What a surprise awaited my daughter and me vacationing in the States and Europe...
I thought, why not to start our leisure in Hong Kong. My friend from
Singapore Airlines gave me one of the "top"
addresses there to show me a bit of Hong Kong in& one day and the
tour guide obviously got instructions from his agency to just drop
us at the Victoria Peak - and there he taught me a kind of a
lesson: 'You just go straight there, have a look and you are back in
half an hour, ok?'
In Hong Kong - with or without guide?
Ohhhh Kayyyyyyy - I got it! PLEEEEASE in any case,
if ever one of my guides read these lines, just IGNORE that one,
Sam and Theresa, nevertheless!
Thank you for trying...
Anyhow, we didn't make it in 30 minutes as we not only enjoyed the dazzling panorama of Hong Kong
Island but also - to the delight of my daughter - ended up in, guess
what!: Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Odditorium...
At least, dear Agnes, I will forgive you as the service of Singapore Airlines was great and incomparable...
Indeed, it is very relaxing for once a while just being the client and to enjoy the service of not
only ground handling operators in other countries, but also nice and
decent hotels far away from Myanmar - that's what I thought!
In early June we arrived in San Francisco and we checked into a hotel at Union Square,
described by quikbook.com as "Located near Union Square,... complimentary shuttle service is also provided to Union Square
never offered to us...)
, Moscone Convention Center and Civic Center each weekday morning, and a manager's wine reception every
evening (??? wouldn't we have just loved it???)
The Oak Room Grill is also available - last renovation - 98."
My daughter - as usual - checked immediately the bathroom and came grinning back with the remark that
even in a one-star hotel in Myanmar she hadn't seen a bathroom in
such a state; it must have been undergone renovation 50 years ago -
but alas, we were on vacation and not spending the whole day in a bathroom!
While I was taking my shower my daughter was very excited to watch some
U.S. TV (for the first time in her life) - so there
was some disappointment to find out that the TV just showed lots of
Apart from the very friendly staff at the reception, we experienced an extremely unfriendly service at
breakfast, a poor house-keeping - leaving the dust in the room
instead in the bin - and the jet lag we suffered could not been overcome,
as at night we heard a fire alarm; but we were not informed, and only
by peeping out we saw firemen walking hastily up the stairs
- so we decided to just throw anything on and then take our handbags
and leave the room, taking the stairs down to where we saw a crowd of
sleepy travelers discussing what was going on... indeed nothing, and
as far as I try to remember until today, there also was no manager
in sight...I think we decided to go back to our rooms!
Monks at Universal Studios
Well, San Francisco was a great city, but we had difficulties to get internet
access... considering how many inquiries we get from the States and
Europe and HOW important internet access is - well, well, I TOTALLY
agree with you all, but be assured it's no big difference being a
traveller in Myanmar or in USA or Europe.
Talking about internet, we tried it again in Las Vegas. Ok, ok, we know gambling and shows are
the main attractions, and it was fine to write mails to the office
with the sound of the one-armed bandits in the back.
To get a quieter place we tried an internet place at the strip: I just finished one mail, when
the owner came and said, that I have only 5 more minutes time left; then the
computer has to be shut down because of electricity problems. Not
mentioning that, as here in Myanmar we have been living half of our life with a generator, it
was a total scream for us to experience that in Las Vegas!.
But, in Los Angeles everything should be ok, as, hm... what did I read once?...
"L.A. is where the American Dream is manufactured..."
Well, this time we were sure that we will get what we paid
for and dreamed of! Just because the hotel at the Hollywood
Boulevard was equipped with everything a 3 - 4-star hotel
needs to have... After having stepped on the Walk of
Fame - and we even were rewarded with a
glimpse at some of the African American award winners (still not
sure whether we saw the stars or their body guards (?) -
anyway, what a thrill for the girls! - we went back to the
hotel and wanted to start writing our e-mails.
Stars (?) and bodygard at June 2002 awards
With a smile the receptionist told us that at 9 p.m. the business center is closed.
But why don't we go 2 more blocks and try it there (I got a similar
answer at another LA hotel near the airport a month later....)? But
this time we were quite demanding, so we got a laptop for rent (the
receptionist just remembered that we could do that!), which was very fine with us.
The two sisters Khin Sabea and Yolanda
My stepdaughter set all up and then realized that there was no internet access at all and after an hour she was
asked to come down to the lobby so they can fix it.
Well, they never could, because they just remembered that the antenna was at the
wrong side of the roof respectively was not suitable for the room where we stayed.
Next morning the assistant manager was so charming to offer us a suite as a peace
offer for all the inconveniences we had gone through. "No, no,
no I don't wanna suite, I wanna send my mails... "; but at the
end I gave in, and it took the staff almost a day to bring all our
luggage to the suite. There we tried our luck again, and... we
found out, that the antenna didn't want to play the game at the
suite too...which was also the wrong direction! No problem, I
told myself, tomorrow I'll use the business center - opening time: 8 a.m.
The other day I slipped my credit card into the machine, and oh
wonder, I was so amazed by the technic: It actually debited my
credit card - but the internet access was out of order. Thanks God,
that in this hotel the staff serving breakfast at the restaurant was
extremely professional and helping us to overcome our
frustration just by giving us the impression of Switzerland in olden days.
Steve Wyrick trying to be Copperfield!
And how lucky could we consider ourselves to have friends and that we had the chance to
use their computers! We tried so hard to use the service in the
different hotels from 2 up to 5 stars - we tried it all, but it
seemed the technic was against us!
Arriving in New York, we just promised ourselves that we won't even ask, neither at the hotel nor
somewhere else. The words "internet" and "e-mail" were t a b u.
When I booked the hotel in New York, I did the same what so many travellers are doing here in
Myanmar: They want to see the famous Strand Hotel; so here I am in
New York, going to stay a couple of nights at the Waldorf Astoria! Arriving at the main entrance with our yellow cab, the bell
boy told the taxi driver NOT to stop there, but to take the back
door - I didn't know that New Yorker bell boys could judge through a
taxi window what kind of clients sit inside the car...
But alas, the "back entrance" didn't want us neither and I checked my daughter
whether she maybe did some faces behind my back to them, but no,
I should have known her better, she never did that before, so why now?
Only after I insisted to the taxi driver, he dared to stop again in
front of the main entrance. When getting out I asked the bell boy if
we should check in to the Plaza as it seems they did not wanted more
hotel guests... But he refused telling us that that would be the competition :)
At the reception we were greeted very warmly and finally checked into our room. The receptionist told
us that we would looove the room. We did it for 10 minutes till we
heard someone coughing. We couldn't find anyone in the closets;
nevertheless we found out it was our neighbor - oh my, I rushed to
see my travel documents, probably I had booked the servant room which
they also sold for much less money!
Just to be sure before complaining - I checked, but no, no, NO servant room, a real,
real Waldorf Astoria room. Ok, now I COULD dare to complain and we
were immediately transferred to another room - the favorite
room of the lovely receptionist, who was really a jewel.
But probably she only had seen the room and never the bathroom, as this
place must have had received the final touch ages ago... this time even I was
a bit puzzled, because I do know how much our American clients care about bathrooms!
Just to make it short, also the Waldorf Astoria had
Bathroom basin at the Waldorf Astoria
At least the security door system was SECURE.
We never managed to use our electronic key at night - the door was
just locked, as LOCKED as could be, and we had to phone house keeping and
to wait 15 minutes until we could finally enter our room.
BUT all in all, our vacation was great, we enjoyed it a lot, laughed a lot and finally
we got really homesick to the country where we always got such a
good service with a sincere smile and never ending patience...
Mingalabar from Myanmar!