Saturday, October 6, 2012


While I was in the USA in September, I got a Facebook message from a friend that said I got out of Czech Republic in time because prohibition was imposed.  Actually, prohibition only on alcohol over 20%.  Of course beer and wine were OK.  And most people have home-made slivovice anyway.  But, for weeks, you could not buy any hard liquor in shops, bars or restaurants.

The government took action because people were getting methanol poisoning from drinking bootleg vodka and rum.  Around 80 people in ČR suffered methanol poisoning.  Some of these people have gone blind and others have been put in to induced comas by their doctors.  Almost 30 people have died.  Cases were also reported in Poland and Slovakia.

Methanol is not manufactured in ČR so it qualifies as for a tax exemption so it is cheaper than ethanol (normal drinking alcohol).  Bootleggers have been known to mix methanol with ethanol in order to increase their profits.  So far, police in Moravia have two main suspects, a dozen other accomplices and have seized more than 5,000 liters of spirits plus counterfeit labels.

In addition to the human tragedy, this has cost the government a lot of money.  Monthly tax revenues from liquor sales are about 750 million Kč ($40.4 million).

I did get another Facebook message at the end of September which said prohibition was over and I could come back.

Another thing I missed out on was that the Prague airport has been renamed.  It is now the Václav Havel Airport.  The former dissident, and Czech President, died last year.

It seems that the pipe work made good progress while I was gone.  While not completely finished it does now look a lot better in front of my building.

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