Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Friday, February 20, 2009

First, and Last Time (5)



"A man's errors are his portals of discovery."
-James Joyce

Two hundred and seventy miserable travellers filed into the airport, through the Immigration checkpoint and over to a line of representatives that found themselves dealing with an unexpected boatload of work.
To their credit they worked with precision and politeness to appease disgruntled natures.
It was morning by then. Another day was beginning and, as sometimes happens with adventures and journeys, we were all quite far from where we wished to be.
There was high tension, and rumours that British Airways had kept us on the plane overnight in order to save the expense of a night's lodging, which, in truth, nobody was wholly able to contradict.
Spouse and I and our new friend A had been assigned rooms in Novotel Hyderabad, although we greatly hoped and expected to depart for Calcutta after breakfast and a chance to freshen up.
We stood with a growing group of men and women who would go to the same hotel; a series of buses had been organised to dispatch us to our respective places.
I watched as one little old man was given a piece of paper and told that he must get on the bus when it arrived and proceed to Novotel with- she pointed to our group.
All he heard, poor fellow, was the bad news, and his remaining spirit and supply of patience seemed to crumble there and then.
"No hotel?"
After hours of trauma he was unable to withstand any more grief.
"Novotel," the confused assistant repeated, but she pronounced it "no hotel," and set the old man into brief hysterics of anguish.
He looked around at the rest of us and threw his hands up. I suspect a tear or two might have been caught in his eye.
"No hotel!"
Cruel visions streamed through his head of being marched back to the plane to await the captain's next word, or being forced to curl up on the floor of the bus.
Relief and laughter flooded his tired face when at last it was understood: Novotel was a four-star accommodation where he would find a comfortable bed and some food.
After the matter was thus clarified, he shook his head in bafflement once again at the absurdity of the scene in which we found ourselves.

2 comments:

The Texican said...

And so in a foriegn land we are stranded and virtually abandoned by the people we paid to get us there. I always hate these situations because I never know what level of force is necessary or accepted by other countries. I'm sure the jail in Hyberdad (not sure on that spelling) was not a four star quality establishment. Bebe won't let me travel much outside our country because of my self-control issues. I'm am enjoying the mental exercise of vicariously deciding just what I would have done in those same circumstances. Pretty safe exercise really. As always you are a masterful story teller and I look forward to your next entry. Pappy

TheElementary said...

Texican, actually it was a four star hotel, and the staff were of the highest caliber, we had no issues with them. However, I don't think there was a lesser quality hotel in the area, or they'd have put us in one of them for sure.
I agree with your observations about not knowing how to react in situations when it's not a country you're familiar with. It's not easy, and the guidebooks won't tell you. Somehow you have to tread carefully but still make sure you get treated right. Trial and error, I suppose, that's how anybody discovers the right way to do things.
Thankfully, aside from the British Airways crowd, nobody caused us trouble and they were as helpful as could be, making us comfortable.

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