Wednesday, May 4, 2016

February 1, 2004 - A Day of Infamy in France

That was the day that a new law came into effect - no smoking in hotel rooms, among other places.  This is hard news indeed for someone who loves a morning coffee, cigarette and the TV news. 

Previously we've encountered this situation in Marseilles (get a room with a balcony) and in London (get a room with a private patio.) 

The Ibis, Versailles-Parly 2 is no exception.  The fine if you're busted is something like 80 Euros.  And French landlords evidently live for that chance.  Our windows did open - approx. 3 in but... not worth the chance.  Generally speaking, the French are a very cruel race. 

When I asked plaintively at the front desk where one could actually light up, I was directed to a short hall, and  a left turn into the breakfast buffet space.  A big glass door there led to a very sizeable patio with tubs of trees.  A chimney ashtray rested in a corner of the porch. 

I perched quietly on a tree tub edge and thoughtfully regarded my surroundings.  Movement caught my eye as a small black cat came tentatively out of a low hedge, sat down and looked at me.  I nodded and continued to look around.  You have to ignore a cat; they can't stand not to be the center of attention.

Sure enough, after a couple of moments of scrutiny on her part, over she padded.  I extended a fist for her to sniff and then petted her a couple of times.  Cigarette done, so was I.  It was very cold out there.  She followed me to the door, but stopped short and sat down in the porch corner.

Her food bowls were empty and she began grooming herself, so I knew she'd been fed.  We became friends, largely I don't doubt because I would give her tiny pieces of cheese from the buffet. 

When we went to the supermarket (beer run) I hunted out the cat food section and bought her a tin of salmon (and a can of rabbit for our cats - I wanted to see their reaction.)

Back at Michelle's I tore a sheet of paper out of my note pad and wrote:  "A Mlle Ibis a votre amies en Amerique - Minuit, Fred et Rayon" (For Miss Ibis from your friends in America")  and taped it to the can.  When we got back to the hotel, I stopped at the desk to give it to the day manager. 

Who promptly went into a near fit of hysteria reassuring me that the hotel feeds the cat!  You would have thought I had insulted his mother or something.  He tore into a back cranny and re-emerged with two bags of dry food (each different) shaking them in each hand; ran back and returned with 6 or 8 cans of wet food.  Looking around furtively, he said, "We can't put the buffet slices of ham out again, so she gets them, too." 

I made an envious face and said,, "How spoiled!" and he said, proudly, "Ah, oui, Madame - she 'as a staff of four!"

Having to go outdoors to smoke was worth it. 

No comments: