Bad Attitude - Con's - Police

Discussion in 'Travel Tips & Advice' started by the dark one, Jun 1, 2005.

  1. the dark one

    the dark one Member

    All the things you want to know but dare not ask…..

    Hi Everyone, :shock: :shock: :shock: :arrow:

    If you have never been to Prague like myself but have heard all sorts of things you had better read on. [customer service, cons & the police]

    I am going to start off by saying that these are my personal experiences and may not reflect what you may experience yourself.

    Firstly Prague is unquestionably one of Europe’s most interesting range of architecture. I am going to talk a little bit more on this point later.

    The people of Prague (this refers to those involved in face to face contact with tourists) are by far the least motivated I have ever ever ever encountered anywhere in the world. Out of the (approx) 40-45 individuals with whom I had contact only two exchanged conversation of their own accord and a further two after my brother and I had engaged them in conversation. For example as we walked out of the airport we approached a taxi and asked the driver how much to the hotel Hilton. He replied 900 crowns to which I repeated back to him 900 crowns, at this point he promptly got back in to his taxi shut the door. I approached and said hotel Hilton please and he looked at me with scorn ( a facial expression which a mother would share with a misbehaving child). Alas we were now on our way to an enjoyable trip to Prague. I always make a point of engaging conversation with locals they after all have all of the knowledge that I will benefits from, NOT this driver. I commented on how hot the whether was in an effort to start a conversation his reply to every single questions was ‘hu’. It is busy today at the airport, ‘hu’. Any nice places we should see in Prague? ‘hu’… and so on. My brother and I did in fact find the whole experience amusing.

    Later I found myself in a Camera Shop just on the fringe of the square (Kodak) entered had a look around and then walked over to the counter and waited at the lady on the phone finished her conversation. She had looked up during this some five six minute call so was aware of my presence. She finished her call and then promptly returned reading the newspaper, I waited a minute and then asked her if she was serving?. She looked up at me and then without a single word returned to reading her paper. In the shop was another gentleman serving an American couple, and her, and me. I leaned down to this lady and asked if she was serving and she replied by lifting both hands palms facing up to shoulder height and pulled a face (the expression associated with someone that really did not care in the slightest). Despite the strong urge to hurl abuse at this women I calmly turned and walked away. My personal advise spare yourself the embarrassment of being ignored and stay away from this outlet (for your information the shop has a big Canon display in the window on a street called ‘Celetna’)

    One evening we met with our friends for drinks before heading off for dinner. We went to a one bar and then another. The second bar I strongly advise you to boycott! We ordered a glass of White Wine for our friend and three beers. The waiter returned with three beers and informed us there was no White Wine, although there was a highly recommended red. Red will do I told him, he returned with a bottle and after several attempts managed to open it. He poured a small amount in to our friends glass and placed the bottle on the table and walked away. All four of us looked at one another and came to the assumption we had been served a bottle and not a glass. To cut a long story short I called over the waiter and asked him why he had left the bottle when all we had ordered was a glass, he informed us that everything is fine and assured us we had only ordered a glass. LONG SHORT, we were charged a total of 1,400 crowns for three beers and one glass of red wine. Unfortunately for this particular bar I was the customer they were over charging and conning. After having presented my case to the head barman I was told if I did not pay then he would call the police. BULL :evil: FLAG :x RED :twisted: ! I turned to the whole bar and informed them that I was being charged 1,400 crowns for three beers and one glass of red wine and I attempted to find the number of the local police so I could call them myself. During this time the owner of the bar made himself known and I had a very civilised conversation with him and told him I would pay for a glass but not a bottle, he asked me to pay 370 crowns and leave.

    But by far the :shock: most disturbing of all of our encounters was on the last day, our friends decided to venture to the south of Prague and visit less popular areas of the city. All is well and the city was surrendering some fantastic streets so fantastic our friends crossed from one side of the street to the other. Greeting them on the opposite side of the street was a female Police Officer who informed them that in Prague it was illegal to cross the road unless at a designated crossing point. My friend and his wife apologised to the officer and thanked her for informing them of this law as we had not come across it in any guide book or city information. In most parts of the world this would have been the end of the encounter with the Law, NOT in Prague. My friends were asked to write their names and addresses on a not book produced by the policewomen, which they did. The police women then told them that the penalty for this offence is 1,000crowns but today it was their lucky day as she was only fining them the minimum amount of 100 crowns………..

    This is the end of my winge but if you would like to hear about all of the good things in Prague please make sure you read my posting called WHAT A WEEKEND.

    I hope that this is informative and factual information of my experience. :shock:
  2. probinso

    probinso Member

    About that taxi. . . 900 crowns is roughly twice the meter fare from the airport to the Hilton. . . he may have scowled at you because he thought you were nuts to pay it, or maybe he just offered that fare to make you go away so he could take his break. Are you sure he spoke English? Many taxi drivers I've encountered in Prague do not seem to know more than how to sputter out "400!". If you prattled on at me in Czech, I would hard pressed to respond with much more than "hu?"

    An engaging story, nonetheless. :)
  3. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    Well, some of these things do not look too strange :)

    The Czechs generally are not very fond of starting conversation with a complete stranger - that could explain the driver's behaviour.

    The Kodak lady probably did not speak any English - the gesture she gave you can mean "I do not understand".
    Many Czech shop assistants are still lazy and unfriendly, like in the communist times, and their private phone call is more important than customers. This is different when the shop is run by its owner him(her)self, but it is guite rare.

    The fine you were given for crossing the road is perfectly normal. My friend (who is Czech) got one too recently, for the very same reason. Not knowing a law does not mean you can violate it :)
  4. hint

    hint Member

    crossing the street everywhere possible is pretty common and normal, nor the policemen do care much :) must be a rare exception in your case :) i myself run across tracks and streets by the shortest way (sometimes even by red light)
  5. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    I was in a crowd waiting to cross by the Charles Bridge coming from Old Town Square, and light was red. Three young men crossed because there was nothing coming, and a policeman standing on the other side stopped them and fined them.
    And yes, I have crossed in other places. It pays to be cautious, especially when a policeman is there.

    In Brno, a policeman saw my wife and me waiting to cross a road away from a crossing, and he waved across the road and pointed to the crossing. We took his advice!

    The camera shop on Celetna, I agree with everything you say. I once tried to buy a film in there and had almost an identical experience.

    The academic bookshop nearby tried to rip me off, too, when I bought a Czech course. They agreed to a 10% discount for buying a complete course with cassettes and workbooks, but then the total came to more than the original prices! I told them I was English, not stupid (in Czech) and they charged me correctly.
  6. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    Sorry some of you had bad experiences - mine were the opposite. With the exception of one fast food vendor who was giving a hard time to everyone (locals included), we had a great time.
    Part of the success comes from knowing and trying a bit of basic Czech - it is amazing how much a hearty "dobry den" and a broad smile chan change even the most unconcerned.
    No problems with taxis from the airport because we had pre-arranged for a driver when we rented our apartment. A very friendly english speaking guy was there to pick us up (he did spell my name "Gleen" instead of "Glenn" but, who cares?) and the return trip had a Czech only speaker (they had decided that we could manage). Perhaps arranging a ride ahead of time is a solution.
    We met some wonderful clerks in several stores (one in particular insisted on sharing a shot of Becherovka every time we came in) and also met several nice barkeeps. One of the barmen at a small local beer bar was a bit cold the first time we came in but, by the third day, we were treated like long time regulars. We met the owners of another bar, bought them a round of drinks (very reasonable price) and they reciprocated by taking us to a nonstop bar after theirs closed, paying the cover, and treating us to drinks until the wee hours of the morning. On the way back to the apartment, we decided to take a night tram. Unfortunately, it was its last run and was heading back to the garage (somewhere quite a ways from our place in Old Town). When the tram came to a dead halt and all the lights shut off, we knew we had made a big mistake. We asked the driver how to get back to Old Town and he just said "spatky" so we headed back towards the apart ment on foot through a deserted neighborhood. Out of nowhere, a taxi appeared (to this day I believe the tram driver called it for us) and took us home. He could have charged anything but only asked for 250 Kc. We gladly gave him that and a good tip, too.
    Too many other great experiences to write here but, needless to say, we have already booked and apartment and bought plane tickets for next October. Will be there for two weeks and are counting the days.
  7. emberrrrr

    emberrrrr Guest

    woah. your experience is amusing in a not so nice way.. but i guess all of us have to be prepared for unfriendliness when we are in a foreign land. i hope i meet 1 or 2 nice people when i go there in december.. that will make my day already!

    i went to thailand in june and ALL the taxi drivers offered free trips, but we had to stop over tourists shop and well, pretend to be interested. the prices of the products were EXORBITANT, even by singapore standard.. and in return, the taxi drivers get free coupon for gasoline..

    it seems to me that it's advisable to learn a bit of czech.. but ahhh.. languages.. not so easy.. i tried abit of thai when i was in bangkok and they started answering me in thai. very quickly.. and then i decided to stick to english.. haha.. but i hope u enjoyed ur trip despite the cons! =)
  8. magan

    magan Well-Known Member

    The Dark One: What was the name of that rotten bar? You can e-mail privately if it is not allowed to post it, but try to post it for all to see as we also post when we enjoy something.

    Taxi from airport...those waiting there are well knows for transporting tourists who doen't have an idea what price is normal and what is way too much. They also don't know distances. After arrival one is extremely vulnerable as you are not in shape calculating and also don't know what would normal price be. sking to get to Hilton indicates that money doesn't matter to least that is perception of the driver as you pay for one sleep over more than most locals spend on week groceries.

    Somewhere in these posts we were discussing way to get from airport. There are detailed instructions on public transport, especially if you don't have much luggage. There is also suggestion to call honest taxi company from the airport. They are kept away from waiting in the front, but are near by. They also have link, their name is AAA Taxi. You can look up price of your ride before you leave your home and print it out.

    Sorry for bad experiences. Fine was probably justified, woman in Kodak didn't speak English and unfortunately didn't know how to say it either.

    However, tourist restaurants/bars are well known for ripping of those who don't speak Czech. Even if you you are Czech born, you still have to be aware of what you are getting and definitelly check the bill. Also they charge for condiments in addition to your dish.
  9. Ir

    Ir Well-Known Member

    I would recommend going from the airport to the city by bus and metro, especially if you are on your own. It's incredibly cheaper - 12 crowns instead of several hundred. (Although I heard the bus/metro ticket has gone up recently to 21 crowns or something.) The bus stop is just across the road from the exit of the arrivals hall. Take the short bus ride to Zlicin and then hop on the metro. I thought it was much more interesting as well to see all the Czech people on the bus etc

    About rip-offs, I was a bit annoyed at the way the Prague tourist industry rips off foreigners. For example, I went in a restaurant that had a reasonably-priced Czech menu in the window. When I went inside they gave me an English menu with the prices three times what they were in the window. And also I went to a really good concert, but I noticed that all the Czech people had paid 200 crowns for their tickets while I had been charged 400 crowns. Hopefully now I can speak a little Czech I can avoid these situations next time I go.

    Oh, and another thing - I bought a classical CD in the shop just by the Tyn church. I don't think they did it deliberately but the CD was completely blank. I even checked it on the computer - 0 bytes used. But I will be back in Prague soon so I will take it back to the shop. :)
  10. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    Con's nd cheating seems to be the new Czech cultural heartige -- the CD scam I've heard before, but in the past this was the domain of the Vietnameese in CZ -- it seems that this is the rage for the new found freedom of all businesses in CZ, steal as much as you can!.

    My main frustration was with purchasing AA batteries in CZ for my digital camera. After I exhausted my supply of US Alkaline Energizer batteries, I was forced to purchase the item localy, at 30Kc each. The US Alkaline Energizer yielded 50 to 60 exposures, whereas the Czech Alkaline Energizer (both made by Eveready?) only yielded 10 to 15 exposures. I guess this must be due to the difference in latitute, for it can not be greed!

    However, the biggest insult is the .500L line on the beer glass. After 29 days in country, and after several beers, I never was lucky enough to be served a beer that actualy was up to the line ( always at least 1cm short). This must be due to the conversion to the capitalistic economy or communal bad eyesight. Last time I was in CZ was in 1970, and then, despite all the shortcammings of the sytem, at least the beer was served to the line or above. Seems that freedom and capitalizm translates to Czech as GREED in the Czech Republic these days. It took me 35 years to return for a visit to the land of my birht, and after this latest experience, it will take me an other 35 years before I consider returning again (to celebrate my 97th birthday). Untl then, I'll be glad to vacation in Mexico, at least there the hotels do not have lice or fleas in bed and they do change the linnen daily, even in a 3 star hotel.

    Mexico is considered a third world country, I wonder what is the appropirate rating of the Czech Republic these days? Prague, the rip of capital of the world!... Well, at least, prostitution is legasl in CZ (the locals seem to proud of the fact), and one does not have to contract a hooker to get screwed in CZ.. What a shame, CZ used to be a proud and beautiful country...

  11. GlennInFlorida

    GlennInFlorida Well-Known Member

    My gosh! Some of you must be visiting a different country than I did.
    Bought a few CD's at a local shop (not a tourist joint), they were all fine.
    So your beer came up less than a half inch short - for the low price and great taste (compared to the bland, colored water you get here in the States most of the time), it is still a great bargain.
    Try getting rechargeable batteries with a dual voltage charger, longer duration, you never run out, and the charger works like a charm.
    Stayed in a nice apartment with linens changed every three days (more often for a very modest $3 for additional changes if needed) and no lice, bugs, or vermin of any sort. Very clean, in Old Town, and very reasonable. The Internet is a great source for alternate accommodations.
    Hope you give it a try again - Prague can be a great place.
  12. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    The point is that they shot changed the volume even if it was 1/2" --why then have the line if you are not going to adhere to it-- regardless how cheap it was ( that is the measure), the price was "up to the line"and was set by the establishment --the line is set by weight and measures statutes-- that is my point... Also, seems that the Czech waiters have trouble counting, like 1,2.3, 5 --seems they all make the same mistake when they count served beers, for they seem to go from 3 to 5 skipping 4, untli you correct them, then they "appologize for the "mistake". Hence .they knowingly try to scam/cheat the customer as well as the owner of the establishment...
    I'm fluent in Czech--was born there--but make a point of not speaking the language with stranges, letting them think I'm a stupid American, but when I open up Czech, they are more that appologetic--you be surprized how much one can learn if they think you do not understan the language. for they "bragg among themselves while the scam is on!!!

  13. Ir

    Ir Well-Known Member

    I'm not slagging the Czech republic here - I love the place and I'm going back soon - but another thing that surprised me was restaurant tips. I ate a few times in stare mesto, and it was kind of expensive, but I didn't mind that because I knew the menu price and was happy to pay it. But I was surprised to see the waiters deciding what their own tip should be and adding it to the bill before I paid for the meal. The tips they chose seemed amazingly generous, and anyway, isn't the customer supposed to evaluate the service and decide the tip himself?

    Is this normal practice in CR, or is it just part of the central Prague rip-off-tourists industry? :)
  14. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member

    "Writing your own tip", I beleive that is their own initiative, and if you allow it, it's your own fault. In my experience (all over the world, if a tip is "automaticly" added to the price/bill, usualy you'll find a "notice", on the menu or elsewhere stating the house policy, that the tip is included. However, if you chose to double tip, that is at your own discretion, and no waiter/waitress will ever refuse it. Oddly, I found that in Prague, most do not even bother to "thank you" for the tip. But that is not a czech custom, but rather poor upbringing of the arrogant individual.You'll find many of that kind in Prague, but also you will encounter pleasant appreciative individuals. As I mentioned, before my last trip, it took me 35 years since I was last in Prague, and for my money, it will be an other 35 years before I return again. Hence, if:vine, song a women is you bag, Prague is the place, otherwise, the smaller towns and villiages are a more pleasant serene environment in the Czech Republic and you'll will not get ripped off there as often--even will be charged the same prices as the natives. As for myself, for my $100.00 per day, I rahter go to Las Vegas or even Mexico at half the price and enjoy.This last trip, I just visited old family graves, paid for the upkeep for the next 35 years , so I've nothing else to attract me there. Considered "moving to CZ for my retirement yeras, but decided I rather stay in the US, where life is simpler and cheaper. In my oppinion, living in CZ is is much like the US used to in the 50's. It will take them time to chatch up with the rest of the developed world, before they get the old system out of their blood, some 2 or 3 generations perhaps... Until then, they will survive on the vine, song and women tourist industry!

  15. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Fleas? Lice? Just where were you staying? I don't believe one word of this. I've been to CR several times and I never had such a collection of bad luck. On the contrary, the accommodations were always scrupulously clean and I didn't notice any shortcomings in beer distribution. You seem to carry a huge chip on your shoulder.
  16. czechchris

    czechchris Well-Known Member

    I don't know about vermin etc., I've only once stayed in a hotel, and it was very clean, although they did not change the linen during the week!!

    As for beer, yes, yes, yes, the measure is always below the line. I usually want to let it settle to see if it equals out - it never does! ALWAYS below the 500ml line. Because it is so cheap, I don't make a fuss, but if it was in England, there would be uproar at short measure!
    In London, if there is no line on the glass, there better be no head on the beer! Liquid to the brim!
  17. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Chip on my shoulder? No, just passing on the information, regarding Prague. The *** Hotel (will not name) I stayed is a nice modern rebuilt in Prague 6, and for 45 EU I expected not luxury but hygiene. What seems to be the culpered there, is the busload of tourist with their "pets" --seems eveyone in europe travels with their dog ( I do not have anything against dogs, since I myself have a 200Lb, 8 year old Graet Dane, that thinks she is a lap dog. But I do invest $8.00 twice per year to have her dipped, which takes care of all the fleas, ticks and lice ). This hotel allows pets, and charges an additional 100Kc for the aniumal, which is also OK. But at least they could "spray" the room, after the guest/pet leaves the premises. I checked wityh the desk, and asked for a bug spray, but they informed me that they do not have that in their cleaning supplies. Since they feel, that the hygiene of the animal is the owneres responsibility ( I did not move out, since I was pre paid for a week in advance and they would not refund my money, so I went out and purchased the spray myself!) Hence, my point is, that if the hotel allows and charges for a pet, they at lest should desinfect the premises for the next guest. Common sence, that is all!

    I guess, I'm not a Europe kind a guy ( I'll stick to my central and south america adventures. There I carry my own can on DDT, but then I'm only paying 500 Pesos ($5 USD) per night. The castles age a great sight, but I can not help immagining at "what cost" were these magnicifent structures built ( whose blood, sweat and life did it take?), since I'm certain the "workers" did not earn union wages for their labor. These indeed magnificent stractures represent the epidemy of human oppresion, slavery and human expolitation by the aristocracy at the expence of the entire population. Next time you admire one of these cathedrals or castle, try to immagine the construction crew and under what conditions they had to labor. Perhaps that will deminish the austetic value of the monument and can be viewed as a monument to the cruelty man is capable of inflicting upon another...

    As a Travel Tip, next time, when traveling to Prague, pack an extra can of DDT.. After all the flea was the couse of the Black Plague in the dark ages!
    The point is, since Prague is a mecca for tourism, the local authorities should insure the greedy inkeepers do keep some standard of hygienic common sence. This is not a chip on my shoulder, but rather a normal daily habit, much like changing ones underwear on a dialy basis...

  18. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    When I read your post, at first I thought I would let it be... but then I kept thinking about it and I just have to add few words. I am sure you are not a Europe kind of guy, in spite of your Czech origin. All you can do now is complain and spit on the country you came from. I simply do not know how you can live in the U.S. without seeing everywhere the blood, tears, dead bodies and atrocious suffering of all those native inhabitants who had to die just because some white conquerors decided they would settle there. How come you do not feel the same way when vacationing in Mexico where the original population was annihilated by conquistadors? There is something wrong with you...
  19. Viktor

    Viktor Well-Known Member


    Exacxtly my point -- the conquistadores, in the new world -- but if menory serves me right, they also originated in Europe/Spain/Portugal, and after they exhausted all their plundering through Europe, they came over to the new world and tried the same here. European tradition conquer, ensalve and plunder! That is realy something to be proud of!

    Perhaps I spit on the country that I was born in, and thank God for the USA. In the country of my birth (mothers family has roots there since (1828), and during the enilgthenig years of 1939-1945 over half of them were exterminated by the freindly nieghbour from the north (there is a monument I visited in Habry, right next to the Catholic Church they built in exchange for the right to build a Synagogue, and there are 22 names right next to the Star of David -- by the way, the Catholic Church is still there in its splendor, but the Synagogue has been demolished and leved in 1964 and only a field of weeds remains -- The local's explanation today is that" "Since we no longer have any Jews or Gypsies living here today, we did not need it".

    Furthermore, after 1948, the rest of my family exiled fron CZ, since the "liberator brotheres", our slovic brotheres from the east confiscated (stole is the proper adjective) their propriety, for the common good. Is this what you call Czech pride. Living in stolen propriety?

    By the way, it is true that the Mexicans were expolited and killed of by the Euroipean conquistadores, but if you care to review history, the Anglos did not have anything to do with it. However, they did indeed "purchase" and " paid for" the territory from them (like in a real estate deal, not steal), from the Mexican, French and Russians. Hence, if they feel they got a raw deal, they should look up thier own "leaders/politicos" who sold them down the river, and took off with the cash!

    Anyhow, it would be interesting to know: how much your family lost if anything, and then perhaps your critique would have some validity. I owe no loyalty to anyone or anything in the CZ, only hope that this time --the third republic makes it - but firt they must admit thier own wrongdoings before they judge others!Clean up your own house first, before you judge your neighbour..

  20. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    It looks you really forgot where you and most of your fellow citizen came from and whose land it was... You live in a stolen country, for God´s sake! So what is eating you? Even if you try to deny it, you are a European by origin. So you should think about cleaning up your own house first, too.
    I just do not feel like telling you about everything my family lost under fascists and communists, it is not my merit anyway... However, even though I live in US now, I will always recognize my roots, my country of origin. Nothing is perfect, neither in CR, nor in the U.S.A., it is just your angle of view that lets you see only the things you want to see ... After all, it looks you brought with you only one thing from Czechoslovakia - an ancient proverb "Čí chleba jíš, toho píseň zpívej". So maybe it is good for both parts (the CR and you) that you decided not to visit the Czech Republic for another 35 years. I wonder why you became a member of myczechrepublic website, as it is not your Czech Republic, I am sure.

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