I shall begin on a positive note and then, going backward, will end on a negative note which was the beginning of yesterday.
I am not extremely comfortably situated in my hotel. My room is perfect, on the second floor so stairs might be a possibility. The room has a microwave , a sink and a stove so that I can eat in. Glasses, cutlery and all of that stuff. The bed Is utter heaven with sheets that have a huge thread count and several pillows. There is a bath tub which is essential as I am addicted to bubble baths. There are mirrors, good lighting and ample closet space. The staff is helpful and friendly and cheerful. I like the manager Jack and he likes me. Roberta is the concierge and we are bosom buddies. When I arrived she smiled and said.
She: I said to Jack (the manager), doesn’t Alexis arrive sometime in April.
Me: What did he say?
She: He said” “She arrives tomorrow!”
I have stayed here before, obviously. Roberta called telling me that my charger was downstairs and she had some ‘prizes’.
Me: Roberta, thank you! I will come down and get everything. I just had a bath and this place feels like home but I had better put some clothes on before I come down to the lobby.
She: That would be a good idea Alexis
Roberta and I laugh and joke around. We were talking about some of the funny things that people say and do. People walk into the small lobby and apparently ask the following question.
They: Is this a hotel?
Roberta: Yes, constantly.
Me: You should say: No, its a bordello.
Roberta: Alexis, you make me laugh!
Me: You could say that it is an equal opportunity bordello. It is possible to rent a man or a woman. But not both at the same time. Roberta, if you want I can give you a cheat sheet of commonly asked questions and novel answers.
Roberta: Thank anyway Alexis. I would loose my job.
Me: I was a lawyer! I could defend you.
Roberta: Thanks anyway Alexis.
Me: In the words of Rodney Dangerfield. I don’t get no respect.
The hotel is small and at night it is super quiet. There is a breakfast buffet of yummy food that is even good for you. So happiness prevails. The hotel is in a great neighbourhood with the symphony and the opera house right at hand. There is a cleaner up the block. A convenience store around the corner sells EVERYTHING. IT sells toothpaste, yummy frozen food to be warmed in the microwave and booze. A bottle of wine here costs $13.98 – the same in a Vancouver booze store costs about $48.00. There is a magnificent donut store on the corner. Johnny’s has the best in the whole world. Who could not be happy in a place like this?
Then the stores that abut these streets are fascinating. Roberta told me about a glasses place and I stopped in. The frames are only $98.00 and there is such variety. I picked out two pair – one black pair to replace the ones that got lost in London and a white pair to match my hair. There is also a retro spectacle place that you will hear about In two or three days. There are restaurants of every size, shape and colour. I went to Chez Maman yesterday and what a find it was. There were so many things on the menu that I was dying to have including French Onion soup which is one of my favourites. But I settled on a Chez Maman burger which I could order rare. Not in Canada where they are trying to save you from yourself. There was inexpensive fine quality wines and there were such good vibes and energy. The waiters looked like they were having fun and cooperated with one another which improved service for the customers. I told all (that would listen) that I was returning to this city and hopefully come to this neighbourhood to live and I got hugs and Welcome Homes!
Here is the negativity and it is massive. I hired an expensive driver to pick me up in Emeryville and transport me to my hotel. I was given instructions verbally that were incorrect and he was nowhere to be found. It was not his fault, it was the travel agent’s fault. In the confusion that ensued my back pack with my passports etc. was left at the Amtrak Emeryville station. Calling Amtrak proved almost impossible with the automated system but I finally reached a helpful person and he got me the number of the station. I called and the backpack is there. BUT I have to go to the station to pick it up and there is no direct route and it will take an entire day to do it. So I will waste an entire day. It is understandable that I have to go in person to pick it up because of the sensitivity of the materials. I am not mad at Amtrak, nor the driver. I am angry at the travel agent – no use confronting her as there is nothing she can probably do. But I have learned from this experience. I will not use a travel agent ever again and will arrange all of my own travel plans. A better Idea because, anyway, the travel agent lives in Vancouver and I do not live there anymore. It looks like I am going to be visiting there but I will not live there. I am playing hard to get. Let the Mountain come to Mohammed. He is. But then turn about is fair play. I can be adaptable, believe that or not.
Lots to report but super busy. I did get the power cord for my computer from the Apple Store. There is a new one on Union Square. I LOVE it and they were most helpful and there was a bag piper playing on Union Square. I put him on Instagram. I also put two hilarious posts featuring my encounters over breakfast yesterday morning. I am laughing so hard you can hardly understand me.