Monday, May 28, 2018

Czech Please!


Fun quiz – how do your get your check after eating in a Czech restaurant?
  • Wait for them to bring it
  • Politely approach them and ask for check
  • Hope they come back to the table, and then you can ask
  • Just pay at the register
Ha ha ha, you dummy!  It is a trick question.  It would appear NONE of those are correct.  I can tell you which one is the most incorrect, though.  Getting up and politely approaching the waiter asking for the check.  Someone in our party did that, and was literally told to “go sit down”.  Not even a please.  Even better?  They still didn’t bring the check.

Bonus trivia – do not be a woman traveling in Eastern Europe.  Their contempt and misogyny is not masked even a tiny bit.  I traveled to several old communist block countries with 6 women.  I was the only man.  When we would go out to eat, the waiters wouldn’t even look the women in the eye.  When they would ask questions, dude would inevitably turn to me to answer.  Oh, and I was ALWAYS brought the check.

Maybe you are asking yourself... "so what is the correct way to receive a restaurant check?"  I honestly can't tell you, we never found out.  Each and every time, it was a disaster.  It also added, generally speaking, about 25 minutes to every experience.  For fun, we would experiment with different ideas and approaches.  Almost all were met with utter contempt.  We did learn this much, sadly... if you want anything (change for a $20, a menu, the bill)... have a male in your party request it.  They will out and out completely ignore any female if a male is present.  Trust me, like I said... we tested it.  We spent 2 weeks across about 5 countries having to eat out almost every meal.

Was listening to a great podcast from Rick Steves*** and this issue came up.  He was chatting to a local, and asked if they hate tourists.  The local gal laughed and said it had nothing to do with tourists, they are just rude to everyone.

One last note on this.  When you study up (and you should before you travel anywhere... it is always a good investment) you will hear every author say the exact same thing:  eating in Europe is not a speed event.  Slow down and enjoy your meal and your vacation!"    While that is fine advice, it isn't practical.  I have an ENTIRE country to explore in exactly 8 hours.  I do not have time for lunch to be 3 hours.  Odds are, I will never be here again, so I would like to see more of BudaPest than your fine cafe.

* interesting side note about every cafe & restaurant we hit.  When you pay with credit card, they NEVER walk away with your credit card.  It never leaves your site.  They bring a machine to the table and swipe it in front of you.  Must be an identity theft thing.  I was always pleased to see that.
*** Rick Steves sidebar - 
You would be a fool to travel without Rick Steves.  Here is what is great about Rick Steves... and what makes him different.  He has and gives opinions.  Lonely Planet used to be like that.  They talked to you straight.  Now, they are just another sterile guide to the obvious tourist places.   Steves will not hesitate to tell you what is a total scam and is best avoided.  Many of his resources are free.  Let's say you are going to Wadiya.  Buy the Wadiya book for the $14 it costs, I promise my life it will have saved you that much money within your first 24 hours there.  Buy one about a month before you go.

I truly can't say enough wonderful things about Rick Steves and his travel empire.  He may be the biggest name in all of European travel guides (I have no idea)... but it wouldn't surprise me.  He deserves it, you'll see!

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