So this is now almost four months overdue, but these two stories are worth telling. I think.
Thing That Sucked #1: The Henry VIII restaurant. As a once-and-future Anglophile, I’m attracted by the name, so we head over to this nice-looking restaurant. We decide to dine al fresco, so the host leads us to a table outside. Some tables have lanterns; ours doesn’t, which is kind of unhandy, but we peruse our options, holding our menus at odd angles to catch what light we can. A while after we order, someone brings us a lantern for our table.
Then, now that we can see, we wait for our food…
And we wait…
And we keep waiting…
After more than 45 minutes (!) the waiter returns, bearing plates. He sets my steak down in front of me. (YES! RED MEAT!) Famished because I was hungry before we arrived at the restaurant, and irritated that it’s taken almost a blessèd hour to get my food, but delighted at the prospect of RED MEAT!, I cut off a piece and take a bite…
And see something moving on my plate.
It’s a bug, about an inch long, wading through my gravy like he’s got nothing better to do.
So I flag down the waiter, with the expectation–not an unreasonable one, I think–that I’ll get a nice new plate of food, sans vermin, double-quick. However, this is not the United States. Here, the waiter explains that the restaurant is very busy, so they don’t have time to cook me another plate of food. (The restaurant is half-full at this time.) He also tells me that this happens sometimes, since we’re eating outside. I take a deep breath, then tell him I have eaten outside many times and this particular experience has NEVER before occurred. I ask him to kindly tell me, then, what he can do. He offers to take the food; he’ll just put it on a new plate. Problem solved!
Wait–WHAT?!?!?!?! (sanitized version)
Dumbstruck, thinking I must have misheard, I stare at the waiter. He takes my plate away while the bug continues lumbering through the sauce. I’m still dumbstruck when the waiter comes back, with the SAME FOOD, just on a new plate. I continue to sit and stare at it, still a bit confused. A couple of my companions are shifting uncomfortably; not wanting to be the psycho chick making a scene, I wonder if I’m being a picky tourist, making too big a deal of this.
And then I remember: THERE WAS A DAMN INSECT CRAWLING THROUGH MY FOOD.
Attempting to control what has become a breakneck slide toward Full Freak Out, I flag down the waiter again and tell him this is NOT OK. I can’t eat this. He asks me if I want anything else. I tell him no, I do not. He’s distressed, saying, “I can tell you’re not happy, and it’s my job to make you happy.”
(Too late, dude. That ship done sailed.)
Finally I agree to let him get me a cup of soup. I am still not happy. But at least the soup seems to be free of multi-leggèd wildlife–or if it isn’t, at least the multi-leggèd wildlife is dead and blends in well with the sausage.
Thing That Sucked #2. Scooter training. I was ill on Sunday, when my companions picked up scooters and completed the 30-minute pre-scooting training. Since I still wanted to drive a scooter, KME and I went to get me trained. I was totally looking forward to it. Scooting! More fun than biking, because you don’t have to, like, pedal, but you can still go fast and feel the breeze.
So the scooter rental attendant sat me down on what he specified was a less-powerful scooter and told me how to make it work. No problem, thinks I; I’m coordinated, I learn fast, I drive a stick shift, I got this. I turn on the scooter and start sputtering and jerking away. I’m not naturally good at it, which thing is embarrassing. and makes me feel self-conscious, which of course makes everything harder. Sputter, jerk, sputter, jerk.
After about 10 minutes (NOT the usual 30), the attendant stops me. “I think you just need to be a passenger today,” he says. I stare at him, once again dumbstruck, unable to process what he’s saying.
He continues, “Most people it takes maybe 30 minutes to learn to ride. You–well, I think you need at least two hours.”
I didn’t even think about arguing with him–my brain doesn’t process surprises very well, but I did have the wherewithal to realize that begging wouldn’t make him change his mind and would only cause me to appear pathetic and/or petulant as well as incompetent. Stunned and humiliated, I climbed on the scooter behind KME, who of course didn’t know what to say but tried to be reassuring (ten thousand points to her), and we headed home.
The rest of the day turned out to be fantastic–see items 6-10 of the previous Bermuda post–so the trip was, all in all, a wonderful success. And it was a great way to spend Labor Day weekend. I’ll just remember to bring my own food next time.