Many professional east Europeans want to emigrate, in search of the presumed bright lights and dollars of the West. Therefore, those who go in the opposite direction, from west to east, are warmly received, especially if they have a skill.
Czechoslovakia is in need of expertise in all areas connected with the market economy: business skills are more than welcome. Alternatively, English- teaching - qualified or otherwise - provides a popular way of making ends meet. This is not a country for anybody seeking to get rich, though a small amount of money, in Western terms, goes a long way. Czech salaries are negligible, if counted in dollars. If you are a foreigner with even a small amount of hard currency at your disposal, your standard of living will be good. But if your only source of income is in Czech crowns, you will be distinctly strapped for cash. A meal in a restaurant may cost about pounds 3, which sounds less attractive if that represents half a day's wage.
The collapse of communism has done little for the flourishing of the arts. There are newspapers of all kinds, some tacky and some good. But theatre and cinema have suffered from the chill winds of the free market.
Prague is still full of art galleries, however, and presents any number of concerts. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and lives at an easier pace than its west European counterparts. Health care may not be hi- tech, but nor is this the Third World.
One minor problem: Czechoslovakia will probably, by the New Year, be two countries. Slovakia, in the eastern part of the federation, has declared its intention to break away.
Czechs and Slovaks are not about to start killing each other. Still, it will probably be a confusing place to live in.