Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Piccies

Hi all

Well I promised some more piccies of the little one, so here they are. Mum has just left and we had a great time with her here. Its amazing that sooo long after having to nurse me and my sister that the old lady still has it. With in 5 minutes of arriving mum had managed to get about 25l of gas out of the Olivka which Michaela and I were having all sorts of issues with.

So here they are












Thursday, August 27, 2009

Olivia Michaela Gates born 26 August 2009

Hi guys

Just a quick post today until i have pictures etc to let you know that Olivia (Olivka) was born last night at 7:10pm and is now resting with her mum in hospital.

The male nurse was saying something like 'Arh cute little girl' and my fatherly instincts cut in immediately

I was thinking ..........................
'Don't you look at my daughter buddy unless you want me getting crazy on your arse'

Anyway i will post photos when I have some that are a little more PG rated

cheers

Gatesy aka Novy Tata aka New Dad

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not long now

So this weekend with only a few weeks to go we made a quick dash to Germany to pick up our pram/car seat/stroller etc etc that we had ordered some months ago. The new little Skoda Roomster is a driving treat compared to the Opel Agila we had borrowed off the in-laws while we saved for a car, and at 140-150km/h (remember we were in Germany) still only needs about 7.5L/100km which I think is pretty good.

Anyway picked up the goodies (car packed to the roof :)) and returned to the in-laws to drop it all off. Apparently it is bad luck to have a pram in your apartment before the baby is born in this country so it all stays in Zalany until d-day. We made an in promptu visit to some of my friends playing cricket in Dresden and next thing I know I am padded up and batting as they were one player short. Made 5 magnificent runs before the cover drive failed me AGAIN and we then ducked off home again.

I will let everyone know ASAP when the little one joins us

Friday, July 24, 2009

Is the Czech Republic fighting terrorism or just hungry

Hey all

Well recently I was down in the garden of the FIL when I stumbled across a crop of poppy plants. "Hmmmm these look like the poppy plants you always see in Afghanistan documentaries about the Taliban heroin production". After some inconspicuous questioning of the in laws "You're all F***ing drugo's aren't you!!!!!!!!" I realised that it's grown for cooking purposes although I swear I heard something about medicinal purposes in there somewhere :)

Anyway, the result of my research is that it is indeed the same plant that heroin is extracted from except the difference between the nasty drug and a tasty cake topping is where on the plant you get the goodies and how long it’s grown for. Heroin is extracted from the sap of the young plants and the poppy seeds are extracted after the bulbs are fully ripe and left to dry. They are then shaken out of the bulbs.

Some more research told me that it is possible to return a positive return for opiates after eating poppy seed cake or 2 poppy seed bagels. The result of this revelation is that the US lifted their drug test thresholds to take into account poppy seed cake :)

It also is interesting to know that the CR is the world’s largest producer of poppy seed. Now if they spent more time and effort producing drugs, they could flood the market with cheap heroin reducing demand and dropping the price .................. hence reducing the cash inflow for the Taliban. Hahaha the humble mujahedeen gets taken down by basic supply and demand of the global market.

Another interesting thought is that after eating an entire poppy seed cake it looks like you're eaten an entire ant colony when you drop the kids off the next day (shock)

Also I will post some updated pictures of the garden and you can appreciate the amount of potatoes i will have to pick (shit not looking forward to that)



Cau for now

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pregnancy Photos

Here are pics from a horrendous photo session. Thought it would take 20-30 minutes ............... WRONG



The results are ok though

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Is hell freezing over???????

FINALLY

After more then a year in this country I am finally about to 'wet a line' this weekend with the uncle in law. He has a private dam on his property which has carp so i am hoping to get in there and land a couple. I will keep you posted on the progress. I secretly suspect we will catch nothing but I AM STILL EXCITED

Will update more soon, like do you know the effort the Czech Republic goes to tackle terrorism? I will tell you how soon

cheers

Gatesy

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tropical Prague?

As some of you may be aware, some regions of the Czech Republic are in a state of emergency due to floods. I never thought I’d say Prague would ever feel like a tropical destination but with 27-28 degree days and 90% humidity it is pretty muggy. We are having hot humid sunny days but then at about 3 or 4pm the massive storm clouds roll in and we get lashed by severe thunderstorms for the next 4 hours. I need a machette to get through our lawn at the moment because I am convinced an electric lawn mower and wet grass do not mix LOL

Now I know none of you non Europeans think this is nasty or anything out of the norm but I now want you re think your opinion after I give you one more piece of information ………….. Ready for it????

It seems a large majority of Czech men think using deodorant is taboo. Now consider being packed onto a metro like a sardine at the end of a hot and humid day and being crushed up against 3 blokes all holding the over head hand rail and none of them have deodorant.



Dead set fellas bad BO does not make you a sex god!



Bad BO does not make the chicks want your seed!



Bad BO does not help the Aussie bloke keep his lunch down!

To give you some kind of idea what its like imagine leaving some seafood out in the sun for 2 days, can you picture that? Now times that by 10, still got it? Now double that and add some - hahahaha

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Different Perspective

Hello all

I recently changed jobs and I have just finished the induction process to make me feel like a valued member of the 500,000 staff. I am not just a number, I am a valued member :D

Anyway as part of the process I had the pleasure of sitting in a room with a lovely Englishman (lets call him Barry) as he took us through the all the standard induction stuff. You know what I am talking about, as its the same everywhere

1. Do not download hardcore pornographic material on the company laptop
2. Do not use hard drugs on the premises
3. Do not slap the bosses wife on the arse at the xmas party

As part of the process we were discussing the difference in cultures as there are 65 different nationalities in the office and we got onto the topic of the terrible customer service normally encountered in this country when Barry asked me a question

"When you go to the pub in England or Australia, how does it work?"

I answered
1. I walk in
2. I go to the bar and order my beer
3. I get my beer and immediately pay
4. I carry my own beer to the table and drink it
5. I go back to the bar and order another one

He then asked me what happens in the Czech Republic and I realised
1. I walk in and sit down
2. The waiter comes over and takes the order for the beer
3. He returns with my beer
4. He takes my order for another beer
5. He then brings it over as well
6. I pay as I leave

Barry then asked me 'Do i still think the service is crappy in the Czech Republic?'

Obviously the answer is YES but it certainly makes you think doesn't it. As Barry explained it all comes down to the expectations. I don't expect it to take 15 minutes for the beer to arrive and then have the waiter BEG for tips. Anyway food for thought

Until next time

Monday, May 25, 2009

So I am mobile again

Hello avid readers

Finally after almost a year of no bicycle I have acquired a new chariot to take me around town. It helps that my lovely wife teaches english at a bike manufacturer, and that one of the students is the Czech beach CEO. This allowed a little discount to come our way.

Now, after all my talk about the 'scary' Czech roads you'll be pleased to know that the cyclists apparrently knew this and have successfully lobbied govt for a good cycle way system. As a result I can ride from my work to home, a distance of about 17km and only have to ride on the road for about 700m of the journey (and thats through a small hick village). The rest of the way is designated cycle way and simply a pleasure to ride on.

For me to get to or from work takes about 55 minutes on crowded metros but on the bike it takes about 55 minutes in scenic valleys, past childrens play areas and of course through the small hick village.

How's the serenity

A few of my footy mates also have bikes and we are now in the early stages of organising a nice ride to Karlstejn Castle. Its about 32km each way and we are looking to do this shortly. Should be fun.
I am hoping that I will be able to ride from work a few times a week to maintain the limited fitness levels and enjoy the warmer months

Until next time

Gatesy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life on the land

In 2 respects, firstly because I feel i live 2,000 light years from salt water and also because Tonda (FIL) has a little paddock where he grows the family vegies etc. Sure I call it a small paddock but it big enough that you need a tractor. As an aside, with all these tractors and heavy farm equipment laying around it comes as no surprise to me that Czech and Hungarian women are sooo damn good at the hammer throw. Some of them damn well have forearms bigger then my thighs - hahahaha

Anyway since I can't speak bugger all Czech I have turned to farming to assist in developing a relationship with the father in law. He says "dig" and I ask "how deep?"No no thats a lie but i have been assisting in planting all the tomato's, potatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, pumpkin as well as feeding the rabbits. Oh did i mention the potatoes? Last August Michaela, myself, Tonda (brother in law) and Eliska (sister in law) had to pick these potatoes and it was REALLY REALLY fun ....................... for the first 50 kg's. After 4 hours and 950kg of potatoes later I was a little over it. This year I have a problem!!!! Michaela and Eliska are both pregnant and will be unable to assist in this task so it seems Tonda and I will have 8 hours of potato picking. Tonda senior doesn't see the problem but perhaps thats because he will be driving the tractor, probably sitting back sipping on a pina colada with straws and an umbrella in it...........GRRRRRRRRR.

I know I sound like an old woman blabbering on about this stuff but in actual fact it is really fun and quite relaxing. Tonda (FIL) and I normally take a few hours to feed the rabbits, chooks and pigeons (they are a disgusting animal) while the ladies go for a walk then we sit back with a beer attempt to have a chat, which basically means we sit in silence staring at each other with the occassional manly head nod and a deep gutteral grunt.. MALE BONDING AT ITS BEST.

So i will endevour to keep you all up to date with my gardening/farming prowess. As an addition to this i am pleased to announce that Michaela and I are the very proud owners of the best weed garden in our apartment complex - Who says my thumbs aren't green

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ultra sound video

Well since the video is too large for me to forward around to people who might want to see i will try and post it here
video

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who says ice hockey is only for winter?


I know you've heard this before but really it is soooo much fun to play. I took a day off work on Tuesday and headed to a town called Slany (translation = Salty) to play hockey with the airline mechanics from Czech Airlines. They get all angry when i call them mechanics instead of aeronautical engineers but i call a spade a spade.


Lets me assure you there is a significant difference between 5 on 5 hockey on a full size rink and the tiny rink i usually play on. After going one end to another 4 times you are buggered and HAVE to sub off.


The mate i played with, lets call him Greg, is a terrible skater but after 20 years of field hockey experience he had great stick skills. If we could combine my skating and his stick skills be would be 1/2 OK. But as it stands we were rubbish.


After 1.5 hours of hockey you're totally stuffed and ready to get off the ice. We had a great time

The tourist are here, its time to make some money

This was what I experienced on the weekend when I took a friend to a favored drinking hole last Friday. My friend, lets call him Tom, made the journey with a few friends to Prague and I agreed to meet up and have a quiet beer. I took him to a nice beer hall near the tourist centre of town and we all sat down for a beer and a meal.


We enjoyed a nice meal and experienced the standard Czech Republic non existent service. When we asked for the bill the waiter came over and explained the total food and beer cost 1,800 ck (about $20 each for a meal and beers) and then he told us we HAD to pay him 300ck on top for his service.

Obviously this guy did not realise I am a 'local' (perhaps 'resident' is a better word) because I quickly explained when he left that this is not standard and under no circumstances do you have to pay a tip if you're not happy with the service (what service?). If the guy had shut up and just given us the bill we would have left 2000ck as it’s a nice easy round number, but because he demanded we decided this guy can get stuffed so we left 100ck. We then got treated to a magnificent performance as he came over and counted the cash in front of us and then started BEGGING for more money.

"PLEASE PLEASE I MUST HAVE MORE, OH PLEASE. OH THE HUMANITY!!! HOW WILL I LIVE"


I was outraged and we asked him to explain the situation? Does he get no wage or what? He refused to answer and said don't worry about it then.

So it made me wonder, how could this guy embarrass himself like that so publicly? Then it clicked! Light bulb! He assumes we were tourists and he'd never see us again so he didn't care and if it works on 1/2 the tables then he ends up with a very comfortable living in Prague. After this moment of insight, I had conflicting thoughts.
1. This man is an entrepreneur and making the most of the situation granted to him
2. What a dickhead, and if my glass wasn't full of precious beer I would have thrown it at him (mmmmmm precious beer)

Enough of that. Since then I have told all my Czech friends about this (yep both of them) and they were all outraged and embarrassed that this happened in their town.

Moral: None but just be careful of dickheads trying to fleece you in tourist hubs

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Simply the Best

For Milada's (mother in laws) birthday we bought her a ticket to go and see Tina Turner in Prague. Obviously we bought tickets for ourselves while we were at it. So last Monday was concert night and she was amazing. Maybe the best concert I have ever been too, maybe!. She still had a booming voice and all her trademark little dances and shimmy's. The average age of the people in the audience was about 25-30 and the place was rocking. On top of this she did almost 2.5 hours of performing, broken into 2 hour and a bit sessions with a 1/2 hour break in the middle

What was very interesting about the concert was she made no attempts to speak in Czech, not even a token 'Hello Prague'. I was wondering how this would be received but the crowd understood a lot. What was amusing was that there were normally 2 lots of laughter. The first lot from the people who can understand english (40% of the crowd) and then a smaller laugh from those who had it translated to them by friends and family.


We had a great time and It amazing the crowd pulling power a 70 year old lady can have. Super stuff and we all had a great time except for Tonda who found the seats very uncomfortable to sleep in

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ITS GOING TO BE A GIRL

So we had our ultra sound the other day and have found out that the little menace currently growing in Michaela's belly is a girl. I was soooo angry when Michaela told me because (wait for it) I have deliberately learnt the czech word for daughter (dcera) and son (syn) as well as man (muz) and woman (zena). But then the gynacologist used 'holka'. Buggered if i knew what that was GRRRRRRR. Turns out holka means girl.

So apart from my mild aggravation of not understanding the 'Czech only' speaking doctor we are thrilled. I went to work and at lunch i went to a toy store to check out the female part of the toy store. I always go and check out the boy part of the toy stores, not because i want a boy, but because i wonder what cool toys there are for me to play with. Man those new transformer toys looks like fun. I wonder what Michaela would think if she found a couple of them stuffed under my half of the bed???????????? That would be an interesting survey into female responses
Anyway, after some research, i was blown away to discover that 'My Little Pony' seems to be hugely popular over here. I swear my sister had these when i was 4 (now 28 in case you weren't sure). Surely they have not made a come back! But then i realised if flares, mullet hairstyles and transformers can come back then why can't a small plastic purple pony?????.

After that i went to the firearm store to learn about the Czech regulations in respect to me owning a BIG FU*K OFF ASSAULT WEAPON to keep teenage boys away from my house (when the time comes). Let me assure you it's easier to get your hands on a kalashnakov in this country then it is in Australia.

No w we need a name, let me assure you there is no way I can accept a Czech name like Bohumira. That just wouldn't be good enough. But how about Jordan Investi Gates????? HAHAHAHA There is so much fun to be had with my last name. So many laughs!!!!!!!
By the way the Oven and the bun are both doing well

Until next time

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Czech Hockey Final Series Ticket

Well as you may have discovered with some of my posts. I have good Czech Republic days and BAD Czech Republic days.

Well today i am pleased to say I am having a great Czech Republic day. Today I bought 5 tickets, for me and 4 friends, to go and see the 3rd game (first home game) of the Czech Extraliga Final Series between my local team Slavia Praha and Karlovy Vary. The price was $80 AUD for the 5. Thats makes $16 a ticket with my maths and I reckon thats a bargain.

Sure it costs $1,000,000 and my left testicle to fish in this country but the hockey games are reasonably priced :D

Wohoo can't wait

The Pig Kill

OK Guys here it is. Sorry for the delay but I have realised that this will have to be a multipart thread. I haven’t written too much as I was planning for it to be more of an pictorial then written text. PLEASE CHECK YOUR HAPPY WITH THE CONTENT BEFORE LETTING YOUR KIDS SEE THIS

WELL WHAT AN EXPERIENCE
I have seen animals killed for fun or for veterinary reasons but this was the first real time I had seen an animal ‘butchered’ that wasn’t a fish. How can I start? How about ‘It was a nice cold December morning and I was struggling with a head cold’.

We started at about 8am with Tonda (father in law - FIL), Tonda (grand father in law - GFIL) and Jindra (Uncle in law - UIL). Tonda (brother in law) was suspiciously absent from proceedings as he doesn’t quite subscribe to the pig kill philosophy althought he enjoys pork.

I remember thinking “how the hell are we going to kill a 160kg pig?” Fell it was a fairly simple procedure and it was all over very quickly for the pig. A ‘slip knot’ rope was attached over the pigs snout which caused the pig the immediately sit on its haunches like a statue and start squealing like a pig (I now know where this phrase comes from). Tonda (FIL) quickly rushed in while the pig was paralysed by this rope, pressed a bolt gun against the animal’s forehead and flicked the trigger. This caused a 10cm bolt to fire from the end of the gun straight into the pig’s brain. The end result was one dead pig. As I said, it was a very quick and humane process.

Jindra and I then quickly dragged the pig onto the grass and the pig’s throat was stabbed where the vein was and all the blood was drained from the body into a bucket. While this was happening Tonda (GFIL) was stirring the blood with his hand. I am not really sure what this was for but I am guessing to stop the blood from congealing and going solid. It was later used in blood sausages (not my favourite).

Once this was over we covered the pig in sap powder and then started pouring boiling water on it. This softened up the hair and allowed us to shave the animal was fairly crude looking metal cups. It took about 1hr to do this and once we had done the pig the remaining hairs were burnt off with a blow torch so the pig’s skin was smooth like a baby’s bottom.

We then all struggled to hoist the animal up onto a tripod so Tonda (FIL) could start the butchering process. From my view the only part of the pig that was wasted was the hair and the penis. Everything else was used. EVERYTHING

The guts were emptied and used to make sausages and port terrene. The fat was boiled down to make a cooking fat/bread spread. The skins and the other organs all went into the sausage with equal parts of garlic. As a result I can admit the taste was quite nice but I couldn’t get past the fact all the organs, skins and brain was in there so as a result I tried everything but won’t be going back for seconds.

All the offcuts and pieces of fat that missed the sausages and cooking oil went through the grinder to make mince. Its nice mince if you’re ok with mince that’s 50% fat and 50% meat.

The rest of the animals was cut into ribs and fillets and pieces of meat perfect for schnitzel (spelt ‘rizek’ in Czech) and roasts etc. Yum Yum.

I am pleased to admit I was actively involved in the entire process and I think 20 years of killing, bleeding and filleting fish put me in really good stead to handle everything I saw without needing to ‘drive the porcelain bus’ as some of it was pretty gross. Cleaning ‘waste’ out of 40m of animals intestine so you can then refill it with sausage meat to later eat was one memory that certainly sticks out.

I think my favourite part was when we prepared the meat for the smoking and then tasted the reward. I have never had meat STRAIGHT from a smoker but it was absolutely delight ful. Even the fat in the meat was yummy and had a mouth watering smoky taste. Mmmmmm hog fat.

Anyway the entire process took almost 2 days but was quite fun. I will say I needed a weekend to recover when it was all over.