A different blog this time.
Less about food. Something about travel.
I was in Prague for work last week. When I say I was “in Prague”, I mean I saw the outdoors from indoors within various restaurants, my hotel bedroom, conference rooms, a hotel lobby and random company coach rides that transported our 500+ army of selected European employees. We RULED the indoors of multiple Czech establishments.
We were the business cockroaches of the city. And the window was our friend.
I hate staying in a country and barely seeing it. You can never really say you were actually there. Even though you were there. But you weren’t. But you were. But you weren’t… Yes, this can go on for a while.
I did manage to get some time to myself though and venture out of our massive, towering hotel for an hour. I’m pretty sure I was approached by a spy as I was sitting on a bench by the river and actively throwing loaves of bread at ducks.
Spy Dude: “It is nice weather we are having, no? But not as nice as Is-ra-ale”.*
*Deliberate misspelling of Israel to sound like a Russian accent. It’s hard to type accents.
Spy Dude: <stares>
Awkward silence ensues…
Spy Dude: <stares>
Spy Dude: <stares>
He walks away. I sigh a relief.
I then ponder, “Was that tall, raincoat clad, briefcase wielding dude a spy? Hang on… Wait… Am I A SPY”??? I wonder if I am an agent of the shield and perhaps I blinked the wrong way which portrayed my amateur status and I have to be reprogrammed or destroyed.
I then realise I’ve allowed my thoughts to wonder into the random again… Back to the Hilton Prague.
Ugh. A “Hilton”. I wonder how many more dresses, cars, houses and private jets our company just contributed to the Paris Hilton brand. I shudder to think.
Despite barely seeing Prague, what I did see through the windows from indoors, I enjoyed and it was fun work-wise. I travel a good bit for work but this was intense. The 4 days were a marathon of rushing from meetings to more meetings to quick hotel room changes to bars to coaches to restaurants to more bars to more meetings and so on. I barely remember sleeping. Did I sleep? I remember a room, a bed, a floor… but did I sleep?
Ah sleep is for the weak!
Despite being part of the drab* Hilton brand, the hotel was nice.
*(Views and opinions of hotel brands, Heinz versus Hellman’s, twerking, Madonna’s British accent, why Canadian’s say ‘aboot’ etc, are of my own and do not reflect the opinion of my company, my butcher, the barista who served me my soy milk cappuccino in Starbucks this morning, my hairdresser or the ducks I threw bread loaves at).
At the top of our hotel was the sky bar, otherwise known as the “Cloud 9 Bar”. It was a fun maze to get to between catching an elevator to a random floor, following the hidden, ambient advertising signs that lead to a service corridor suspiciously resembling the one from a scene in “American Psycho”, then catching an additional lift that brings you to another floor. The elevator doors suddenly part and present a long corridor whose decor resembles the love child of Studio 54 and Hugh Hefner’s bedroom.
It made me want to crimp my hair and don a bikini.
But it did give us a great view over Prague.
More indoor to outdoor viewing. More windows.
At the end of this corridor, we reached the Cloud 9 Bar… “(or the Bar of Opposite Personalities)”.
This was the place where the flamboyant cocktails loosened the work ties and suddenly our very formal, corporate and powerful business colleagues were transformed into loud, vivacious, shot drinking hillbillies where business talk was supported by various slurs and “WE ROCK” high fives.
Thankfully, no one decided to strap their tie to their head, á la Rambo style. But it was close.
Talk about upstairs/downstairs.
On our final night we had the Gala Ball in a conference centre somewhere in Prague. I took in whatever view I could from our coach ride to the venue. This exercise was futile.
This time, the window was not my friend.
The centre was excessive and hired out for our company which basically gave us more room to carry out the usual nonsense, frivolity and networking. Except this time, woman wore cocktail dresses and the men wore… well exactly the same; suits. The food was formal (trout, veal and a selection of desserts), the waiters were EXCEPTIONALLY friendly and the wine tasted like a hangover in a glass.
On the large main stage, the Czech performances (which were designed to inject us with some local culture) went largely unnoticed… The necessary “What do you do for our company in your country?”, type questions and sizing-up chatter was abundant… But with alcohol, it’s called “Business banter, darling”!
Meal over, Czech performances generally unappreciated, a few of us ventured upstairs where we plonked into massive bean bags that overlooked the river and bridge. We drank champagne and drunkenly expressed our happiness to see Prague while we soaked in the views… More indoor to outdoor viewing. The window was my friend again.
It was pretty darn nice though and I was in Prague.
Well, not really, Kind of. Sort of. Well, I was practically there.
That dude was so a spy.
OBLIGATORY SHOUT OUT MOMENT: Photos taken by a colleague named Matt. He’s also a DJ “SLASH” Producer, the London based kind. He can be found on Instagram as MattRich91. Stalk him there.