The messed-up breakfast


When you know what you’ve ordered but you don’t know what you’re getting – thoughts on breakfast from an Abuja hotel.

Something bizarre happened to me the other morning.

I was staying in a relatively expensive hotel in central Abuja where you order your breakfast by filling in the menu each night, ticking the different boxes for each food category. If you don’t forget to leave the menu outside your door by 9pm, then they then come and collect it and wake you up with breakfast in bed. Woohoo!

So, the food options.  Not that there were many, in fact you had ONE choice per each category: drinks, a few types of cereal, fruit, eggs, sides (mushrooms, hash browns, tomatoes and plantain – that’s pretty much it), meat and of course, bread, however you could only choose either jam or butter (who eats jam without butter??). The menu was always the same every day, so there really weren’t many boxes to tick. Not complaining at all – the fewer choices the better, food isn’t something you wanna stress about. The breakfast wasn’t too bad, either. There was one thing, though, I had an issue with: the breakfast was regularly messed up.  In fact, this one day in particular it was a complete mess: basically everything I did not order was kindly brought to my room instead of my choices.

Here’s the scene:

I call the reception to explain my breakfast is (again) wrong. The guy comes 5 minutes later with my menu from the previous night, proudly showing me how I actually ticked the various things that were brought to me, smirking at me with a “See? You crazy woman” look (tip: try and imagine that in a thick Nigerian accent).

Me: ‘I’m pretty sure I didn’t order cornflakes.’

Him: ‘Well, Ma’am, it’s ticked.’

Me: ‘But I don’t even like cornflakes.’

Him: *silence* + “See? You crazy woman” look.

Me: ‘I did not order sausages.’

Him: ‘Oh you didn’t? ‘Cause they’re ticked here…’

Me: ‘Hmm. But I’m a vegetarian.’

Someone in the kitchen, for some mad reason, felt that not only would making me the most random breakfast (literally just choosing it for me) be a lot of fun, but also that ticking a few boxes to save their arse would make them smart arses and make me look like a crazy liar who does nothing but complain. It was hilarious. His annoying smirk suddenly disappeared  (to my satisfaction) and he proceeded to apologise.

From that night onwards, Cri (my colleague) and I started using funny shapes and coloured pens to tick the boxes when filling in the menu at night, just for the fun of to see if they’d try to fake our ticks again, haha. At day 4 I gave up – I’d still get watermelon for pineapple, mushroom for hashbrowns and milk for juice, but the excitement of a daily surprise messed-up breakfast had started to become way more entertaining than my worthless arguments with the hotel staff.

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