I recently invited some Brits, who have just bought a typical Czech farmhouse in a village a few miles away, to tea. It seemed only right that we Brits should support each other in our excursions into Czech property purchase. Anyway, they were full of tales about Czech builders and their plans for their new enormous home. I sat and listened to their excitement and enthusiasm and remembered what I had felt two years ago when I had started.
One thing they commented on was an incident at the house of another friend, where a crack had appeared in a wall following a ditch being excavated to protect the house walls from penetrating damp. They were taken aback by the Czech builders' response, which was to stand around in heated conversation, with much waving of arms and scratching of heads. "It was obvious what was wrong and needed to be done," my fellow Brit commented. "Instead there was this argument."
I smiled to myself. I have seen these Czech "arguments" many times and like my British friend had at first misread them. Czechs are far more expressive and animated than us and they love to argue. It doesn't matter that the answer is obvious. It doesn't matter that they probably actually agree with each other. The crack in the wall, the twisting beam or the water in the cellar, all are opportunities for a good old Czech debate