The Other Side of Tourism – Pt 15


No money to buy breakfast, but I had peace of mind, and besides, I still had my security deposit, I could change that up and have breakfast. I had time. It was 6.45 and my driver was not due until 7.50. I decided to check out. I needed my US$100 returned. I approached the desk but someone else had just started checking out before me, so I had to wait. It took about twenty minutes before I finally got attended to.

The man put on the computer to work out the bill.

” ‘ave you paid for all your phone calls? There is a JA$53 charge outstanding.”

(I had worked it out to be JA$94 but I wasn’t going to say anything).

“I understood that the phone calls would be taken out of the deposit”

“Oh, so you ‘ave a deposit here?”

“Yes, US$100! and I need it now so I can buy my breakfast and check out. It wasn’t even recorded that I had left a deposit and I didn’t even have a receipt to prove that I had paid it. My US$100 was left to the integrity of management and the honesty of its staff.

He obviously found my predicament amusing, and started smiling..

” Well, we ‘ave a problem here you know, you ‘ave fe wait until de girl come wid de key, an’ she don’t come until 7.00″

[I was wishing I could wipe that grin off his face with the back of my hand]

“With what key?”

“The key fe de safe”

“Look, my transportation will be here soon, I want my money now.. they were quick enough to take it, now I want it back.” Rage had matured because of the culmination of incidents that had transpired.

“Go ‘ave some breakfast mon, and by de time yu finish de girl should be here” he interrupted undisturbed by my delirium.

“I don’t have any money..!” I hissed acrimoniously. “You have my money in the safe”.

“Well, mi cyan’t give it to you because mi don’ ‘ave de key, you will ‘ave to wait until one of de girls come..”

“But it is 7.00 now and they are not here.”

I started rummaging in my bag to see if any money had been discarded somewhere and found US$5. Well at least I could get some breakfast.

“See de Good Lord shine him light pon yu, go get some breakfast” he entreated.

I went into the restaurant which was meant to be open at 7.00 a.m. It had just past 7 o’clock and the ladies were putting out the napkins, knives and forks and putting glasses of ice water on the table. What is this? I thought, all this should have been done already.

A lady approached me and I told her I was checking out of the hotel in 30 minutes. It was now 7.15 and I wondered if she could bring me the ‘special’ whatever it was, as quickly as possible.

“Yes” she said, “The special is Corned beef hash with green bananas”. [Look I don’t care what it is, just go and get it, you fool!] “Yes, yes, now quickly, pleease!”

She went over to another table and finished putting down the remaining knives and forks that she had in her hand, and straightening the napkins. Wait a minute! Did she not hear me say that I was checking out of the hotel in 30 minutes? She wouldn’t even turn around so I could catch her eye.. she just edged her marga self away around the tables, finishing what she was doing and then she disappeared around the back.

It was 7.30 and I had not received my plate of food yet. I was getting so flustered — they administered each task so slowly, it was unbelievable. I saw her come out. On noticing my threatening expression she retreated behind a partition. About two minutes later she came out with my plate.

I was ungrateful by this time.

“Have you got any hot pepper?”

“Yes ma’am”

Deciding I would probably have to wait another couple of minutes before I received it, I started eating my breakfast, drinking my coffee and sipping my orange alternately. She brought the pepper relatively quickly (I had only eaten one green banana and a quarter of my fried dumpling) which I tipped onto the remainder of my breakfast.

It was the first time I had not enjoyed my breakfast since arriving on the island. In my anxiety I was eating it too fast. Someone shouted over the tannoy

“Is Ms. Loy here?” I put the last morsel in my mouth and ran to the reception desk. It was 7.35 and the girls had not arrived yet.

“Are you Ms Loy?” [still munching] I nodded.

“Your driver is here to take you to the airport”.

“Where’s my money?” I demanded.

The desk clerk reacted.

He called someone to ascertain the whereabouts of the key to the safe.

“The girls should ‘ave been here by 7.00”, he said, trying to pacify me.

“Look if your hotel does not trust its staff, then it should not employ them”, I snapped.

It was now 7.45 a.m. My transportation had arrived five minutes early. Just as he seemed to get the information, one of the girls came in and handed the key casually to him. He asked me for the $53 jamaican dollars for the phone calls, which I had from the change the taxi driver gave me and gave me back the whole deposit of US$100 (He forgot to deduct the US$20 for the security box). Justice had been served. I felt much better. Without a word of indebtedness, I struggled with my hand luggage to the door.

Part 16 will be published next month….