I travel for business and the world is my oyster. I am not always confined to certain locations. This makes for a lot of adventure and exploration. I have my favorite places and my most detested haunts. In essence, I have a few stories to tell. Life is never boring on the road. I usually take international flights and stay for at least a few days in a local hotel. Not wanting to spend a fortune, I tend to go the budget route. As a result, I have stayed in lodgings that are less than desirable. If you are picky, you won’t want my list of global hotels, especially those in some third-world countries. I don’t always go to metropolitan cities like London or Paris and stay in the famous inns such as the George V or the Connaught. It makes for some interesting times, however, and I don’t want to complain about my choices. Someday I will try the five-star hotels for the purposes of comparison; but frankly I already know the difference.

I have stayed in average places that don’t empty your pocketbook, and some were rather strange, if not weird. I remember (not fondly) one with an above ground pool in the front. You couldn’t miss it. Being highly visible was not the problem. I have seen that before. It was the people who frequented it that were at issue. I don’t know if they just wandered over from the neighborhood to swim or were guests staying on the property. If they were, I am the epitome of normality. I don’t know why they were in the water day and night as an above-ground pool is not that wonderful. They are usually just a simple tank, sometimes with a filter and a heater, and therefore nothing special. You can’t dive in and it is even hard to climb in and out.

Back to the bathers. I did say that they were odd. They seem to be middle age and not young as one would expect. They also seemed to know each other and were playing some kind of tag game that is usually associated with children. They were yelling a lot, but it didn’t seem to be hostile, but rather with good cheer. I started to wonder, but became even more inquisitive when I saw that all the men had beards and were wearing skimpy Speedo bathing trunks. The odd part is that they all looked alike. How strange I thought. I really wanted to ask them questions but I knew there would be a language barrier. I made up stories in my mind as an explanation. Perhaps it was some kind of eerie swim club that had pool privileges. In any case, I personally would never consider entering the water with this band of oddballs. Occasionally, the air was punctured with belly laughs. Were they telling jokes? I never found out as I didn’t want to draw closer to this weird bunch.