Thursday, June 15, 2006

It's Thursday. I think.

from James
Just got back from Prague yesterday. Woke this morning to realize it wasn't really morning, it was still Wednesday night. The alarm was ringing. I had gone to bed at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday for a little catnap, because I'd been up since 10:30 the previous night drinking in Czech pubs, watching world cup soccer, and generally trying to compute what time it was in Miami if it was 4:30 in the morning in Prague. I'd set the alarm at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, figuring I'd get up, stay awake till nidnight, go to bed and then wake Thursday morning totally refreshed and in tuen with Miami time. Good plan, I suppose. But I obviously need a louder alarm.

Prague is an amazing city. I had never been before, and I am part Czech, which proved to be a bit of an embarrasment, because the Czech name in my family translates to "little goat." I'm sorry, but I do not want to be known as the little goat. They smell bad, are not particularly friendly, and eat garbage. I have never met a goat I liked, and I suppose there is a reason we have scapegoats and not scapesheep, scapecows, or scapechickens.

Our Prague hotel was a place called Aria, which is in the Little Quarter of Prague near the Charles Bridge. We walked across the Charles Bridge so many times in the 4 days we were there that we eventually called it Chuck's Bridge. Aria is a fabulous hotel, on a par with the Four Seasons, and we had a room that overlooked the gardens by Prague's famous palace. We also ate dinner twice on rooftop with breathtaking views of St. Nicolas Cathedral, the Palace, and all the other things you see on Prague post cards. I mention this because an odd thing happened at our last dinner.

We had the best table in the restaurant. My wife and I had been guests in the hotel for 4 nights spending far more than we could afford on a suite. After we had eaten our appetizers but before our main course was served, a party of four comes up. The ringleader is a quirky looking woman with a strange hat. I heard her speaking (German, I think) to our waiter, and I had a feeling that she wanted our table. It was a table for 4, and my wife and I were a party of 2. There were 2 other tables for 4 availble, but obviously there is only one "best" table in the house. The waiter sheepishly (not goatishly) comes over to us and tells us that the woman had made a reservation and specifically requested this table. He asked us to move. I asked him if the party of 4 were guests in the hotel, and he either did not understand me or pretended not to understand. I told him that we were guests in the hotel, that this was our last night in Prague--but again, he either didn't understand or pretended not to. I looked at my wife, and she looked at me. The other three people in the woman's party couldn't even look at us, but the woman was clearly not going to back down.
So . . . what do you think we did?


  1. Uh, told the woman she could have your table if you could have her strange hat?

    Out with it, mon...

  2. Difficult question, Jim. Had it been a man, you clearly would have used your Special Forces training and pulverized the prick. But a woman? Perhaps Tiffany stepped in and said in perfect German: "Excuse me, fraulein, is that a hat on your head or are you wearing a goat?"

  3. I'm hoping you stood your ground. It's not your problem that the hotel screwed up Odd Woman's reservation.

    The waiter should have fetched the manager immediately, Odd Woman and her friends should have been stashed somewhere with a complimentary cocktail, and then you should have been approached.

    If you were willing to move, they should have comped your dinner. If you weren't, they should have comped Odd Woman's dinner.

    Can you tell how annoyed I get with poor service in a restaurant?


  4. Of course you told her NO-da-lay-eh-ee.

  5. James, it reminds me of an experience I had in Tunisia, with German tourists actually.

    We were assigned tables in the dining room where we were supposed to eat. These Germans kept taking our table, which left us with no table. So we had to ask for another table.

    Next time we went to the dining room, our table was free, so we took it (like we were supposed to) and the Germans came in and got into a big argument with the staff. Now, I speak a bit of German and I spent some time living there, so I had a hard time not smirking when they got told it was our table and that they had to eat at their own.

    See, even doing the right thing can get you into trouble.

  6. Scapesheep, ah now there's a concept.

  7. So what did you do already?

  8. My guess with your positive tone of the hotel, you received your 4 nights free or at very low fare. if you moved to another table.

  9. Food fight?

    Or at least I HOPE so!!!

  10. How long do we have to wait for the answer to the final jeopary question?

  11. Me, I would have told the waiter to bring more chairs and invited the party of 4 to join us! There must be a story behind that hat, and what writer would want to miss a chance for a good story?

  12. I love the website and am still looking for naked photos; having just had knee replacement surgery at Mercy Hospital in Miami I will hazard a guess at your bill--mine was $40,000 including the surgeon at $10,000, so I will guess $30,000.

  13. Hmm, i think it's really nice to wake up on Thursday in Prague but still be thinking it's Wednesday night;-) Last month i spent 2 week in Cyprus, it was great.. fabulous ocean, superb weather.. I stayed at the Cyprus Four Seasons , it was nice, too, although i am VERY capricious...