Wednesday, August 27, 2014

still in the black

What do you do at an airport for 8 hours?  Especially, when you cannot check in for your flight until 3 hours before it leaves.

Those of you who pride yourself with your arithmetic skills are already taking me to task for that first sentence.  I can hear you all the way over here in England: "That means you only had 5 hours to kill."

I wish that were true.  But once I got rid of my luggage and got through security, I would still have had three hours just waiting to be strangled. 

And no matter how interesting some airports are (Mexico City's is not one of them), there are only so many Calvin Klein ties and questionable humor post cards a sane soul can take.  That is doubly true for me.  I tend to lose interest in almost everything after 20 minutes.

So, I surrendered.  The fellow sitting next to me on the flight from Manzanillo suggested I get a room at the airport hotel.  It sounded good to me.  After all, I could take a nap, use the internet at a proper desk, and read the current issue of National Review in the bathtub.

Of course, I could have done all of that (except the bathtub bit) in the first class lounge.  But it struck me as a capital idea.

Underline capital in that sentence.  The airport hotel is a Hilton.  I stayed here a couple of months ago.  It's nice enough if you like your style sterile.  And expensive. 

I told the desk clerk I needed the room for only a few hours.  She raised her eyebrow.  A few more details had her eye back in nonreactive clerk mode.

"$299," she said.  "US?," asked Steve.  She then added that phrase that serves as a coda to all check-ins: "Plus tax."

Killing time didn't need to cause collateral damage to my peso supply.  So, I did what any bargain hunter does.  I booked the same room through while standing at the desk -- for about one-half of her quoted price.

I don't think I made a friend. 

While the reservation was being processed, I headed downstairs to one of my favorite Mexico City restaurants: Bistrot Mosaico .  I told you about dinner at the original eatery in Condesa -- when I was last in Mexico City.  The airport version serves almost all of the same specialties.  Especially, my favorite: squid risotto prepared in the ink of the squid.  It is sinfully delicious.

It is listed as an appetizer.  But it always makes a full lunch for me.

But it is time to bring my stay with the good people at Hilton to a close.  In just under an hour, I will be on my way to London.  And, as you read this, I will be on the train to Blackpool.

That, however, is an entirely different story.  One that will most likely include a crime mystery writer, a Belgian sleuth,  a countess, a lapsed missionary, and a discharged chauffeur.

And we may even hear something about it.  Or not.

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