Friday, March 14, 2008

mad travel skills

mad travel skills
mad travel skills
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
Two skills are essential (I think) to enjoying solo travel: First, you've gotta not mind eating out alone. Even better if you actually enjoy it. The more comfortable you are as a solo nosher the more comfortable your waiter or waitress will be serving you -- because for whatever reason waitstaffs skew in one of two directions: Kinda freaked out to be serving a table of one, and so much so that they actually *avoid* your table, or overly garrulous to compensate for the fact that they're kinda freaked out to be serving a table of one. Or maybe they just freak out serving a solo girl table. Solo girl is the only data I have access to, so it's all I'm qualified to comment on. (Solo traveling boys: this is your opportunity to chime in.)

Second, but certainly not secondary: You've gotta know where to go.

Finding prime public toilets are key to your long term comfort and survival as *any* kind of traveler -- but when you're traveling solo your instincts must be especially keen because there's nobody around to hear you whine about your impending crisis.

We've featured a few public toilets here at detritus before (see Mies' Seagram's Building in NYC and Bloomingdales' in Chicago) and I wanted to throw one more on the pile: The third floor washroom of the New York Public Library in Midtown, somewhere approximate to 5th Avenue & 42nd Street, just this side of Nikola Tesla's commemorative corner.

Any of the library washrooms will do, of course -- they're all clean and well looked after -- but the washroom that shares the same level as the utterly lovely Rose Reading Room tops the list for its natural light and the abundant use of old school marble across any and all obliging surfaces -- most notably the long stunning row of washbasins that are maintained in prime splash-free condition by a vigilant washroom attendant. Making it not unlike a fine hotel, while at the same time making it nearly impossible to snap a shot of said marble usage, since they're sticklers about prohibiting that kind of shot at the NY Public Library.

Which is why you're getting a shot of the crumpled coat hook from my toilet stall.

Please note the abundance of marble.

With apologies, once again, for the gender bias.

Queuing up this post somewhere over Ohio. Trying to keep the blood flowing so I can safely drive myself home once this plane touches down.


Geggie said...

I travel for three to four days every week alone for work. Dining alone does not phase me one bit! I kinda enjoy it!

Derek said...

yeah, i'm with you and geggie. i don't mind the eating alone deal.

i find the waiters (male and female) fall into a couple camps:

1/ they provide very good, indifferent, yet professional service. nary a glass is left empty;

2/they totally ignore you;

3/ they flirt;

or, IMO, the worst:

4/they stand at your table and blather on and on. and on.

check please!

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