It was my room in the Renuka Hotel in Jaisalmer. The room cost me about $4 a night. Not a lot of money, but not the kind of room you want to write home about. I would have opted for a much better room, but the place was full of Lonely Planet backpacker types, who were wonderful company, and had gotten the better rooms before I got there. I can’t really say that I like standing in line to use the squat toilet down the hall, but I can say that all the great people who stayed at the Renuka made it significantly more tolerable.
It’s the courtyard of the hotel where I stayed in Agra. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? The rooms weren’t that good, but certainly significantly better than the ones I had in Delhi. Again, no heat. But there was hot water whenever I wanted. Plus, the weather wasn’t quite as cold. It seems that heat in hotel rooms within this region of India only happens at a certain point on the luxury scale and I hadn’t quite gotten to that level. But I’m becoming more and more cognizant of it.
Pudong looks different in the daytime than it does at night. That’s a good thing. The contrasts are nice to appreciate. I think my favorite view is the night view from the Hyatt Hotel bar. It’s really unique. But I like the day view as well.
Pudong is a section of Shanghai. It’s full of skyscrapers and Big Money. It’s the financial district of Shanghai is only a little over 20 years old. That’s just a toddler in city years. City years are kinda like dog years only longer. Pudong has really great lights at night. I went up to the 32nd floor of the Hyatt Hotel and had a beer and took some pictures. If Nanjing Road isn’t enough of a reason to go to Shanghai, the elevated night view of the city is.
This is a picture of the Central Hostel. It’s located right across the street from the train station. The cost to stay there was a little less than $9 a night. It was O.K. Being across the street from the train station I expected it to be a little seedy and it was. But, the physical facilities were good, the amenities were so-so and the location was pretty good. The hostel only occupied one floor of the building. The rest of the floors were part of the Central Hotel, an actual hotel. One of the best things about it was the 24-hour McDonald’s around the corner. I could get a cup of non-instant coffee no matter how early I got up.
Who’s that handsome guy in front of the Raffles Hotel in Beijing? Is he staying there? If you have to ask that then you don’t know me very well. I can’t think of anything that would induce me to pay $600 a night for a hotel room.
There is a very famous hotel in Singapore called the Raffles Hotel. In it, there is a bar called the Long Bar and this bar is the place where a cocktail called the Singapore Sling was allegedly created by a bartender. This is all legend or hearsay or so I’ve read. What I can testify is true is that there is a Raffles Hotel and it does have a bar named the Long Bar and it does serve a drink called the Singapore Sling. What I can’t testify to is what the drink tastes like. I’m not much on cocktails, being a beer drinker and all. I’ve never had a Singapore Sling. Especially not at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel where the drink costs a little over 20 American dollars. I hear you get free peanuts, but even that wasn’t enough to begin to start to tempt me…
Eventually, I got a really nice hotel room, much better than the Hotel Experience From Hell. It took me a day to find it. It cost less and and had a lot more amenities and a much better location. It cost less, too. Plus, the people treated me much more courteously. I felt really justified when I found it.
It was the Hotel Experience From Hell. I checked in. The owner wanted me to pay. I handed him dollars for three nights in a private room. He said no to dollars. I asked where can I get change. He said down the street. For the next couple of hours I wandered around Chiang Mai looking for an open bank or money exchanger. There were none to be had as it was late Sunday evening. I wondered why the owner didn’t know that. It cost me $10 to get the local currency to pay him out of an ATM – what I was trying to avoid. I went back to the hotel and told him about my difficulties and his wife laughed and laughed about it. I laughed right back and told her I thought her momma wore cowboy boots and worked in a Boy’s Town Donkey Show in Tijuana in my most proper English. I think the owner knew enough of my native tongue to know that I had insulted her in front of a dozen or so people. We had a few words about the quality of his establishment and the operational policies of the management team (him) and he told me that if I stayed he would make my life "very unhappy" so I paid for a night (just in case) and went out and found a place that was not so desirable and left the Hotel Experience From Hell. No, I didn’t ask for my money back. I was just glad to be out of the place without the psychotic owners doing something really, really weird.
In the 1990′s Ethel and I did a little trip to Athens to see all of the cool things that are in Athens. While there, I booked a hotel suite in the center of Athens that had a really great balcony with an incredible view of the Acropolis, especially at night. That is the Acropolis in the background. Why is this picture so significant to me? It was because of the patio. In the picture you only see the side of the patio. The front is around the corner. It had a really nice sitting area. But the best thing was the view. Over my right shoulder is the Parthenon. At night they light that place up and it becomes a very special optical phenomenon. It is, without a doubt, the best view I have ever had from a hotel balcony. I remember sitting on that terrace, sipping some ouzo and wondering about 2,500 years of history.