Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I don't often find myself

wishing I had some lipstick handy. Never had much use for it.

When I checked into the Baguio Country Club three or four weeks ago the person doing my booking didn't book me for a smoking room. Normally I do my own bookings; certainly I do when travelling to Dallas. But this is a Country Club and you can't do your own bookings unless you're a member of the club. Nope, one must be 'sponsored' by a member. It's a long and tortuous route from me to the sponsoring member. Hardly surprising then that the vital need for a smoking room is lost in the chain.

At the office they expect that we will let the receptionist book our flights and hotel rooms. Time was when I let the receptionist and the travel agent do that but stopovers in LA of 12 hours got to be too much. My experience is that even though Noël knows quite well that I smoke she forgets when booking my hotel. So I don't let her. I do it myself.

I got, for the first night of that trip, a room on the fourth floor valleyside, non smoking. By the time I arrived they had no smoking room available, or so they said, so one does the best one can. In this case it wasn't too bad; every single room in the hotel has a balcony. It's quite a spectacular view from the valleyside rooms, and if we have a balcony we have an outside area in which one can smoke. Disposal of the butt is problematic but the toilets flush quite vigorously! I can't bring myself to just flick the butt over the balcony onto the ground below.

Up there, fourth floor valleyside, the minibar is stocked with a range of goods; no such luxury down there golfside second floor. A prominent sign advises that if we ring such and such a number they'll stock the minibar but I didn't bother. The bar is enough for me. Well, it is most of the time, but sometimes, nearing midnight, one hungers for a snack but it's too late to ring.

Valleyside might sound like Utopia but it has its drawbacks. Roosters who seem unaware of the hour crow throughout the day. It's quite a cacophony. Didn't bother me much but it annoyed the heck out of Frank.

Up there, valleyside, the taps controlling the shower are prominently marked. Hot on the left, cold on the right and it's easy to tune the water temperature. Golfside the taps aren't marked and I can never seem to remember which one is hot. Given that I can remember such trivial details as the dates of the birth and death of Gustav Mahler this seems, even to me, a strange defect of memory. I note that if I live until May 3rd of this year I will have lived longer than he did. Won't have achieved a hundredth as much as he did but that's a different story!

Hence the lipstick. I wanted to mark the tile on the left hand side with a prominent H as a reminder, for the remainder of this week, that hot is on the left. Perhaps then I would be able to emerge from the shower bearing less of a resemblance to a lobster than I managed for most of the preceding week.

Even blokes sometimes have a use for lipstick!

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