June 30 in Prague

Hi,

Started off the day with what? Another meal because it has been 20 minutes since I have last eaten.  We got to the VIP Lounge to eat breakfast and they have a couple things that are charming.  The most interesting plate warmers I have ever seen.  I will take a picture of it tomorrow as the plate warmers stand up and are slotted like the drain basket you use at home to set the dishes in after washing them.  On each hotel staff’s namebadges is the flag of the languages that they speak.  For those folks who speak English a flag of the UK is on their badge. It was weird not seeing the American flag but at the end of the day it makes more sense this way.

Irene arrived last night from Shanghai.  Irene is an employee of the company I am here working for and is great fun.  Always in a good mood easy to be with and I always enjoy my time with her. She is as outgoing as they come.  Her flight from China was 22 hours including a 6 hour lay over in Frankfurt, Germany.

Irene

Irene

  

After breakfast Irene and I go and meet with our CSM and F& B director of the hotel to go over arrangements for the meeting. Our shipment is due to arrive today so we are planning on doing inventory later in the day.  We go over all arrangements – it is here that we find out a little history of the hotel being used for Russian soldiers to do training.  Even though Czech has been free since the late 1980’s it is obvious that these folks still have a communist mentality don’t ask them to step outside the box as it isn’t going to happen.  It probably won’t be until their kid’s generation will they feel comfortable living a free lifestyle and making decisions for themselves.

The meeting space is a pleasant surprise. The lighting fixtures I feel in love with and are the originals from the mid 1950’s when the Russians used this hotel.  Also this is the only meeting space that I have ever been in – in my 25+ years in the industry that has arms to their banqueting chairs. It was so kool to see.

 After Irene and I finished up with our business – we took the tram and then the train to the city center of Prague.  When we got out of the train at the city center is where we got into a bit of trouble.  We bought our train tickets for about $1.40 USD but we didn’t get them stamped at the train station.  When we got off the train we were stopped by the officials to show them our tickets. Ok, we did that – but it wasn’t good enough. Because we didn’t have our ticket “stamped” at the station we were in violation.  They asked to see our passports neither of us had them. They told us it was a $2000 Czech Krom fine for not having our passports. I said no way this isn’t a communist country anymore and there is no law saying we have to have our passports. We explained to this jerk that we didn’t know to get these stamped as these machines aren’t obvious in the train station and there is no turn styles and we would get them stamped moving forward.  He told us we had to pay a $700 Krom fine which is about $35.00 USD.  We said no and to get his supervisor.  Irene and I both argued with him relentlessly and he said he was taking us to the police station. I told him fine take me to the police station present me with a “ticket” and then I would pay the fine. It was becoming obvious that our charming manner was not heading him in the direction of “being a nice guy and letting us go” Someone apparently had a quota he had to make and even better it was from an American. It was just then that he and Irene REALLY got into it. She is definitely a fiery chick when you piss her off.  He then took us with him to the “ticket office” I called our CSM at the hotel to tell him what was going on. Mikal told us that we do need to pay the fine and that this was indeed a real thing. To make a long story short – we ended up paying the damn fine.  Being escorted to “see the supervisor” which was probably his drinking buddy was a guy who was a refugee who refused to pay a train ticket.  We finally decided to pay our fine leave the station walk around the block on the street. We see this refugee who btw is dressed well enough in jeans and a nice t shirt. Irene asked him why was he stopped he said because he didn’t even buy a train ticket. At least we had a ticket – he said as a refugee he only gets $100 krom from the government a day and at least $55 goes to cigarettes and therefore he has no money for a train ticket so of course he isn’t going to pay for a ticket.  Don’t even try to make sense out of this as it is impossible to do.

 Next Irene and I went to lunch. It was a lovely restaurant on the river near the St. Charles bridge.  We split this pasta dish and then I had tuna which was delicious.

Pasta with Olive Oil, Herbs, Parm Cheese and Mushrooms

Pasta with Olive Oil, Herbs, Parm Cheese and Mushrooms

 

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 Then we walked all around old town and did some shopping. Unfortunately all the stores are so touristy in nature – you walk into a couple of them you have seen them all.  The stores here Pilsner beer which was founded here in Czech is the same price as water and sometimes cheaper. We saw cans of beer at $40 Krom and Water $40 Krom.  What is a girl to do? While we were walking there was a tour guide doing his things on Segways. Irene has never seen a Segway in her life and rightfully so was facinated by them and how they worked.  I had to take a picture and send it to her so she could share with her boyfriend back in China.

After lunch I went to use the restroom and as I was drying my hands their papertowels had ad’s on them.  Cracked me up.

  I took a picture of this pizza place because I liked this presentation of the pizza. It is very fun all of it lined up on this butcher block with lighting.

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 The highlight of the afternoon is we walked in to a beautiful bakery and they had the largest meringue that I ever saw.

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   Late afternoon it started raining so Irene and I took an overpriced cab ride back to the hotel and had a non descript dinner in the hotel bar.

 That is my story for now and I am sticking to it.

Claire

Comments

  1. This catering looks interesting, Claire!

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