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в пошуках сильного сигналу 28/09/2011

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures.
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Plotting the Next Step

Contempt had risen in the throat, thick and acrid as bile. Receptionists lurked behind their granite counter, murdering us with their eyes. Thick-necked security goons had grown tired of watching momentum drag our corpses through the front door. The reservation with Hotel Khreschatyk had expired and with it the thin veneer of civility which had been plastered across the face of each poorly-paid servant.

After pacifying the peptic catastrophe which had left the previous evening floating face down in the fountains of Maidan Nezalezhnosti I issued an international appeal. Plans had changed and we would have to secure one last night’s lodging or face vagrancy. The overseas number of our virtual budget travel agency confounded the hotel’s phone; a connection was finally established by using Skype to ring the American 800 helpline. Ghosts fought through the static of Soviet satellites while I screamed into my computer’s pathetic microphone, storming around the room offering my laptop to the gods for a stronger signal. I lost the internet twice before being able to explain circumstances, only to be told I would have to negotiate an extension of our discounted rate directly with the hotel. The line went dead one last time and even today there are a women in some midwestern call-center convinced I’ve disappeared into the wilds of Eastern Europe.

Interchangeable blonde receptionist suggested that I could stay one last night if I paid full price. In cash. Now.

Hitting the Streets

Little discussion was necessary to realize that Janice and I were of common mind. We kowtowed for our last breakfast vouchers and set off, monopoly money in hand to express gratitude to our espresso pumping savior. The counter jockey wasn’t wearing a “Don’t Eat the Models” t-shirt; this was not our espresso pumping savior.

Kefir-drenched muesli and tepid blintzes never tasted so tasteless.

Showers were taken, bags were packed, the cheese encrusted cardboard box which had served as our kitchen counter found a new home above the fridge. Cries of anguished casters pierced our walls, and I palmed some monopoly money. The cart was cluttered with towels, spray bottles and sheets but the cleaning lady didn’t flash a gleaming row of gold teeth. This was not our cleaning lady who had dutifully chased us from the safety of our temporary environment to smear grease onto our glasses and not replace the mustard-stained box we used as a plate.

Last glances under the bed and hauling bags to checkout never felt so empty.

Picture of me in the window by Janice.

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