Saturday, 10 October 2015

Breakfast in America...

View from my hotel room window...
American breakfasts have always been known for their size, but the great thing about my hotel is that they leave the gluttony up to the individual. In other words, I could have made a pig of myself, but I didn't. Instead, I opted for some fresh slices of melon, a Greek yoghurt with blueberries, tea and fruit juice and some scrambled egg with a few diced and baked potatoes – they're probably called something, but in essence they were diced and baked (or possibly fried) potatoes. It might be hash browns, not sure.

What I hate about some hotels is that everything costs something, although I know that's true of everything. So the waiter puts juice and hot water on the table and says that the juice is so many dollars, the tea costs so much, the serve-yourself buffet is $22.00 and so on. I was waiting for him to say "and the chair, if you want to sit down, is $50, the cutlery, $25 and you have to pay me to serve you," but of course it was never going to be that bad. Perhaps it is in some places.

I've started reading Mark Beaumont's The Man Who Cycled the World and it's an excellent read. So far he's riding through Poland but already he's experienced bike hassles – two punctures and the spokes on his rear wheel snapping, forcing him to find a friendly bike shop to fix it, which he did, and now that the rain has stopped for him – it pissed down as he rode through Germany – the sun is now out, his nose is burnt and he's staying in a strange hotel that seems to be run by the Russian mafia. I'll keep you informed and a book review of sorts will follow just as soon as I finish reading the book. I'll be writing more on David Byrne's Bicycle Diaries too, so watch this space.

Back to my breakfast. Once again I found myself mildly miffed that nobody other than the English seem capable of serving a decent cup of tea. They might turn up with their lacquered box full of packaged teabags – resembling a humidor and offering an unnecessarily large choice of different teas – but they can't serve it properly. Milk has to be requested, I'm given a teabag and some hot water and that's it. This is, of course, coffee land and it's always expected that people drink the stuff. I don't.

Room 811, Warwick Allerton Hotel, Chicago
The breakfast was fine. As an afterthought I had a banana and one of those small boxes of cornflakes in a bowl so large it made the portion size seem small and somehow beached on the plate, like an unwanted, toxic cargo from a sunken ship, washed up on a lonely beach. I sprinkled a sachet of sugar over it and finished it off in between paragraphs of Mark Beaumont's excellent book.

The breakfast cost me $26.74 – including the tip – quite pricey when you think about it, but I'm going to take a stroll around town shortly and hopefully I'll find a little café somewhere downtown that might offer a little more value-for-money, although, knowing me (and knowing most people) the convenience of the hotel breakfast will win through.

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