December 19, 2013

Pecking Away the Glam Part II: Hotel Life

Honey, we're home!
On my 3rd tour with Hens on Ice (who's counting?), hotel rooms are my home for the majority of the year. Most hotels strive to make our stay as comfortable as possible, giving us as much of a homey feeling away from home as possible. While hotels are a treat for vacations, it's a different feeling when they are my new, temporary home each week. While there are some perks, like no yard work and no pets and grandparents to feed, some hotel quirks have gotten under my feathers. Before I hen flap hotel staff, I'll just share some less glamorous moments of hotel life here.

  • Tear-open shampoo packets. With wet hands, the mini shampoo bottles can be hard enough to open for the first time. But I don't know whose idea it was to put hotel shampoo in a flimsy, plastic-coated packet with a tiny notch on the side. While uncommon, the fact that they still exist is baffling. But those frustration packs showed up in our recent 3-star hotel in Turin, Italy. It seemed simple enough to tear open a pouch of shampoo, but add running water and nudity to the equation, and I was gnawing and pecking at the slippery pouch for five minutes, clucking colorful language between breaths and pecks. Once the resistance gave, the pouch tore open, flying into the air, shampoo everywhere except in my feathers. That turned into a long shower.

    Keep out!
  • "Do not disturb" signs. While I think the door sign's meaning is pretty straight forward, it's apparently open to interpretation in some European hotels. To me, it tells the maids, "don't come in my room!" If that's not the purpose and maids will still come in, why even have the signs? My room has been cleaned a few times with that sign up, which is bad enough since my Zayn doll and pillow pet were napping. But even worse is when the maid barged into the room at 8 a.m. (sign on the door), and to her surprise, people were in the room sleeping. The "do not disturb" sign literally means don't disturb me. You just disturbed me. Scram! This is my temporary home. Imagine if strangers had keys to strangers' homes and could just barge in after stepping over the "no trespassing" sign. That's a crime. Operator, I need the local number for the police.

    This is no time to party
  • Toddlers in the hallway. Baby chicks are often noisy and out of control. But mother hen and father goose have at least some control over any situation with even the most unruly cluckin' chick. So I am always confused and pissed when I am awoken in the middle of the night to screaming clucks and hoofing from a chickadee running up and down the hallway, while hen and rooster leave their door open, hoping chickadee will flutter back eventually. This is a hotel, not a free range chicken farm or playground. Get that clucking chick to bed! I then also wonder why a toddler is staying up later than me. 

  • Temperature control. Every hotel room is a little different, and it's always an adventure to assess where everything is and how 250 pounds of luggage will fit in the room. Once I put my rolling life into the corners of the room, there's a little game called "find the thermostat and figure it out." Sometimes a window is left open in winter; sometimes it feels like air hasn't flowed through the room in six months, so time is of the essence in finding that temperature control. In the best rooms, there is a small, digital unit where I set the temperature and it's done. But most of the time, it's not quite that easy. That unit can be anywhere from the closet to the window. Sometimes the digital screen is blank. Sometimes the thermostat is buttons on a bedside drawer. Sometimes there is a Shabbat button. Sometimes there is an unmarked nob on the side of a wall unit. Sometimes there is a remote control with arrows and a blank screen. Sometimes there is a number range of 1 to 6. Sometimes the heater makes a thudding sound every 30 seconds. Sometimes temperature control is opening the window or door to the hallway. And sometimes the heater is an extra blanket or blowing the hair dryer all over your body.

Good luck.

  • The Internet. As varying as the rooms are themselves, both the speed and log-in process for using the World Wide Web are true rolls of the dice at each hotel. Speeds range from dial-up to unlimited porn downloading. Most weeks fall in between the spectrum, and it can still change by the minute. With our group of 90 on similar schedules, bogging down the poor Eastern European routers, that fast YouTube load or porn download can halt at a whim, leaving us with only half a Miranda Sings video. Then, I can barely send an e-mail and my Facebook is a white page. Logging on varies from simply connecting (yay!) to getting a new 37-digit code from the front desk every 24 hours (#firstworldproblems). Little rotating circles to show that a webpage is loading are burned into my retinas. But no toils with the Internet can shut down The Cackling Hen! I may have pulled out half my feathers and lost touch with my friends and family, but this article is finally being shared. It's only been a month in the works, so you are welcome. 

I love technology

  • PS - Sorry, mom. I am alive and well.

Keep reading! Did you read Pecking Away the Glam Part I?

1 comment: