feeding my own misguided insanity

Ordering food at Maxlot Hotel in Accra, Ghana

Ordering food in some West African countries requires a certain approach and decorum. The most important thing to remember is that the menu is never representative of what is available in the kitchen; and even though the wait-staff are agreeable and seem to be able to deliver anything you ask for, it usually pays to double check.

*I enter the restaurant*

Shem: Can I order something up to my room?

Staff: Yes sir.

*I look through the menu*

Shem: Great, can I have the Avocado Salad?

Staff: Yes.

Shem: Do you have avocado?

Staff: I’ll check.

*disappears behind a door, then promptly comes back*

Staff: No, sorry.

Shem: Ok, can I have the Mixed Tropical Salad?

Staff: Yes.

Shem: Do you have Mango?

Staff: I’ll check.

*disappears behind a door, then promptly comes back*

Staff: No, sorry.

Shem: Hmm, what do you have?

Staff: You can have the tomato and cucumber salad.

Shem: Ok, that sounds nice. Do you have cucumber?

Staff: I’ll check.

*glances through the little window into the kitchen*.

Staff: Yes!

Shem: Great. Do you have tomatoes?

Staff: Um, yes.

Shem: Are you sure?

Staff: I’ll check.

*disappears behind a door, then promptly comes back*

Staff: No, sorry.

Shem: Ok, let’s forget the salad. Do you have chicken?

Staff: Yes.

Shem: Are you sure?

Staff: Yes.

Shem: Give me the chicken.

Staff: Do you want some starch – potatoes maybe?

Shem: I’m scared to ask whether you have it, just put whatever you have next to the chicken. But without a salad it won’t be enough, do you have Calamari?

Staff: Yes.

Shem: Are you sure, or do you need to check?

Staff: Yes I’m sure.

Shem: Ok, one portion of the grilled calamari. But are you sure it’s grilled?

Staff: Yes, all our calamari is grilled.

Shem: Great, thanks. I’d also like this white wine.

Staff: Yes, but we don’t have a corkscrew in the restaurant. I’ll have to call the bar.

Shem: Are you sure you don’t have a corkscrew.

Staff: Yes I’m sure, only the bar has the corkscrew.

Shem: But you have bottles of wine on display, why don’t you have a corkscrew?

Staff: Because only the bar has the corkscrew.

Shem: Ok, call the bar.

*barman enters*

Barman: Hello sir, that bottle you’re holding is warm, I can get you a cold one from the bar.

Shem: Fantastic, let’s go.

*I follow the barman to the bar and watch him inspect the fridge*

Barman: Sorry, it looks like we don’t have any wine.

Shem: Ok, can you go back to the restaurant and get the original wine, open it for me and bring to my room.

Barman: Yes Sir.

Shem: Thanks.

*Back at the room, knock, knock*

Barman: Your wine Sir.

Shem: Oh great, you can put it on that table.

Barman: Can I open it for you Sir?

Shem: Yes, please.

*lots of groaning and scraping noises*

Shem: Is there a problem?

Barman: The cork is difficult to get out and the corkscrew doesn’t work properly.

Shem: Looks like you’re making progress though; you’ve almost got through to the wine judging by the pieces of broken cork on the table. Actually, just leave it.

Barman: But it’s not open yet, how will you open the bottle sir?

Shem: When I’m ready to drink it I’ll push the cork into the bottle with my finger.

Barman: Should I get you another bottle of wine?

Shem: Do you have another corkscrew, one that works?

Barman: No, Sir.

Shem: Then I guess there’s no point in getting a new bottle.

Barman: Will there be anything else Sir?

*waiting for a tip*

Shem: Not today, have a good night.

*Few moments later, knock, knock*

Staff: Your room service order Sir.

Shem: Excellent, please put it down next to the wine.

Staff: Here is your chicken and your calamari.

Shem: But I ordered grilled calamari.

Staff: We didn’t have grilled calamari, only fried.

Shem: Was it fired before I ordered it?

Staff: *puzzled look*

Shem: Never mind, let me sign the bill.

*Waiting for a tip*

Shem: Have a good night.

*I close the door*

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