Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Single female traveler

Concert Hall

Ok, this is something I know I’ll be writing about often in this blog: How restaurants, bars and hotels treat the single female traveler and sometimes even two women traveling together.

Last night I was once again reminded that to some establishments I’m:

a) Invisible
b) Unwanted
c) Both of the above

I had a craving for Peking Duck – it’s often something you have to order ahead of time in Chinese Restaurants but I knew it was on Trader Vic’s menu and there’s a Trader Vic’s in the Berlin Hilton right on Gendarmenmarkt.

I got there at 5.45 pm – 15 minutes after their Happy Hour started but 45 minutes before they started serving dinner.

It took me a while to convince the man who greeted me that I was not really there for the happy hour but wanted to eat – yes eat from the menu in the restaurant.

But I settled down for a cocktail – was only shown their happy hour drinks list, and chose a Mai Tai since it’s there signature drink.

It was ok, lot’s and lot’s of ice and not a lot of drink but at 5.50 euro including stuff to eat from a buffet it was ok.

But it ran out awfully quick. And that’s when I realized that I must have worn my invisibility cloak.

No amount of fiddling in my chair, sucking loud empty ice through my straw or downright trying to catch someone’s eyes helped.

All available waiters where preparing a section of the cocktail lounge for a party of approximately 20 people. They where doing a fine job and I envied the lucky 20 – they got the attention, the decorations and the service the rest of us was denied.

Finally a waiter approached and I asked for the full drinks list not wanting anymore happy hour specials. She was not pleased, meant she had to walk across the room to get it, but eventually it was handed to me.

I certainly got ample of time to read it, had it been written in Mandarin Chinese I would have had time to teach myself the language and make my choice.

By now it was 6.45 pm – meaning if someone had remembered my interest in dinner they would have seated me by now and I would be well on my way to having the Peking Duck I craved. But phantom party of 20 was still sucking up all energy in the room like a black hole.

So I gave up, left 7 euros at the table and walked out. Ever the polite German the host told me thanks for visiting and come back soon when I left. I think not.

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