A bizarre new fashion has come to the Czech Republic - people are getting themselves ravens as house pets. The attractions of shopping abroad: Germans come to the Czech Republic, while Czechs head for Poland. And, how small is the smallest present in the world? Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.
Julie Braunova is living proof of the fact that grandmothers don't need to consign themselves to a rocking chair with a bag of knitting. At 88 Julia became the oldest woman in the Czech Republic to do a parachute jump. She jumped a tandem jump from a height of 3,700 metres and says the experience was breathtaking! "I told the instructor to cuddle up and hold me tight - cause I was paying a lot of money for this" Julie says. She keeps in shape by riding a bike in the summer and skiing in the winter months. "Going uphill is getting a bit difficult - but I can still keep pace with my sons", she boasts.
How small is the smallest present in the world? Radka Krivankova knows - because she wrapped it. The gift is a three millimetre sized Australian opal, fitted snugly in a box 3x4 millimetres big. That little gem was wrapped in gift paper, tied with a string and decorated with a miniature fan and feather. The entire gift can perch easily on a child's nail and you need a magnifying glass to admire it in all its beauty. Radka is a professional gift wrapper and it took her three hours to wrap the gift - using tweezers and a magnifying glass. I had to take plenty of breaks because you need to hold your breath while you do it - she explains.
Of course, having set this particular record she also wanted to see what it was like to wrap a huge present - and gift wrapped a truck on the Pelhrimov town square. Wrapping a truck took a bit longer - a full thirteen hours before she was satisfied with it. For the eight metre long truck, she used up 130 metres of wrapping paper and 50 metres of ribbon. Asked about the most bizarre object her firm had been asked to gift wrap she said: a piece of raw meat.
The sale of organic food products in the Czech Republic rose by 17 percent last year, with a 180 million crown turnover. However sales of organic food still make up less than ten percent of all food sales in the country and Czech organic farms are currently searching for new outlets on foreign markets. The main interest is in organic fruits and vegetables, dairy products and poultry, but many Czechs still buy the cheaper standard brands -putting quantity above quality.
Every tenth visitor to the Czech capital comes for a few nights of heavy drinking and some fun with the girls. While over 6 million tourists come to see the sights every year - 700 thousand visitors come in search of alcohol and night clubs. British stag parties are notorious in this respect. The locals don't particularly like this trend but, unlike other European capitals, Prague seems unable to deal with it. And indeed politicians are divided over whether they want to deal with it or not. The minister for regional development says Prague must do something to rid itself of the drink-and-sex-tourism label. "Cheap girls and cheap beer is not the image we want to project," he says. However some Prague officials disagree - arguing that beer tourists bring in money just like the others - and that Prague shouldn't make distinctions between "desirable" and "undesirable" tourists.
Citizens living in the centre of Prague have written a petition complaining about the hoards of drunk tourists who disturb their sleep at nights and are demanding that the authorities put more policemen in the streets to maintain law and order and push out prostitutes from the city centre. The Prague deputy mayor Rudolf Blazek says that while he sympathises with the locals Prague simply does not have enough officers to patrol the streets at night - and that they have very little means of forcing prostitutes out of the city centre. So for the present time, people living in the city centre can console themselves with just one thing: the forecast that in about 5 years time the capitals of the Baltic Republics will become what Prague is today - and what Paris and Amsterdam were in the past - a magnet for drink-and-sex tourists.