A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.
It's 2018 and there's no excuse. I'm not talking about tinpot airports in Third World countries. Yes, they have this problem too but you'd expect that. What's less explicable is that in New Zealand, with just 82 per cent of the 21st century left, you can still be sitting in a departure lounge, hear the beep of an impending intercom announcement and not have the faintest clue what's been said.
This exact thing happened in Christchurch a few days ago: Beeeeeeep: "Good afternoon ladsdfjh and gentlsdfh, flight sdfkjshdf bound for Adfjhsdkfjhsd is sdfkjshdfkjds for dfkjsdhfkjsdf. If you are seatfsdf in sdfkjsdhfkj to sdfksjdhfkjsdf, please sdfkjshdfkj now."
"I don't know what on Earth they just said," was the response from the bejandaled and stubby-clad, grey-haired chap across from me who, like us, could only assume the announcement was for him and that it broadly meant "line up now". If airport staff the world over are going to keep being exasperated at passengers trying to prematurely board before their section or flight is called, then get back to us when departure lounge announcements are more audible than whatever Elton John is singing in Bennie and the Jets. Don't deny it, beyond "B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets", you've been lost these past 40-odd years. "Hey kids, shake a loo together, the dop lah hanging on a new to shape a noose together, will kill the fatter car tonight so stick around ..."
The Indian hotel towel fiasco
Sometimes I think I could write my weekly tale of travel mishaps and misunderstandings purely about India.
I love India and there are few more captivating places on Earth, but there's no question that travel there is frequently hilarious and not always intentionally so. Like the time I was exploring the country's southern states with an old mate of mine back in 2014. We were staying at a hotel that could generously be described as one-star and they'd forgotten to put a towel in my friend's room. What happened when he approached reception is one of my favourite go-to yarns when I talk about why India is so bureaucratically fun.
"Excuse me, I don't have a towel in my room, could I please get one?" The male receptionist's reply was something like: "No problem, sir. Please take a seat and wait one moment".
To which my mate obeyed the instructions and sat in one of the lobby's three chairs. A phone call was made by the receptionist and a minute or two later a second staff member arrived. Gloriously, this person reached their hands underneath the reception desk, rummaged around for a brief instance and then emerged with a towel. Yes indeed, the hotel's stack of clean towels was right next to the knees of the receptionist who'd called for assistance.
Key to understanding this story is that the receptionist knew the towels were beside him and wasn't remotely embarrassed he'd ordered somebody else to fetch one. In a country with more than a billion people, you don't want to be the jerk receptionist who starts multi-tasking to such an extent you do the towel-fetcher out of a job.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on Coast and writes the RoxboroghReport.com