February 19, 2006

The film Hostel

Yesterday I watched Hostel, a film presented by my favourite film maker Quentin Tarrantino. I expected something as good as Sin City, Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction, but Hostel really disappointed me.

If you don't know what Hostel is: it is about three young men (two of them Americans) who come to Slovakia, they get to know some girls there, then they are caught by some deviant people who torture them in an abandoned factory - only one of them survives. The whole film has a bit of horror atmosphere.

The film was created in the Czech Republic (where I live), exactly in Český Krumlov and Prague. For example the torture scenes come from Bohnice, a well-know madhouse in Prague (it is spectacular, I admit). The film's story occurs in Slovakia - it is our border country and further we were one country (Czechoslovakia), so we have much in common.

In my opinion, the biggest problem of the film is that it shows Slovakia and Europe in a way that is very far from reality. Corrupted policemen, groups of gipsys that steal everything and, especially, the cars - only old black Tatras and Volhas for the rich, and old Škodas and Žiguls for the poor, that's truly unreal. This is a picture of Romania or a country in Africa, not Slovakia. Slovakia is a normal country with a normal police, human rights, tourism, BMWs, Fiat and other normal car brands.

I am not nationalist and I think other people see us in a way that we present ourselves, so this is the way the Americans see us. I don't mind, I think nothing bad is in it, but - from a Tarrantino's film, I would expect deeper thoughts, less superficial view and much better description of the reality.

February 08, 2006

Freedom in the Czech Republic

Czech Republic is a very free country. I think far more free than the USA - my opinion is that in this country everybody talks about freedom, but the practice is different. In the Czech Republic:
  • You can smoke a joint almost everywhere you want. There is no strong repression against it, you don't have to be afraid that the cops will treat you like a criminal. Moreover, according to a research 50 % of Czechs have already tried marihuana in their lives. And I can say, based on my experience, that marihuana is very popular in our country. Even some very well-known people in Czech agree with it in public.
  • You can drink alcohol in teenage. Officialy, it is allowed from 18, but nobody cares. And so, we all have experience with alcohol since, say 15 - you can try it since the time when your parents let you go to a pub.
  • If you get drunk at 15, it is not a reason why the society should damn you. Most of the people know that it is a normal thing at this age. They rather laugh, they know you won't become an alcoholic because of it - they don't "solve it over".
  • We can drink Absinth, a very strong alcohol, which is forbidden in many countries.
  • We don't have any purists that dictate you what you should think and which scenes of a film can get to the TV or cinema.
  • We can wear any swimming trunks/swimsuit that we want. The "pants model" is not forbidden.
  • We can go to a balcony just in underwear. We can be sure that the neighbour won't call for police because we "endanger his children's morality".
  • Producers of microwave ovens in our country don't have to write to the instructions for the final user that cats shouldn't be dried in the oven. We all just know it, we are normal and we don't take them to the court for it.
These are some of the reasons why I like to live in the Czech Republic. We are not the richest country and not everything functions here as I would wish, but our country is free and there are no purists to persecute you.

February 06, 2006

Hunt for sales

I worked as a salesgirl in two big supermarkets to make some pocket money. I have been working there for more than 3 years (as a student there aren't many possibility how to earn some money). And I really hated Saturday mornings.

These days supermarkets offered discount for some goods (for your imagination a small example: a pound of chicken meat usual costs 129 crowns and with discount it's 109 crowns). Discounts are a standard way how to get more customers and it's normal all over the world. So why I hated these mornings?
  • The typical customer who buys goods in sale is pensioner. This is the only one and basic information.
  • These pensioners wake up very early. So they stand a half an hour before opening hour in front of the supermarkets.
  • We have many pensioners who wake up very early. So there is a huge queue in front of the entrance door to supermarket.
  • The pensioners queue there with their baskets, crates, bags and so on. And they're very nervous and restless when it's 8 o'clock and 1 minute and the entrace door is still closed.
  • They're are usually ill, they move very bad and slow. But after the entrance door in opened you see a big race. Everybody is going as fast as possible, somebody is running and many people shout and scream. It's really ridiculous to watch theese old people what they do to get cheaper meat.
  • They are more nervous and restless in the shop. I can say they're aggressive because they want their cheaper chicken.
  • These retirees buy everything what is in sale, even if they don't need it. But it's cheaper than usually so why not buy it.
  • It's a big hobby of Czech pensioners. They are capable to visit three or more supermarkets to get in one cheaper bread, in the next one cheaper apples and in the other one cheaper toothbrush.
  • The first topic between two pensioners is illness, the second sales in shops.
  • I had to serve these hunting retirees!
Do you see the reason why I hate theese mornings now? I hope so... :-)

There are many of normal pensioners in the Czech Republic but don't look for them at 8 o'clock in the morming in front of the supermarkets.

February 04, 2006

Snow, snow, snow...

In the Czech Republic, last three winters, including this one, were very hard. Today it started to snow again and I start to be desparate. :-) It looks like summer has no intention to get back - during last two summers there were no more than ten nice sunny days. Most of the time it was very cold. (Maybe I should tell you that in our country there are usually hot summers - suitable for swimming - and cold winters - suitable for skiing -.)

At these days I always believe a little bit more to global warming. It reminds me the film Day After Tomorrow from Roland Emmerich.

Czech Railway

I often travel by train. As a student I have a large discount, so it is the most advantageous means of transport. Moreover, I can work on my notebook in the train. But I feel very awkwardly, when I meet some foreigners there.

The reason for it is that everything on the railway is old, dirty and ugly:
  • The trains are usually 30 and more years old and they look each time that this journey is their last one,
  • the seats are uncomfortable and dirty,
  • in the compartments you are afraid to touch anything because it looks like you'll get scabies after it,
  • the railway buildings are usually ruined and there are homeless people asking for money or lying on the floor,
  • the trains' highest speeds are under 130 kmph, the speed trains are not possible on the old Russian rails,
  • the employees of the railway (especially the conductors) are rude and discourteous, they usually can't speak any foreign language.
The foreigners are always very surprised when they see this situation. Our country isn't the richest, but our railway looks like from the most immature country in Africa. Why is it so? People in our country don't know - probably the biggest problem is that the Czech Railway hasn't been denationalized yet. There is a lot of uneffectivness, big loss and no money for the imrovements.

For the start

Well, we start... This blog will be about Czech Republic, our thoughts, experiences, joys and problems. If you want to get to know something about us, have a look at the right sidebar.

We will also appreciate your comments for every spot you'll find here. Your feedback is very important for us, it is one of the reasons why we do this, so don't be afraid to write them. Now I won't impede you anymore, so enjoy this blog!