Take some time to learn Czech

Discussion in 'Travel Tips & Advice' started by rbl, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    Fabik, I havent the source, however, it is so well known that the Prague Post has printed articles on it, so I am sure if you search their archieves you will find results. It has also be on the news here, claiming that it is hurting their tourism industry, although I havent heard much of it lately, it is still a fact and practiced at some restuarants...

    As far as the three menus posted, the last one is a self service canteen, not a restaurant! No one said that all pratice the double menu game, in fact, if a tourist comes, and can't speak Czech, I recommend U Medvidku, for their prices stay the same for the tourists as well (yet higher than a normal czech restaurant) and they will speak English with you.
  2. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Really? :lol:

    On the eve of my departure, as I had had no dinner the day before, and a very light breakfast, I decided to have a single meal on that day. So I lunched at U Prince, trying as many dishes as possible in view of my next trip.

    I paid 1,758Kc and left the change on a 2,000Kc bill as a tip. Don't be surprised, U Prince is very expensive because it is on Staromestske nam. Also, the bill is impressive because I took several dishes.

    Japonsky Talir [Japanese sushi] (199Kc)
    not bad, but the horseradish was not properly cut
    Certive ustrice [4 Dutch oysters] (199Kc)
    fresh, but dead, taste: average
    French oysters and the British ones from Colchester are better
    why the coarse Dutch hybrid that was created some time ago?
    Kureci vyvar [chicken soup] (69Kc)
    0.2 Bile Vino [a glass of white wine] (296Kc)
    good, but too expensive
    Pec nozel j kotlet [6 ribs of New-Zealand lamb] (499Kc)
    obviously deep-frozen; not very good
    the accompanying garniture of vegetables was good
    Ovocny tal s van z [fruit plate] (139Kc)
    Kava velka [coffee] (98Kc)
    Couvert [plates and cutlery] (30Kc)
    first time I see that
    Servis [service] (229Kc)
    so service was included, good

    U Prince is recommended by several guides in English. Frankly for the price of several dishes and the wine, I'd say it's a tourist trap. I think my greatest disappointment was the lamb cutlets. Why do they import them from New Zealand? Hasn't Czechia got lambs? I wouldn't say I had a bad meal, but apart from the chicken soup and the fruit plate, I found everything so-so.
  3. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    80 USD for dinner for one...? Hum, next time in mid town Manhatten, try Smith and Wollensky's, the best steak house in NY. You would spend max half that amount...

    Prague has taken the "scam the tourists" too far...maybe that is why it is now listed as the 27th most expensive city in the world...
  4. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    This was exceptional (5 dishes!), KJP, as you can see if your read my post.
    Actually, the great majority of Prague restaurants are inexpensive. As I showed in a previous post, you seldom spend more than 300Kc for a good meal.
    By the way, after three travels over three years, I have still to find a Czech restaurant with the double price list (one for Czechs and another for foreigners with higher charges). To me it is still a legend.
  5. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    You have misinterpreted the law.

    The law says that a businessman can include his chargeable cost into prices (sorry for the certainly incorrect terminology).

    So if you demand an English speaking staff and printed texts in your vernacular you must pay for it. If you do not want to pay, you must ask the Czech menu and you must speak Czech. Or Slovak as the Slovak language is a legal equivalent of the Czech one.
  6. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Wow, that is quite a tab!... The last time I heard someone paying an absurd price for a Czech dish, was when Donald Trump divorced Ivana (his Czech born ex-wife). She hosed him for 25 Million.

    Czech dishes can be expensive at times?

  7. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    I doubt that it is possible to order meals or other services in NYC using the Czech language. The vast majority of Americans speaks only English.

    If I want to speak Czech in the USA I am forced to hire a Czech interpreter.

    So hire your personal interpreter or go to some better country.

    It is my advice for you.
  8. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    The reality is, that business people (everywhere in the world) are in business to make as much money as possible, and charge the highest prices the market will allow! That is what business is all about, MONEY...

    Furthemore, we as "free" consumers have a choice to frequent the business or chose not to do business with them. Unfortunetly, as travelers/tourists we are often subject to unscrupulous opportunists who pray on strangers to exploit or scam them -- that is and has been part of tourism for ages the world over -- Yes, it is unpleasant and disturbing to be slapped with a bill, for twice or trice as mush as it should be. After all we are 1000's of miles from home, and have limited resources at hand.

    Hence, if you survived one ot these "rip off" scemes, the only sollution is:
    NEVER GO BACK THERE AGAIN, and that will eventualy solve the problem. Eventully, the scam artists will run out of marks. But as a famous American showman once stated;" A new sucker is born every minute", so apparently the travel scams will go on forever. That this rip off the tourist business is so profitable, based on a simple phislosophy;
    If someone is stupid enough to give me something, I'll keep it!"

    The Czechs do not have a monopoly on the travel business. this goes on all over the globe and the reason we have less and less places to visit. I'll try Slovenia next time (the post was intersting), but am certain, in time it wil catch up with the rest of the world, and rip off travelers. Czechs in general were freindlier to forgeiners during the oppressive period. They needed and wanted wthat the visitors could provide -- blue jeans, dollars, sanitary paper etc..That is why they cultivated overseas friendships, so they could receive packages or acces to Tuzex merchandize-- But now that they are free to travel and have the option to obtain anything their heart desires -- providing they have the cash -- they no longer have to be artificialy friendly to visitors! They just did not bite the hand that fed them. Now they can feed themselves, that is the reality and free enterprize has gone wild.

    That is what people as a whole do the best; "deceive, steal and eventualy kill (war)" Then go to church on Sunday, drop a few coins in the basket, and God will forgive you as the Priest, with basket in hand goes back to the rectory with an ear to ear grin, thinking; "I got them again"....

  9. Ladis

    Ladis Well-Known Member

    I hope you talk still about the business people, not normal inhabitants (who are friendly to foreigners).
  10. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    Generaly speaking, the average Czech I've come accross, is very friednly, cordial, helpfull and reserved. At one time, I was checking out of the pension I stayed, I had to deal with a steep flight of steps to reach the street, stuggling with a 50Lbs plus suitcase.

    Out of nowhere, there came a midlle aged woman, stating:" pane, nechte mne pomoct", and she grabbed the siutcase without an other word. When we reached the street, she reamarked: "mjete si heski", and walked over to the tran stop. Suprized, all, I could say was: "dekuji". but she was gone by then.

    Yes, it is the "business people" I speak of. I just finished cheking out paying my bill at the pension -- they got their money, and were finish with me, since I politely refused to accept their offer to use the inkeeprs/owners husband taxi service! Why pay 350Kc for the same ride I can get for 9Kc., was my taught. But the inkeepers view was, I hope you break your neck falling down the stairs ( I walk with a cane, since I've a titanium spinal postetic holding my head in place , so it is quite obvious that I'm not fit as an immediately seing my cane, someone would offer me a seat (usualy it was a middle aged man or woman), but embaraced, I would refuse, since they were not that much younger than I (the young ones, usualy,strared out of the window to avoid eye contact, but this behavior is no differet than the youth here in the US).

  11. I think the mistake that is often made by tourists is not to realise that most of the reasonably priced restaurants, especially in the day time, will have a set menu and a cheaper DAY menu the later often only in Czech (because it changes each day and translations for other languages would not be possible.) if you insist in asking in English then naturally you will be given this SET menu - They are trying to help you!. it is from this that the myth has got around about one price for the tourists and one for the locals. Of course, as in London if you insist in using a obviously tourist restaurant you are asking for trouble. However I do not completely exonerate the Czech waiters, who can be less than perfect in Prague. The solution is easy - try the rest of this wonderful country!
  12. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    The double prices are usual in castles, museums, etc., if you demand an English speaking guide. But you cannot wonder. To master some foreign language is not so easy.
  13. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    Guess you failed to read my initial post, I spoke in Czech with them...

    Czechs that don't speak English in NY try their best to order what they like, in the end, they pay the same price as an American...

    No other country that I know of supports such a non foreigner attitutde...call it Klaus relations :lol:
  14. cecco angiolieri

    cecco angiolieri Well-Known Member

    Some thoughts of a foreigner living in Prague:
    * It is often used as an excuse by czech to say that we (cizinski) cannot pretend to have services in english cos in other countries czech ppl don’t have them in czech - not last the chief of the police department of Prague about the lackness of skill in english of police patrolling(?!?! the pickpokets are working always in the same places and it seems they wear some kind of special tissue that make them invisible to police officers) the turistic area.
    * Mr. THE PRESIDENT V.Klaus is a populist(his last pearl, 10 days ago, is about the restriction of personal liberties that the EU is bringing to this country – excursus : the EU is giving free movement to czech goods and people(partially I agree) within its boundaries, therefore Mr Klaus should explain where he sees or foresees the loose of freedom), he is just telling the ppl what they want to hear… so we have to assume that due to his high level of popularity among the czech ppl …. his words are the ppl thoughs about foreigners and a lot of other issues.
    * I do work with turists and I come from a country that was, is and will always be a major turist destination ( Italy ), and I can say that the impression all the turists I spoke with have about the local people isn’t good at all: their shiness ( or lazyness ? ), chillness , lack of customer care, arrogance, disposition to rip them off and not to give back changes; plus the foreigners prices, the banditos (here called taxi drivers) and pickpokets together with the officers that should give them assistance but that often create more harm rather then help is only partially corrected by the “beau geste” of fews and therefore the average comment you have from them is : “ nice city but …….” ; in the long term this is going to hurt, I hope not kill, the turist sector… cos, yes, they’ll go to a meet better people not to a better country - dear Mr. Zeisig - and that day will be a sad one for the whole country ( foreigner are the owners of lots of businesses/properties/etc in the czech lands).

    Take care,

  15. Ladis

    Ladis Well-Known Member

    I'm not interested in tons of tourists in my country (CR) and if other people here have the similar opinion (I don't know) that can be why they act like you write. However everybody should act decently to others.

    BTW you maybe mean "cizinci" (foreigners) by your "cizinski".
  16. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member


    I have read your posts carefully. Among others you wrote about laws and double prices and you connected them with some accidental event. I tried to explain you that the double prices are justifiable.

    The waiters (receptionists, guides, etc.) who speak several foreign languages usually demand higher salary than the ones who speak only Czech. Also the translations of texts (like menus) into several languages is not gratis. It justifies the double prices, the higher price then includes the translation services. The Czechs do not consume these services, therefore they do not pay for them.

    I think it would be legal in the USA, too. But the Europeans cannot expect such luxury in the USA. The average American believes that English is the only important language in the world and everybody must know it. But it's a big mistake, in Europe nearly every country has its own language and there is no English speaking country in the European continent (what a surprise!). In the Czech Republic the only official language is Czech (and Slovak in some sense), not English. No Czech citizen (including the waiters) is forced to speak English.

    Tell me why should we have to learn English? The English language per se is not so interesting. I personally should prefer studying the ancient languages if I should have time (and a rich uncle). Usually the only reason for studying English is to earn more money (as a final goal).

    Therefore the tourists must pay for the additional (i.e. translation) services. If they factually exist, of course.

    It goes without saying that many Czech waiters and restaurant owners are not honest. I do not want to exonerate them. But why to connect this fact with laws and even with the president? :roll:

    BTW, the Czech laws are compatible with the EU ones.
  17. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Exactly, that is where your analogy is flawed! Justifying "DOUBLE PRICES" for the mere fact, that you provide interpreter services at the restaurant? That is bizzare, in the rest of the "world" merchants gladly will speak to you in a language you understand (or find someone that understands/speaks your language) for FREE, just so they can make a sale -- that is how the tourism business works universaly!

    However, if that is a fact (one must pay for the English classes somehow), then, why not put a sign on the front door - or in the outside menu window -- ENGLISH/GERMAN/FRENCH SPOKEN HERE FOR A FEE Then,lets see how many custoners you'll have, when you explain,that the fee is DOUBLING the menu prices...

    By the way, if a second language is required by the employer, that then is a condition of employment -- you'll not get the job if you do not speak whatever -- and your compensation is in the TIPS. Access to foreign customers a job perk, since "nationals" custumarily ( unless it is included on the tab) do not tip for services (hence, waiters/waitreses slip in a few extra beer or two on the bill ). Finnaly, why then, the price still remains the same (double) if you speak to the waiter/waitress in Czech. Do they rush back, and hand you a "national " menu. I speak Czech and was never "discounted" for not requiring the "translator services", I just never returned!

  18. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    I have written:
    If they (i. e. the services) factually exist, of course.

    The double prices in restaurants are not common at all.
  19. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member


    could you evoke an even more anti western attitude? Why should they speak English? They don't have too :lol:
    English is the language of the international business community, accepted worldwide, the language that MUST be spoken in aviation, worldwide, and one of the two languages of the United Nations (thus the US passport is also in French)

    The ones that do speak English make more money, they know it..they advertise it, they pocket the ROI.

    The law exists, it is not praticed by all, yet I am highlighting a flaw in the tourism industry, and have asked twice for someone to name another country that allows this???

    I made it clear that we ordered in Czech. I will never pronounce the ř properly...

    Muzete mluvit cesky s mnou pane nemca

    Or better yet, try working at one of the many Czech firms that MANDATE English as the first language!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Example: Inter-informatics and HP

    * I never said it was commonplace, yet was highlighting its existence and the fact that no other country feels it wise...
  20. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member


    Will you wonder if the English version of, say, "Harry Potter" has a different price than the Czech version of the same "Harry Potter" in the same bookstore? Probably no. Everyone understands that the Czech version need translation (as the authrice is English) and completely new setting. The cost of each version is different, it implies the prices are different. It is still possible that the prices of these two versions are exactly the same in some bookstore, but in this case the bookseller's margin* will be certainly different for each version.

    Generally two language versions of an essentially identical product can have different prices as they are two different products in fact.

    Even you cannot compare the prices of two language versions, because you do not know the appropriate cost and margin analysis. These informations usually are not public.

    * Margin is the difference between the energy, material, labor, advertising, etc. costs and the price obtained. Especially advertising in the English guide-books can be pretty expensive!

    I never believed that I shall teach economics. 8)

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