Thursday, December 04, 2008

You say non! We say oui!

I'm wondering if a blog is really just a vent for complaining because while I'm travelling around France and generally enjoying myself as if I'm on some kind of holiday, instead of this gruesome workload that involves eating in restaurants and staying in hotels and so on, I'm not really brimming over with the milk of human kindness. I'm kinda irked by small things, although sometimes elated by even smaller stuff, but really really annoyed beyond all reason by tiny, tiny, miniscule microcosmic things that even an electron microscope would have difficulty identifying.

There are big events happening in the world - massacres, famines, economic downturns - which I'm temporarily divorced from as I pootle about seeking this and that. So probably a blog is the best place to park all this flotsam and jetsum of Western frippery.

People who work in hotels should not, under any circumstances, be snooty. They should only ever be welcoming. They should only ever be helpful. They should never prey upon innocent guests, never ever treat them like shit, and if in doubt check the manual of Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons who became the world's biggest and most successful because their customer service is second to none. If you're behind the desk of a five star superlodge, or a downtown flophouse chain, just try to remember that you're there to help. Not to be so fucking awkward that you're about to order another £30 taxi for this idiot's five minute journey to the local village, or to stare blankly at a normal request as if it's a demand from Planet Zuton. ("Newspapers? Noooooooo, we're a hotel")

Stop it with the frozen food. I can go to Iceland and get frozen food. I do not want frozen grapes with my cheese and I especially do not want frozen Brie de Meaux with my main course veal and mushrooms which are otherwise exemplary. Ferran Adria and Heston Blumenthal - do you know what you've done? You've frightened other chefs into this.

Is it possible to have human beings back as cabin staff please? And maybe more than a bag of nuts? Or seeds or whatever it was.

And Britney Spears. Please. Go away.

I have been overlwhelmed with kindness and help and generosity by 'ordinary' French people from Paris to Dijon to Toulouse to Bordeaux to Paris, people who had absolutely no reason to help, who could have gone about their daily business and ignored me, but didn't. People who interrupted their jobs, recognised that I was passing through, and did the decent thing. I thank you Mrs Shop Woman, Ms SNCF desk attendant, Mr Waiter, Mr Barman, Mrs Van Driver, Mr Gendarme, Mrs Bus Driver, you are the reason we don't just like France, you're the reason we love it.

Apart from the food and the vin and the weather and the Citroen DS. And possibly the Eiffel Tower - just count yourselves lucky it wasn't called Le Tour Bönickhausen. You know what I mean.



Anonymous said...

Reminds me of my days on the poop deck with Binky when we used to cruise

Nationwide said...

Poop deck? Binky?
Have we met? At the captain's table?