Takeaway 1 is the good service provided by Cat City’s Hilton Hotel. At the daily buffet breakfast, the restaurant manager was always all smiles and helpfulness. His wait team was similarly helpful.
I particularly wish to note the thoughtfulness that led one staff to ply us with a bread basket enough for all five of us who dropped by the coffee house for a snack be4 departing for the airport. This was despite the fact that only two of us actually ordered food while one went for only coffee.
Another thoughtful gesture was that after extending our check out time to 4pm (from the usual 12 noon) — which was probably to compensate us for being able to check in only at 6pm (when the normal check in time is 2pm), we were allowed to keep two rooms till 6pm, at no charge. Also, charges were waived for those who drank mineral water or soft drinks from the room fridge, in addition to the two complimentary bottles provided every day!
Take-away 2 is re-discovering the pleasure of not having to share a room. I was one of three who went for this option and the extra $150 or so was worth every cent. It’s something I’ve not done since I stopped travelling on official business, many years ago.
Since then, travelling for pleasure means a tighter budget and having friends for company. Sharing a room on holidays becomes as natural as eating out. But the downside of company and savings is that there must be a lot of give and take.
I’ve only found one companion who fits this description while others have made me regret that their understanding of give and take, is for one side to do the giving and the other side to do the taking. And there is no prize for guessing who would be doing what!
Perhaps it’s time to go for single room supplement on those trips when the cost doesn’t demand an arm and a leg :-D!
The last takeaway is about teeth or the lack of them: too many people in Cat City seem to have poor teeth, gappy teeth or simply no teeth! It started with our tour guide who met us at the airport. With his mouth closed, he looked OK but when he started to speak, as he must, the gaps between his teeth were for all to see. Ditto the kind restaurant manager at the coffee house. He too was several teeth short.
What surprised me even more was that at the dinner at the Sarawak Club — given by one of the ladies in our group who hailed from Cat City once upon a time — for her relatives and her travelling companions (ie us), several local guests were similarly teeth-challenged.
I’m left to wonder if there’s plenty of untapped dental and orthordontic business in Cat City for those willing to take the bait or whether it is a custom to have a few teeth missing?