Saturday, July 23, 2016

The travails of a long stay in a hotel

How long is long ? For me, it is anything beyond a day and/ or a night. 

My problem starts the moment I enter the room. Hotel rooms seem to have been designed to freeze people - the AC is in usually on , in full blast. And because most of them have their windows sealed, there is no access to fresh air. I hence end up resigning to fate, and switching off the AC till the temperature in the room rises to a more bearable level at its own pace. Till then I go thorough with the discomfort of walking around in the room with my footwear on - for the floors are too chill ....Oh I hate doing that. 

To escape the chillness, I rush to take a bath - and there comes the next problem. By the time I figure out which tap gives hot water and which one gives cold ( those 'H' and 'C' on the taps seldom indicate things correctly) , I usually end up either shivering after the shower spews a bust of cold water or getting scalded when it spews hot water. And the process goes on for some time, till I find the right position of the taps, when the water from the shower is just warm enough - or safe enough. Once I step out  of the shower, I normally end up wiping the mirror with a tissue, to see my face and check for burns - the exhaust fans are invariably ineffective. 

The rooms. Wonder why all hotel fellows think that everyone who stays in a hotel is on a romantic sojourn. All rooms have dull yellow lights and thick curtains - and that kind of makes the place look sick.Why don't they have bright white lights in hotel rooms? Day times are better - I can open the thick curtains and get some sunlight - but nights are definitely a bother. 

These are however not the major problems. The biggest problem that I face is trying to sleep on the one foot thick spring mattresses. I don't know who designed them and who decided that is mandatory for all hotels to have it. God ! . I admit - they look really tempting, but, as with all other temptations, the pains are far far higher than the gains. I am someone, who is comfortable sleeping on the bed - not sinking into it. Even after so many stays, it takes a long time for me to figure out an appropriate posture - with pillows balancing on all sides, to try and catch some sleep on these mattresses. I am usually unsuccessful in my attempts and am left with two choices - to continue the circus all night to wake up tired  and with body pain , or to pull the blanket on to the floor and lie down. And one can easily guess my choice ;) 

And then the food. Finding something good to eat, for the dwindling species of vegetarians, to which I belong, is a challenge. The breakfast spread is usually the same in most hotels. I have grown up believing that bread is for the sick - and I don't intend changing my beliefs. So bread and other members of the bread family are off.  Dosa and Idli are also ruled out. The hotel wallahs usually make Egg dosa and dosa on the same tawa - so that is off. And I am someone who is keen on banning Idlis , so that is also off. That leaves me with very little choice. As I walk around, I usually see that the bowls with baked beans and tossed potatoes are seldom touched, and so, not wanting to disappoint the chef , I have them, and cornflakes with cold milk. Fresh juices that are served are seldom fresh - and if it is grape juice, it is usually just a step before it gets classified as wine.  

Lunch and dinner are problems too. For most hotels, salad means cabbage and sprouts means green gram. That's all. The side dishes are made with just 3PsO3Cs -  Panner, Potatoes, Peas, Onion , Capsicum, Carrot and Cauliflower - in four combinations - dry / wet , red / yellow - and all of them oily. The Rotis - most variants - are made with maida and hence are out of my list . Rice. Whether it is veg fried rice or veg pulav or veg biryani - it all tastes the same. The first two are paler and the last one is brownish. That's the big difference. The ingredients are the same - basmati rice that is cooked dry (!), with some herbs , slices of carrot, beans and potatoes ( to justify that 'veg' tag). While walking around figuring out what to eat, I consider myself really blessed if I see some palatable curd rice and pickle. Dessert is usually Gulab Jamun / Carrot Halwa - with ice cream - served on a plate , so I can hunt it down into a spoon. The dishes change between lunch and dinner - but the ingredients remain the same.  And so, all these are tolerable for one day. Beyond that, they becomes really unbearable. 

Phew ...I can go on and on , for , the travails continue on a repeat mode - till I get out of the hotel. Getting out ! God ! It is such a relief...Pure bliss - I should say ! I don't know if anyone else feels it this way... But for me, it sure is an escape to freedom.