New business partners and cultures have always been of interest to me however my experience with my business partner in Lithuania was something that I always remember fondly and laugh about to this day!
My flight to Vilnius was quite uneventful the only thing that I remember is that the airline was basic and the aircraft was very old. I was actually looking for a parachute just in case! When I arrived in this beautiful city I was greeted by my new partners who were more than enthusiastic about showing me the sites of the city especially the highest vantage point where I could overlook the city. I can assure you that in stiletto heels this was no mean feat and despite my protests I was dragged kicking and screaming up to the top of the Castle Hill. At one point one of the partners offered to carry me which was a tempting offer but I knew that I needed to maintain my professionalism and dignity if nothing else.
Following this experience, we drove 1 hour to the hotel and I use this term loosely as it was more of a derelict building – there were 300 rooms and only 5 guests. The pipes in the bathroom were not connected and when you had a wash in the hand basin the water drained out all over the floor. This is apparently normal and so was the fact that they unmake rather than make the bed every day – trying to find where they had put your bedding is unbelievable as it could be anywhere!
The following morning we started the meeting with a new reseller from Kaliningrad – I thought that after the experience of the previous day this looked promising until he produced several large bottles of Vodka and the owner of the hotel came into the room with several pints of Danish beer! It was 8 am in the morning! By lunch time they were so drunk that I managed to present my new Business Strategy, their Business Plan for the year and their new price lists which were accepted without any issues.
On to lunch and no surprises for guessing, this experience was also eventful. We went to an Armenian restaurant where it is customary to provide your own food and yes you’ve guessed it, I had to pick my own lunch in the forest – we were having garlic mushrooms again I was wearing stiletto heels and was offered a piggy back by a now very drunk Russian reseller.
Following the lunch, a further meeting back at the hotel, an attempt to get me to swim in a half frozen lake and a meet and greet with the Lithuanian families I eventually got back to the hotel room at 1.30 am the next morning.
Thankfully I had not joined in the drinking sessions and found my bedding in the wardrobe!
Upon my return to the UK my boss asked me if I had completed my ‘Contact Report’ for the trip, it was the first time that I have had to improvise – he would not have believed me anyway!
Toni Bradshaw – Promethean Ltd
For more information please contact Abigail Peake on 01254 356473 or [email protected]