Reality Czechs: Skiing at Červená voda

Reality Czechs: A wonderful weekend at Červená voda (Red Water).
It’s a new resort – only 1 fast quad seat chair with warmed seat,
but 2 beautiful 2 km runs.

Good snow but very, very cold. Yesterday the temperature was
-12C (the App said ‘seems like -19C’) on the first day. Today was
only -10C but it seemed colder.

And the best thing is it’s only a 2hr drive from Brno and no Hotham ridges or hairpins. Love it.


Reality Czechs: In the forest

OK. So we cancelled skiing because we thought it would have been too cold (the predicted temperature was -12C). But now we have a beautiful sunny weekend. There is a lot of snow around because the temperatures are still below freezing. So we went on a small walk in the forest (11k).

Now we are in Starobrno Brewery having velký pivo and pork ribs. Not a bad day.

Reality Czechs: Brno at play

It has been snowing and it is so cold, freezing cold. The dam is frozen so we went out to catch the action. The tram goes all the way out to the dam and it was packed with people carrying skates and other equipment.

It seems as though the whole of Brno was out. First you clear the snow and then you skate. hockey players, both young and old, were having a game, kids were being taught and cross country skiers were taking advantage of the snow.

Of course you bring a sled to carry all your equipment – and the keg of beer if you are truly into having fun. After all this is the Czech Republic.

Reality Czechs in Cuba: Fusterland

This is from our last morning in Havana and Cuba. We took a taxi to Fusterland. Cuban artist, Jose Fuster, pays homage to Gaudi and Picasso in developing this collection of mosaic statues and murals. Now all his neighbors have got into the act and decorated their roofs, fences, balconies and everything. Even when the houses are very basic they are a riot of colour. So symbolic of Cuba. So sorry to be going home.

Reality Czechs in Cuba: Back in Havana

Back in Havana for our last few days. Yesterday we paid for a tour of Old Havana but it was worth every peso. We gained much more than just information about the city. Wages in Cuba are between $US 15-25 per month. The goal is to increase this to $US300 per month to provide a comfortable living wage. A bottle of beer costs $US 2 so Cubans prefer rum – ‘more efficient’ apparently.

Workers pay no tax and have a monthly subsidized food entitlement (‘ration book’) (e.g. 7 eggs per person per month). Private entrepreneurs (taxis, casa particulares (Airbnb, restaurants) pay hefty license fees and they pay regardless of how much or little they earn. It’s certainly an incentive to work hard.

There are three levels of shops- the ‘bodega’ which is a small convenience store selling the basic food entitlement, markets and CUCs for alcohol, electronics, cooking oil etc.

Cruise ships are coming in at a rate of 2-3 per week and they want more because they believe it will be good for the economy. The tourism goal was achieved by November this year. The US tourists are already here. Hopefully they can manage this tourism/capitalism without an increase in inequality.

Reality Czechs: Bucharest Family

IMG_4757We went to Bucharest on the weekend for a family wedding. The ‘cousins’, Paul Gottlieb, Evelyn Skolet from Vienna, Evelyn Simon (ne Gottlieb) from Phoenix and Bernice Kirchler (ne Gottlieb) from Chicago, share a Great-Great-Grandfather in common.

No-one knew about Paul’s side of the family until they found us on Geni a couple of weeks ago. So what to do but go to Bucharest for Evelyn’s younger son’s wedding and meet the family.

Everyone is very excited about their new relatives.