Sunday, 9 September 2007


A friend had an overnight stop in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago and I've decided to steal one of his travel anecdotes. It fits in very well with the spirit of this blog.*

It would seem that Hong Kong is a fantastic city of skyscrapers: science-fiction shiny in the rain, and bejewelled with neon. A guesthouse here, rather than being a little family-run cottage, consists of a block of rooms halfway up a tower. My friend collected the key, made a mental note of the floor and room number- taking the hotel's business card seemed an excessive precaution- and set out to explore the city.

Upon returning, he takes the lift back up to his room, checks the floor number, says hi to the Chinese lady on the landing, and goes to unlock the door. Only for some reason the key doesn't fit.
Oops, silly me, wrong landing: he laughs with the Chinese lady and descends fifteen floors to try again with a different lift.
This time, of course, it must be the right landing. Only the lady at the top looks suspiciously familiar. So do the doors. He tries the key again. It's the same place as before.
Now a sense of paranoia starts to set in. The room contains all his worldly possessions, and his connecting flight leaves in just a few hours.
He descends again.

Finally someone takes pity on him, explains that the building comprises several different identical towers and points him in the right direction.

[I had a similar experience trying to escape Chatelet-Les Halles metro station. I swear the 'sortie' signs were directing me back to the point I started from. I honestly have never been so panicked in my life, imagining myself traipsing endless concentric circles deep within the Paris underground]

* At the risk of finding myself with a lawsuit on my hands, I should probably explain that this is the guy who, having offered me a lift home from town, stopped short outside Teatr Bagatela.
- what's up? I asked
- nothing, I just can't remember where I left the car. But don't worry, it's definitely on this street. I'll find it eventually.

I wish I could say this was an isolated incident.

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