Somewhat Luxury

Paul Bowles, while travelling in 1953, had trouble securing a decent hotel in Istanbul. He settled on a “de luxe” establishment, and reports the following benefits of his choice.

The hotel is considered by my guidebook to be a “de luxe” establishment—the highest category. Directly after the “de luxe” listings come the “first class” places, which it describes in its own mysterious rhetoric: “These hotels have somewhat luxury, but are still comfortable with every convenience.” Having seen the lobbies of several of the hostelries thus pigeonholed, complete with disemboweled divans and abandoned perambulators, I am very thankful to be here in my de-luxe suite, where the telephone is white so that I can see the cockroaches on the instrument before I lift it to my lips. At least the insects are discreet and die obligingly under a mild blast of DDT. It is fortunate I came here: my two insecticide bombs would never have lasted out a sojourn in a first-class hotel.

From Their Heads Are Green and Their Hands Are Blue, by Paul Bowles (published 1963).

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment