Hotels always have a front and a back of the house. You can compare the back of the house with going backstage at the theatre. As the traveler you will never see the back of the house. This is where you find the employee entrance, the employee hallways (at the Fontainebleau Hotel the employee hallways consisted of a fascinating labyrinth in the hotel’s basement where I often got lost), the employee elevators, the employee uniform room, the employee locker room, the employee cafeteria, the laundry room, the loading docks, offices and lots of storage areas. My favorite storage area is where Housekeeping keeps its soaps, shampoos and body lotions. This area always smells so good. In the employee hallways you will further find all types of message boards with postings celebrating the employee of the month, employee schedules, shopper report results, announcements of upcoming trainings to hotel rules and laws.
When I was a child, my Dutch-Indonesian grandmother always answered the question where she was from by saying that she was a citizen of the world. I grew up in the Netherlands, a tiny nation. Mostly I remember the Dutch gray sky. It seemed to be raining a lot and my hands and feet were always cold.
Once upon a time, I was a student at Andalas University in Padang, Sumatra. I was living with an Indonesian family and I was lucky. My host mother was an outstanding chef. She knew all of my favorite Indonesian dishes that I had grew up with in the Netherlands and had some secret recipes herself. In my three months as a summer student, I gained five kilo’s. My host mother thought I was too skinny. She also wanted to be sure my mother back home knew she had taken excellent care of me.