It was a travel day so we left the hotel with our bags to drive to Prague, about 200 miles away. A few days ago, our tour director, Paul Vladu, took some time to tell us about life under Communism. He was born in Romania and someone mistyped his last name on his birth certificate, adding a ‘U’ to his family name of “Vlad.” You see, his brother and father have the last name of “Vlad,” but Paul’s last name is “Vladu” because that is what his birth certificate says, and nothing can be done about it!
He said that there were only two good things about Communism: 1) Everyone gets a good education; and 2) Everyone can be guaranteed a job so there is no unemployment.
Paul trained and worked as a civil engineer for ten years. But because there were 10 other civil engineers at his place of work, he spent his whole time reworking plans for the same building.
The economic fallacy was that all people are equal and all people should be paid equally, whether you are an engineer, a teacher, a policeman or a waitress. Because of this policy, people tended to have a very negative attitude—no motivation and no creativity to do a good job.
The motto was “You can pretend to pay me and I can pretend to work!”
Ever since the fall of communism in 1989, Paul has worked as a tour director. Before 1989 no one was allowed to travel. Now he has visited over 100 countries in the last 25 years, but unfortunately he has never visited Hawaii.
So today everyone on the tour got up and had the opportunity to say a few words about themselves. We started out with 29 people (one woman had to leave to attend to a dying mother) with all but two from the United States; the other two are from Toronto, Canada. The rest are from Washington, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and I am from Hawaii. We have a wide range of ages—from a young girl going into the 6th grade traveling with her parents and college age brother to retired people in their mid-70s.
Along the way we toured a spectacular castle at Lednice with French-style gardens and interiors with exquisite woodwork which interlocked and used not a single nail! Look at this beautiful staircase!