I knew that IBOFightback, Tex, myself, and someone named Big Apple would be present. Once in Prague, I learned a fifth blogger had been invited and had not received word of the invitation until late the week before. In fact, she acquired her passport only on the Friday before the conference. Her name was Bridgett and she is a frequent commenter on Inside Quixtar, The Real Quixtar Blog, and other blogs in the Opportunity Zone. All the invitees were Independent Business Owners affiliated with Quixtar or Amway.
We met in the hotel lobby, grabbed a couch, and a couple of chairs and began talking, comparing notes, debating the merits of Quixtar/Amway Tool Systems and getting involved in a few healthy arguments.
Rob Zeiger, Director of Amway Corporate Communications, stopped by our group to say “Hello” and to welcome us to Prague. Rob is responsible for the Alticor Media Blog as well as other corporate blogs. Rob is also the man responsible with inviting these bloggers to Prague.
Once he introduced himself, Bridgett’s first words were, WERE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT BLOG ENTRY?! (I forget which one, but it was at Alticor Media Blog)
Rob took the question in stride, and I suggested to him after a few minutes and a barrage of questions, that he should probably “Step Away From The Bloggers!”
But, he was brave and stayed to talk with us for quite some time. We invited him to go to dinner with us but he was to attend another dinner with conference attendees. We had to keep reminding ourselves that there were a hundred or so Amway Corporate Communication staff attending this conference.
We also met Robin Luymes in the lobby, but we were destined to spend the evening with each other. And spend it, we did.
At the suggestion of “Big Apple”, we went to a restaurant/pub around the corner from the hotel for dinner and more conversation.
“Big Apple” is a successful IBO with a strong retailing business and had arrived a day early in Prague. He appeared to me to be a seasoned traveler and had checked out the city the day before.
The restaurant, Celnici, was loud, boisterous, and perfectly Czech. I ordered the Goulash, a thick dark stew served with bread. It was delicious–once it was served.
QUICK TRAVEL TIP–Restaurant service may seem slow in the Czech Republic; but it is not meant to be rude. In fact, I learned it is considered highly hospitable. It seems that if don’t order an appetizer, and your other table mates do. Then they are served first, and nothing else is brought out until that course is over. Each course is completely finished. No waiter will come after your plate in mid-bite or rush you to finish. It’s not TGI Fridays.
Big Apple and IBOfightback ordered wine with dinner. Which brings me to a small rant.
All of the panelists invited were smart, entertaining, and interesting people. But I can’t call them by name, except IBOFightback who was outed at another website and his identity revealed.
The reason I can’t call them by name, is I was asked as a Blogger, not to report their true identities.
That’s the reason their faces have black bars over them. That makes me mad. And they know it. The panelists were invited by Amway and Quixtar because of the authentic, truthful, and personal opinions that they give about Amway and Quixtar on the Internet. Their opinions were respected enough to be invited to speak to the global staff of a multi-billion dollar company. So why not, reveal their identities?
For Bridgett, it was due to professional reasons related to her “day-job”. For “Big Apple”, it was due to friction with his Line Of Sponsorship. For Tex, it was personal reasons.
Bridgett’s “day-job” is highly interesting. Can’t tell you about it.
Big Apple’s name…can’t tell you…But, there’s a funny story about it, involving him ordering wine that directly relates to his personality.
Let’s say he has a proper name, “Jonathan”. We asked him if we could call him “Johnny” or “John”. He said anything would be fine. But, at dinner, “Johnny” ordered wine with IBOFightback(David Steadson). After the wine arrived, “John” asked for a carafe, so the wine could breathe. As he related to David Steadson on the properties of the wine; Bridgett and I suddenly realized, he was, no doubt, “Jonathan”.
But, all our personalities meshed. We talked, we ate, they ordered dessert, we talked some more. Dinner lasted at least 4 hours. I was tired. It was 12:30 and I was still sick and taking medication for a cough that would not stop.
I bid farewell to my dinner companions and walked back to the hotel. I hear that they stayed much longer after that.
Prague at night is beautiful. I stopped and looked out over the square where the restaurant was located. People walking, Trams passing by, the architecture of the old buildings illuminated by street lights; I knew I was 5000 miles away from Alabama, but I felt comfortable. It was a good first day.