Sunday, March 11, 2007

Shady Dealings

I spent today (Sunday) lounging by the pool on the rooftop of my hotel. I’m trying to get as much lounging practice in as I can before my trip to Sri Lanka. That and I need to tan my pasty white American skin.

Christen and I have one night to kill between Sri Lanka and Singapore. We’re staying in a beach resort south of Chennai. Very posh. It better be for the prices we’re paying. It’s spendy by American standards.

Paying for the room turned out more difficult than necessary. I booked the room over the phone, since the website wasn’t working. The lady on the phone told me I had to go to the 2nd floor of an office in Chennai to pay for it. Why I couldn’t pay over the phone I don’t know.

So, Saturday morning, before going to work (total BS) I gave my taxi driver the address I was given and we were off. Turns out, this city is so confusing even my cab driver couldn’t find the place. It took the two of us, collaborating in very broken English before we could even find something that looked like the right building. It had some closed clothing store on the first floor. No obvious way up to the second floor immediately presented itself.

My taxi driver kept motioning me to go around the side of the building and into a darkened doorway. I couldn’t help feeling like Loraine Bracco in Goodfellas when Robert DeNiro is telling her he has some dresses for her “…just around the corner. Go ahead. Through that doorway. It’s ok, go ahead, right through there.” I have never seen a more dilapidated staircase. Broken marble, piles of trash and construction materials, the building looked abandoned. I just couldn’t picture giving my credit card info to someone in this building. I almost turned around and left but figured I might as well at least go up to the second floor. Up I go and I’m greeted not by an enclave of squatting feral children, but by the standard security guard seen in front of most offices. I ask for my contact and he directs me through a set of glass doors into an ordinary office. I went from “condemned building” to “everyday office” disorientingly quickly. Everything else went smoothly (I even got a receipt), although I’m still confused as to why I had to go to this strange office building to pay for my hotel room.

Did you know the mom from Six Feet Under shows up at the end of Scent of a Woman? And why does the HBO here have commercials? What kind of crap is that?

By the way, thanks to everyone for the comments, they make my day.

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