Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ostrava...week 2 - Dave

Its a bit difficult to use the computer this week as I have to type it on my comouter and then to jump drive, then to my host's laptop for upload etc.  I will be posting some new pictures so please if you have the time, take a look

We of course back in Czech Republic in Ostrava again, but the guest of the other club that exists here  To night we gave another presentation and so far the technology is working out OK.  I am trying to phonetically speak Czech and I guess its mostly humor time for them till I switch into English. 

We enjoyed Slovakia and returned via a different route on sunday than when we went down.  I am staying with the former president of the local university of 24,000 students.  Definably a high powered and well respected professor.  We have have many discussions about the differences in US college education.  He has been all over the world, from Southern Ill University at Carbondale, to Saudi “Arabia, China, to mention but a few.  My team member and I are sharing a house he owns and really does not live here, he has a flat downtown about a mile away.  Today we also went sightseeing and went to the TATA automobile museum.  I have vaguely heard of them, but they started making cars in 1898, all through both wars, and have trucks that were specifically designed for military application and dump trucks.  I think they are now owned by an Indian company.

We leave Saturday morning for Prague, change trains and head south to Pizek till later in the week.  One of the sightseeing  trips is to a nuclear power plant.  We also will visit the ORIGINAL Budweiser brewery.  Needless to say, I am looking forward to that side trip.  Then Thurs we head to Prague via Pilzen and another brewery visit and arrive in Prague for the final 5 days.

Rotary has only existed in this country for 20 years, and this club tonight celebrated their 10th anniversary. My vocational day was with  RPG properties who own and manage 44,000 apartments!  Talk about a big operation.  They are redoing the former Soviet butt ugly 8-10 story buildings by replacing the windows with new energy saving models.  Given, there is at least 4 windows for each flat, that's a lot of windows.  Fortunately, they are mostly the same size.  This cost is projected to be $250 Million US$. Then, they are covering the buildings with about 4” of polystyrene and painting them in attractive colors.  Its still the old Soviet building, but sure looks a lot better.  Its complicated, but RPG has been able to raise the rent about the amount of the savings in energy.  Typical rent for a nice 700 sq ft 1 BR is about $1000/month as near as I can tell, but the energy for heat and electricity pops that up to about $1500.  Supposedly..... the energy savings is a wash so the owner gets the savings to rationalize the expenditure for the energy savings.  It's actually a bit more complicated than that but generally, that is what is happening.  So much better than in Slovakia because the government has not allowed to raise the rents by the owners. 

Thanks for listening

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