|1:30PM, Late Check-Out, Bali|
How messy is too messy to leave your hotel room? Also, should one tip housekeeping?
Trashing hotel rooms went out with Led Zeppelin’s farewell tour in 1977. Keep in mind, hotels provide housekeeping, not disaster management. As a bit of an OCD neat freak, my problem is the opposite. I have, in fact, had to start messing my hotel rooms up a bit more because on more than one occasion, housekeeping have left without providing service, convinced that another crew had already been in. As for tipping, it’s nice to let them know they’re appreciated, especially if you’ve done something like clogged the toilet, spilled a glass of wine or requested an advance bed linen change after a wild afternoon of passion. Again, I tend to take it to the other extreme. If they leave me extra chocolates on my bedside, I leave a small cash tip on my pillow. If they lay out all my toiletries on a clean, white washcloth, I write them a cheque. If they organize my laundry in the wardrobe by colour, I pledge them a kidney should they ever need one.
People who cut queues and invade my personal space at the airport make me want to punch them. How do I put them in their place without making a scene?
I’m generally a non-violent person, but inconsiderate people bring out my inner Genghis Khan. I say punching is too lax. If someone cuts in front of you, it’s perfectly acceptable to behead them with your boarding pass and then hold up the decapitated head as a warning to anyone else with the same idea. If you’re more Mahatma than Mussolini, I suggest carrying a large backpack and also hanging a camera with a long telephoto lens around your neck to keep co-queuers at bay. If you’re heading to a beach resort, a large swimming tube around your waist would work well, too.
What do you do if the lady beside you is smoking hot? How do you chat her up without being sleazy?
Propagated by Penthouse Forum letters and sexy spy thrillers, the smoking-hot seatmate is the unicorn of travel. There have been unsubstantiated claims of random encounters, so we cling to the hope that she exists, but I’m sorry to break it to you: smoking-hot ladies travel by a secret, private airline reserved exclusively for them. So, just make peace with the fact that your seatmate will be a middle-aged male executive, as disappointed by your presence as you are with his. Strike up a conversation about cricket scores, tell a bawdy joke or two, get some stock tips and, after a couple of cocktails, you can drift off to sleep imagining he’s actually a busty Bolshevik KGB agent out to seduce you for a state secret.
I’ve been told my snoring sounds like an Enfield Bullet – how can I avoid disturbing fellow passengers?
When we travel, we enter into an unwritten social contract to cause as little disturbance to our fellow travellers as possible. Since there are far too many violators of this contract, I’m all for as much strictly enforced, in-flight segregation as possible. I feel there should be separate, secure cabins for gum-chewers, seat-kickers and one just for people who look like they might drunkenly sing along to in-flight movie soundtracks. For snorers, I am optimistic they will develop a soundproof helmet that automatically drops from the ceiling and attaches to the offender’s head. Until that comes to pass and, since snoring is beyond your control, the solution I offer you is this: stay awake. Drink an espresso every 15 minutes or jog up and down the aisles. And once you land, you might want to see a doctor about that Enfield in your throat.
I get hopelessly bored on long flights (think Mumbai-New York). What’s the best way to while away 16-plus hours on a plane?
Sixteen hours with nothing to do but eat, watch movies and sleep? Sounds like heaven to me. If, however, you are an overachiever and need extra stimulation, try the following:
- Help the crew clear up after the meal service
- Sing lullabies to a crying baby
- Play live Tetris with carry-ons in the overhead bins
- Offer shoulder rubs to nervous fliers
- Clean out the crumbs from all the little channels in the seats that the cleaning crews always seem to miss
- Fill out your co-passengers’ arrival documents for them
- Stand outside the bathroom and ask everyone who exits: “As a courtesy to the other passengers, did you, in fact, wipe down the sink after use?”
- Explore opportunities for Mile High Club membership. If unsuccessful, join as a solo member.