Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Meals, booze and cross-dressing aren’t the only reasons why I look forward to my employer’s annual EMEA sales conference. There's also the sympathetic colleagues who keep me well-fed with foods from their home countries.

Last year, it was vodka and kielbasa smuggled into Malta by my amigo from Warsaw. This year, it was Scandinavia’s turn

Jesper—another Viking friend from Copenhagen—arrived in Edinburgh bearing the holy trinity of Danish gastronomy: herring, Aquavit and a dense, brown bread mix.

A few drops of Aquavit remain, but the herring and bread are now just a happy memory.

It just goes to show you. Whether you're Danish or Polish, there's a little Italian grandmother inside all of us.

Thanks, Jesper! Ingen svag vine.


At 12:24 PM, Blogger GC PHILO said...

I made it to Scotland last summer. Great place. I love the kilt pics too! I took a trip to the Highlands from Edinburgh one day (the town of Inverness) and was surprised to see how many people were actually wearing kilts and going about their daily business (shopping, waiting in line at the bank, kids walking with Mommy, etc). I didn't know Scots actually did that... I thought it was more of a formal thing.
And by the way, if you ever talk to a Czech colleague from ACME (you don't really seel tongue-depressors, do you?) tell them to bring you some Becherovka - now THAT's some damn good liquor!


At 4:45 PM, Blogger Angie said...

I knew I shouldn't stop by the tapas bar after I skipped breakfast this morning... now I'm hungry! Reporter cannot live on coffee alone.

Wow, Sal, you post a picture of yourself in your kilt and you get 25 comments (some re. "pert manly nipples," lol)... Maybe you oughta break out that kilt more often? You're already an expat anyway, so it's OK to stick out from your compatriots in La Mancha. You can be the eccentric expat in a kilt who BBQs on the patio on his mysterious, foreign-looking grill. That's it, I'm putting you in my novel!

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

GC: Recommendation is duly noted and permanently burned into my brain. Given that eastern Europe is my territory, there's a good chance that I'll get to the Czech Republic myself someday. Now I know that I won't be drinking Coke. BTW...of course we don't sell tongue depressors. We think of them as Tonsil and Adnoid Diagnosis Facilitators.

Angie: Angie? A-n-g-i-e? Hmmm. Angie. Angie? Hmmm. Sounds vaguely familiar. Did you go to my high school?


At 2:49 AM, Blogger euro-trac said...

OMG... I can't believe it!! That is my fave alcoholic drink in the world! I often keep a bottle of Akvavit in my freezer! Well as a South East Londoner you would, wouldn't you!? Discovered many years ago, completely by accident, very rarely, if ever have I heard anyone else ever mention it! Boy, your good!

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Opportune moment for a crack about your age... But I'm too nice for that sort of thing. ;)

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Euro-Trac: You are obviously a woman of exquisite taste and deep knowlege of all things Nordic. Yes, those Danes need something to keep them warm up there, and it might as well be Aquavit. Aquavit was brought to the new world by a Viking named "Leif the Garrett"--who sailed a poorly-maintained Porsche-shaped ship across the Sargasso Sea in 23BC in search of fame, fortune and a hair-transplant. All three have proved elusive to this day.

Angie: Just because I was in Driver's Ed when you were born doesn't mean that...that...oh shit! Yes it does.

At 3:50 AM, Anonymous jrpfeff said...


You are on your way to a great tradition. For your next sales conference, ask all attendees to bring a bottle of the finest spirit from their native land or sales territory (or even an after-thought bottle at duty-free). Set them all up (the bottles, not the sales reps) in someone's room and leave the door open.

I heard a story from my last boss (confirmed by several friends) about this happening at a conference of engineers & metallurgists in Prague. The Russians and a smallish woman from Pittsburgh were the last ones standing.


At 1:24 PM, Anonymous Francaise de Coeur said...

So beer is not a vegetable side-dish, then?

At 4:30 PM, Blogger euro-trac said...

Thanks Sal! I have often wondered to myself, where would the world be without Leif Garrett? I somehow knew that I had a lot to thank him for and now, because of you, I have my answer. I shall be sure to clink a glass of my favourite beverage to him later!
(and to you of course)

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Fran: For some of us, it's a main course.

Jim: Around the world in 80 cocktails? I like that idea. No doubt this typically happens the night before some hellish team-building activity is scheduled. Team-building wouldn't be complete without an 85% hangover ratio. I'm not a bit surprized that the Russians were still conscious at the end of your boss's, but I question the claim about the "smallish woman from Pittsburgh." I lived in western PA for six years, and don't recall anyone being smallish (other than me).

At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Kick Shoe said...

How do I get invited to one of these sales conferences? I'm sure my alter egos would be an asset in the entertainment department, and Zoe can drink like a fish and keep on dancing.


At 11:16 PM, Anonymous Lenn said...

Just found your blog via B's post about my Steelers vs. Seahawks wager.

Thought you might have a contribution to this post:


At 11:40 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Lenn:

I've contributed. That was kinda fun.

Thanks for the valuable service that you're providing. There's no way that the city of Frasier deserves a ring more than the City of Champions.

One for the thumb!



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