Saint Adalbert

This week: Men's ideas of a dream wife; tourists in Prague and Jaroslav Seifert's poetry; history of Czechoslovakia on Radio Prague's website. Listeners quoted: Ashik Eqbal Tokon, Bangladesh; Margarita Romero, Spain; Jacquie Darnell, Craig Edwards, Australia; Dan Olsson, Sweden.

Welcome to Mailbox. It's time again to go through this week's mail.

And let's start with this. Last Saturday in Magazine, Daniela Lazarova spoke about a recent study on the Czech man's idea of a dream wife:

"It is a 24 year old brunette of medium height, with an hourglass figure and a charming disposition. She should be truthful, faithful, understanding and a good housewife and mother, but she should also be able to represent them well at their annual work-party. Overly energetic, self-confident, ambitious and independent women are simply not desirable as wife material."

In response to that our regular listener Ashik Eqbal Tokon from Bangladesh has sent us this e-mail.

"I like tuning in to your station and your excellent program "Magazine". I would like to thank Daniela Lazarova for her article on the Czech man's dream wife from February 18. As far as I know here in the Subcontinent (including Bangladesh) men's dreams of the perfect wife are the same as in Prague."

I wonder what the Czech woman's idea of a dream husband would be. I have a feeling that the desirable qualities (such as good looks, charm and being family minded rather than too ambitious) would not be too different - but that's just my uneducated guess.

Recently we broadcast a programme about the only Czech Nobel Prize winner for literature, Jaroslav Seifert. And Margarita Romero from Spain, who is familiar with Jaroslav Seifert's poetry, has sent us this e-mail.

"I have read 'All the Beauty in the World', by Jaroslav Seifert, and I love it. I was in Prague last summer, and it was so crowded everywhere that I could hardly believe it was the same town that Mr Seifert loved so much. Perhaps tourism is not a very good thing after all, or maybe everything has changed a lot, and Prague is full of strangers taking photographs, but not looking around and admiring the beauty."

It may well be true but on the other hand, we can't blame the tourists too much. In many cases they only have a couple of days to see all there is to see in Prague, so their tours are bound to be superficial.

And Jacquie Darnell from Sydney, Australia, sent us this.

"Thank you so very much for putting the history of Czechoslovakia up on the net. I am visiting Prague and Bohemia and Silesia etc. this year for a month or two and wanted some history. I sat and read the whole 15 long pages and have printed them out. What also surprised me was that Adalbert was the first Saint (because my husband was named Adalbert but everyone called him Ady). This is a name seldom found on the web these days."

The Czech saint's original name was Vojtech and Adalbert is just a German translation of the Czech name. Mrs Darnell continues:

"In particular, twenty years ago I formed the impression that Prague must be the city with the greatest period architecture in Europe and also it seemed to me to have the greatest charm of any urban civilisation. So I am very keen to visit."

We hope you will like Prague and the Czech Republic and that you won't be disappointed like Margarita Romero by the crowds of tourists.

We also keep receiving letters from DX-ers who listen to us around the world on their shortwave radios. We always like it when you tell us in your reception reports where exactly you are tuning in to Radio Prague. For example Craig Edwards writes he listens to us in the "tropical paradise" of Nhulunbuy, which is a town on the Gove Peninsula in the northeast corner of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory in Australia.

Dan Olsson listens to us in the small town of Kavlinge which is on the southernmost tip of Sweden, only 30 kilometres away across the sea from the capital of Denmark but 600 kilometres away from the Swedish capital, as he says. And I could go on and on. Please keep those letters coming and we do appreciate if you tell us something about yourselves.

As we are running out of time, we need to repeat Radio Prague's competition question for February.

"An ancient people, known to us as Hittites, lived in what is now Turkey, in the 2nd millennium BC. They spoke an Indo-European language which was deciphered by a Czech archaeologist at the beginning of the 20th century. He was also the one who determined the Hittites' language was indeed Indo-European."

We have already received some 40 answers but - who knows - it can be you this time. So please send us your answers by the end of this month, to [email protected] or to our postal address, Radio Prague, 12099 Prague 2, Czech Republic.