Roasted and ground Ethiopian coffee from Addis Ababa
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As a shrewd and internet-savvy traveller, I believed I had access to the finest deals on hotels this side of the galaxy. I booked a dirt-cheap room in Istanbul some months ago, finding a website that few visited. The photos of the rooms and the hotel were attractive and I was promised joy and happiness if I paid in advance. I was told that the view from the room of the Sea of Marmara would be breathtaking.
We reached at midnight. The neighbourhood was unfortunate. The cabby was frightened. The clerk was asleep. He took us on a long walk from the hotel to another grim structure in a narrow alleyway. Our cheap room was on the tenth floor. There was no lift.
We began the trek on the narrow stairs at about 1am huffing and puffing. The clerk waited patiently for us at various landings. Hours passed. Soon we were on the eighth floor. Dawn broke in Istanbul but we never saw it. Finally at about seven o’clock we reached our extremely compact room. We collapsed unconscious on the floor on which had been placed a tiny mattress with several charming bed bugs to keep us company. We woke up at noon.
There was a small ventilator ten feet above through which trickled light. My wife stood on my shoulders and looked outside. She confirmed that she could see the Sea of Marmara at a great distance. She took photos and I was able to view them on her digital camera. What a bargain hunter I am!
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