Czech Republic – Brno – Sequence of Events – P5

Onboarding & Bank Account –

I completed my on-boarding and managed to setup my laptop . HR asked me to connect from home for rest of the days. I met my Manager on the video call . After my on-boarding, its time for me open a Bank account for Salary. Before I started to investigate on which bank is the best , everything was closed . My manager helped me to open a Bank Account online and helped me to call the bank officials whether they operate during lock-down. I saw one of their branches near by the new stay which is a few yards walk and thought of checking with them.

I went and inquired , came to know that they operate with a minimal operational model with timing restrictions , as this is the only branch open in BRNO and all other branches are closed. It was really surprising for me to visit a bank which is nearer to my new stay where I can meet Bank Official in person but only on a few days a week with specific time, but it is some how I thought it is just another edge of Luck.

I also had thoughts that after opening an account , thought of heading back to India. But when I searched and realized Lock-down has been Imposed in India and there is no option for me to fly back from Czech. That was a triggering moment, I started to think what needs to be done to face the situation instead of what can’t be done as there was no options left !!!! .

Debit Card Confusions –

They requested some documents for completing the bank account process and asked me to wait for the Debit card which will be sent from Prague. I gave my new stay address and phone number in the bank and thought myself that I will be getting a call before handing over the debit card , but it wasn’t the case . Here they don’t have any special posts for debit cards and no verification will be done. As I m unaware of all this information and my name is not updated on the mailbox which landed up for an another challenge ” where my debit card has been returned to Prague “.

After a few days, I m thinking why I didn’t get called for the debit card and thought of checking with the bank . I went and inquired the bank officials , they start explaining me that they don’t call and debit card has been returned to Prague and there is no tracking facility for posts as well and asked me to wait for another 15 to 20 days for receiving a new card . !!!!!!!!

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Czech Republic – Brno – Sequence of Events – P4

Parallel Events in India –

In India, the discussions to go for a complete lock-down proposal has started and after a week , lock down has been Imposed from 18th March If I remember it right.

Cargo update 1 –

Around Thursday, I got a message that Cargo reached Prague. The agent from Prague spoke in Czech and I wasn’t able to understand. So I asked the agent in India to help me out as I still didn’t join the Company to get help from any one. Czech government requested people to restrict the travel unless it is an emergency. The agent in India still believed that he will be able to deliver the shipment doorstep , Damn it 🙂 . The other damn thing was I believed him, realizing the current situation in Czech Republic 🙂 lol 🙂

Airbnb –

I booked Airbnb stay for 2 weeks , so that I can search a apartment in those days (That was the Plan, of course it didn’t materialize ) . Initial five days have been good with the stay. But after the lock-down impose, Airbnb stay owner asked us to vacate the stay as they cannot help in case we run in to trouble. He came up with the refund and asked us to vacate the stay. I really don’t know what to do as entire city is getting closed and not sure where to go for help and not sure whether we would get an another stay somewhere or I need to pack myself back to India ??? I asked the stay owner to help us with the other place.

In a very crucial timing, We found a stay near by center for 30 days because everybody is closing their booking . The booking was finalized some how and we packed our things to the new place. The stay owner helped me to transfer the luggage . We went to the new stay and we could hear the shocking news that the stay was on the 4th floor and it doesn’t have elevator. We were like Oh my god !!!!! …, we will have to step up and manage, we carried all the luggage to 4th floor. It was a bungalow and stay was on the corner side of 4th floor. We couldn’t witness any one living in there. My wife felt uncomfortable and don’t know what to do. As I already paid the money in full settlement, there is no option for us. Of course, the new owner some how understood our situation real quick . she comforted us saying that she is ready to help and gave her number. One of my crucial savings gone that moment as I saved it for house rent advance.

That night, we experienced shake in the building and we thought it was earthquake and later realized that it was trembling due to TRAM 🙂 lol 🙂 . It happens all the time when TRAM crosses this building . We were afraid that, what might happen or this owner will also ask us to vacate ????? I already came to a mindset , if things go wild, the worst case will be back to India !!!!!! without realizing the actual fact that the last flight to India was on 13th of March . We are on 15th March already !!!!!!!!!!

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Czech Republic – Brno – Sequence of Events – P3

Medical Test & Black Humour – 10th March

As per the country law, I must undergo few medical tests in Czech Republic to let the employer know that I m healthy, instead it is very difficult to proceed the on-boarding process as it is a MUST in Czech Republic. I went to a doctor suggested by my employer for my medical clearance. He was asking me the basic questions on name, country etc… When I said, I m from India and the city name is Chennai, he was shocked and went 2m away from me . I was really not sure what is happening around and realized that he misunderstood the pronunciation of “CHENNAI” as “CHINA” . Then I explained him that, Chennai is south part of India has no connection with China. But he was not convinced asking me how close it is from CHINA…..this time, I was shocked !!! lol 🙂 . I still laugh when ever I think about this Question .

Language –

Without a lock down in Czech republic, it is slightly difficult to manage with English as the country respects its own language and few people know to speak English. After the lock down , think of my situation, I cannot even ask for help , even if I speak , they go couple of meter away to keep the social distancing . Absolutely no way for me to communicate other than the Google Language translator and Sign Language 🙂

Apartment Hunt –

The next day we completed our registration process with Embassy and started calling the agents for apartment for rent. My friend told me that finding an Apartment here will be a challenge in normal situation, so I started searching from the next day, First 3 days people were picking up the phone and at-least they tried to reply . But after the lock-down, it was very difficult to find people because they respect the law system and follow it no matter what, they DON’T break the rules .

Law system & People

I really admire the way people respect and follow the law system here. The interesting fact was I was in a mind set that people won’t be 100 % compliance for this Nationwide emergency and thought every thing will be OK in another couple of days. But it just happened exactly opposite of it. People were 100 % Compliance and I don’t see any one roaming around. That was the situation I was slowly started realizing I was trapped.

Transport & Communication

In a new country, it is not a good choice to go with Cab in initial days as we were not known the safety measures and Language. So our inner sense told us to depend on Public Transport. First 2 days, I was able to get the tickets in the tram, but after 12th, they stopped giving tickets in the tram , I have no clue where to go and buy the tickets… The driver was telling me something in Czech and I misunderstood that he was telling me to get down from the tram and in a depressed mindset, I started speaking in Tamil 🙂 . I myself laughed later, as the driver was trying to explain that government asked them to stop giving tickets in buses and tram due to COVID19 🙂 .

The fact here was Checking Inspectors don’t wear uniform as they will be in a casual dress and show their ID Card , when they check tickets, if we don’t have them, a spot fine of 800CZK will be issued immediately.

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Czech Republic – Brno – Sequence of Events – P2

2 Days Before the Travel ……. Cargo

Whenever we plan for international travel, We Indians plan to take groceries for few days and necessary cooking vessels as it is very difficult to manage with bun and bread for a long time. 

We took the luggage allowed in check in and decided to put the rest in Cargo. After the decision has been made, we decided to put many other things including a new Mixie as well in Cargo.

I wanted to send the Cargo 2 days before as I don’t  want to take the pressure of sending the Shipment in a hurry . Couple of days before we sent the cargo and told the agent in India that I should be able to receive the shipment in Brno as he said it will be delivered at door step. The word “DOORSTEP” really manipulated me to take the decision of sending the additional stuff to dump in cargo. Let me stop here the Cargo story and will discuss later on what happened to cargo .

Brno –

We reached Brno on 9th March 2020. Czech prime minister imposed the Nationwide emergency on 12th March 2020. As we don’t have access to anything and trying to accommodate to the new place.Things started happening rapidly without giving a chance. A day after this announcement, entire city was slowly started their shutdown . We didn’t realize what exactly happening and when we try to realize that its a national wide emergency. Its too late for us .

Climate

The season in Brno in March is the transition period from Winter to Spring . Of course the Climate seems to be very cold and during night time, the temperature was almost ZERO and few days we could see the temperature went down from ZERO .

Jet-lag and food – 

Time difference is 4.5 hours ahead from India, so when we reached Czech Republic , we felt very difficult in our initial days as we wake up around 4 .30 AM in the morning, it is 9 AM in India for Breakfast 🙂 , Some how we managed to take 2 breakfast in the initial days and managed with Lunch and dinner on Czech timings.

Borders Closed –

After the announcement of Nationwide Emergency, Czech Republic closed their borders and restricted the movement of people and transport. Entry to this country is closed and eventually we can’t go out from the country as well .

We never had a thought that we would be asked to vacate the stay in this situation !!!!!!!!

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Czech Republic – Brno – Sequence of Events – P1

“” There are times in our life where we will be compelled to face the challenges as there won’t be any choices or chances other than to confront and conquer it. “”

I said the above lines in my Amarnath blog, now it is rehashed in my life with more intense Situation in an International Travel during Lock-down where nothing is accessible to us , however we have been forced to face the situation in our life to survive , that too in another country.

I don’t know whether I would need to call this as an experience or challenge, however I m sure it showed me the significance of Courage to deal with things. I would even call this as a Sequence of Events – Season 2 in my Life 🙂 lol 🙂 .

Its been a long time dream for me for a long term onsite opportunity, but the dream never came true in my 15 years . I got a call in March 2019 for a long term job offer, obviously it doesn’t materialize all of a sudden, it gradually progressed and during the end of 2019, I got my offer and in mid-Jan 2020, my visa was affirmed and travel date was concluded that I need to reach Czech Republic in March 2020.

In Jan 2020, COVID19 already started its panic all over the world, but in India, I see the initial screenings have been done in the Airport but it didn’t have its count on the table. No one would have thought that COVID19 will lock-down entire earth in  March 2020, even I do thought the same, Of course, I thought it might slow down in the end of March 2020, but it just happened exactly opposite of it. All of a sudden, a rapid spike in March had locked down the entire world.

Any one who travel to a new country, Initially, it will be extremely hard to accommodate the circumstance and its environmental factors for some time in normal situation, especially Places, Language, Climate, Culture, food , Supermarkets, Shopping Centers, Transport,etc…. Nearly everything will be hard for sometime.

As far as my situation is concerned, even more worse, all the doors have been totally closed when I on-boarded on Brno . Couple of days after, Czech Republic Government declared a Nationwide Emergency & shutdown everything to reduce the spread of COVID19 .Czech republic is the First country to go for a Complete shutdown in Europe. All the borders of Czech Republic is closed and entry to this country is restricted and no one can go out as well . I don’t know what is happening around me , before we take further steps to realize, the situation has already gone more intense and compelled us to face it.

In my successive posts, I will discuss about the situations we faced in BRNO during lock-down and how we overcome one by one.

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US Memories – Texas – P7

our trip to US finally ended up in Texas. We spent couple of weeks in Texas for official team meeting and returned to India. We didn’t go any where in Texas other than City round up and we watched our first IMAX movie – Jurassic World . It was really a great experience in IMAX screen.

With this post, I would conclude this series and come up with something new in my next. Thank you all.

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US Memories – North carolina – P6

Latest information on Battleship Visit –

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is open to visitors with new procedures in place to help ensure the safety of staff and visitors, including

  • Reconfiguring the tour route to include only the Ship’s main deck and above, and offering only self-guided tours.
  • Limiting the number of visitors allowed in the gift shop and on the Ship itself, and closing the visitors center.
  • Welcoming only non-cash (credit card) payments.
  • Installing hand sanitizer and hand washing stations.
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning high-touch public areas and restrooms.
  • Using protective barriers at sales desks.

Adult admission will be reduced to $10, with all visitors offered the group, child, military or ADA rate as applicable. Visitors will be welcomed back with a receipt within a year, after other areas of the Ship reopen.

Operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

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US Memories – North Carolina – P5

In 2015, my second Business trip to US happened . This time it was in the month of May. Of course we escaped from the summer in Chennai and enjoyed a very pleasant climate in North Carolina.

I would say Raleigh is a beautiful place to visit in May. It was pleasant and a little bit of drizzle you would enjoy. A lot of trees around the city, a person who love trees will definitely enjoy this place.

During my Raleigh visit, We visited a zoo, Wilmington beach and a War memorial Ship.

The U.S.S. North Carolina is a decommissioned World War II battleship, permanently moored as a memorial and historic site in Wilmington on the Cape Fear River. The ship weights 36,000 tons and is 728 feet in length. The retired battleship serves as commemoration of the heroism of U.S. sailors and soldiers from North Carolina in World War II. A bronze plaque on the hull of the bow bears the textual commemoration in raised lettering.

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US Memories – Arizona – Sedona – P4

Sedona’s main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The red rocks form a popular backdrop for many activities, ranging from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.

It is good not to go to this place in peak summer as it would be very hot and will not be able to tolerate the temperature.

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US Memories – Arizona – Grand Canyon – P3

On the way to Grand Canyon, Cab driver said, I m going to remember this for the lifetime and I will capture it for my grandchildren… I laughed to myself and didn’t take his words so serious. But when we saw the Canyon… I realized the words from the cab driver is so true as, we can’t even speak for a while … and admired by the Natural Wonder!!! 

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US Memories – Arizona – Prescott – P2

It was too hot and we could feel the heat even after 10 PM in the night, I could see people traveling to nearby places in Phoenix on weekends to escape from the heat. My client started laughing visiting phoenix in the month of July and August is a very bad decision and it wouldn’t be a best month to enjoy as it will be more hotter than any other place in US . It was a one month trip. We planned a weekend trip to near by village Prescott and all of sudden we thought why not ” Grand Canyon ” as well . I never thought it would materialize in this trip, but it happened . . I cannot believe my eyes , It was a like a dream for me when I saw grand canyon for the first time, such a WONDER created by Nature !!!! .

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US Memories – Arizona – P1

Hi all, I would like to share my first International visit which is a business trip, the place is Phoenix in Arizona, I see phoenix is also called as ” Valley of Sun “.

I visited Phoenix in the month of August. I still remember , I started the trip on 15th August that also coincides with my Grand Father’s Birthday. It was a 20 hours flight from Chennai to London & London to Phoenix.

I wasn’t aware that it’s a peak summer in US and that too, Phoenix is the place which records the highest temperature approximately 45 degree Celsius daily. You know , I carried a Jerkin with me 🙂 believing that western countries will be cold 🙂 .

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