Communist Czech

 

 Yesterday Irene and I got to spend time with a couple of the hotel staff doing our meeting room set ups.  We had some “down time” and talked to the staff about what life was like under the communist regime.  Our CSM was 9 years old and the banquet manager was 10 years old when the iron curtain came down. 

Mikal and George - our CSM and Banquet Manager

Mikal and George - our CSM and Banquet Manager

 I asked Mikal and George what was the first thing that was the biggest difference – they immediately said they could travel out of country.  Unless you were a government official you couldn’t leave the republic with the exception of going to another communist country such as Poland.  Ok now let’s take a minute and REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS – for example imagine being born in the state of Georgia and living 20 years of your life only being able to go to South Carolina because that too is a communist state – but you can’t ever go to Florida.  Matter of fact you barely even know Florida exists other than every now and again hearing rumors of what the beautiful sandy beaches are like; the food etc but other than that you would know nothing more about it.  That was their first comment was how weird it was especially for their parents as they were born into communist times about all the sudden having this incredible freedom to go anywhere they wanted with out government restrictions.

 

Second – they did talk about the availability of different types of food.  They couldn’t import foods from free countries.  They only heard about bananas and citrus fruits here and didn’t actually see one until they became a free.  Speaking of food – my favorite subject – coupons.  Mikal and George was telling us how their food coupons would  come in the mail and they would have to go to the government grocery store to get their food rations. Many times they were out of the things they needed. The government didn’t supply the food to the stores.  So having availability to lots and the variety of  food has been a real treat once they become a democratic nation.  Going to school – everyone had to take Russian it was required. Under no circumstances could anyone take English let along teach it.  George told us both of his parents speak Russian very well.  

 

Speaking of Russian – the general session room of the hotel was the gymnasium when the Russian’s used the hotel as a training facility.  All the light fixtures from the hotels are originals and are more than 50+ years old. I don’t know why but I find them lovely.

 

Light fixture from hallway

Light fixture from hallway

 

Other misc. items – is that it is cherry season here in Czech Republic.  Cherry’s for me are a treat but they are grown here and many people have cherry tree’s in their  home gardens.  Irene and I went to the fruit market.  Right now in season here are cherry, apples and tomatoes.

Irene eating cherry's at the fruit market

Irene eating cherry's at the fruit market

 

Yesterday – Irene and I had a couple of meetings and then headed back into Old Town for lunch. It was pleasant and then we walked around the city some more. We stopped at an ice cream stand and got youghurt flavored gelato. This flavor is very popular here and is very good.  Other than that we spent a chunk of the day working.

 

That is my story for now and I am sticking to it.

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