Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Moving on

March 23rd, 2011

Final foray into Cairns before the push south. And a chance for a final feed with fellow hosteller Paul. A merchant seaman by trade. He’d spent a few years in London. Seen more of Europe than I’d managed. Great raconteur. Rasping voice.

Venturing along the seafront Esplanade, we’d discount vouchers for a seafood buffet at a local hotel. Part of a well-known mid-range international chain. Greeted by a stern Swiss maitre d’. Authoritarian. Behind her a collection of bland laminated signs. Informing "guests" of the dire consequences of being caught smuggling food out of the dining room. And other misdemeanours.

I’d asked if she was from the German or French part. German she rapped. I’d guessed as much.

Escorted to our table on the veranda, I’d made the mistake of returning to the bar to order drinks. Paul insistent he’d pay for dinner. Intercepted by a kindly foot soldier. I should return to my allocated seat. She’d then come and take my order. Firm about this. Best to comply. Obedient.

The buffet fare was surprisingly good. Remarkable. No supervision. No attempt at portion control. Their missed opportunity. Our delight. Seconds irresistible. Contemplating filling pockets with bread rolls. Just for the fun of it. Should have brought the wooden horse.

Bemused by their notions of customer service, I’d sought to order more drinks. Only to be told I’d need to get them from the bar. The woman who’d earlier ushered me back to my seat had gone home. Left feeling I should have apologised for my ignorance. Being plain rude.

Despite the draconian service, it’d been a thoroughly enjoyable final finale. Great conversation. And curiosity as to just what the staff would do next. Cleared tables. Stacked chairs. Lights out. Went home. Leaving us and a few other poor souls on the veranda. Time to move on. For both of us.


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