Without wasting a moment, I book Uber and leave the airport. Driver says, hotel is seven minutes away.
I am excited to explore the new city and its people. I haven’t googled anything about this place. Intentionally. I do some casual conversation with driver.
As I get off the cab, Uber guy extends wishes for fruitful trip. I thank him with a smile.
I know I am going to encounter a dozen of firsts. To start with, I get stuck at hotel reception for a new reason. As I mentioned, I didn’t google anything about it. And here’s an aftereffect. I spend a few minutes of bitterness on the spot and enter the room.
I am in the room. I smile. This is my home for the next three days. I am exhilarated. Instantly, I realize I am hangry. I make a call at reception and ask if there’s some food joint nearby. A polite-sounding guy gives me some options. I thank him.
Now I google, ‘vegetarian restaurants near me’. In a minute, I book a cab and by the time it reaches hotel I am ready.
Choosing this restaurant turns out to be the first terrible mistake I make on this trip. I taste a croquette. I get rest of the ordered food packed for the room. But I am 100% sure I am going to dump it in trash-bin.
My stomach scolds me badly. I utter, it’s okay, while traveling, we expect the unexpected.
I am in hotel room, sorting out things for three days. I use hotel’s notepad and pen.
Landline screams out loud.
Did you find restaurant you looked for?
Yes, but the food was horrible.
Oh, sorry about that.
Do you arrange lunch/dinner here?
Sorry, we take care of breakfast only.
Not funny but that’s okay. Hey, I have a call on cellphone.
Sorry, take your time.
It’s 8 PM. I look at the food I carried from that not-so-wow restaurant and munch a chocolate bar I had in my handbag.
I workout a bit watching YouTube sessions. It is 9 PM.
Landline screams out again.
Hi, sorry if I disturbed you.
No problem. Say!
I have got food for you. It’s Asian, you’d like it.
Yes, can I come upstairs and give it to you?
*what!?* I will come down to pick it.
What just happened? I start wondering. I am hungry but should I accept food from a stranger? Does it sound like coming from a well-wisher? Or is it a plot? Could I trust this hotel staff? Or… At least I should accept this kind gesture.
I make a call to the reception.
Hey, it’s me. You could come outside my room to drop food.
Hi, thank you. Give me a few minutes, I am coming.
Again. Should I change and look a bit decent? Should I tie my hair? Nah, I look okay. It would take me just a second to grab food from him.
Someone knocks at the door.
Hey, it was not really needed but thank you so much.
I hope you will like it.
Okay, good night. Umm… Can I take a selfie with you?
I quickly see myself in the mirror of my mind. Tired face, messy hair, does this guy see me a celebrity? Or he has some filthy intention in his head?
No… I sound a straight denial. I shut the door.
Food smells well and fresh but a dozen thoughts hit my mind. Is this guy doing this all out of compassion or there’s something fishy going on? Should I eat this food? Should I ask mom what to do with this food? Why would a stranger ask for a selfie like this? I mean, why?
God, am I safe here in this hotel?
In between all this, a voice inside cheers out for the kindness I am just showered with.