Diary of My Planning Trip to visit Franticek Sehnal in Czechoslovakia.
Joseph G. Kunkel
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003

Day 1, Sunday 6/17/90

11:15 AM Without incident I arrived at Frankfurt. There were no Korunas at Kennedy and it was inconvenient to exchange in Frankfurt. I will enter Czechoslovakia as I guess I am supposed to ( ie. totally without local currency!). While I wait for my flight to Prague I begin this diary of my trip.

I sat next to an Italian student on my flight from Hartford to Kennedy. She had just attended a Molecular Biology workshop at Smith College. I talk to her about what she should sightsee in New York City.

On the Kennedy to Frankfurt leg I sat next to a 2 year old boy with his family next to him. They are all going to Germany for 3 years as an army officer family. The boy had a severe cold, was well behaved and cute but he nearly through up on me on landing; I reconfirmed my conviction that it is best to travel in comfortable old clothes.

In a last surge of productivity last night I had finished my review of the 1988 Translation from the Russian of the Dettlaff & Vassetzky edited book "Oocyte Growth and Development" and sent it off by bitnet to Quarterly Review of Biology. I would try to see if any of my Czech colleagues were aware of this translation effort. In haste I also sent my registration fee ($250) to the Gordon Conference office in RI for the Bioelectrochemistry meeting in July.

13:30 I arrived in Prague and I did not have to pay any entry fee nor fill out any papers. I just showed my passport to the clerk and he waved me through. Since I had only carry-on luggage, I was the first to the customs line and after looking at my passport the clerk again waved me on. I did not have to pay the $25 per entry as I was warned about by the NRC aid. I later found out that the legislation was voted down on this issue by the Czech & Slovak Congress. Franta Sehnal,Figure 1, met me with a Ceske Budejovice Institute car and we went to have a beer in Prague with Borek, Franta's oldest son, who is a 3rd year medical student at the Charles University medical school in Prague. The recent revolution was disruptive to the Medical School schedule and the school year has been extended to compensate. He is just now taking his final exams. This third year his major theoretical course was pharmacology. We talked about calcium channel blockers and I found out that the medical students are well trained in the theoretical as well as practical aspects of the subject. After saying good-bye to Borek, Franta drove me to Ceske Budejovice and I was registered at the Hotel Zvon on the central plaza of the city.

Hotel Zvon
Zizkovo Namesti tel 353 6162.

Franta paid for dinner (~90Kr) at a local restaurant in an old church which had been the stock exchange 30 yrs ago. Franta will give me my allotted money tomorrow. I am to give a talk to the assembled group of Entomology tomorrow at 3 PM.

Day 2, Monday 6/18/90

07:30 I was picked up by a population biology student, Tomas Pavlicek, Figure 2, who is interested in insect blood proteins. He does enzyme electromorph work.

08:00 I met with Franta, Honza and some of his students for a first preliminary get together. I gave Franta and Honza each a set of my reprints. I will save the third set of reprints for Karel Slama when I visit him in Prague.

I was then taken by Jan Sula, (Honza) Figure 3, to see the facility: Parasitology, Insect Pathology, Genetics & Neurobiology.

I talked with Tomas Soldan who works on parasites of aphids. He gave me a reprint (1981) 'Parasitogenic effects of Aphidius smithi (Hymenoptera Aphidiidae) Acta Ent. Bohemosl. 78: 243-253, on the reproductive organs of the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Homoptera, Aphididae). He also gave me the names of two workers who currently have a paper in press on the parasitogenic effects in aphids. He also referred me to M. Capek who is a parasite expert on Lymantria in Slovakia. This is one of the people whom Franta was attempting to set me up with in Bratislava.

I spoke with a researcher in the pathology section who works on proteases and protease inhibitors in the hemolymph of insects. He referred me to a recent paper on cockroach proteases from Seattle. He uses a fibrinogen cascade overlay reaction to demonstrate the inhibitors of specific proteases. I could use this assay to look for such inhibitors of elastase reaction in oocyte development. (Pellegrini A. & R. Fellenberg (1980) Bioch. Biophys. Acta 616: 351-361.)

I talked with a geneticist, Franticek Marec, working on the classical genetics of Ephestia kuhniella. They have a genetics primarily based on wing patterns. He has studied several embryonic lethals, having chromosomal translocations, and none of them are true embryonic lethals. The vast majority are postembryonic lethals that do not hatch or die shortly after hatching. This study could have major effects on the straggler problem in Lymantria. Vernon French, in Scotland, is now working on the wing pattern genes.

I talked with Marek Jindra about his work on oxygen electrode measurements of silk glands of Galleria mellonella. He has shown that glucose has a different effect on the metabolism than trehalose or sucrose. The DNP uncoupling effect is the same whether glucose or a disaccharide is used. Marek is also working on the cloning of JH receptor proteins in Galleria. He is using probes based on Drosophila JH receptor and vertebrate hormone receptor, hoping to find homologies which have been conserved. He is also coauthor with Franta of 'Larval Growth, Food Consumption, and Utilization of Dietary Protein and Energy in Galleria mellonella' JIP which is already in my bibliography. He may be a logical person to work on our collaboration once he has gotten his degree; he has a good theoretical background in biochemistry and is very good with a variety equipment and is interested in computers.

15:00 I gave a seminar to the combined institute on The Gypsy moth serum proteins and population biology.

18:30 I went to dinner with two students, Tomas Pavlicek, Figure 2, a population biologist at the Institute and his girlfriend, Monica Cyprova', who works in a hospital. One student, Marta Fricova', Figure 2, worked on solitary bees, synecology, particularly on the alfalfa leaf cutting bee. We went to the Beerhaus near my hotel and then to a small Pub where we had a nice dinner. I had to speak German to the synecologist. It was good practice for me. She has 'ein freund' in Austria who wants her to transfer to Germany. He has a biochemical training and is a manager of a serum producing firm. They visit each other on weekends. There seems to be some antagonism between the Czech population and the Austrians who come with their valuable currency to buy the phenomenally inexpensive food, clothing and liquor here in Czechoslovakia. There is also some resentment of the local women who date the 'rich' Austrians. Tomas is going on vacation for the next two weeks to Greece, a favorite vacation place for the people here. Marta has been to Greece with her Austrian boyfriend.

Day 3, Tuesday 6/19/90

10:00 AM Franta gave me a manuscript on 'Role of JH-esterases in the Regulation of Juvenile Hormone Analogs Ratio' by Ewa Szolajska & Frantisek Sehnal. I will review it for him.

10:30 AM I talked with Dalibor Kodrik about his thesis on 'Hormonal Control of Development & Function of Silk Glands' of Galleria mellonella.

JH is used to increase silk production in Bombyx mori. The JH delays the ecdysone induced metamorphosis and end to silk production. This allows more growth and sometimes a superlarva which produces much more silk. The same phenomenon works on Galleria. Dalibor studied various aspects of JH and ecdysone interaction in their effects on the silk gland.

12:00 Lunch in the cafeteria

13:05 I talked with Dalibor, roommate of Michael Zurovec. He is working on the hormonal effects on the expression of specific mRNAs in the silkgland of Galleria mellonella. Dalibor and M. Zurovec have found a differential splicing effect on one of the silk mRNA genes which is very stage specific. A large difference is observed in a western blot on day 3 of the last instar larva. They do not know if it is specific to the metamorphic instar. I will be saving the carcasses of the gypsy moth larvae that I get from Bratislava for them to compare with their Galleria work.

13:30 I talked with Michael Zurovec about his work on silk gland genes. He showed me a manuscript M. Zurovec, A. K. Kumaran and F. Sehnal 'Silkgland specific cDNA species in Galleria mellonella' submitted to Insect Biochem. He worked in Krishna's lab at Marquette U. in Michigan to get the initial cDNAs and Galleria library.

He has further sequenced the cDNAs since in a lab in West Germany. The only obvious homologies with Bombyx mori silk genes is the repeated sequence Ser-Ser-Gly... which has a pattern of exceptions in Bombyx which may have an overlapping set of exceptions in Galleria.

Day 4, Wednesday, 6/20/90

06:00 Franta picked me up and we went for a breakfast down the block at a diner/quick food store which served a variety of cold salads and beverages and sweets.

07:00 Franta has my ticket and drops me at the bus. I leave Ceske Budejovice on a bus to Bratislava, ~5 hours away. The countryside is clean with rolling fields interspersed with woods of birch, fir trees and some oak.

10:00 We stopped midway for a break. There is a lunch counter and pay toilets plus gift shop and hotel. I searched the trees (mostly birch) but found no signs of Gypsy moths.

10:35 We moved on toward Bratislava. At 10:40 we stopped at Brnoe.

12:45 We reached Bratislava, a large city. Milan Kozanek, Figure 4, met me at the bus. I immediately buy my return ticket since I will leave on Sunday and Franta must know my departure time. I had met Milan at the Insect Reproduction Conference at Zinkovy, several years ago, and his face was very familiar. He has a big black sedan with a chauffer who accompanies us to lunch at the biggest beer hall in town. We have trouble getting a seat but after three different rooms/halls we get a seat easily in the beer garden. Beer and a tasty meat paddy plate. After lunch I was shown the place I will stay in, a Slovac National Academy hotel of sorts. I have a room with toilet and there is shower down the hall. A common TV room and kitchen are available. I am given 5 bus transfers but end up using just one of them, returning home one night with Mirko Slovak.

We then went on to the Institute of Experimental Phytopathology and Entomology of the Slovac Academy of Science at Ivanka pri. Dunaji. I first met with the director, Ing. Alojz BLAHUTIAK, Dr.Sc. He was very cordial, served me tea, and asked what he could do to help. I explained our interest through Milan as interpreter. He seemed interested and asked some leading questions, offering to be of any help he could.

I was then started on a brief tour of the facilities of the entomology cottages and green houses. It was now late but I talked first with Mirko Slovak, Figure 4. He gave me several of his reprints on parasites of the cabbage moth, Mamestra brassicae. He has been investigating the effects of 'stress' on the immunological responses of M. brassicae. He does various types of acrylamide gel electrophoresis. He could find no stress effects on the serum proteins but I pointed out that he was using too high an acrylamide gel concentration to resolve the storage proteins. Of some interest, although the storage serum proteins were going up in titer, there were no signs of the small molecular weight proteins increasing. I explained the significance of that and my theory about the size of proteins being important in their turnover. He is putting too high amounts of serum on his gels, 0.7-1 ul per well. This overloads the storage proteins and emphasizes the low Mr proteins.

Mirko took me back to town by bus, we ate dinner, sat and looked at the Donnai & drank beer until 10PM.

On arriving at my accommodations I met A. Jesse Norman, Project Director of the Sabre Foundation which is involved in providing books for East European countries. He gave me his brochure which also announces it gives books to the Latvian Free Library (I am half Latvian in national origin of my parents). He is based in Cambridge MA and says that they could pick up books by truck donated from our Western Massachusetts campus and sent to the Boston Campus by our free internal courier service.

Day 5, Thursday, 6/21/90

4:30 The sun is up. Today I go to the Forestry Institute to see the Gypsy moth colonies. I had tea and rolls in the common kitchen and met a Sociologist from Pittsburg and his wife who were at the end of a 7 week lecture tour of Czechoslovakia. They say they are having trouble getting transportation to Hungary. I took two pictures of the view from the TV room balcony.

09:00 We travel by chauffered car, Mirko Slavic & I, plus two workers who are to repair some plumbing at the Institute's cottage which is near the Forestry Institute. We stop at 10:30 for a brunch, beer & wurst & potatoes. The older worker is a bit pissed off that I was not introduced to him at the beginning of our trip. There is visible tension between Mirko Slovak and the older worker. I realize that I should have introduced myself but communication is difficult since neither of the workers speak English or German, my two comfortable languages. Operation in Slovakia will not be as easy as in Bohemia in which many people speak German.

We arrive close to noon and meet Marek Turcani who is a forester interested in pheromones. He speaks good English and shows us the gypsy moths in culture, Figure 5 & 6. They look exactly the same as those in Massachusetts. (My few views of the Siberian and Chinese gypsy moth larvae suggest they are quite different in coloration.) They are being grown in battery jars and currently at 5th-6th larval stage. An experiment on biological control with bacteria is underway. They have eggs collected from the wild in the refrigerator and can bring them out as they need them to hatch. The animals I am being given feed on Quercus cerris and are derived from a single egg case. The current population in the wild is very low (statistics not given as of yet). They have three study sites for which they have population data:

Vel. Kamenec, Eastern Slovakia.

Tlmace, Southern Slovakia.

Fil'akovo, Central Slovakia.

The person who is most interested in these populations is Dr. Julius Novotny, who is currently in Switzerland doing research. He had attended the June 1988 Lymantriid Conference in New Haven CT (Novotny, 1989) to which I had also submitted a paper with my colleague Dave Leonard, who attended the conference (Leonard & Kunkel, 1989). I had not been aware of Novotny's work prior to this visit. I will communicate with him when I return to Amherst. Addresses:

Dr. Marek TURCANI is a colleague of Dr. Novotny.

Dr. Julius NOVOTNY
Lesnicka 11
969 23 Banska' Stiavnica

Marek TURCANI gave us a catalog of a 1988 Russian Gypsy Moth Conference, held at Krasnoyarsk, which has a map of the flying/non- flying gypsy range written by Y. N. Baranchikov from Krasnoyarsk in the USSR. I intended to get it translated when I return to Amherst however I eventually discovered that Baranchikov had published a short essay on the same topic in the 1988 Lymantriid Conference Proceedings (Baranchikov, 1989). Marek also showed us his copy of that same Proceedings of the Lymantriidae conference of June 1988 in Hamden, CT in which Novotny's article and our initial project plan is described (Leonard & Kunkel, 1989). It is amazing that all of the parties involved, Czech, Russian and Americans, have a copy of the conference proceedings but seemingly, until this special trip to Banska' Stiavnica, were each unaware of each others mutual existence and interests. It highlights the importance of funding focused interest trips to increase communication.

We took the gypsy moth larvae back with us to Bratislava. On the way we had a friendly competition between me and the elder workman on how much Borovichka we could each drink. We made 3-4 stops and had 2-3 shots at each stop plus beer chasers. We were both winners and parted friends with a picture of the two of us still standing. This ordeal by Borovichka has wiped away the ill feelings of our earlier lack of introduction.

I was dropped off by our chauffer at the new tower bridge in Bratislava with Mirko and we had dinner at the tower rotating restaurant overlooking the Dunaj (as they call the Danube). We saw a Hover craft on the river. According to Mirko a trip to Vienna costs 200 Kr one way. A taxi was necessary to get us back to my accommodations since the alcohol was at last getting to me. I must be beware of such protracted drinking with which the populace happily cooperate! In the end I had lost the lens cap to my camera. I noticed when it dropped but could not find it in the dark in my pleasant stupor.

Day 6, Friday, 6/22/90

07:30 I went out to get food for the Gypsy Moths.

08:30 I was picked up by Milan and taken to the Institute. Since a talk by me was expected at 10:30 I spent a half hour arranging my slides using Mirko's light box. I talked on the oocyte currents. A plant physiologist was there and wanted to know about our patch clamping interests. As I told him the preparation of the clean oocyte surface is our currently most important problem. I also met Vladimir Vallo, a colleague of Ron Prokopy of the UMass Amherst Entomology Department. Vallo works on a Tephritid of cherries. He asked me to transmit his regards to Ron who works on the Tephritids of apples.

The director talked to me in his office after my seminar. He wanted to know if there was anything I needed and what my current views of a collaboration after visiting the Forestry Institute and talking with his Institute people. He said that he will be asked to recommend areas of possible collaboration at his institute. I told him that I would be deciding our strategy for obtaining funding with Franta Sehnal and would leave the decisions of breadth of the program until then. I expressed my appreciation for the hospitality of his institute.

I talked with a bright woman, Maria Kasimirova, associate of Mirko's who is working on M. brassicae. She showed me the results of her dissertation on the effects of crowding on larval coloration and size. A remarkable result is that the largest pupae have few eggs. Middle size females have the most eggs. Is this a result of depletion of storage proteins to make the larger body structure?

In the afternoon we visited the Saturniid colony, a local native giant silk moth, Saturnia pyrinii. I will get a blood sample from their colony of Saturniid as well as from M. brassicae. I will try to have some cocoons of Polyphemus sent to them from America.

A 50th birthday party was being held in the afternoon for a lab worker. Food and cake were being served. I was invited to attend and the Director, Alojz Blahutiak, also came. We sat together and exchanged philosophy through an interpreter, Milan. The 'guys' said it reminded them of Bush and Gorbachev.

I was given 5 Odonata from Viet Nam for my wing morphology project. They were collected by Mirko Slovak and his colleague, Lubomir Vidlic'ka, who works on cockroach behavior in Nauphoeta cinerea. Peter (Castle Zinkovy friend) also works on Nauphoeta. I see that there is a great interest here in taxonomy and evolution. They engaged me in a conversation about the production and use of antibodies for taxonomic work.

16:00 Mirko took me shopping and I found a mortar and pestle (300 Kr) and 2 schnapps glasses in two antique shops. We visited the castle of Marie Theresa and had ice cream. The Kozaneks and Slovaks have found an arts, crafts and cultural fair to go to tomorrow. Ludmilla Slovak invited me to dinner; she prepared a very fine pork cutlet for Mirko and I. Milan Kozanek came over after dinner and we talked. His wife had just returned from a conference and he is happy not to be both father and mother again. I talked about my interest in local arts and crafts work and gave Bauern mallerei as an example. Ludmilla showed me their collections of painted eggs and asked me to pick one out. I asked which one was the most traditional style and she picked out the one that I had wanted. They gave me an egg case to carry it in. Ludmilla and Mirko also gave me a picture book of Bratislava. Books are one of the subsidized items in the Czech economy. Western books are very expensive in comparison.

Day 7, Saturday, 6/23/90

08:00 I found oak leaves for the Lymantria in the yard next door and changed the cages. These leaves would last the larvae until Monday afternoon in Ceske Budejovice.

10:00 We [Mirko & Ludmilla, & two children Lubomir & Stanislaus plus Milan and wife Jane and two children, Michael & Anne, and I] went to the Scout [former Pioneer (former Grassalkovic') ] Pallace garden where one of the first craft fairs in 40 years in Slovakia was being held. I immediately bought a coaster set made out of cherry wood. Next I saw a full length picture of Bush and a small picture of Havel. We convinced the artist to put the two paintings together and I took a picture of the two families and the two pictures. I next see a framed knitwork bird which is a traditional subject and buy it for $20 while the asking price was 1000 Kr. I see and fall in love with a primitive painting which is being offered for 2500 Kr. I am able to buy it for close to the exchange rate $80. The salesperson is daughter to the artist and tells us of a larger exhibit of his work currently in a exhibit hall in a nearby suburb. She also invites me to visit their home and meet her father Lauko who she is sure would like to show me all his painting collection. We accept the invitation for 19:00 that evening. We leave this craft fair and go to the cultural center where the other Lauko exhibit is being held. The selection of about 30 pictures is breathtaking but all the more because of the price I had paid for my Lauko '89.

12:00 We go on a picnic in order to catch some dragonflies to a place where Milan had spent much of his childhood around. After a hike along well beaten paths we arrive at a pond as it starts to rain. We have a picnic in the light rain. I try to demonstrate how a boyscout would start a fire with one match but I could not find any tinder or straw dry enough. I'm getting old and rusty in my camping skills! 17:00 Milan takes me to Lauko's home and studio. It is on a hill overlooking the Donai where he also grows grapes and plums from which he makes homemade wine and Slivovitz. We sample the two products and are also served a small meal of sausage and salad at a small coffee table in his studio, which he said was his favorite place. Lauko's family had migrated from Slovakia to Hungary where his grandfather worked as a cowboy and married a local girl. [One painting memorializes that match with what I can only describe as a messenger-horse which was sent with flowers and messages between the Hungarian plains to the farm to arrange an upcoming date.] The family Lauko went into the sausage business and he gave me a sample of the labels. In 1948 with the communization of Hungary and Czechoslovalia their business was taken from them and they moved back to Slovakia. The father Lauko was also a painter and after his death his son took up the hobby. The approximately 60-70 paintings I saw in his studio were all acrylic. They spanned all sorts of topics, from Hungarian cowboy themes to Slovakian Christmas scenes with people in 'tracht'. The pictures varied in complexity and the prices quoted to another visitor who 'intruded' into our private showing reflected that difference. I took pictures of the artist with three of the many paintings that I liked the most. I was invited to sign his guest book and I was given his card and an old catalogue of a 3 man show that included both him and his father. On leaving we were ushered into their living room where I met his son, daughter-in-law, wife and mother. He is 70 himself. His mother must be close to 90. In the living room I saw several of his fathers's paintings which were all in oil. He has over 100 of his father's paintings in storage!

Day 8, Sunday, 6/24/90

07:00 I awake after a good nights sleep and eat a puffed wheat bun with jelly and tea. I fully pack to return to Ceske Budejovice.

10:00 Milan and Mirko have come to pick me up. We go to the Institute and bleed the saturnaiid and Mamestra and I add 3 volumes of saturated NH4SO4 with PTU. We also talk about use of the Siegel program for Robust Fit for fly evolution and go over Milan's research which includes taxonomy of a Dipteran family and also study of stress on monoamines and steroids of cockroaches. We talk too long and have to rush to get to Milan's house for lunch before I leave. Jane has prepared a duck and a chicken with trimmings. We eat quickly and I get to the bus in plenty of time. The bus proceeds quickly and I am reading Gould's evaluation of Wollcott. We stop after two hours for 45 min. and on starting up the bus gets about 100 meters and stops. The driver puts on some ominous work gloves and goes outside. He comes back and motions everyone off the bus. Me with my four packages are last and ask the driver whereto. He motions me along and, unbelievably, puts me on a new bus, which is just sitting there, which takes us to Ceske Budejovice ahead of schedule. Franta is understandably a few minutes late for this early substitute bus but I am calm as I try to use the phone to reach him at his lab. I finally figure out how to use the phone but no one answers at the lab. I go back to the bus quays and finally see Franta come around a corner. He deposits me with my luggage and a cache of food at the Institute emergency apartment. I will go to a more permanent solution tomorrow. I wash out some clothes, eat some canned mackerel on various breads and go to sleep after assuring myself that the Lymantria are alright and the blood samples are in a frig. Next morning I am up bright and early and shower, shave and wash out some more clothing. I eat an orange still from Milan and more Mackerel and bread.

07:30 I go up to lab and start transcribing my notes onto my computer. By the time I have finished my notes Honza comes in to work and I go to him to discuss the available equipment in his lab.

Honza basically has 1 vertical gel apparatus of Bio-Rad early vintage. It can allow up to 2x14 wells to be run at one time. Honza also has a scanning spectrophotometer of good quality in his lab with cells that go down to 0.4 ml. I talk to him about genetic and titer experiments.

Dr. Dinesh Kumar, Figure 7, walks by and introduces himself to me. He is on leave from Banares Hindu University, Banares - 22 1 005 - (U. D.), India. We exchange vitae. He fixes tea and we talk. He is on a UNICEF fellowship, which means very little money since the USA has refused to contribute since Reagan days.

15:00 I attend a seminar by the new physiologist on heavy metal effects on hemocyte proteins.

23:30 I take Honza's new gel out of stain and start reading the Petr Svache manuscript, 'Re-evaluation of some basic concepts of imaginal disc theory'.

Day 9, Tuesday, 6/26/90

07:30 I packed up to move out of the Emergency Institute apartment and into a nearby academy apartment.

07:45 The gel we did yesterday is not very good but it shows the last band of sample 3 going off the gel. I bled three more larvae. Even though large they only yielded about 75ul of serum. I saved the live carcasses for the silk gland project.

I am reviewing a paper by Petr Svacha on imaginal disc theory. Marek comes in to talk with me: I should send him some sugars and inhibitors for his oxygen electrode experiments:

Mannose, galactose, fructose, ..., 6-deoxyglucose, gulose, talose, pentoses, heptulose and possibly some inhibitors such as oligomycin.

10:30 I talked with Libor GRUBHOFFER, Institute of Parasitology, about his work on Arboviruses borne by ticks. He is very interested in oligosaccharide attachment and gave me the references of three papers in press. The main work here is on Tick Borne Encephalitus which infects 2% of ticks while 30% of ticks actually carry Lyme disease, Borellia. He has found O-linked oligosaccharide in ticks. {Inserted notes deleted}

10:45 I talked with Dr Bukva from the Institute of Parisitology. He sends regards to Bill Nutting at U. Mass. Zoology Department. Bukva had been in Amherst the year I was on my last sabbatical; thus I had never met him before.

11:30 There is an indication from Honza's 4% acrylamide of hemolymph that there is an electrophoretic difference between the two arylphorins of sample 1 and 2. There is a slight suggestion of different electromorphs within each band in the gel run until the front went off the gel.

12:30 Franta moved me to a new Czech Academy room location, Otavska 7. It is in one of the hasen boxes as the students call them about a 15 minute brisk walk from the Institute. It is shared with three other institute long term visitors and has a shared WC, bath room, kitchen and small living room with TV. Franta drove me back to the lab. Franta will be back at 14:00 and he and Honsa and I will confer over the project.

15:00 I gave a second seminar, mainly to the Sehnal group, but with some other Entomology people attending: "Ionic currents and the determination of polarity in the insect egg."

17:00 Monica picked up Marta and I and we went to Ceske Krumlov, a medieval city, which has been preserved. We visited the castle where we found by chance a medieval fencing society ensconced in a restored section of battlements of the castle grounds. They have an association with a drama group in Budejovice which does choreography for them. The fencing society with a German name on their wappen, ~Fraterna unter der Rosa, is very serious and has a membership with international roots. I recognized wappen on the shields decorating the walls. One is certainly of Swiss origin (a face on bull) and another is clearly from Bavaria, (a wild boar). They served us beer in their central room area which resembled a medieval kitchen and gave us demonstrations of all the weapons they use. They make their own armor and weapons. They practice regularly and missing practice twice is enough to banish one from the society. It was a total surprise to both Marta and Monica as well as to me.

We wandered around the town, taking pictures and bought dinner. Monica drove me home to my new rooms. When I arrived at about 10 PM the other three people sharing the apartment were watching the England vs. Belgium Soccer match. England won in the last two minutes of overtime,

1 to 0. The roommates are one from Bulgaria, and two from the USSR. One of the Soviets is a soil insect scientist, Andrej Pokarzhevskii. The Bulgarian, Gary, is the officemate of Marta at the Synecology Section of the Institute.

Day 10, Wednesday, 6/27/90

06:00 I awaken and wash, shave and eat my liquid yogurt and the last orange from Milan. I wended my way to the lab finding oak leaves on the way for the gypsy moth larvae.

06:45 At the lab I find that the second 4% gel by Honza has a better separation of the arylphorin electromorphs. They are almost separated. Honza will do a slight gradient gel today and a Reisfeld Gel tomorrow. He needs more sample. I had trouble yesterday getting more than 75 ul. The larvae have eaten well overnight and I will attempt to bleed them this morning.

08:30 I have been able to bleed three animals (#7-9) and there was enough hemolymph to give Honza some of these samples.

13:00 Marta's boyfriend has bought a computer and it is not working properly. I gave Marta a basic course in the 'ins and outs' of chosing a computer and software. I cautioned her on buying any computer without considering the usefullness of the components and the friendliness of the computer.

18:00 I met Marta and Monica in front of the Hotel Zvon and we went to dinner at a place that serves both good beer and fish (dinner with wine and beer came to 87 Kr which is about $3 at current rates.) We then went to the Muzy for a concert by a brass quintet from Brno. The tickets had been 20 Kr = $0.66. After the concert they showed me their local dance pub/bar which was very close to the square. Marta's friend, my Bulgarian apartment mate, joined us and we talked, drank and danced until about 00:30.

Day 11, Thursday, 6/28/90

06:30 This will be a long day. A slight headache is apparent from the mixing of beer, wine, gin, brandy and Champagne with vigorous dancing the night before. Despite the fact that I am eating so much for lunch at the Institute and Franta plying me with breakfast foods, I think I am losing weight. I ate yogurt and a piece of bread for breakfast. I must solve the clothes washing problem here. The apartment is so small and with 4 occupants that the private bedroom is the only inside place that is logical. Outside there is a clothes line but I need to find some clothespins at a local store.

07:40 I reached the lab and found several L. dispar on the verge of metamorphosis. I bled about 6 and renewed the food of the rest.

10:15 Dr. Karel Spitzer, Figure 7, from the Ecology Department showed me around his lab and then by car showed me several ecosystem study areas in the surrounding area of Budejovice. I saw low wetlands in which Gypsy Moth never did grow and land adjacent to ancient Carp Ponds which have oaks and occasional Gypsy Moth males taken at light traps. He revealed on our walk that Martin Tonner, the new director of the institute, is interested in Dragonflies. The Ecology students have to be able to identify many species of lepidopteran adults that are caught in the light trap.

12:00 We arrive back just in time for lunch.

15:15 Dr. Peter Svacha visited to see how my review of his manuscript was coming. I will read it again for reduction of text and give it to Franta for review. The main point of his paper is that the traditional view of immaginal discs is dominated by all the attention given to Drosophila, which is a highly evolved dipteran. The more primative insects also have structures that could be homologized with imaginal discs but are understandable from a more traditional treatment of morphogenesis of epidermal structures.

18:00 The Sehnal graduate students take me out to dinner. We eat at the place that Franta had taken me without luck in finding a seat. We also have some trouble but a table and chairs appear and we are successful in ordering beer and food. All selections are a compromise since they are missing ingredients for each menu item, but I get a big helping of fried Carp and several beers. Michael collects English, Australian and Chinese sayings. We talk English and I explain several American sayings including:

To be 'given enough rope to hang oneself'.

'You can't get blood from a stone.'

To 'burn the midnight oil'. vs 'Burning the candle at both ends'.

'Don't put yourself down'.

Marek's wife has received a fellowship to go to Greece for a short course in cell transformation. She is unsure of the details of how, or whether, the trip will be reimbursed and would like for me to read the award letter in order to ascertain the conditions for reimbursement. I will meet with them tomorrow afternoon.

Day 12, Friday, 6/29/90

07:35 I arrive at work and Mirko Slovac, from Ivanka, is already there. We have a conference, Jan Sula, Mirko Slovac and I. We discuss what is to be done by whom and in what order. I will write up a draft grant proposal and either leave a copy here or send it from the USA. Our first project will be identifying the correct populations to study and doing a study of variation of arylphorin electromorphs.

08:00-10:30 Several serum samples are taken and I take 2 pictures with available light of the remaining gypsy moth larvae.

11:00 The phone rings, I pick it up. It is a phone call from Blanka Bennetova! [For the most part I never pick up a phone because most people on the other end are ill prepared to speak English or deal with their/my limited German.] She will arrange that we meet in Prague. I tell her I have regards from Vince Dethier and she is delighted.

11:45 Lunch with Mirko Slovak & Jan Sula.


Seminar by Dr. Frank Coro:

Faculty of Biology, Havana University, CUBA


I promised to bring a letter for Frank to America to be sent to Tom Eisner at Cornell. Frank was early inspired by Vince Dethier. He spoke of the few neurons that are used as acoustic transducers in the moth ear. I remarked on the few neurons used to integrate caterpillar taste (Dethier). There is evidence for efferent information going from thoracic ganglia to the neurons. He is doing some very nice work under very difficult conditions in Cuba.

16:25 I go to dinner with Marta. She shows me a little restaurant that has only been open for a few months. It serves nice food and long, mixed and shake drinks, unusual for C.Budejovice. I order an Alexander, which is on the menu, but made with brandy, my favorite cocktail. The barmaid comes back and, as usual, they are missing one ingredient, the creme d'cacao. We order daiquiris instead. As 'forspeise' I have fish liver from a sea fish; it is quite good and very different from most other liver dishes I have had; it is served with onions and bread. Dinner for two with 4 daiquiris came to about $4. Amazing. Marta must run to catch her bus.

19:00 I am back at the Institute and Franta comes by to give details of my travel by train on Sunday morning to his weekend house. I should bring my swim trunks and take the 7:37 train to Horazdovice - Predmesti'. Using a 'rychlik' (schnellzug) to Plzen (Pilsen). It should take 1:10 and Franta will be there to meet me.

22:00 I come back to the apartment and Garry is industriously changing the times on the bus schedule. Many times will change starting Sunday! I take note! as I must not miss my train to H-P.

Day 13, Saturday, 6/30/90

07:30 Shopping in town I buy sandals and shoes for a total of about $23. What a buy! Wine for the 'wildschwein und gemsbock', mineral water to accompany breakfast plus Kirsch Bon Bons for the Sula family and 2 chocolate bars for the possible children of which I am not yet aware.

10:00 I bleed all of remaining Lymantria dispar. I will bleed the Lymantria monica on Monday!

11:15 I get Ephestia kuhniella blood from the geneticist, Franticek Marek, I bleed about 12 males and females separately combining them into two 50 ul samples: females = #25 & males = #26. Honza anticipates my wish for some new Galleria mellonella serum. I will get it on Monday.

12:00 I go with Honza to lunch at his house, a short walk from the Institute, in one of the apartments the students call 'Hasen boxes'. It is becoming clear that inside the apartments are what you make them. Although the buildings on the outside are uniformly drab and sometimes ill manicured on the outside, they are quite variable in what is done one the inside. Honza's apartment on the 8th floor is simply furnished but the view is quite nice from that height and the hospitality was immediately felt. I meet his wife, who is cooking us a midday meal of rabbit and new potatoes. I have her favorite drink of half dark and half light beer. Later I am also served a new Pilzner beer said to be better than the original. Honza is not a beer drinker. His son, Michael, is working as a guide at a local castle, 9 km away, Hluboka, the 'pearl of Czechoslovakia'. We go to the castle and get a personal tour by Michael who is one of the English speaking guides. It is a well maintained castle which for hundreds of years, and currently, is owned by a German family, Schwartzenburg. The castle houses many fine paintings and wood paneling of floors, walls and ceilings.

On returning to Honza's home we have refreshments, it was very hot and we all had lost fluids. Though I am offered beer, what Michael was having looked curiously refreshing; it was a juice concentrate of red currants which was mixed with cold water making a very refreshing drink. Honza brought out a two gallon carboy of "a better one" made from black currants. They were delicious. Honza's wife is making us potato pancakes, usually a winter dish, but on special demonstration to me. They are quite interesting and have many possibilities and I request the recipe:

8-10 old potatoes: of middle size grated.

flour: 2 table spoons (full) (maybe 3)

2 eggs: beaten and folded in.

pepper: 1 teaspoon - level

marjoram: 1 full tablespoon

garlic: 3-4 sections

salt: according to taste

Usually a part of the water from the potatoes (2 tablespoons) is replaced by 1 tablespoon of milk.

Pan fry spoon fulls of the batter as you would a french pancake.

I saw a small part of Michael's portfolio which his mother dragged out to his embarrassment. He has done it all as a hobby and wants to be an architect. Honza brings out a map of Czechoslovakia which I will use for my graphics program. I am served a huge portion of frozen strawberries. All these fruits are from Honza's father-in-law who has a small personal plot of fruit trees and gardens 600-800 sq meters. He is the principal gardener of the family but is very productive. He is 80 years old now and formerly (40 years ago) owned a larger farm which was collectivized. This is a general situation here at the moment. Huge numbers of seized properties, farms and factories and apartment houses, are available for claiming if an original owner can ensure that something will be done with it. In this case an 80 year old, no matter how vigorous, is unlikely to be able to rekindle an active private farm. I saw the same situation for large sections of dilapidated factories and housing near the train station in Ceske Budejovice.

I am served real strained coffee and I am in heaven again! I thank my hosts and leave to get some work done at the Institute. The front door is locked and me and another worker must wait until the guard comes back from his rounds. I walk into the building and do not sign in! I am later contacted to sign the book! and express in German to the guard when I expect to leave. I have overlooked an important routine but all is forgiven.

Day 14, Sunday, 7/1/90

06:00 I bus down on #14 to the train station. I purchase my ticket for 27 Kr. It is two tickets one the real ticket for Horadvice and the second a tax for the use of a scnellzug. I am an hour early and can have breakfast. I order 'Eir mit Speck' and the restaurant seems quite reasonable at second glance. [This was the same restaurant that we had tried a week ago on Sunday night when I arrived back from Bratislava. It had been amazingly dirty then, the entrance hallway smelling of urine from a nearby WC after a heavy day of travelers.] Half hour before the train is to depart I am about the first traveler to board the train. As departure approaches the train fills up, culminated by the appearance of of a troop of campers who took every available remaining seat.

07:34 The train takes off and I set to finishing the Gould book. I will donate it, irrespective of finishing it, to the Budejovice library so as not to carry it home and since they have a need for Western books. Books are inexpensive here, but English book are very expensive. It is next to impossible for them to buy American published books.

08:45 I reach the station of Horazdovice. Franta picks me up in his car. His young son, Freddie ~ 4 yrs, is with him. We stop at a local village but no restaurant seems to be open on a Sunday morning. A light rain is falling so we abandon the town. There are storks in the neighborhood in nests on top of chimneys and we stop so that I can take pictures.

09:10 We reach the vacation home of Franta's mother-in-law. She is an elegant older woman who has been coming to this place for many decades. It is small and very primitive with an outhouse that I never had occasion to use. "Everything in it is old but the owner" she says. She speaks very good English with a decided New York accent. She has never been to the USA and says she learned English from the GIs who liberated Prague. She was 24 at the time and the GIs, many of them 18 years old, yearned for a home cooked meal. They danced and partied to cellebrate the liberation. It takes me several additional conversations to actually drag out of her that she did take an English course on renewing her education after the war.

Franta, Freddie and I go on a hike. We find blueberries and return after lunch to collect enough so that I can bring some to Marek and Hanka tonight. We have lunch and talk.

19:00 Michael brings me over to Marek and Hanka's apartment which is bright and cheery with a nice view from the apartment. It is a private apartment and costs a great deal. They will be transferred to another apartment which is subsidized by the Institute. They fear it will have a horrible view compared to their current apartment. I take a picture of Hanka and Marek. Hanka has prepared a nice chicken curry. Afterwards we listen to records and talk. At the end I force Hanka to talk with me for 10 minutes. She needs to practice for her trip to Greece and the workshop which will be carried out in English.

Day 15, Monday, 7/2/90

05:58 I rise and shower, shave and wash my clothes of yesterday. Today is my last full day in Ceske Budejovice.

07:39 We have a traditional Monday morning meeting of the Sehnal group. I am late and must catch up. I must drink 2 Slivovitz, one with the young physiologist to my left and another with Vatslev Nemetz who is just back from the Soviet Union. He says that things are very bad there. People are grumbling and complaining about Gorbachev and his inability to solve the economic and social problems. He warns against traveling in the Soviet Union. Common people are on the brink of starvation. Administrators are still living high on the hog. Food is very scarce; only a bit of bread, no meat and a bit of milk are available. He at last went to eat in a student dinning room after several weeks of little food. He lost 10 kg during his stay in Moscow. All military equipment is being transferred toward the center of Russia.

Vatslev tells a joke that is traveling about Moscow after Gorbachev's trip:

Moscow and New York City are exactly equivalent:
In New York you can buy anything for dollars.
In Moscow you can also buy anything for dollars.
In New York you can't buy anything for rubles.
In Moscow you can also buy nothing for rubles.
In New York the politicians have many dollars.
In Moscow the politicians also have many dollars.
So, there is no difference between New York and Moscow.

He suggests that we negotiate to get the Lymantria eggs sent here to Ceske Budejovice. I will meet with Honza and Vatslav at 11:00 and discuss the possibilities given the map of available study sites.

09:30 I help Hanka Jindrakova about her reimbursement for her travel to Greece for the workshop by making a long distance call for her to Belgium. The director of the program answered in English and after I explained the situation he said that Hanka would be reimbursed directly at the conference. The money could not be sent to a East European country because of currency exchange restrictions. Everything will be fine; Hanka can now reserve her plane tickets with an easy mind. It is rewarding to cut through red tape and help someone with such little effort.

10:00 Michael Sula comes to see the computer. I show him MsWorks, 4cite and MathCAD. I make him promise to avoid playing computer games.

10:48 I meet and talk with Honza and Vatslav. They will communicate over the supply of Gypsy moth egg masses directly from Russia to Ceske Budojevice. Vatslav will send along a copy of the Karpells et al. reprint.

13:00 The Lymantria monica larva is bled. I obtained about 50 ul of hemolymph and left Honza with about 10 ul also. Marta comes up to tell me that all is prepared for the 'Wild Fest' at the apartment tonight about 7:00. Her mother has helped her out by doing all Marta's side of the cooking and all Marta has to do is pick it up and bring it over. Since school is out her mother is on 'fereien'.

14:00 I help Marek and Michael by reconfiguring their computer software with its appropriate printer driver.

15:30 I approach Dr Ivan Gelbic for his 1979 paper in my bibliography for which I have no reprint. He invites me to his office and gives me a raft of papers on effects of juvenoids and other compounds on insect reproduction. He particularly tells me of planned experiments on cockroaches with the drug, (RS)-9-(2,3-dihydroxypropyl) adenine.

16:35 I meet with Marek for a final discussion on sugars. I will talk to Jerry Wyatt about the effect observed. Fat body cells in hypotonic inorganic saline respond to glucose by an increase of 120 % above the control. 1. neither sucrose nor trehalose give this affect but glycerol does. 2. After 2-deoxyglucose the glu effect is absent. Is this the blockage of Glu transport?

19:00 Tonight is the night of the Wild Boar and the Gemmsbok! Marta arrives and prepares her part of the meal first, the Wildschwein, it is very good. Monica prepares the Gemmsbok with a wine sauce and garnished with currants. It is the best 'Wild' I have ever eaten. I suggest Monica should open a restaurant for 'Wild'. She confesses that others have agreed with me beforehand. Marta says she will be the business manager, Gary will be the maitre de and I will be the bartender when I retire.

Day 16, Tuesday, 7/3/90

06:45 Franta will pick me up! I travel to Prague today. I must be careful not to leave my serum samples anywhere during the next week. The samples all look good and I am hopeful that they will reveal a pattern of electromorphs in our lab in Amherst.

07:05 Shit!!! I have left my samples in the Otavska refrigerator freezer. Franta buys my ticket and then goes back for the samples leaving me to wait at the station. If he does not get back to me he will send the samples with another person traveling to Prague. He arrives with 10 minutes to spare and I find a seat on the train. The ride is relatively short since we must detrain and get on a bus to detour some construction. Luckily I meet Andrej Pokarzhevskii, my recent apartment mate, who is on his way with his girl friend to the Prague airport to pick up another friend. He helps by carrying one of my bags. When we are again ported into a second train I am in a compartment with Andrej and his girlfriend. I have a long talk in English with Andrej and I will send him my reprints to allow him to distribute them to his colleagues. The friend he is picking up is someone interested in mites in amber. It is also interesting to find out that there is also a great interest in birds in the Soviet Union, to most other biologists disgust. All students want to study birds. We talk about pollution problems, recycling...

10:45 The train arrives in Prague. Karel Slama is on the platform. He buys me a map of the city and takes me through the subway and bus system to the Mazanka Hotel, run for the Czech National Academy. We then go to his institute which is located in a walled grounds of what was formerly a cloister. The old owners want the property back to make a hotel out of it. Most of the labs are situated in what might be a future apartment suite. I am introduced to Blanka M. who is an electrophysiologist working on electroantennagrams. I spend a short while with Karel trying to follow his explanation of his automatic physiographs. They are real Rube Goldberg setups. He gives me two reprints which use the equipment. The equipment is in alpha and beta stages of testing for commercial sale.

I have a long talk with Blanka M. over the vibrating probe. She is very bright and seems to follow everything I say. She asks very good questions. Blanka M. has experience with direct measurements of potential differences between antennal sensory endings and a ground at the antennal base. We talk about Vince Dethier's intentions of working on the lepidopteran taste receptors. She thinks that we will have to clip off the top of the taste receptor peg in order to measure the currents. She has told me that the basis of the current flow is high [K+] in the fluid bathing the dendrite. The socket cells are thought to modify the bathing fluid by acting as a secreting epithelium.

I take a picture of the small group that are still around at 16:00 and get a ride to the subway with a worker, Jelena Kulda, who it turns out was in Amherst in 1968. She worked with Dr. Honigberg! I have her greetings to Bron. She says that she is often homesick for Amherst. She is driving a car that she says is not safe. It is the East German plastic car. It is substantially simpler in design than the VW bug.

Day 17, Wednesday, 7/4/90

06:30 I awaken after a good sleep. I shave and leave my room by 7:30 to see if I can find a current adaptor for my computer. I breakfast on role, cream cheese and cherries. No luck finding an adapter! I walk around the central city trying to orient myself about the Charles Bridge, the Mustek, the Museum and Wenzeslaus Square. It is a big city, the streets are convoluted and it is easy to get lost without a map. I remember much from last time and revisit old haunts. I buy a pen and ink drawing of the entry to the Charles Bridge and 4 sets of earrings from a street artist. I also buy a dozen pins from a street vendor for 14 Kr each (8 with a picture of Havel, 2 with 'Havel for president', 2 with 'Thank you USA, 1945', two with 'Plzen 6.5.45- 6.5.90'.

12:00 I eat a midday dinner at the shopping center near the bus stop for Hotel Mazanka, beer, shinken, sauerkraut & new potatoes. I buy bread and cheese for tonights dinner. After lunch I find a back pack on a frame for 490 Kr into which I can put almost all my extra baggage. It will simplify much of my travel from here on.

13:00 I call Karel Slama and find out that Blanka B. has not been reached. However I get her phone number and I will call her this evening or tomorrow morning. I have inadvertently left my yellow pad with my notes on Blanka M. at the institute. Karel will send it to me by mail to America. I make sure that I know exactly where my samples are at the Mazanka (a refrigerator freezer close to the reception). After conferring with the chamber maid I am told that there is no adaptor available for my computer. However the building electrician jerryrigs an adapter from my plug to a European plug and I am off and running with my computer updating my notes.

20:00 I receive a call from Blanka B. She has had an accident and has broken a toe. Her daughter, Rosalie Bennet, will meet me in the morning and take me on a tour of the old city before bringing me to lunch at their apartment.

I continue working on the NSF grant proposal to fund our gypsy moth collaboration. I snack on cheese and sour rye bread as well as sweet cherries. Honza's black current syrup with tap water is excellent!

Day 18, Thursday, 7/5/90

08:00 I take a walk to visit the buildings of the National Academy which are in the local district. There is much construction still going on. I see the Physics Institute and the Electrochemistry Institute from the outside. There is an adjacent bluff overlooking the city of Prague. The Insect Chemical Ecology Unit of Karel Slama is directly across Prague from here, about as far away from this place as possible and still be considered to be in Prague.

10:00 Rosalie Bennet comes to pick me up. We go to the old city and browse around. She has just finished her second year of medical school at Charles University. It is a six year program. She has just finished a year of pathology. The peaceful revolution was a big disruption of their studies but it was very exciting for the students. At the time of the break from the old guard 16.11.89 there was great turmoil at Wenseslaus Square and many people were injured or exhausted. Rosalie worked at the hospital emergency room around the clock for several days helping to attend to the overload of emergency patients. She feels that the bloom is now off the revolution and much of the old regional discontent is resurfacing.

Medicine is in a sad state here according to Rosalie. There is a shortage of doctors. One doctor will serve several apartment houses and if he goes on vacation you are assigned some other neighboring unit's doctor who is your only resort. Rosalie gave an example of using such a substitute once. There was no physical exam and the doctor simply asked what she thought was the matter and what medicine did she want. Breast exams are supposed to be given routinely but in practice never happen.

Rosalie is a dog fancier. She has just, due to the freedoms promulgated by the revolution, bought a second dog, a Doberman Pincher puppy. This weekend she has been invited to be a translator for an international dog show in Brno. Tonight there will be a party of the judges and some participants in the show. I am invited to join the party as several Americans will be there.

12:30 We reach Blanka Bennetova's apartment and I meet Rosalie's two dogs. The dogs are never on best terms during my stay. The older Schnauzer, Arnie (named after Arnold DeLoof a mutual colleague from Leuven, Belgium) is not accepting of the youthful enthusiasm of the Doberman puppy which Rosalie can still, barely, hold in her arms. I transmit Vince Dethier's good wishes to Blanka and we talk for several hours about the Peaceful Revolution. Blanka had a big role in preparing endless buckets of food for the students during their organizational meetings. She is wary that now no one is ready to do all the hard work to bring the revolution to fruition! Everyone was so cooperative during the revolution; now everything had slowed down to a crawl.

Blanka has brought a draft proposal for a reorganization of the Czechoslovakian research community written by someone from Ceske Budejovice. Neither she nor Franta Sehnal have read it yet but they asked me to read it and see if it is consistent with the American system after which they were trying to model. I spent an hour and a half correcting the wording and making my written argument for some changes in details that I thought would end up in legal problems for them if not modified. They are clearly in need of some assistance in organizing their scientific administration. I could only give advice from the end user's and peer reviewer's point of view.

18:00 We travel by bus and subway to the apartment of our host, a Czechoslovakian judge and breeder of Doberman Pinchers. There are several dogs at the party. The three roaming around now are females. Another two, males, are brought up from their cages in the cars on the street below in the next hour. I am amazingly calm considering these animals are trained very carefully to attack on command and are frisky besides. They are all beautiful dogs. The Americans are from Boston and Texas. One of the Bostonians is from the Hematology Department of Harvard Medical School and lifts an eyebrow when she learns I have sent a PhD student of mine to work in Sitkowski's lab. The world gets smaller as we speak. Another American is married to a Texan who speaks about as good German as mine. His wife, however, speaks excellent German and is a major force in translating the dirty jokes that break out at one point. I am helpful at one point in translating some anatomical jargon. Jokes go in all directions of translation. The Czech jokes were told immediately in German mostly by the veterinarian, some by the German breeder. The American jokes had to go through two translations; first they were told in English, then in German and then finally translation from German to Czech for a few of the guests results in at last some belated guffaws.

I talked genetics with the son of the German breeder. The dog associations in Europe are more tightly regulated than in America. Here in Europe, all working dog breeds [Dobermans, Shepherds, Cart Dogs, ...] must pass an attack test to see if the dog will persist in an attack if beaten back by an assailant. If the dog fails the test, it does not get to formally take part in the breeds future gene pool. Czechoslovakia as a site for the international dog show at Brno was planned several years ago and it was a happy surprise to all that travel has been simplified so much.

I cautiously approach the subject of the cost of Doberman puppies; not that my cat loving family would ever speak to me again if I ever purchased one. [My idea would be to feed the cats to 'my' Doberman.] The cost of puppies has the same approximate disparity as everything else here, about 10 fold cheaper. You can purchase a Doberman puppy with papers here for 2000 Kr. Such a puppy would bear much of the same bloodline characteristics of other European Dobermans. All cautioned me about the differences in American vs European standards for the breed; different look and temperament are sought after on the two continents. All in all an American Doberman is expected to be a charming and handsome gentleman [sic dog]. The European Doberman is supposed to live up to all a burglar could dream [sic nightmare] of in a watch dog and protector while being perfectly obedient to its owner.

As the evening wore on, one of the Czech guests, a vetinarian, breaks out a guitar and begins singing rafts of American, German and Czech folk songs. The party goes until late and I must take a taxi home since the buses and subway are closed.

The cab driver first takes Rosalie home and then I am to be taken across the city to the Masanka. Rosalie was prepared to pay as much as 300 Kr for her leg but paid only 120 Kr. Now alone I feel in a compromising position for one of the few times on the trip. I am a bit wary as the driver questions me in German about how long I have been in Prague and how well I know the city. I bluff greater knowledge than I actually have and make believe that I will be in the city for several extra days. I think I was effective in showing the driver that I knew the city well enough that I could enjoy walking home if I had to. The driver would rather have American currency but I do not have anything smaller than a $20 bill. We argue a bit about the actual exchange rate and what change I might get from a $20 bill. The $20 would represent a 300% overpayment according to my quick mental calculation. I eventually pay the 150 Kc on the meter in local currency with 10 Kr extra for good will. Franta Sehnal had warned me about taxi drivers but my resultant paranoia in the end in this instance was perhaps not warranted. I never found out if 150 Kc was a fare that anyone else would pay.

Day 19, Friday, 7/6/90

07:00 Franta Sehnal picked me up. I made sure my samples were in my baggage and we were off. Franta and I talked about our funding strategy and my hopes for an early decision so that we could have a productive research year beginning with collection of egg masses from Slovakia, Bulgaria and hopefully the Soviet Union.

At Home, Monday, 7/10/90

I called Susan Stryker at Soviet and East European Affairs division of the National Research Council. I asked for the route to take for funding of our currently developing proposal. She referred me to Gerston Sher at the NSF International Programs Office. There I talked with Don Dehaven, in charge of Soviet relations. He left a message for Bonnie Thompson, in charge of Eastern European countries to get in touch with me.

Tuesday, 7/11/90

16:45 Bonnie Thompson called me and explained the typical guidelines of a cooperative 3 year proposal.

Typical total budget is $35,000 for 3 years from this side (US NSF). It would support American travel to the foreign country for senior as well as junior workers (grad students and post doctoral). All similar costs there would be covered by a parallel grant from the Czech National Academy. It would also cover grad student or postdoc support (Univ. Health Insurance, monthly rate, local transportation, lodging, per diem $35/wk or $700 per mo.), limited materials and supplies but no salaries.

20:00 I visited Bob Rothstein, member of the Slavic Languages Department, in his Amherst home down the block from us. I gave him my collection of the Czech & Slovak Revolutionary literature that I had obtained from Mirko Slovak in Bratislava and Rosalie Bennet in Prague. He is helping me in getting translations of the 1988 Russian Gypsy Moth conference preprints of abstracts. He tape recorded for me the authors and titles of the two major sections of the table of contents. I will transcribe the tape onto my computer and then decide on which abstracts to have formally translated. I was amazed at his ability to unhesitatingly translate some of the Russian technical terms that came up as he read the table of contents, ie. pheromone. As he explained, some of the English terms are phonetically translated into the Cyrillic alphabet.

Bob told me that when he was chairman of The U. Mass. Slavic Languages Department several years back that he had instituted Slovak language courses partly based on a visiting academic from Slovakia. We had at UMass for a short period the only Slovakian language program in existence in America to his knowledge. Since then our program has declined but a few formal programs have been instituted in regions of the country with heavy Slovakian immigrant populations. He would be interested and cooperative if we eventually host a Czech or Slovakian guest.

* * * * *

I will formally end my Czech Diary here as I slowly wean myself back into my American way of life, ie. less time for the pleasantries of a diary.


Baranchikov, Y. N. 1989. Ecological basis of the evolution of host relationships in Eurasian gypsy moth populations. In: Proceedings. Lymantriidae: A Comparison of Features of New and, Old World Tussock Moths, Wallner, W. E. and McManus, K. A., eds. p. 101.

Jindra, M., and F. Sehnal. 1989. Larval growth, food consumption, and utilization of dietary protein and energy in Galleria mellonella. JIP. 35: 719.

Karpells, S. T., D. E. Leonard, and J. G. Kunkel. 1989. Cyclic fluctuations in arylphorin, the principal serum storage protein of Lymantria dispar, indicate multiple roles in development. IB. 20: 73.

Kozanek, M. 1988. Description of two new species of the genus Eudorylas [Diptera, Pipunculidae] from Soviet Middle Asia. Biologia [Bratislava]. 43:945.

Kozanek, M., and M. Slovak. 1987. Catecholamines in the cerebral ganglion of cabbage armyworm (Mamestra brassicae L.) during the ontogenetic development. Biologia (Bratislava). 42:581.

Leonard, D. E., and J. G. Kunkel. 1989. Nutritional Ecology: Lymantria dispar as a model system for study of serum storage proteins. In Proceedings. Lymantriidae: A Comparison of Features of New and Old World Tussock Moths, Wallner, W. E. and McManus, K. A., eds., p 367.

Novotny, J. 1989. Natural diseases of the gypsy moth in various gradation phases. In: Proceedings. Lymantriidae: A Comparison of Features of New and Old World Tussock Moths, Wallner, W. E. and McManus, K. A., eds., pp. 101.

Slovak, M. 1987. Influence of temperature and host's nutritional conditions on development of the immature stages of Exetastes cinctipes Retz. (Hym., Ichneumodidae). Biologia (Bratislava). 42:587.

Socha, R., I. Gelbic, and J. Sula. 1988. Histopathological effects of (R,S)-9-(2,3-dihydroxypropyl)adenine on the ovaries of Pyrrhocoris apterus (Heteroptera, Pyrrhocoridae). Acta ent. bohemoslov. 85:408.

Sula, J., I. Gelbic, and R. Socha. 1987. The effects of (RS)-9-(2,3- dihydroxypropyl)adenine on the reproduction and protein spectrum in hemolymph and ovaries of Pyrrhocoris apterus (Heteroptera, Pyrrhocoridae). Acta ent. bohemoslov. 84:1.

Figure 1. The family of Franticek Sehnal on the porch of his mother-in-law's dacha in Horazdovice - Predmesti.

Figure 2. Marta Frikova (L) and Tomas Pavlicek (R) in front of the local apartments which the students call 'hasen boxen' (ie. cages forrabbits).

Figure 3. Jan Sula (Honza) in front of the castle at Hluboka, the 'pearl of Czechoslovakia'.

Figure 4. The families of Mirko Slovak (L) and Milan Kozanek (R) oneach side of a local artists rendering of President Bush and President Havel.

Figure 5 Gypsy moth cultures of Julius Novotny at the Forestry Institute at Banska' Stiavnica, Central Slovakia.

Figure 6. Gypsy moth larvae eating Quercus cerrus

Figure 7. Dr. Dinesh Kumar (L) and Dr. Karel Spitzer (R) examining a light trap in a lowland wetland ecology site.