My father told me about it,
but he never stayed there.
My uncles did, their employers had higher status
and bigger expenses.
Visitors from the provinces felt more than guests –
luxury, somewhat like staying in a castle.
12 or 14 stories
harbour views and out to the inner islands.
Private bars and dining rooms,
a cocktail lounge and ballroom,
where three times per year, black-tie functions
and the city’s elite.
once per year, white tie and the nation’s elite.
Prime location, by the railway station
just down the road from the university
I attended 25 years later.
I went there once or twice
splendour had passed
now surviving on cheaper drinks
and cheap rooms – by the hour.
Perhaps complacency was to blame
they didn’t see the danger on the less pretty side of town
the airlines and the airport did for it.