"All that was missing was Manuel"
After an episode worthy of another lengthy tirade at the Regional Transport Office in Ooty, I gave up all hope of securing an extension for my license and panic-booked a hotel in Mysore for the following night. The reviews were lavish, the price: agreeable. I ordered a taxi at reception and set about the almost 3 hour journey down the 36 hair-pin bends.
Arriving at the hotel, I stumbled up the stairs in the 36 degree heat and handed my passport to reception.
- Hello Sir.
- Welcome to MB International, do you have your passport?
- I just handed it to you
- Very good Sir.
- Can I please get a room with good wifi since i have to work during the afternoon and evening?
- Oh Yes Sir. By the way Sir, this is our luxury branch hotel, so you are staying in the best quality one.
- Nice. I haven’t been to Mysore in many years, I used to stay at the Ritz down the street but its been torn down.
- No sir, Hotel is there.
- No, it’s been torn down. I drove past it earlier.
- No Sir, this is MB International, we are having one more branch but it is not luxury.
- Yes, but i’m talking about the RITZ hotel that used to be down the road, about 10 years ago.
- No Sir. There is bus stand and chai shop this side.
I was then followed to my room by a bell boy who showed me how the AC and fan worked, and promptly set off downstairs. First things first, I tried to connect to the internet to see if I could stay here or not. The wifi signal showed up for 2 seconds, then disappeared, then came back again. I went down to reception again and the “technician” followed me upstairs. He suggested I change room (because obviously they had given me the room furthest away from any routers on the entire floor). So I switched next door, he then spent 10 minutes fixing the signal and making sure my computer was connected. It worked, kinda. He then left the room promising to come back in 10 minutes to “Ensure duplicate network is established and will be fully functional for longer than ten minute interval”.
Ten minutes passed. A knock on the door. I went to open it and the entire door panel fell off. One of those doors with a card reader on it. There stood the technician with 2 staff, holding the key card to my new room. As soon as he saw the door handle hanging by a thread 2 staff pulled out screwdrivers and went to work. After a few minutes the door handle was back on securely but of course the card-reader didn’t work. So now they had to send downstairs for a masterkey to be able to use to get in and out of my room. The technician finally managed to get the network running smoothly and left.
Two hours later whilst I was sitting in bed working the door swung wide open and a little hobbit-like man walked in.
- What the hell? This room is occupied!
- Woh Sir, Sorry Sir, Yes Sir, Everything good Sir? Need room cleaning?
- No I just checked in 4 hours ago
- Woh Yes Sir everything ok with room sir, yes sir, top quality sir, no problem sir. I am looking sir fixing sir everything tip top.
To which he turned down the hall screaming in Kannada and interjecting the word “Occupied, occupied” every three words.
01.40 am. Trying my best to fall asleep. I hear a key inserted in the door, and rush over to witness a bell-boy with a huge suitcase pushing into my room with an Indian guest behind him.
- What the fuck dude? 322 is OCCUPIED !!!!! Come on, I was sleeping.
- Woh Sir. Very Sorry Sir, Yes Sir Ok Sir…
Followed by more screaming in the hallways.... “Occupied!!!”.
I called reception and rather firmly said “Now 2 times today already people coming into my room, you tell everybody in bloody hotel number 322 is OCCUPIED, and NO PHONE CALLS in the morning. I want to sleep”
- Yes Sir, Sorry Sir. Wokay Sir.
I finally managed to sleep. The morning came with new challenges, turning on my laptop to catch up on some BBC reading before facing the world and of course the internet was gone. The signal completely disappeared. I called reception and the lady said “Sir sending technician”. I waited almost 30 minutes before deciding to go to the restaurant and buy a coke. “No coke sir, no soft drinks”.
The technician was of course sitting in reception WITH the receptionist talking and showing her clips on his phone (nice someones internet is working). She turned to me and said “Oh you are extending your stay?”, “No, I already booked for 2 nights”. “Yes Sir, thank you sir”. Mr Tech followed me up to my room sweating profusely at the thought of a pain-in-the-ass white guy spoiling his youtube surfing, only to notice that the house-keeping had turned the lights off in the hallway. “Ah Sir.. one minute, one minute”…….. He ran to a big cupboard door, opened it wide, hit a switch, the lights came on, and in some bizarre fashion that only makes sense in India…. so did the wifi.
They were both on the same switch. Go figure…..
The Bitter Man
A backpacker by default since birth, have scanned almost 100 countries in the search for perfection and imperfection in equal measure.