Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Off again...

sunny, cool, temps 20

Well, the second leg of the tour has begun. I'm in Kitchener, Ontario - about an hour and a half west of Toronto. Took the train here yesterday. Very civilized. Business class....and felt I'd won the lottery. I spoke to the nice man in front of me and asked if he'd mind terribly not putting his seat all the way back on the 5 hour ride, and he readily agreed. Thank heaven I did, because the man next to him did put his all the way back and it landed almost on the seat beside me. Can't believe anyone would do that - put their seat all the way back without consideration of the person behind. And that VIA rail would design seats that would do that!

If I was the person beside me, and someone did that, I'd be apoplectic.

Happily, there was no one sitting next to me. The seats are assigned, and I just got very lucky. I'm anti-social while being transported from one place to another....I like to just stare out the window and listen to music or let my mind wander. I honestly don't want to make six hours of small talk - it's a sort of nightmare....being caught in an endless cocktail party chat.

So, sitting on my own on a flight or a long train trip is bliss. And means I don't need to feign insanity to be left alone. Very tiring, that.

And - business class in VIA is extremely odd. Not only have they not updated the decor in millennia, but many of the so-called window seats have no window. Just a wall. Makes for an extremely long trip when you're staring at faded greenish wallpaper.

But my seat had a window! A window, no companion, and a nice man in front - honestly - travel doesn't get better.

And then I arrived in Kitvchener. Lovely to be met by my friend Sharron Smith - who is the doyenne of libraries here, and is running the One Book, One community efforts. I'm here because this area has chosen BURY YOUR DEAD as their 2011 read.

She drove me to the hotel...the Walper. Apparently quite storied....and under new management who are trying to update it from a faded grande dame into a modern boutique hotel. I think the transformation is almost, but not quite complete. The room is nice - beautiful fresh paint...lovely new carpet - and reupholstered seats...very old and tired chest of drawers and desks. And plumbing that makes it impossible to sleep after 6am - as the people around me rouses and showered - and it sounded like they were doing it on my head. but the oddest choice they've made as a hotel management is to not have coffee as part of the morning room service. Instead, they provide an old, small, coffee maker, coffee in packets, no milk - and say you can make your own.

Now, for me that's a deal-breaker. I'm very happy to be staying here, since someone else is paying. but this hotel actually offers continental breakfast, brought to your room - but makes a point of saying they won't bring coffee or tea. Seems almost willful.

So, at 7am I got up and dressed and went to an absolutely delightful cafe attached to the hotel - cafe culture. Got a huge bowl of cafe latte and sat by the fireplace. No one else there. heaven. Called Teresa in London, as per our agreement, and had a nice long chat.

Now, a very good and perhaps correct argument could be made that if the hotel had offered room service coffee I wouldn't have had that very, very nice respite in a great coffee shop - with a far better coffee than the hotel could provide. But, I have to say, the effort of having to get dressed and out the door at 7am to get the coffee outweighed the subsequent delight. Besides, it would be nice to have a choice.

Have a lot of events today - a welcome reception at the local newspaper. A TV, then a radio interview. Book signings around the area....then an event on stage with the local Chief of Police, to discuss investigation techniques, most of which will be news to me. That event is open to the public and it would be lovely to see you there. It's in the Victoria Pavilion in Kitchener at 7pm.

Tomorrow I have a public event at 1:30 at the Waterloo-Oxford secondary School - then in the evening a question and answer with Robert Reid, of the local newspaper on stage at the First United Church in Waterloo.

Thursday at 1:30 I'll be speaking with writing students at St Benedict's High School, and an evening event, open to the public, at the University of Waterloo school of Architecture. 7pm.

Packed schedule. Then, God and Air Canada willing, I'll be flying to Victoria, BC on Friday to start the Western Canada leg of the book tour.

It would be lovely to see you at one of the events!!!

that photo above was taken at the event at Chapters in Montreal on Sunday....actually, after the event, when our friends the Mounts, and Susan, went for coffee. I love this photo. there's Michael, calm, warm, gently listening - and there I am looking as though I've been goosed. Clearly we're hearing different stories. Or, I've just been told there's no coffee delivered to the hotel room.

As you can see, the scope of my problems is so small as to be almost invisible. A hectic few days ahead....but how lovely to be meeting so many supportive people. Thanks for coming along!


Marcia said...

You made me laugh out loud.. again (as you do in all your books at least once).. Your descriptions of the train and the hotel are fantastic and your issue with their bizarre range of amenities rings true. Thank you for sharing and for confirming that I am not the only person in the universe who does not understand why coffee is considered "optional"

LJ Roberts said...

I must say, considering you are always such a wonderfully positive, delightful person, it's reassuring to know there are some things that make you grumpy. Have a wonderful tour.

Audrey said...

For all of your fans still basking in the glow of your Bouchercon triumphs, please enjoy the article below from the online site of our only daily newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

(You may need to copy this link and paste it in your browser -- I'm not yet a webmaster.)


lil Gluckstern said...

I'm sorry you had a bad morning. It's fine to be grumpy. You travel so much that you expect better service. At least, you can laugh, and we along with you. Have a good tour.

JeffB said...

Before Meg and I were married, our first trip together was a week's stay at a cottage outside Algonquin; that was great. What was NOT great was the evening before at a B&B in 'The Beaches' neighborhood of Toronto. For breakfast, we had a toaster at the breakfast table if we wanted anything toasted and I was given a cup (not even a pot) of very lukewarm water and a (generic brand) teabag - as you said, these things send a messgae to guests (your needs are a bother to us!) - Meg and I still joke about going back, and it did not leave a good impression.

Donna K said...

You probably already know this, but I was happy to see your name on page 101 of the Ladies Home Journal
as a book which Lisa Scottoline had just read and loved. The jist of the article was regarding what authors are reading. Of course I shouldn't be surprised, but....there it is-another OMG excited moment... for spreading the word? (I think you're in!! to stay!)
As for not getting the coffee, I would've been livid. I'm sure you were respectful. I know I would've written a note later because it isn't logical from a business sense.I still am not over our favorite supper club changing their
bar table arrangment.

danielle-momo said...

Comme j'aurais aimé vous voir avec le chef de police local !
Une idée originale.

Kaye Barley said...

You made me HOOT with this! I must say - no coffee delivered to my room with what they consider to be room service would be a deal breaker for me too. Room service without coffee???!

Have a good trip! Remember to rest and pamper yourself a bit!

Cece said...

This made me chuckle as well-as tea drinker I fight an uphill battle when eating out to get hot water that doesn't have a residual coffee undertaste-if you run it through the coffee maker, it's gonna taste like coffee....a little thing but SO annoying!

Oh well, as Deanna Raybourn calls it: these are first world princess problems. May we never have to know worse!

To brighten every word-lover's day: