A Travellerspoint blog

More Unworldly Observations.....

From the simple mind of Jim.....

Ice......why is it such an ordeal to get? Ask for some and the reaction is shock and disbelief. They respond "Ice???" as if they cannot believe their ears. They reluctantly disappear into the unknown and return with a tiny bowl of 8 ice cubes. It happens at every hotel, every time, in every country. That is all you ever get at most and it is half melted by the time you get to your room. Ice machines do not exist in hotels here.

Restaurants....you have to want them - they do not want you. We have concluded that you must wait at least 15 minutes at your table before a server appears. We have witnessed HALF of the patrons get up and leave in frustration. DO NOT attempt to call a server to your table...you just killed any chance of service. They may or may not bring you what you have ordered. The meal will be served on their time table. They begrudgingly speak English only because it gets them away from your table quicker. Do not show up for lunch before noon or dinner before 8 PM. They feed the staff prior to each meal and nothing happens until they are done. They are inclined to have wine with their staff meal which isn't going to improve their customer service skills. The only consolation in the dining experience is you do not have to tip. At first I felt embarrassed by this but now I find that no tip is well deserved. Just imagine if a restaurant said "we are going to provide excellent swift service and embrace our guest" - I guarantee that place would double their revenues the first day!

Motorists.....do they real gives licenses in Europe? I think the driving schools must be dare devils courses. Intersections are a free for all which is why they probably have so many round-abouts (rotarys). And don't think for a moment a pedestrian won't step out in front of you....hesitate with the gas pedal for one second a mass of people will step out into the intersection and you must wait on them. Parking - it is basically get out of your car where ever you want. Leave it on a street corner, double park it, or just stop right in the street and leave it there. I don't know why we spend so much time look for a parking spot on the street or in a garage. No one else is. Streets if that what some of these are - are sometimes horrifying or comical. Sometimes both. We were on one road that I swear was a sidewalk and at the end of it we were going to be in someone's living room. We have had to back up 100's of yards in order to let an oncoming car pass us on others. Hairpin corners are so sharp Google Maps think we are on the same road traveling in reverse. I am amazed at how many Land Rovers, Bentley's, Rolls Royce's and yes even Lamborghini's we see. How on earth do they get anywhere and how can they possibly trust these maniac motorists to not hit them?

Hotels.....for the most part they are similar to American hotels. Funny on arrival at a hotel you just sign in. No credit card needed and they do not put a credit hold on it to make sure your credit card is good for your charges while staying..very trusting. Here Holiday Inn and Best Western are premium brands (we stayed at one which I would avoid at home). For the most part they are small but 1/2 the time we have ended up with some rooms that rival the size of luxury brands in the US. No matter what hotel King size beds do not exist. For the most part you are going to have 2 twin size beds in the room. In once case we had a queen size and a twin in our room which makes for interesting dialog of who is getting what. 80% of what is in your room will be working. Mostly the other 20% are usually minor, burnt out bulbs, loose faucets - pretty minor stuff. But in one case the room above us was using the shower and we could hear water hitting out ceiling and then water started coming our of the light fixture in our bathroom. 3 rooms later and we actually got a fabulous suite with 3 balconies on a corner. Need and iron while you here. Forget about it. There are no irons in hotels here. It often makes me wonder why I don't see more wrinkled tourists around. The hall lights are kept off and do not come on until you walk a good way in them and set off the motion detector. My mother would not been keen to this as I am sure in the event of a fire it does not help you in quick exiting as you stand there in total darkness for a few seconds and then you can get your bearings.

Posted by jim-n-mark 02:08

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