Foto: Autorin

This week in Mailbox: Radio Prague's listeners in Canada; Czech beer in Australia; Czech pub food; Czech economy, Radio Prague Mailbox quiz. Listeners quoted: Bryan Hiebert, Alan McKay, Canada; Catherine Kraina, Australia; David Eldridge, UK; Mary Lou Krenek, USA.

Hello and welcome to Mailbox. As every Sunday, it's time to read from your letters.

Although Czechs are known to be early risers, judging from your letters, there are quite of few in Canada, for example Bryan Hiebert from Calgary.

"I listen to Radio Prague every morning from 05:15 until 05:30 on CBC Overnight. I have an old dog who is awake and wanting to be let out every day around 5 am. I find your program very informative and even though I have not yet visited the Czech Republic, I feel like I know you country quite a bit, and Prague sounds like a delightful city that I would like to visit. You provide a window to the world for me that I very much enjoy."

Alan McKay, also from Canada, is an early riser, too.

"I listen to you every morning on CBC Radio, from 5:15 am to 5:30 am. I enjoy sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee checking my email and a few blogs that I follow, and listening to your program. I lived in Ukraine and Germany for 3 years in the early 90s, and had the extreme pleasure to visit Prague twice during that time. In fact, the Czech and German beers I drank during my stay in Europe went on to inspire me in my current hobby - craft brewing. Today I run a brewing-and-beer-related website which thousands of people visit every week to learn how to make their own beer. I even have a Czech soundbite for teaching the proper pronunciation of the Czech hop variety, Zatec."

On the topic of Czech beer, Catherine Kraina, from Australia sent us this e-mail.

"About 10 years ago, Plzensky Prazdroj and Budvar started popping up in bottle shops and supermarkets in Melbourne, but now we are starting to see a larger range. In my suburb, Caulfield North, there is a small community of Czech Jews in their 80s who fled the Nazis, and the local bottle shop now keeps them and their children and grandchildren well supplied with Staropramen, Breznak and Velkopopovicky Kozel. I'd love to be able to get Bogan beer, because bogan is Australian for a person who wears stonewash stretch jeans, checked flannelette shirts and ugg boots, and sports a mullet. But it's great to be able to buy Czech beer on the other side of the planet. Keep them coming."

On a related subject, you may remember that Radio Prague followed an experiment, inspired by the American documentary "Super Size Me" in which the director ate McDonald's food for a whole month which resulted in his putting on weight and developing other health problems. On the day of the premiere of the film here in the Czech Republic, a man volunteered to eat nothing but Czech pub and fast food for a month and wash it down with beer. The result - he lost weight and his cholesterol level dropped. Our listener David Eldridge from England had this to say on the experiment:

"I am not surprised by the results of the Czech Pub Food experiment. During my visit to Prague earlier this year I felt at ease with what was on offer on pub menus and at the end of my visit I experienced the same benefits as Karel Bozan even though I also ate things like klobasa, which definitely is not a good idea. Additionally, I did seem to benefit from a lowering of blood pressure - his remained the same. I thought also that this was because I was eating a more controlled three meals a day and my eating habits were better than here in London. By my experience, your pub meals seem to have usually more sensibly sized proportions and they seem to be less fatty that here in UK."

And finally, Mary Lou Krenek from Texas has responded to another story featured recently on Radio Prague.

"It was quite wonderful news to read that the Czech Republic economy grew at a record breaking 6.9 percent in the last quarter. From my vantage point, it appears that the Czech Republic is on its way to being the economic "tiger" in Europe."

And Mary Lou Krenek continues:

"Let me also make a comment about the recent trend in the monthly competitions on Prague Radio. Every month, we are learning about a successful Czech who has made those significant contributions to the world in their respective fields. Those contributions were either made prior to Communism when more freedom flourished or by individuals who had to leave the former Czechoslovakia. Are there any Czechs who have made significant contributions to the world during the dark years of Communist rule other than prominent dissidents?"

We'll see, maybe someone from a more recent time will pop up in the quiz in the coming months. But for this month's question, we'll have to go further back in history.

"Which person who was born and lived in what is now the Czech Republic has been dubbed the 'father of genetics'?"

Please send us your answers by the end of March, to [email protected][email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague, Czech Republic. Thank you for all your letters and please keep them coming.