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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Travel memories

I suppose the hotel chain that spawned Paris Hilton would have to be tacky, but when I found that the Hilton in Quito (Peru) featured a Café Colon, I thought they had excelled.

That was before I found the bowl of popcorn on the Café Colon dinner buffet. Naturally, I added some to my plate, just because I could, but when my dining companions asked me why I had it, I thought quickly.

"To dunk in the red wine," I said, deadpan, "It's an old Peruvian custom."

To prove my point (one must risk suffering for one's art), I dunked some and ate it, and it tasted quite nice. When the popcorn was also on the breakfast buffet, I asked, and found that it is there for people making ceviche. But it's good in red wine, as well, especially carminere. Unsweetened and unsalted popcorn, of course: I'm not a barbarian.

Now about the Café Colon: this is probably the most hideous eatery seen during a month's travelling. The problem is one of management, because the front-of-house staff are delightfully helpful, but the Café Colon seems to be run by Basil Fawlty on a bad day. They played crap pop music in the feeding area for both of the meals we had there. VERY loudly. It may have been Celine Dion, or Barry Manilow in tight trousers, but it fitted the décor.  It most certainly did not help the digestion.

Then there was the giggling idiot who attempted to draw the cork on my wine, and managed to leave part of it behind. This can happen to amateurs like me, but it should not happen to professionals.  Still, the worst was yet to come.

I have no objection at all to pushing the rest of the cork into the bottle, but you need to know that a knife, wider than the bottle neck won't work.  Nor does a fork.  It took him ten minutes to realise that a teaspoon was needed, and then the handle was his second choice.

Then in spite of my giving him our room number THREE times, he turned up at the table after we had retired and demanded that one of our dining companions pay up.

The management aspect also emerged in the totally disorganised layout of the dining area. It was plain incompetent, or perhaps deliberately malicious. Related foods were placed at opposite ends of the serving area, and so on and so forth.

There are some very nice small hotels in Quito, so avoid the Hilton.

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This blog covers quite a few different things, so I tag each post. I also blog about history, and I am currently writing a series of books called Not your usual... and the first two have been accepted by Five Mile Press, The offcuts appear here with the tag Not Your Usual... . For a taste of Australian tall tales, try the tags Speewah or Crooked Mick.   For a miscellany of oddities, try the tag temporary obsessions. And language is covered under the tags Descants and Curiosities, while stuff about small life is under Wee beasties.

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