ARRIVING IN PRAGUE
The only countries I have ever had a real interest in traveling to were Australia and Scotland. I supposed that I would enjoy other places but I really never had that passion to see exotic ports of call.
But, I did have two travel fantasies that I wanted to fulfill at some point in my life; and they both came true at the Prague Ruzyne International Airport.
In case you didn’t know; Passports, these days, have an electronic strip on the front page and airport personnel can scan them. This bothered me. I went through a lot to get my Passport at the last minute, and by golly, if I was going to be a foreign country, I sure as heck wanted somebody to physically get out their little “country stamper” and stamp my passport page with a country name. This finally happened at the Prague Airport.
My second travel fantasy involved a “driver”. Being a performer, comedian, I had always imagined that at some point I would arrive in New York City or Hollywood and a car and a driver would be waiting for me. The driver would be holding a placard with my name, Mr. Dave Robison, on it. I would see the driver, identify myself and he would shake my hand, grab my luggage and whisked to the waiting automobile.
Thanks to some prearrangement, I had an English speaking driver that would accept US currency to meet Tex and myself to drive us to our hotel.
Both travel fantasies fulfilled inside of 30 minutes of each other. I could die a happy man. (It’s the little things that please me)
A couple of things I did not prearrange–
I did not prearrange the snow that began to fall as Tex and I landed.
I did not prearrange having small US dollar bills to pay the driver. All I had was $100 dollar bills. I had spent my small bills on airport concessions. But, I gave Tex my remaining small bills and he made up the difference. (I still owe Tex, $27 dollars)
I did not prearrange taking a Valium before riding in a car driven by a young man named Petre, that thought he may be the Czech Republic’s answer to Helio Castroneves.
But, Tex and I got a nice tour of Prague on the way to the hotel and did arrive safely despite Petre’s attempts to mate his car’s front bumper with several rear bumpers of other Czech drivers. And, I was finally allowed to smoke a cigarette in the car–a much needed cigarette, even though I had been wearing a nicotine patch for my flights.
The hotel, Marriott Prague, was worth the wait. We checked in and Tex went to explore.
I was pleasantly surprised to be handed a note at check-in from IBOFightBack welcoming me to Prague, (He had arrived about an hour earlier) and inviting me for a chance to meet and a drink in the hotel lobby after I had settled in.
I headed to my room to unpack my shirts and suit(Wife’s orders) and to take a quick shower.
QUICK TRAVEL TIP: Electricity in the Prague Marriott is controlled by your key card. You have lights as long as your card is in the slot. Remove the card, and you have 20seconds before lights go out. This saves energy and prevents guests from leaving their room lights on when they exit.
I called IBOFightback’s room and met him downstairs. We enjoyed some “Amway” conversation; but mainly non-business chat. One thing to note about IBOFightback–He has a “Thick” Australian accent. Don’t let him tell ya otherwise. He’s under the impression that since he hasn’t lived in Australia in several years that it has dissipated. But if he doesn’t have a “Aussie” accent then I don’t have a “Southern” accent; and Ya’ll know that ain’t true!
I drank a slightly cool draft Czech beer. A little bitter for my taste, but not bad.
Mainly, IBOFightback filled me in on the roster of panelists showing up for the conference that I had not heard of.
After our conversation, I went upstairs to the meeting hall area and milled around and talked to a few Amway/Quixtar corporate people manning the “Welcome” table outside the conference room. I met a very nice lady, whose name has escaped me who gave me my “needed” name tag and she apologized profusely for adding that damn unnecessary “N” in my last name, but offered to make another name tag before the next day and my panel appearance. I told he not to worry about it; as long as it was correct on my check.
IBOfightback and I had arranged to meet in an hour or so back downstairs with the other bloggers; so I wandered around the hotel exploring and made my way outside on the street in front of the hotel and visited a couple of shops in the area.
It was going to be a long first day in Prague.