Oh, no, an ice-cold reception
THE morning had been long and, due to cyclonic activity, all flights to Tokyo had been cancelled. During the inordinate amount of time it took the ground staff to arrive, the number of would-be travellers had rapidly escalated, busloads arriving by the minute.
In due course, new arrangements were made and we were shuttled off to a nearby Cairns hotel, where we were to stay for the next two days. As seasoned (and we believed), wise travellers we had observed the 7kg cabin baggage allowance and, as our destination was to be northern Japan in late autumn, we were dressed in long trousers, boots, long socks, fleecy-lined jumpers and ski coats, with similar apparel in our luggage. All less than ideal for a tropical climate. Any clothing we might have been tempted to buy to afford greater comfort would have had to be discarded prior to departure.
Having spent a further three hours waiting for a room, we were thrilled to answer a knock on our door to a waiter bearing a silver ice-cooler in which nestled a bottle of champagne. Our faith in the airline restored, we described our ordeal and he listened sympathetically. As he turned to go, we noticed an accompanying card, only to find it was addressed to a Mr and Mrs Ono. “The management would like to offer our best wishes for your future happiness,” it declared. Sadly, we offered back the bottle, but he shrugged and abruptly left. The champagne was cold and went down well.
The next morning was spent in the air-conditioned library, cancelling hotels and reorganising our trip and, after a leisurely lunch, we returned to the hotel and an irate receptionist who advised our booking was for one night only; we had outstayed our welcome and should pack immediately. It wasn’t so much the request, but the manner in which it was delivered; then she fled, to be replaced by a laidback Pacific Islander who told us to return to our room, he would bring the matter to the attention of the manager. Soon, the manager rang to apologise.
As we put down the receiver, a knock on the door heralded a maid carrying a now-familiar ice-cooler. After a couple of pre-dinner champagnes, we went down to the restaurant and a welcome dinner. Returning to our room, we were surprised to discover a card, which must have fallen to the floor earlier. In horror, we read, “To Mr and Mrs Ono. The management would like to offer …” Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: firstname.lastname@example.org. au. Columnists receive a Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Travel Bag featuring FRID blocking technology, metal mesh lining, detachable cutproof shoulder strap and lockable zippers. $115. More: 1800 331 690; strandbags.com.au.