In America (and probably lots of other places too) I understand that they call what we in the UK refer to as the Ground Floor of a hotel or other building the First Floor. Similarly, what we call the First Floor becomes the Second Floor and so on!
Quite logical (if unpatriotic of me to say so) it is too. After all why call something “first” when plainly it isn’t?
However, whichever convention you use it does not take into account the Hotel that Faith and I have been staying in.
Our room was on Floor 9 and you might therefore expect that under the UK system that would mean that we could look over our balcony and see nine floors below us down to street level. Or, by the American convention, eight. Not so!
There were FIVE levels below us.
Let me explain.
The hotel in question is in two parts; the block that rises from street level at the front and the part that is built into the cliff on the seaward side.
The lift that we used had buttons labelled (from the top) Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, P (the restaurant and pool level) and Zero (reception and the main door to the street).
Down a short passage on the seaward side of reception was another lift which went up to level P and down to Five, Four, Three, Two and One.
Fascinating isn’t it? No, I didn’t think so.
So to return to my balcony – we can more accurately describe it as being SIX STOREYS up.
We had quite a view over the town of Puerto Santiago and the unbelievably huge cliffs of Los Gigantes but at night the best things were the sounds.
Across the street from the main entrance to the hotel were a number of bars and restaurants.
Many of these were of the type described on their own signs as “English Sports Bar” and these we avoided like the plague! Another was a Karaoke Bar designed as a traditional British pub. It was quite loud and did not receive any of our custom either.
The Karaoke bar was, fortunately, completely drowned out by the music emanating from the bar closest to our balcony. This for no reason I could see (other than that all other bars in the town were named in English) was called “Route 66”.
For the three hours from 9 pm to midnight a live band played and we listened to their output while either sitting out on the balcony or in bed with the patio door open.
It became clear to us by Sunday night, having heard one or two songs repeated that what the bar had was not a succession of bands playing different styles but a very versatile group capable of doing everything from pre-Beatles Rock & Roll to Lady Gaga.
While Faith and I were enjoying the songs which included many of our personal favourites the volume level was quite high, due mainly to the removable panel walls of the bar allowing most of the sound out, it did occur to me that there must be quite a high number of room change requests in the course of a year from older, crustier residents who found themselves billeted on that side of the hotel!
And then on Monday evening we felt the need to escape the environs of the hotel complex and actually see this band “live”. It was our 30th Wedding Anniversary and one of the reasons for going out was the advertised entertainment at the hotel that night.
This was a “Mr & Mrs” type show specifically for couples celebrating anniversaries! Neither of us could quite recall whether we might have inadvertently given away to anyone our reason for being there and had no desire whatsoever to be dragged accidentally or by design into such a spectacle!
So, after a nice dinner and a bottle of sparkling wine we made our way over to Route 66 where we found the set about to start and a table still available.
From the range of music we had been hearing we had been expecting at least a five piece band but it turned out that “Old Dogs – New Tricks” comprised only TWO people – a guitarist and a vocalist.
What had deceived us were the pre-recorded backing tracks used and the power and range of the singer’s voice.
Everything was very friendly – there was no stage, they performed on an area of the bar floor with no tables on it and the audience was welcome to get up and dance amongst them too.
I have this little habit when listening to music, of drumming with my hands on the table (or any other surface available) and Jill the singer noticed this. Holding her radio microphone and without pausing or missing a note in the song she went to the back of the bar and handed me some Maracas with which to join in properly!
You will be pleased to know that I did not ask for a performance fee.
During a break while Bob, her husband, changed from his electric to his acoustic guitar, Jill chatted with the audience and I gathered that at least once a week guests from our hotel would ask Barceló management to get the “noise” turned down on the assumption that Route 66 was part of their own entertainment programme.
One morning at breakfast I overheard two British couples in conversation at a nearby table. One pair, not THAT much older than Faith and I, were telling the other that they had an appointment to see the Manager to get their room changed because of the “awful noise” from the street.
I was absolutely itching for them to ask me if I heard it too and had the reply, “Yes! Weren’t they GREAT!” ready on my lips. Regrettably, they didn’t ask!
Plainly some people are just as old on the inside as they are on the outside.
I would HATE that to ever happen to me.