Saturday, October 14, 2006

Interview at the Cavalier Gallery

In Japan, it's not uncommon to see kimono-clad sales girls. This is traditional costume, in a country where reverence for tradition exists with the most ultra of ultra-modern hi-tech trends.

Friday, October 13, 2006

An American Family At The Ritz

The breakfast room at the Ritz is large. Sprawling would be more like it. It is on the lower level ( there are a lot of levels) and overlooks the swimming pool/ sauna/ cocktail tent/ playground area neatly surrounded by manicured lawns, flower beds and waltzing palms; it must occupy at least a couple of hundred acres! The ocean provides a distant backdrop to this exotic, pastoral scene of unbridled and over the top luxury accommodation.
I suppose it is to be expected that the guests, here in paradise, are mostly of the older crowd. Retired salesman, pharmacist, building contractors and store keepers with their wives and assorted kids and relatives on a week long romp of sun and fun. They love it here. It’s like their local mall only with sun, palm trees, warm breezes and Don Ho Wannabes warbling through the speakers cleverly hidden in the palm trees. No matter where you go you cannot escape the sound of plaintive Hawaiian songs with the required Ukuleles providing orchestration. I have to say it gets a little dergelike after a few days.
I had decided on a late breakfast and had dutifully gathered a selection of goodies from the buffet. At the table next to me a family was being seated. Mum, Dad and the two kids must have weighed in at a grand total of around eight or nine hundred pounds. It was a sight for sore eyes. The chairs here were never meant to take such a strain. They wedged themselves into their seats, ordered several gallons of coffee, milk and juice, then waddled off to the buffet returning with mounds of food dripping from their trays. The staff were left scurrying around trying to recharge the now empty platters as best they could. They had been side swiped! All it takes is one hungry family from the Mid West and it’s bedlam in the kitchen.
Well it was a sight let me tell you.
Food was flying in all directions as the Family tucked into their respective platters of Eggs, bacon, sausage, sliced melon, pineapple, French toast, waffles, muffins, assorted fruits and hash browns. Their plates were groaning under the weight. Food was dripping off the edges. Quite a lot of it did end up on the table, chairs and floor.
It was time for seconds. Another cartload arrived and the battle continued.
It all took less than fifteen minutes. There was little if any talk; the focus was on cramming as much food into the mouths as possible.
This being accomplished it was time to head off to the pool. This I had to see. Trailing bits of half eaten breakfast in their wake the party headed off down the footpath. The staff brought in the cleaning crew with large plastic bags and a vacuum cleaner and erased the evidence. As far as they were concerned it never happened.
I strolled off down the path and secreted myself behind a tropical flowering bush to watch.
It was riveting. Mum demurely removed her outer clothing revealing a Sears and Roebuck flowered stretch nylon swimming costume; Dad had a pair of very long swim shorts as did the kids. The size of their limbs was remarkable; a family of Sumo wrestlers. With little regard for the welfare of the other pool visitors they jumped in unison. This almost emptied the pool of water. It was like a giant Tsunami had hit.
Once more the clean up crew got to work and no lasting damage was done; a few drenched sun worshipers and wilted flower beds. I am sure the Ritz is hoping that the family’s stay will be a short one.