Wednesday, 10 May 2017

In Nashville, Day Four...*

There's a lot of raised voices outside of my room and it's 0520hrs. A woman and a man are raising their voices at each other – arguing in other words – and it can only be a matter of time before somebody from the hotel management arrives or somebody opens their door. I think the kerfuffle (that's a good word) is coming from next door, room 508.

Woman's voice: "My God, get you're shit together!" There was much more, but I can't remember what. At one stage I heard the woman use the word 'abnormal' and the man seemingly protesting or justifying whatever it was that she thought wasn't right.

Now it's gone quiet, perhaps somebody has had word. My room and next door's are linked by a door that is obviously locked, but I'm always slightly uneasy about internal doors into other people's rooms. Earlier, resting my ear on the door I thought I'd better keep away in case one of them attempted to shoot the other and the bullet flew through the door and hit me. I'm making a sweeping generalisation here that all Americans are gun-toting maniacs who can't have an argument without shooting at one another.

The last time I eavesdropped on an argument between a man and a woman in a hotel room was in Pittsburgh at the Quality Inn, but I can't remember the gist of whatever row they were having.

The interstate
We're back to silence and birdsong, which has been pronounced over here. It's now 0526 and its brightening up outside. I can hear the distant roar of the interstate, or perhaps its the aircon. The interstate is a shortish walk from the hotel, possibly 10 minutes, but I'm thinking now that it's the aircon, although I might be wrong.

It's Wednesday and I'm up early because I went to bed early. Since Monday it's been work during the day, an early dinner with a colleague and then we part company, around 1930hrs. I walk back to my hotel, it takes 20 minutes along Demonbreun, which is pronounced De-mon-breun and not Demon brewin' as I was saying until somebody who lives here corrected me. Once in my room and with no urge to go back out again and nothing much going on in the hotel I simply jump into bed and fall asleep, waking once or twice during the night but then rising around 0500hrs.

What to say about Nashville? Well, you won't be surprised to hear that I like it (I like everywhere I go). There are high-rise buildings here, of course there are, but not as many as Portland or Cleveland or Indianapolis, but the downtown is growing, hotels are going up and so are office buildings, probably much to the dismay of the locals, but then I guess that high-rises and hotels bring in money and generate wealth and that should, by rights, benefit everybody. There's a large Marriott going up next to the Westin, there's already a Sheraton, a Hilton, an Omni, all the big brands are here, and they're being fuelled by a huge and impressive convention centre where I'm spending all of my days while here in the city.

I've been told it's a pretty safe place, although it's probably not safe for women walking around alone at night, but that's pretty much the same as in the UK. I've seen the odd down-and-out, but so far, that's about it; although, oddly, yesterday morning, my mobile phone sent through an 'amber alert' alerting me and millions of other mobile users in the city to a paranoid schizophrenic who had broken into his girlfriend's apartment and stolen her baby. I'm not sure on the latest, but I found it odd that my mobile received the message. I went down to breakfast and there on the television was the same words that had appeared on my phone, "Amber Alert" along with photos of the abducted baby and the madman.

While the madman and the baby is the local news, the big national story is Donald Trump's sacking of FBI director Comey, the man heading an investigation into the Trump administration's links with Russia. Odd that the man running the investigation into Trump has been sacked by Trump, but I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions, although, if it wasn't politics but gangland, I'd imagine Comey would have been bumped off.

Jackelope Bearwalker, 6% abv at the Omni
On the food front I can't say I'm impressed as it's all kettle chips with burgers and beer. I'm generalising, but there seems to be two extremes: either you go to places like the Hard Rock Café where there are lots of burger-type meals accompanied by fries or 'chips' – the terminology can be confusing, but basically if 'chips' are offered you're going to get crisps and that appears to be the common culinary currency here. The other extreme is places like the Palm, where we went yesterday evening and realised pretty quickly that it was 'posh'. Posh but still a little brash. It was a haunt of 'celebrities' which over here means film stars like Mel Gibson. The reason I mention Mel is because his is the first face I see – drawn on the wall, in colour, by a cartoonist and placed alongside many others. There are, of course, prices to match and a certain pushiness on behalf of the waiting staff. I'll give you two examples: first, the wine waiter (yes, there's a separate waiter for the drinks). I order a Cabernet, mainly because I'm not a great fan of the beer over here, but I'm not at all happy at the prices. Put it this way, two glasses of wine cost more than the food I ordered. Now that's not on for a start, but what I found irksome was the Ned Beatty lookalike waiter's assumption that I'd ordered a 9oz glass. I hadn't. In fact I hadn't said either way, but the prices were high so I was going for the 6oz. He came back with a smaller carafe and slung the contents into my awaiting glass.

I ordered linguine with clams – the bias here was steaks. There were bread rolls and some horrible-tasting iced tap water. My bill, without the tip, was almost $74. Never again, put it that way, as most of my 'potato chip and burger' meals have cost far less.

The waitress who took our food order was annoying too. She insisted on bellowing out the desserts rather than hand us both a menu. It was the usual fayre but at vastly inflated prices: Key Lime Pie, loads of chocolate-based desserts and, of course, cheesecake. We declined them all, paid up and left.

I moseyed on back to my hotel in the evening heat. It was still light as I made my way along Demonbreun and stopping off en route at Del Frisco's Grille just to check it out. It's close-by the hotel, meaning I don't have the 20-minute walk and can simply finish work, come back to the hotel and then go out later – I'll be alone from tonight as my colleague flies home. I stick around for the plant trips on Thursday.

Actually, I say that Del Frisco's is closer to the hotel in which I'm staying (1201 Demonbreun, I'm at 1407) but it's still on the other side of the interstate, although I'm guessing no more than 10 minutes. The prices look more reasonable too; put it this way, I could have two entreés for the price of one small glass of wine at The Palm.

So, it's 0622hrs, the sun is out, all is still, the skies are blue and I can hear the sound of a helicopter. I'd better get ready for breakfast and a catch-up on what's been happening with the schizo and the baby and, of course, the latest on Trump. Amazing how the two are mentioned in the same sentence.

* The reason there's no Day Three is simple: nothing much of any interest happened.

I write a lot of hotel and restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor, which can be read by clicking here.

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