February 04, 2010

Hotels, Cocktails and Letter Writing

I've had writer's block for a few days, but now that I have four (4!) followers I feel some pressure to keep the posts coming.  Thanks so much CP Vintage, Mick, storybook ranch, and Jill for letting me know that I am not alone in blogland and writing in vain! I would write anyway, however, since having this blog has been very therapeutic, even though I write of trivial things.

Tonight, I am away from home for work purposes and staying in a hotel.  The Hotel restaurant was featuring 'French' cuisine and my colleague and I had smoked salmon on potato pancakes with sour cream and quail eggs for an appetizer and for the entre we had lobster ravioli in a cream sauce topped with a scallop and sun-dried tomato pesto.  Now that I write this, I'm not really sure that these dishes are really all that French, but they had  French titles!  

Anyway, for an aperitif I had Dubonnet on the rocks with lemon, which I haven't had for years.  I'm reading on the internet that it dates to the mid-1800s and was concocted to hide the taste of quinine, an anti-malarial treatment.  It was given to French Foreign Legionnaires in North Africa.  Then, it was re-popularized as a drink among the jet-set crowd in the 1970s and 1980s with the help of an advertising campaign featuring Pia Zadora.


There is something quaint and nostalgic about things like Dubonnet cocktails (and cocktails in general), airline travel and staying in hotels. Airline travel is definitely not the ultra-glamorous escape it once was, and frankly, neither is overnighting in hotels.  Particularly in Vancouver, where one must do regular bed-bug checks (beware Olympic visitors!) 

But, I have to admit that I always have a little thrill when I open my hotel room for the first time.  I always have a look at the guest directory, room service menu, and I must check to see if there is hotel stationary with envelopes.  I always wonder if anyone uses it anymore, and how many years that stationary was in that drawer.  When I was doing my graduate research in the archives, because of my topic, I often found letters written in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s on hotel stationary embossed with mid-century font and graphics from exotic locales like Australia and Florida.  The letter-writers were staying there for extended periods of time and wrote lengthy letters of 3-5 pages.  I wonder if their paper was regularly replaced.  Anyway, in honour of times gone by, I often use the hotel stationary for writing notes.  I wish I stayed long enough to justify writing a letter on it.

Does anything thrill you about overnighting in hotels?

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