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Bon Journal

Stuck in the city

Although I had renewed my reservation at the private boutique hotel on Madison Avenue on Friday, my instinct was to cancel it and check into a less luxurious hotel. At first, I thought it was because I couldn't be bothered to walk the extra three blocks. Or that I could get a better deal because most hotels were vacant due to cancellations and lack of incoming traffic. But later, I realised that it was my guilty conscience that made my decision.

The Best Western Hotel on 32nd street discounted its rates by 70%. I got a tiny room on the top floor, next to a noisy kitchen chute and the two elevators. The tubless bathroom was just big enough for me to take one step in and rotate my body to the sink, the toilet, or the shower. When I tried to open the window for some fresh air, the window pane broke off.

Like my two favourite midtown private hotels, this one also served breakfast. But the breakfast was hardly worth waking up for. Plastic forks, plates, and cups. Stale bagel. For the privilege, I had to remember to bring my breakfast vouchers.

In spite of all the discomfort and inconvenience, I can't complain. I chose to downgrade my hotel in order to balance my guilty conscience. I feel guilty to be alive. I feel even more guilty to learn of people who were concerned about me. I don't deserve to live in luxury while so many others suffer.

This past week has wrecked my nerves. I haven't slept properly. I haven't been able to think. So I decided to work out at the Bally Sports Club next door.

I took the 6:30 pm African drum dance class. Then I joined the 7:30 PM yoga class in their meditation. And as if that wasn't enough, I went swimming until there was no one left in the pool, sauna, steam room, or jacuzzi.

Hungry from all these exercises, I bought a big can of Japanese beer and fried dumplings in the Korean grocery market next door and returned to my hotel room to catch up on the news I missed today. Stuck in the city with no appetite for entertainment, I felt good that at least I had a small hotel room to return to.

17 September 2001 Monday

Hotel Reviews