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14-10-2019, 20:48 UTC
Living Czech

Lazing on a sunny afternoon...

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Hello and welcome to Living Czech. I'm Nick Carey, and I am joined today in the studio today by Jana Durèáková. Our theme for today is the summertime, and summer pursuits, and considering the weather we have had this summer, it is probably about time too.

The best thing about léto or the summer is the fact that svítí sluníèko, or the sun shines. Sluníèko is actually a diminutive of slunce, the sun, and sluníèko is simply a fond way of referring to it.

Now, the Czechs really appreciate the summer, so much so that the country virtually closes down for much of the season. The Czechs refer to this as the okurková sézona, or the cucumber season. This is the time of year when cucumbers are harvested, and the joke is that many people disappear off into the country to participate in this. This is not specifically true, but Czechs do in general in the summer take three to four weeks of dovolená, or holiday, and disappear off to their chaty or country cottages.

This is so much so that whole offices will close down. There are cases when you will see a sign outside a hospoda, pub, or an obchod, shop, saying either inventura, inventory, or z technických dùvodù zavøeno..., closed for technical reasons. The main technický dùvod, or technical reason, being that they have all gone off to the countryside for a month. Now, although this can cause occasional annoyance, I actually respect this attitude. I couldn't do it myself, but I find myself envying people who can just say, What the Hell?, and go off for a month, closing their businesses and just having the faith that I will still have customers when I get back.

So what do the Czechs do while they take their long dovolená or holiday in the summer? Well, the majority of people spend their time repairing their chata, or country cottage, or their dùm or house if they are lucky to own one, or working in their zahrada, or garden.

Teenagers and young people tend to spend a fair amount of their time helping their families, but they spend their free time down by the øeka, river, or at the bazen, the swimming pool. This is also called a koupali¹tì, or literally a bathing place, as koupat se means to bathe oneself.

Whilst down at the koupali¹tì, you can indulge in some plavání or swimming, and if you want to work on your barva or colour, you can opalovat se, or sunbathe. This is actually related to the verb pálit, which means to burn, so literally you are cooking yourself just a touch. Be very careful before you skoèit dive into a bazén here from a skokanské prkno, or diving board as the water in the Czech Republic beside a skokanské prkno does not by law have to be deep enough to dive into. There is a Czech proverb that is just made for this and it is neskákej do neznámé vody, or don't jump into unknown waters, the equivalent of look before you leap. I have learned my lesson personally with this one with a broken cheekbone, a punctured eardrum, and a long lecture from a neurologist about how I am lucky to be alive.

And speaking of proverbs, that will be our theme for next week. Czech proverbs, what they mean and their English equivalents. If you would like to receive a transcript of Living Czech, please write to Radio Prague 120 99 Prague 2. Until next time, mìjte se fajn, or take care.

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