Friday, January 9, 2009

Chinese Carryout in a Houston Super 8 Motel

Today I am participating
in a self imposed social experiment by spending eight hours in the Houston airport. As I said earlier I am at the whim of the air-mile gods whose infinite wisdom decreed that I had to fly here last night and wait ‘til 6 this evening to continue on my expedition to visit the Smiths in Oaxaca. I could have taken a bus or something into the city – but I decided to skip that expense and just tough it out.

Traveling alone is rarely a pleasant experience. Little things become more complicated. Say you’re just sitting minding your own business typing away on your laptop in the Continental lounge (which you have successfully talked your way into – no doubt with the help of your snazzy new hat) and you need to use the facilities. Well there is nobody to look after your stuff – you must shut down and re-pack your backpack and shlep your gear along with you. As much as I would like to trust my fellow man – losing all my junk isn’t worth the hazard. Even so these little episodes of minor annoyance do help punctuate your time. When tossed into an unfamiliar situation our psyches will take what they can to get through the passing of time. For example – it only takes a day or two of incarceration until one’s whole world revolves around mealtime – one’s self perception can be reduced to that of a snorting Boston terrier dancing on kitchen tiles with very little effort – Wonder Bread and Kraft cheese slices – mmmmmm.

Another batch of pastimes I am guilty of is eavesdropping, reading over folk’s shoulders and coming up with life stories for people based on their wardrobe and items that are carrying.

There are two major types of conversations that one may overhear when on the road. First you have you communications by people traveling together. These are usually short transmissions of info and questions about destinations, boarding pass checks – a tall shaggy haired 30 something in a shirt with a pattern that shouldn’t have survived 1968 and his skinny black clad straight raven haired female companion get up to head to their gate – he asks her if she still has her driver’s license. I think, no bozo, she tossed it into the trash when she came into the lounge.

But these are the kinds of things that go through a person’s mind when on the road. One checks their pockets to be sure their wallet is still there, looks at their passport, checks their boarding pass for departure times over and over and over again – I like to call this syndrome (actually I just made it up right now) Travelers Tourettes. You’ve seen it – you’ve done it – looked inside your purse or backpack for an item you know is there and then check for it again a half an hour later or sooner.

The second type of conversation I have noticed is the rehearsed story. This is the pat mini autobiography shared with complete strangers. These can veer in a couple directions – you’ve got your one-up-manship usually between a couple “marketing” types.

Okay – a little aside here - when did salespeople become marketers? Is it an image thing? Who do you think you’re fooling - you’re peddlers – you’re adding no value to your product you’re simply selling the goods – are you ashamed of this fact? Let me know.

So one can overhear these “marketers” bragging about where they’ve been, what they’ve done, who they met and all the while the guy that is being spoken to (and it usually is a couple males participating in this metaphorical head butting) does his best to cut down the achievement of the first. “Oh, you were selling data systems to the Buddhist monks in Bangkok and they taught you how to kick box? Well of course you’ve not really seen Thailand ‘til you get out of the city.”

Well, I see I am getting to the end of the page here and I’ve managed to kill a little time. Guess I should go out and dig up something to eat on the concourse.
Next installment (hopefully) – arrival in Oaxaca.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Visit to the 5star hotels in Hyderabad might not be all that pleasant anymore with stringent and high end security measures making way in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks. The business and budget hotels in Hyderabad are also much in demand owing to the massive growth and development in the city. In the last couple of years Hyderabad has seen a considerable increase in the number of business travelers. But as far as the guests to the 5stars are concerned, they are facing difficulties owing to the beefed up security measures. Visitors are going through security measures right till the entry of the hotels to the extent of having sniffer dogs sneaking into their cars after entry inside the hotel gates. The security measures have in some way or other come in the way of the affable and warm hospitality that the guests experienced prior to the attacks. The hotel owners maintain that however much security is hiked up hotels would always remain vulnerable to attacks.