Thursday, November 27, 2008

An encounter with the Czech 'Policie'

Well tonight due to a late dinner with a friend from out of town I was forced to drive to the floorball rather than the reliable public transport. I plugged the closest metro station into the GPS (which is about 100m from the floor ball place) and headed off. I was 50m from the Metro station following the instructions from the GPS when I was pulled over by 2 Czech police walking down the street. As it turns out I was on a bus only road and was in BIG trouble (stupid GPS), I picked all that up from body language because sure as hell I didn’t have a clue what they were saying. They asked for my passport and I pulled out my Czech immigration books (looks like a passport only thinner and bright blue).
Here is the silly GPS that caused all my trouble
And the little blue ID book, which is a pain to carry around

They examined it then asked for a driver license so I tentatively pulled out my Australian NSW drivers license and handed it over. All was fine but then came the bad news. The offence normally carries a 2 demerit point penalty and a 2000CZK ($160 AUD) fine, but wait for it, ‘I got a special deal’. Tonight no points, no booked fine but I have to pay 1000CZK cash on the spot …………. hhmmmmmmmm………….is this my first taste of blatant Czech corruption????????

I politely let them know I only had 400CZK in my wallet so they told me, again through body language which kind of looked like the terrorist in ‘Team America: World Police’ (check out to see what I'm talking about), to go and find an ATM to withdraw the cash. What the hell was happening here? I was thinking it must be corruption, yet after I handed over the cash and they gave me my license and ID back they proceeded to write out a receipt. Were they tax conscious corrupt police?, were they collecting VAT/GST on this? I had no idea there was such a thing of corrupt police that kept records, hahahahaha.
Receipts for my CRIMES

Anyway with that done I jumped back in the car and went to floor ball where I managed to be the 5th wheel on whichever team I played for. I really felt like some of them needed a good hip and shoulder but I refrained.

Good thing there is no photo of me because I am terrible

Following floor ball I set the GPS for home and took off still wearing shorts and a t-shirt and got into a huge traffic jam with the assistance of the GPS (stupid good for nothing piece of ****). The traffic jam, as it turned out, was the police again but this time doing massive car searches. It seems every single car on one of Prague busiest street was being pulled over by a swarm of cops and searched (every part of the car was being examined) but luckily me and one car in front of me got through. I did not see another car get through without being pulled over.

Hmmmmm, it was an interesting evening, which could have turned into a catastrophe if I hadn’t been carrying my Czech ID. I have only been carrying it for the last 3 days

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter in Prague

Well it seems 'There must be an Angel’ and it was playing with my heart.

Because tonight I came home from perhaps 1 or 10 drinks with my lovely wife in the city and found an angel talking to me in the garden.

Yep that’s right folks , the spanner has tightened and the nuts are nice and tight because it is Coldsville in Prague at the moment as the mercury has dropped savagely below ZERO and the snow has started to fall.

Yesterday it was THIS


Today it is THIS

I had my first driving experience in the snow today after indoor cricket training where i faced the bowling machine at 85mph (damn thats a scary experience). Driving in the snow on the way home was interesting and let's just say the right foot got a really good lesson in brake sensitivity as the different between safe driving and 'lockup into the guard rail' is about ½ ounce of brake pedal pressure. So lets just say I was loving it. And remember I am in the car with the ZERO crumple zone.

Here are some photos of tonight’s snow fall. The first 2 are the garden with the snopw every where and the last one is the apartment complex drive way and boom gate with the snow covering it. Good times

Driving in the Czech Republic

URGGHHHHHHH where do I start???????
I will start with a scary statistic from the first 10 days of August but remember that August is summer and there is no ice on the roads. In the first 10 days of August 31 people died on Czech roads, which is a pretty terrifying statistic. It is a well known fact over here that Czech Republic has one of the worst driving records for fatalities every year of all European countries per capita.
From my personal experiences I have decided that most Czech people drive on the roads the same way that I drive on an Xbox……………..flat out with not a care in world. Unfortunately on the Xbox when you hit the road barrier at 300km/h you hit the ‘start’ button, scroll down to restart and begin again.

Just the other month Michaela and I were driving to her parents place about 90km from Prague and we had some idiot cross onto our side of the road in order to overtake someone. We were at the time in an overtaking lane and had almost passed a large truck so there was nowhere for us to go. The other driver realized at the last moment that there was in fact someone on the road in front of him and made a corrective move. There must have been centimeters in it. After I finished emptying my arse contents into my undies I got really angry and wanted to do a U-turn, chase the dirty MOFO and hit him with a tyre iron but I quickly realized that the massive horsepower of the 1.3L Opel Agila may not be up to the task of chasing down the large BMW.

I guess the scariest thing about the driving over here is that we are driving around in a car which has the structural integrity of an empty coke can, and that may in fact be a little harsh on the coke can.

The speed limit on the freeways is 130km/h but the almost ZERO visible police on those roads allows plenty of people to sit on 160+km/h without fear of recriminations. Once again I am restricted here by MASSIVE horsepower of the 1.3L engine – hahahahaha. On top of this the freeways in this country are very good and such speeds are easily doable if your car can take it.

Oh one other strange thing (well perhaps just different to Australia) is that if you have a crash over here you cannot move the car (even an inch) until the cops arrive so they can do a report for the insurance companies. This causes massive holdups on main roads even when someone only lightly bumps someone else in the rear. I understand the reasoning is to stop fraud but when there is already corruption in the police aren’t you just replacing apples with apples. HAHAHAHA I love it.

Oh one other thing, despite the horn on the tram sounding like a really friendly “hi” it actually means “GET THE PHUQ OUT OF THE WAY”. Stay out of the way of the trams because in battle of tram vs car the tram always wins
Until next time this is Gatesy signing off and preparing to drive to cricket training in a BLIZZARD

Monday, November 17, 2008

Czech police checks WTF

UPDATE: tonight on the news 17/11/08 there was footage of a riot near Michaela's home. The gypsies vs the NeoNazis and the riot police came in and subdued the battle with the help of water cannon trucks. And here i was thinking the riot police were an overkill

I have been noticing more and more often that Czech police prepare for the worst when they have to attends events.

We went to a Extraliga Hockey game a couple of years back and in between the 2 supporting groups were about 50 heavy armoured riot police. What the hell happens in the hockey games i thought. There were only about 1,500 people there and they need riot police.

Well on the weekend we had a nice pub dinner then went to a nasty little joint to play darts and pool. After a few cleansing RUM & COKES i noticed about 20-25 massive blokes walk into the bar. They were the locals cops and they were all wearing black miltary attire and they had come to maintain the peace. Once again there were only 50 people in the bar. They were big serious blokes who were not pleased about some stupid drunk aussie pestering them in some foreign about having his photo taken with them. HAHAHAHA got to love the drunk aussie. Anyway we found one who was more open to the idea. I thought it was quite appropriate i was wearing my 'DON'T HASSLE THE HOFF' t-shirt at the time
I wonder what other experiences i will have with the Czech Policie in the future, but i sure hope it doesn't involve the riot police

Oh look there is an Australian! I wanna see the Australian too

Sure it is to be expected in all large tourist centres throughout the world that everyone has seen an aussie but it SOOOOOO different in the smaller civilian areas. In these places the aussie is a drawcard and i seem to be finding it more and more often. Let me demonstrate

The other days we went to visit the in-laws and Michaela (my lovely wife) went to see a friend but I remained at her parents so i could get loaded with them and play cards. Anyway about a 1/2 hour later i get the call from the wife telling me that her friends had brought a group of there friends over as well to meet the 'aussie' and they had tried to cook aussie meals and learnt how to say G'DAY. Arh well TOO BAD as i was already loaded with her parents :).

Then on the weekend just past we went to a town in south east Czech Republic called Kroměříž (took me 4 months to learn to pronounce it) where we stayed with czech friends we met on our honeymoon. Anyway one of them got a call from their parents telling them to 'bring the aussie over' to there place. She replied by telling her parents they can't speak english and the parents quickly replied "all we need to do is give him schnitzel and potato salad and we will be communicating just fine". So sure enough we visited and 5 minnutes later i left there house with 1kg of potato salad and 2 Schnitzel...............hahahahahaha classic stuff but I still couldn't understand a bloody word she was saying.

Anyway i wonder how much more i will have to deal with this pseudo celebrity???????

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winter Sports in the Czech Republic

Well it is getting to the time of year over here where the mercury drops and the spanner comes out to tighten up the nuts a little. The lack of metabolic action from the fish species makes fishing a NO GO especially if you don't have a warm pair of thermals a drill to get through the ice so it has to be inside sports. Saying that I have not exactly been overwhelmingly enthusiatic about catching carp. Sure they might go like the clappers when hooked but the week of burleying beforehand and the hours of non actions makes it quite unappealing.

So there is a very diverse and active indoor sports scene here in prague which is great especially with all the eye candy for the not so happily married blokes (which obviously counts me out :) isn't that right darling).

So tonight i made my first foray into the sports scene with a game of squash and lets just say after an hour of being run around the court by a fit irish blokes i was sweating like a peadofile in a kindergarten. A thoroughly great work out and i was stoked with the new racquet i purchased for my birthday which cost 450...............crowns (so about AUD$30) so I say the price is right.

Tomorrow i head off for cold beers, smoked sausage and a evening around the ice rink watching the Brother in law play in prague for his second division hockey side. I am starting to believe that perhaps beer and sausages should also be called an indoor sport.

On thursday i will be trying my hand at a sport called Floorball which is a super super fast paced game similar to ice hockey but it is played running instead of skating. Yep i don't think i'll be up for it either but i will try my very best. When it comes to my physical fitness i always say "YOU CAN'T POLISH A TURD" which i believe sums up my physical prowess. Anyway i will keep you all informed about my skill, or lack there off.

Until next this is Gatesy signing out