a little like having a slow and painful panic attack. Also, since the floods driving across the river is more adventure than we’re up for on our day off.

So, we head north east to Letnany. A little bit of river crossing, but always on the main highway. The route there is pleasant and direct. Sadly, we couldn’t see much of the way there because of the blanket of fog that has been laid down upon the city. If fact when we got there all we could really see was a lot of fog. As we got closer we could discern that it was more than a Tesco, it was a mall. A big new shiny mall, with what has to be the biggest Tesco I can imagne. I’ve deciced to call it UberTesco.

I wasn’t really in the mood for the mall, but I’m always intrigued to see how these things are coming up in this country. The place was packed, which made me wonder. Every time I’m in a mall in Prague; Hostivar (Hostevarj), Andel (Andiel) or Letnany it’s always packed, as is downtown, so I have to wonder where did all these people go before the malls were there? I haven’t seen a scourge of businesses going under, so what’s the deal? Sudden population boom?

Anyway, we checked it out and it had all the usual stores. I did a little Christmas shopping, got to work my way through some crowds with my elbows and got to enjoy a very well lit mall. “A well lit mall?” you ask. M noticed it really. The lighting wasn’t flourencent, in fact most of it was trying it’s darndest to make you feel like it was natural light. Makes a difference too. The mall had all the usual mall things, and pretty much all the places I shop in Prague were represented there, which made me quite happy. I really have hated how I could never get my week’s shopping done all at once… but here it’s all possible. All of the groceries we use are sold there, we can get Zeus’ cat food, there’s a chemists’ for medication, a Sephora for my make-up binges and possibly the best food court I’ve ever seen (more on that later). Sadly, the crowds are way too much, so I’ll have to reserve my megashopping to ood times of day.

I do love shopping, don’t get me wrong. And I’d rather do all my shopping in the center and not in the mall, but I can’t fight the convience of it all. They make it so easy. I never used to be a mall person until I started working at one. Even when I came to Prague I didn’t set foot in one for months at a time. But now, becuase I’m so busy and can’t leisurely shop like I used to, the mall is my friend. It’s been my friend for several years. In fact, I’ve always had a sixth sense when it comes to a mall. I can whip through them at great speed, finding great deals as I go. Everyone needs a superpower I guess.

Tesco was a mad house with everyone stocking up supplies for next week. Traffic is going to be a nightmare, so people aren’t going to want to head out shopping during what may become rioting. There’s been a lot of crisis grocery shopping this year. I guess I finally had to get caught up in some. Unless, of course, that’s what the Letnany Tesco is like every Saturday… Yikes!

So, the food court. There is a MacDonalds in the mall, and a pizzeria or two, but the best feature of it is the international food court. Indian (maly Mahal, so cute) Thai, Korean/Japanese, a French creperie, Chinese and a coffee place that is going to face a huge copywright lawsuit whenever Starbucks finally rolls into the Czech Republic. The food is fresh, cheap and yummy. I had some of the best sushi I’ve had in this country and for so much less than usual. The salmon was melting in my mouth. So good. The foodcourt works on a card system, so you charge up your card with money and use it at the various stalls. A very useful tool for impulse food buyers like me. Had I not had a finite amount of credit on the card, I’m sure I would have put down piles o’ crowns for more sushi than I needed. The cool thing about the card is that once you’ve put credit on the card it’s valid for 15 days from the last time you’ve used it. We used up all of our credit, but it’s a smart way to encourage return visitors.

The only thing missing from the centre is an arcade. A non-smoking arcade. My favourite one, located 10 mintues from my home, moved into the Novy Smichov centre in Andel and now allows people to smoke in there. Gah. I love playing my pod racing game, but not so much that I’ll be willing to inhale nasty Czech cigarettes for it. But add one on to Letnany and I’m game for a bite to eat in the food court, a movie at the multiplex and a good trashing of the Empire afterwards. I can now get my fill of North America without the 9 hour flight. The first thing I said to M when we walked into the place “so tell me again why we need to move back to Canada?” Oh yeah… cable.

HRH

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