Sunday, 14 September 2008

Why ZOOM went bust...or,maybe not...

I’m not sure that I really understood the concept of a ‘no-frills’ trans-Atlantic airline….I was happy to pay for the bulkhead/emergency door seat….a cool £25-00 extra for the seat….and of course £10-00 for the privilege of making a seat-selection prior to check-in

But...ok... I ’m a big hearted person (i.e.-fat) and happy to pay for the leg room…until of course, as soon as the seat-belt sign was switched off, the chief waitress (she didn’t like being called that either) moved 2 families with babies….actual screaming crying mewling stinky pooping babies to the adjacent seats.
Naturally I asked if they had paid but was told that the decision to move them to the front was for “operational reasons’……how interesting I thought, that the airline industry uses the same phrase that nursing does to politely tell troublemakers’ to buggar off and die……
The real surprise was when they came around with the pre-lunch drinks trolley-, well, I say lunch,-….for that matter, I say drinks …..- and the choice was tea or coffee or water….or coke for £2-00 for one of those rinky-dink tins… I had water….a cupful…because the bottles of water were £2-00 as well
Fortunately, as a card-carrying South African, I had had the foresight to liberate 6 x 500mls bottles of water from the Executive Lounge...(well,I say executive...some tired,sweating cheese sandwiches and abottle of wine that never saw a vineyard).... so I didn’t dehydrate too much

Lunch was interesting…while…I say lunch…it was like something you get in a pathology exam…sketch, identify and label for 100 marks or as much antacid as you can consume

Fortunately, I had also liberated several energy bars and those little packets of cheesy-bites from the lounge as well so didn’t go too hungry

I must say though that later that evening, sitting in the rain down by the harbor-(yes, I know its supposed to be the height of summer….)I was glad that I still had an appetite…its lobster season here and so I forced myself,-twice-,to have the famous lobster club sandwich with home fries…that’s basically scampi and chips with tomato mayo for the readers from Portsmouth…truly lovely…..*sigh*

The journey down to Armpit,NS from Halifax was long and tiring, in the Canadian equivalent of a minibus taxi….I think I left my arse somewhere about 100miles away….the Mounties are out looking for it as we speak

I had booked in at the Past'its'Prime B&B….a small, boutique B&B for the older more discerning traveler….stop sniggering at the back there!!
By and large I like staying in small B&B’s when I am far away from home….there is always an illusion of caring about you….if you’re their only customer they will probably notice if you’ve died in your sleep…..the service is always a little better since they are the owners….and you get the local info…also I like the idea of helping support small business …just also like sticking it to the man

Anyway…….the taxi stopped at this beautiful rambling, wide-verandahed building overlooking a little lake…with a steep climb up a grassy knoll (geddit??) to the front door

I rang the bell with an air of weariness and the need for hot food and a cold shower…and a pleasant but vacant and cadaverous looking man welcomed me in and showed me to my room. His wife, the manager, was resting, and would-I was regally informed-, see me later

After 30minutes of searching I found the bed beneath 3 tons of assorted knick-knacks and dolls and crocheted flim-flammery

The shared bathroom-quelle horreur-was down the passage.

Oh lordy lordy.

I was told that the nearest place to get a meal-indeed the only place if I was walking-, was at the casino..about 10 minutes away…which in English meant a brisk 20min yomp .The food was good and hot and cheap and I arrived back duly fortified, where I joined the gentleman and his wife in the “Television room’.

She looked like the irriadiated love child of Kermit and Miss Piggy, perched glowering in her Victorian high backed chair,feverishly crocheting some new place setting
After a further15 minutes of moving various gee-gaws and memorabilia, I found a seat.

“Have you eaten ?”, asked the wife.
“Yes….at the casino”, I replied
“Oh that’s simply dreadful food “,she spat out, “simply dreadful!”
There was nowhere else open in downtown Armpit,NS, on a Sunday….indeed it bore a close resemblance to Bloemfontein on a wet Sunday in 1955….but without the charm and sophistication.
And since they advertised that the B&B was close to all amenities-which it wasn’t-,not really sure why she had a problem with the $10 steak meal.
I didn’t.
Unfortunately, since they couldn’t provide me with a room with an en-suite bathroom (that means a hand basin to wee in at the very least);or provide a phone in the room…or indeed a TV or tea-making facilities, I was forced to leave, and to seek sanctuary in the Bates Motel across the road.
But that’s another story for another day