Sunday, August 17, 2008

Step to one side in New Mexico

New Mexico is decidedly odd. We always felt a bit in the way there. Not that a anyone was rude or unwelcoming......we were just somehow in the way.

Our hotel was fine, but I suspect that the housekeeping staff felt that they'd get much more done, if only the guests weren't there. Our first room (yes, there was a second room) was a Garden Room. This meant that we had garden outside our ground floor room. It looked lovely. And most of the housekeeping and maintenance staff agreed with us, because they'd be there, right out the side our door, laughing, joking, drinking and smoking most of the time. There went the garden – instead, we had a curtains-drawn-to-keep-out-the-staff room.

But I have to be fair to the staff - sometimes they worked really hard. Usually it was at the beginning of the day. There's be lots of laughing and talking and clatter coming from the laundry room as folks got their housekeeping assignments and loaded up their trolleys. The housekeeping staff began their day around 6am.

We didn't need an alarm clock. The hotel laundry was immediately outside our room. If we tried to come out of our room into the hallway too early in the day, we'd find our door blocked by housekeeping trolleys, and staff.

The best time to get out of our room in the morning was around 8.30. By this time the housekeeping staff were out and about, and the hall was pretty clear. The housekeeping staff figured that this was a good time for breakfast. I had to agree with them- I also thought this was a good time for breakfast. So, if I didn't make it to the dinning room in time, I'd be in line, trying to get around the crowds of chatting and laughing housekeeping folks who like the breakfast choices available to the guests.

The hotel restaurant was different though. There we were made very welcome by Trish the waitress. Ooops. Trish, the server. In the US there aren't waiters and waitresses – everyone is a server. Anyhow, Trish seemed very pleased to see us, and we were very pleased to see her salad bar. So pleased to see us that she told us all about her problems with her 16 year old son. That was useful – it explained why she was ducking off to the side with her mobile phone, yelling into it, or crying. The manager didn't seem to mind though – she was very taken up with some men who came in from the hotel bar and seemed to know her very very well. I'm sure that one of them was responsible for the hickey on her neck.

On our second night in the restaurant, Trish updated us on the progress of her problems with her son and told us about her other lad – the older one, who was in his early 20s and no problem at all. The manager seemed to have an extra hickey or two, and different young blokes from the bar keeping her company. Trish took 10% off our dinner bill, because she liked us.

On our third night in the restaurant, Trish told us that her problem son had finally come home. The manager spent a lot of time coming and going between the restaurant and the bar. There was a woman in a business suit there as well. Trish didn't give us a bill for dinner.

On our fourth night there were new staff. The manager was gone. Trish was gone. The new staff seemed to know what they were doing, were warm and welcoming and professional. I don't know if they had son problems. I don't know if they knew any of the blokes in the bar. They charged us full price for our meals and we left a tip.

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