There are a certain things that I always notice coming back home to Czech republic – that surprise me – in a good or bad way.
Public transport – something I miss so much, everyday. I don’t touch the car in CZ – partially because I am not used to shift stick but mostly because the public transport is amazing (and gas is 5x more expensive). Everything connects, metro/bus/trams so it is smooth. It is fast, inexpensive (25$ per month, free for kids and retirees) and you get to see what is new in the city + catch up on reading or podcasts. I recall how much studying I used to do on it while in high school/college, I basically got most of my exam preps done on #22. And it is super exotic for the kids who don’t know efficient public transport system from Atlanta if it hit them in the head.
No free bags in stores – so I thought this was bad until this year. Yes, standing in grocery store register and trying to stuff all your bakery and spices into handbag is fun to watch. First time. Second time, you learn and definitely bring your bags or start paying for recyclable ones (no plastic available). No baggers so you are on your own. This is actually rather efficient – you teach folks very quickly. I am also a big fan of the shopping cart payments (you get your money back when you return it to the right place) – again, have folks pay and behavior changes – there are no wandering carts anywhere.
Digital economy – the do it all in SMS was always big here. I remember texting everyone on everything while in the US people didn’t know what it was. The digital everything is a bit more visible to me here – the telcos basically become payment systems as you can do so much by just “texting”. Order a cab, buy a ticket, notified your docs are ready, etc…. What’sapp is a way of life, especially with globalization.
Healthcare – I think I mentioned this in my prior post when Mia had to go to ER for suspicious appendicitis. Didn’t want to experience this again – but we did, we clearly love the local ERs. This time around we were in Prague and she wasn’t in camp. Long story short, a small bug bite grew into a larger and larger one, looking like a target – dr. Google said it could be lyme borreliosis, not a joke. After a few What’s app consultation with mom’s doctor friends, we were heading to the children ER department in Motol – yep, on Saturday night. We were in and out in 30 mins with 3 weeks worth of amoxicillin and $60 short. Apparently, 20% of the ticks are infected and it is not just ticks now – some small bugs that don’t stay attached – and we got lucky that it grew into the target spot b/c the real problems start when it doesn’t and you don’t catch it. Well, what do you know – smarter again:-) Side note, we actually made it into a nice Saturday night in the city as the hospital is on a metro stop and since we Ubered there, we took public transport back through the city and had a nice night out on a town.
So where are the bad surprises? Actually, I can’t think of many from this trip – if any at all. Awesome experience in public office getting my new ID, really great retail service, great Czech air service on our lost luggage. There you have it – I always say when people ask which home is better that there are good/bad things everywhere but this time, it is All good.