What do footwear retailer Bata, fine Bohemian crystal glass, a sexy red 4×4 Skoda, and a writer-turned-President have in common? You have it: the Czech Republic.
Starting Peru This Week’s new section on ‘Meet your Ambassador,’ we met with Ambassador Vladimir Eisenbruk who received us in his office one sunny and very hot afternoon. The Ambassador not only greeted us in Spanish but, as it turned out, demonstrated throughout the entire interview his command over the Castilian language. Having served as a diplomat in Central America and entering into his fifth year of living in Peru may largely explain his remarkable linguistic skills.
Ambassador Eisenbruk first visited Peru thirteen years ago in an official visit accompanying the Chancellor of his country. Upon his second visit, this time as the appointed Ambassador to Peru – covering Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia – Eisenbruk could not believe the changes Peru had experienced over the years, and how urban development had taken over the capital city with all its consequences, both positive and negative. Although he believed that much was being done in relation to cultural activities, progress tends to be concentrated in a few privileged districts. Praising the ‘Gran Teatro Nacional’ for its wonderful acoustics, Eisenbruk considers the theatre as one of the best of its kind not only in Latin America but in the entire world!
The Czech Republic, a country known for its rich cultural life and legacy, is very much interested in supporting culture in Peru, in its different shapes and forms. Last September, for the second year, the Ambassador invited some guests to his residence to listen to the Guarneri Trio Prague a famed trio chamber music ensemble that has played in numerous stages around the world.
For 2015, the Embassy has several cultural activities already in the pipeline that are worth mentioning. During the month of May, they will be participating for a second year in the ‘To the East of Lima’ (Al Este de Lima) movie festival with a retrospective of acclaimed Czech film director, Vera Chytilova. Ms Chytilova, whose films were banned during the communist years in countries under the former USRR range of influence, employs a unique cinematographic language and style.
The Embassy will also participate in the upcoming ‘Europe Day,’ an annual event to be held this May in Arequipa. As part of the festivities, the Czechs will surprise the public with some of their typical dishes –mainly based on game meat and pork- prepared by a Czech chef who used to cook for several Czech Presidents during the communist years. Czech beers, wines and spirits will also be present at a gastronomic event to be held in the Sonesta Hotel in San Isidro. Apparently the white wines and beer are not something you want to miss!
Czechs, indeed, have a long history of beer production The Benedictines were producing the barley based drink inside the walls of the Brevnov Monastery in Prague already in the 10th century –although some contest beer production goes further back. Whatever the exact years may be, there is no dispute over the first production of the Pilsner light golden beer to take place in Plzen back in 1842. With so much history, it should come as no surprise that the Czechs not only know a lot about the golden beverage, but they also lead in terms of the highest beer consumption per capita in the world by holding the number one position worldwide. Who would have imagined!
Energy and environmental issues are of high concern for the Ambassador, and the recent Lima COP 20 event surely re-invigorated their commitment to moving ahead with the environmental agenda, in particular the treatment of water residuals. According to the Ambassador, Peru has an enormous potential in the energy sector mainly due to its privileged geography. By employing new technologies, Peru should be able to export energy to different countries. Peru has so much more to offer than just the mining sector .
Likewise, Ambassador Eisenbruk believes Peru has so much to offer in every corner due to its rich history, diverse geography, and vibrant culture that certainly goes beyond Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu. During his years in Peru, the Ambassador has travelled extensively throughout the country: more than once he has gone off the beaten trek along the Machu Picchu trail visited the fabulous Gocta waterfalls in the Amazonas region, and the small hidden town of Huancaya in the Lima region, with its heavenly waterfalls and stunning scenery. The Ambassador also feels captivated by the beauty of the jungle and told us that a Czech Jesuit by the name of Samuel Fritz had been the first person to trace a map of the Amazon basin back in the 17h century, a piece of information that surely many of us were unaware of.
The Ambassador continued to praise the geographic diversity of Peru that allows visitors to completely go for a change of scenario within one hour flight or so. If there is one thing he misses, it is the long walks he used to take through the woods when living in his hometown of Zlin. It was in the (then) small town that the footwear company Bata was founded in 1894.
Though we could have continued to learn more about his country and his experience in Peru, Ambassador Eisenbruk is a diplomat on a busy schedule. Even with a tight schedule, it is clear that he knows how to appreciate, contribute and make the best out of the country he serves in.In the first of the new series we travel to the (embassy of) Czech Republic!