An ‘Owed’ To Slovakia

Today was a typical day. I went in search of canvas and paints, walking to my 1st destination as it is only just down the rd, to find they did not have the canvas dimensions I was looking for…so I decided to take the car, our Opel swing, about 400 years old, runs like a rocket, smells like a petrol leaking one too.

Thanks! (c) Lucas

I got to my next destination, about 15 minutes away and after the search for valid parking was found to be fruitless and frivolous, I decided to maneuver myself onto the muddy unpaved pavement. I was then told by some Hungarian builders that the police would give me  ‘clamps’ and as only yesterday I received a EUR 50 fine for riding the bus 5 min from the train station home without a stamped ticket …I decided to attempt a re-parking expedition.

Whilst I was jumping back in the car a rather drunken man stumbled by…saying that if I wasn’t going to be too long I could use his parking place in front of his garage, after reiterating to me which one it was, that it was the second from the left, I proceeded to start the car…and I proceeded to attempt to start the car…and I then proceeded to attempt to start the car, a 3rd time…but no luck, she was kaput!

The builders then helped me push her in reverse into the parking space 2nd from the right. I decided to go and get my art supplies and crossed my fingers hoping that the car would sort itself out…I took my accomplice out of the car (a beautiful bubbly Yorkshire terrier) and headed for the art shop. There I once again met the drunken parking space owner. I started telling him about how the battery had actually died, or she was out of petrol, but how she was resting safely in the parking lot till I finished there. He said , as I understood…not to worry, he is a little drunk but we will find cables and and we will jump start it.

When the shopping was done I headed back. Jump cables, a car and 3 helpful men appeared. We got the Opel to swing into action and we were off..Lila and I. After this episode, I thought it’s best if I don’t make things riskier than necessary and so decided to put some fuel in. I pulled into the gas station, fed the car, paid the bill and proceeded to start the car, and I proceeded to attempt to start the car..and I knew.

I was then pushed by two suited men , but it wouldn’t start. I called a friend, who suggested her boyfriend as it seemed like a suitable job for him, and he was at home with a broken nose. Rasto arrived, looking a little blue, as he was attacked by a water slide over the weekend and we lifted the bonnet.

Before jump cables were even mentioned, he pointed out that on the minus side of my battery the connection had shifted. He then just pushed it back in place and suggested I try starting the engine. Giggling shamefully I revved her up…I felt so embarrassed, what a blond moment.

Rasto was really great about it, he didn’t make me feel worse than I needed to and we laughed, both setting about our way.  I’d just like to thank the Slovaks in my day today, even the helpful Hungarian, as it’s not always easy being a foreigner, but when one encounters people like this when faced with situations like that, I am happy to be living in Slovakia


  1. Whilst it would appear to be unpopular comparing how things are done in the SK with other countries it would appear that Slovaks have no such qualms about adopting our bad habits and scams.
    A delivery van has been parked, illegally, blocking access to our property and preventing our deliveries. The sole occupant, the driver, has been busy delivering boxes of paper, furniture and books, up the stairs to the offices on the third floor of the building opposite.
    When asked to move his vehicle he arrogantly pointed to his disabled badge in his windscreen and refused.

  2. Not sure what happened to James? It appears he got out of the wrong side of bed ? Either that or he has been drinking too much at the Slovak honeypot ?

    The fact is this website is about Slovakia, not Germany, France or the UK . Yes it is perhaps better living here than in Uganda or even South Sudan, ( Just ! ) but to start comparing each country once you lived in and compare it to Slovakia , on the bases of things are not actually that great in the `Old Country` is a bit crass and narrow minded and rather missing the point . I rarely compare country to country and just have a critic of the Slovak people, that I really do expect more from the majority living here …rather than almost an entire nation of citizens be bottom feeders of the worst kind .

  3. James – As I said, the UK system is not perfectbut at least there is an effort to bring matters into the public domain.
    Sir John Chilcot has yet to publish his report on Iraq so we will have to wait and see what comes of that – very little I suspect.
    According to recent reports in the British press successive govts. have been in bed with Murdoch and I agree, no matter how damning the evidence, Cameron will not step down. That is the nature of politicians the world over. Politics, by its nature, attracts dishonest people.

  4. Dave, No problem, and sorry Octavia..if I is just that I come from a place where the women cound change a tire without help from a man, the could also perform an iol change and jump a car without being confused with + and – on the battery!

    I believe that we all have stories of situations in Slovakia that would be amusing and even make the paper, but we all have seen some sort of help from a Slovak…it is not that rare! Now after you get the help don’t expect a follow up! 😉

    Anyway, I have found some very good Slovak friends, I have met some that are bottom feeders and know how to work the system, other who truly care about others and try to be there…but this is everywhere in the world! I have never traveled to anywhere in the world where everyone drops what they are doing to help poor me in a situation! This is why we, as humans, will never get past the barrier of being civil and being whole. People pass me on the street every day, not knowing I am from another country, but even if they did, would they even care, NOPE! So we live here, as we would in any place, rely on those that we know will help, and avoid those that we know will only do harm!
    I want to be that one person that will always try to help! This may be my flaw in this country though….

  5. Octavia and JB – Nice article bringing some much needed balance.

    EXPAT – Whilst I agree the subject matter of the article is a little twee you miss the underlying point Octavia is trying to present.
    Many of the articles tend to generate subsequent comments that often belittle Slovak manhood as a whole. ( Yes, I am guilty as charged). The point I believe Octavia is making is that despite this there are in fact a number of SK knights in shining armour who will come to the aid of a damsel in distress.
    On a personal note, I agree that all car drivers should have a basic knowledge of how the vehicle works and fault finding however, and call me old fashioned if you will, I find the image of a animal loving if somewhat feather brained woman who has a passion for painting far more alluring than that of some female greasemonkey who can strip and assemble V12 large bore engines.

  6. I just heard a story about how a former English businessman who invested 2 million euro in Slovakian business, created 10 jobs, then had his entire 2m business and 100% of the sro shares stolen by his Lawyer and this weekend sitting in jail cell in Spain, as he was arrested under a Euro Arrest warrant when he landed in Alicante. ….This was for the `most serious crime ` and I quote ~~~ For being an accomplice to defraud the Slovak National Insurer of 3000 euro, yes 3000 euro . The Arrest warrant was issued 30th MARCH 2012 …the businessman left Slovakia and the sro company in late 2007 ????

    Yes be warned expat folks, Slovakia and the Legal system is issuing Euro Warrants as a debt collecting tool or is this something more sinister ?

    1. What amazes me George is the speed the Sk legal system can move at when a foreigner is involved. I presume his former lawyer got away with the scam or is the case still being dragged through the courts 5 years later?
      It’s interesting that the businessman is under lock and key while murder suspects here wander around free or just do a powder and skip the country.
      I hope he appoints a British lawyer for his defence. Any half decent wig will make mincemeat of the Sk legal system.

      1. Oh yes, the British legal system is just perfect, isn’t it? Remember the investigation carried out with such text-book professionalism into, say, the Stephen Lawrence murder, where the guilty men were arrested immediately and all safely locked away?

        Then there were things like the Wimbledon Common murder, or the killing of Jill Dando. All great examples of just how perfectly the courts do things back in the UK.

        1. James –
          Wimbledon Common – The CPS decided to take the original case to court and the jury, quite rightly threw it out within days. The police continued their investigation and eventually found the murder who was sentenced within days. The subsequent IPCC ( no such thing in the SK) issued a damming report on the case, action was taken against the police and lessons learned.
          Jill Dando – Once again the CPS proceded with the case and the jury arrived at a guilty verdict on the evidence presented. This verdict was subsequently overturned upon appeal – total court time – weeks. The case is still being investigated but with no suspect, no evidence there is little police can do.
          Stephen Lawrence – Most UK citizens will agree that this was the most appalling racist crime and police cock-up in recent times.
          The original six accused were acquitted because of the lack of evidence. Public pressure, lead by the Daily Mail and other newspapers ( SK?) forced the Macpherson inquiry ( SK doesn’t have public inquiries) which made 70 recommendations including the changes to the double jeopardy clause in Common Law. It took politicians until 2003 to implement most of the recommendations. The police re-opened the case on 2008 because more advanced forensic tools were available. Two of the original suspects were arrested and charged in September 2010 but because one had previously been acquitted the double jeopardy case ( a first in English law ) had to be heard. The two appeared in court in November 2011 and both received life sentences based on their status as juvenilles at the time of the murder ( Min. 25 years). after 5 weeks of court time. This sentence was appealed against by a member of the public who argued they should have the adult sentence but this was quashed.
          Two separate IPPC investigations into the Kent and Met. Police resulted in a number of criminal prosectutions of police officers and disciplinary action against many more. The police have publicly admitted that their investigations into the other suspects, who are all members of the same drug gang, have been stiffled by potential witnesses being threatened but they hope that at sometime in the future someone will “spill the beans” on the others.
          So, James, no the British legal system is not perfect but it is light years ahead of the medieval system employed here and it has the mechanisms to continually improve – trial by jury, precedence, Public Enquiries, Royal Commissions, Parliamentary Select Committees, IPCC and a campaigning press supported by public opinion.
          The whole point of my original comment was the normally lethargic pace at which justice runs in this country – Property fraud, 11 years and counting, Mass manslaughter – 4 years, etc, etc. why does it take so much court time?

          1. Perhaps it’s ‘better’ in the UK because, when lives get ruined, the innocent get banged up or the guilty go free, we have the IPCC and public inquiries to state the bleeding obvious, ie that there was a major cock-up and/or corruption, a few minor lambs will be thrown to the lions and that ‘lessons will be learned’ – until the next time of course.

            Right now, there’s a public inquiry going on into another British scandal – that a bunch of Australian-American phone-hackers had the police in their pay and were about to have a takeover bid, effectively for most of the British media, waved through by their horse-riding chums in government. Maybe (I won’t hold my breath) a few of the major players will go to jail as a result, but I suspect the PM won’t resign, be kicked out or otherwise held accountable.

            And why the hell should he when his predecessor-but-one sent thousands of young men to die in a foreign desert on the basis of a plagiarised under-grad thesis and got away with it? Indeed, even today, still pontificates on TV about he had right on his side. We know that was all fine, of course, because a public inquiry said so.

            Not denying that Slovakia’s political system and judiciary are as good as openly corrupt. But whether British-style weasel-words from public inquiries or the like would make me feel things were any better is another question.

  7. What??? This is a story? Come on, someone please write on something pertaining to how the EXPAT’s are chaging Bratislava, not ebing total idiots when comeing here!

    1st off…… this is such a typical ladies problem…. not worthy of a story, nor like a conversation with a friend over a TEA! 2nd… nice insight, but don’t put yourself out there with your cheap car, poor sense of engineering of an auto (check the battery 1st)..when you car can’t start…..and then, if you drive a clutch (manual) you can pop the clutch to start the car if pushed….

    Learn to drive!

    Sorry, stupid posting, makes me feel like anyone here is just lost, without any sense of the world or how it works! Please, Octavia, stop being so nieve! This is not Kansas!

    1. It isn’t ? oops!

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