|Good management, good HoHo Buses
||[May. 3rd, 2011|09:03 am]
mcmanly mooches and muses
We ran into problems coming out of san Antonio. Storms in other places had shredded the schedules, so everybody needed to be re-routed, and our easy trip to Boston via Dallas became a longer run with a tight connection in Chicago.|
The desk staff were on top of it, but the pointy-head senior manager who got rid of all the supervisors had left nobody there to see and fix the growing problem. In the end, one of the two clerks had to stop and walk out to get help.
San Antonio has nice (but efficient) TSA people, free wifi and helpful ground staff. If you need to be stuck somewhere, it's a great place to do it.
I cannot lavish the same praise on the grumpy lump of a control freak who was in charge of the taxi queue at Boston. This incompetent caused huge delays by not posting passengers to designated spots, ready to board their taxis, delaying everybody until a batch of taxis was in place, then grudgingly allowing one or two to go to their taxis.
I was told not to go to our taxi, but being a foreigner, I failed to understand. Sadly, the wheels of my case did not run over the idiot's feet. better luck next time! (By the way, we have similar idiots in Sydney: it just seems to happen in some airports.)
Now on hop-on-hop-off buses: in Boston, they are imitation trolley-cars, and there atre quite a few competing brands. Old Town Trolley Tours are orange, and with one exception, our five drivers were excellent value, providing details, rather than trying to be entertainers. "Billy Ketch" was especially good, and while I know the name of the sad sack who started by singing the "Trolley Song", I shan't quote it. He needs to go and listen to Billy Ketch.
McManly's First (and only) Law of Good Nosh: an unassuming-looking place, off the beaten path, has to be good, or it would have gone broke.
We ignored this law tonight at Durgin-Park in Boston and went to an unassuming place ON the beaten path. It stays alive because there is one born every minute. The eccentricity started when we were placed at a table for twenty, by ourselves, when there were plenty of small tables around. We assumed refectory eating, but nobody was seated with us.
Before the food came, just after the drinks were served, a waiter rammed our long table with his hip (it must have hurt) and slopped our wine and beer at the other end. He went sturdily past without looking to see what had happened, and while the waitresses looked over at my expostulation, and hurried with mopper cloths, this numpty stood behind the bar.
Finally, he came over and said "They said over there that I should apologise," and I decided that he probably wasn't all that bright--I would have made the apology sound like my own idea, and I would have got in faster.
We were promised "Yankee Cooking", and call me daffy, but I don't see cornbread as Yankee fare, but no matter. My two pork chops were delicious, but I think that providing my two chops must have entailed the death of three large pigs, and left another one feeling decidedly unwell.
So the service was a bit odd, the ambience was somewhere between trashy and decidedly run-down--and just as we were leaving, a coach group came in. I suspect that Durgin-Park is trading on a former reputation, but the food was OK and the prices were good.
A curious experience, but not one to hurry back to for repeats.
This reminds me: Trip Advisor has canned (without explanation) my caustic review of 'The Elephant and Castle' in North Wabash Street, Chicago. I don't know if it was my suggestion that the Guinness was short-measure and watered, my description of the place as "British for the Disneyland set", my comments about the unwelcome stream of prattle from the biumbette waitress who stood half a pace from my left earhole while we were eating or my notes about the food which was too awful to encourage one to regurgitate. Maybe it was the heading: "Fee, Fie, Faux" that I gave it. I don't know: they were all mild enough.
Actually, looking back, I realise that the "pint" was probably an American pint (simply not acceptable if you are pretending to be British), and the apparent watering was probably a result of the glass having been poured and held, awaiting a customer. I have consumed enough pints of Guinness that I should have realised that it came far too quickly, and completely lacked a head, but I was thirsty.
All the same, if eating in Chicago, don't look for a genuine taste of England here. And if anybody from the Chicago checkers of standards, weights and measures reads this, perhaps they should pay a surprise visit. Nobody else should go near the place.
Go to Boston, and eat at 'Legal Seafood', where the food is good, the service is prompt and brilliant, the wine list is good, and the ambience is marvellous.