Take a small town in southern Alabama, and a young lady, just slightly out of step. Add gnarly family trees, entrenched traditions, and everyone living with skeletons in their closets - welcome to Gallagher. There one will find an extraordinary cast of insane characters. And, it could only happen in the South.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Is Anyone Home?
When you travel on business you stay in an array of establishments. Obviously, the goal is to find close accommodations, reasonably priced, safe, clean, etc. If it is a conference or symposium, then you usually stay where ever the conference is held. However, most of the time I am traveling alone so I am not staying in some grand hotel, but that is fine with me. As long as the property is safe and clean, I'm fairly easy to satisfy.
There are several things I have learned. One, interestingly enough, is the larger the hotel, the more likely they are to remember your name, which I found a little erie at first. With your generic Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites, Days Inn, etc. - you are just one more disposable road warrior.(Except for Motel 6, they'll leave the light on for you.) Most are polite and (usually) accommodating but I am just another body coming through the door.
Every once in a while you get put in a grand hotel, like one I was in San Francisco. Or, the Hyatt in San Diego (on the water). Trust me, one notices a difference between one of those and a Holiday Inn Express (but was I smarter?). So this is how the rich folks live.
Then there was my most recent experience. The property was represented as a large luxury resort convention hotel. I didn't select the hotel, it was what was recommended and not being familiar with the area and traveling by myself, it was close by, so it met my needs.
When I drove up, I could tell, perhaps something was a little different. Now I always deal with my own bags, but as I parked my car out front and got out to go in and register, there was no one, as in no one in sight. And, this was a large convention hotel.
So, I got my luggage, left the car, and headed for the lobby. I noticed there were no brass luggage carts - not that I needed them. The lady at the desk was most helpful. I asked her about parking. She explained they had self parking, handed me a hand written note to go on the dash of my car, and directed me to drive around the side of the hotel, through the broken gate, and park in the lot. OK, sounded easy enough. Since there were only ten cars in the huge lot, finding a prime spot was not hard.
The rooms were large but dark with dark furniture. The entire time I was there, it was easy for them to know my name, with over three hundred rooms, there were maybe four guests. And, heck I thought having a theater to myself was a luxury, I could have had my own ballroom!
Long story short, the hotel reminded me of an old European hotel from the late 1970's - without the fresh croissants and butter. The only problem being, I wasn't in Europe and this was not 1979 .