Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A traveller's tale

Sleeping in a hotel room is always a bit dicey: the pillow's too hard; the elevator is too close; a group of high-school girls is giggling in the hall ... so many things can go wrong.

Here is the tale of what went wrong on Sunday night at the beautiful Hilton Bonaventure in Montreal, where I was upgraded to a room with a view onto the idyllic courtyard.

1. I drank coffee - albeit decaffeinated - in the evening, which I never do.
2. I downloaded a really, really good book to my Kindle (Damage, by Josephine Hart), which proved to be impossible to put down.
3. The feather pillows were too hard.
4. Every time the heat/cool fan went on, it ka-THUNKed and startled me. (I finally figured out how to turn it to stay on constantly, but it took me a while.)

Consequently, I was still awake (though trying to sleep) at two o'clock in the morning, when my neighbours started to loudly QUACK or HONK. I don't know whether they were enjoying themselves or fighting - but it was LOUD, and it went on for a long time.

It was disturbing enough for long enough that I finally grabbed my glasses and looked out the window into the courtyard.

That was when I noticed there were indeed ducks. Or swans. Big, white birds, anyway. It was dark, but I could tell there were several of them, and they were quacking to beat the band. I couldn't see what they were doing, only that they were doing it noisily.

Admitting defeat, I climbed back under the covers and pulled one of the many pillows over my head and was asleep within a short while.

Interestingly, the next night I got to bed at a reasonable hour and had no such disturbance. But I had to wonder if I was the only guest whose sleep had ever been disturbed by activities in the courtyard pond.

View of the courtyard from my room, taken the morning after my sleepless night.
The hotel is on the top floors of the hotel and has created a tiny woodland.
And here is the same picture with all the wildlife highlighted.
Quite the crowded little corner of the world.

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