A taste of Indian in Canada: Part 2- The Bar

Although his conference was at the Westin, Agent Triple P decided, at the last minute, to change his booking to the Chateau Laurier when he discovered it was only across the road from the aforementioned anonymous convention hotel. The Chateau Laurier was the complete opposite of an American chain hotel. Commissioned by Charles Melville Hays, General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, to service the station opposite, he was due to open the hotel on 26th April 1912 but, unfortunately for him, chose to return to North America from England on RMS Titanic. As a result the hotel was eventually opened by former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, after whom it was named. Canadian Pacific bought the hotel and when they bought out the luxury American chain Fairmont they changed their name to Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, despite many Americans assuming that Fairmont had bought CP.

Given the short time he would be spending in the hotel it was almost a waste to have such a large and comfortable room but a large cooked breakfast in Wilfrid’s restaurant, overlooking the Parliament buildings , soon sorted him out.

After his tedious Government meeting he had lunch with G, his long time associate, in a trendy restaurant in a courtyard behind the Chateau Laurier. It was nice to sit outside in the sunshine and his tomato and goats cheese salad followed by mascarpone and wild mushroom risotto were very good. He took only a glass of Niagara Riesling as he wasmaking a speech that afternoon.

By 16.45 he was on his way back to the airport and managed to get onto an earlier flight to Toronto. Apart from a rather horrible 20 seconds of turbulence half way through the flight he made good time and checked into the Royal York Hotel on Front Street by 8.45pm. He had last stayed in the Royal York in 1995 when he had found it rather a faded relic of its former glory.

Famously the largest hotel in the British Empire when it opened it was now dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the financial district. But now he found it beautifully and sensitively restored.

The grand, central lobby was back to its magnificent best. Having fallen out of love with the even more venerable King Edward he knew, within a few minutes, that the Royal York would become his new favourite in Toronto.

This was particularly true when he saw the spacious suite the reception girl had upgraded him to. He dropped off his bag, showered, changed and was in the Library Bar by 9.00pm.

The Library Bar at the Royal York Hotel is the sort of bar that all hotel bars should be. Wood panelling, crimson wallpaper, dim lighting, deep comfortable chairs and shelves filled with old books. He was due to meet C, a lawyer, at 21.00 but he knew that she was always late and, also, that she would arrive straight from the office. She eventually arrived at 21.25 which, for her, was positively early. C was an Indian Canadian (her family were from the Sub-Continent, not the tepee dwelling kind) who changed her look more often than Madonna. The last time he had seen her she had waist length hair and was affecting an ethnic look. This evening she was wearing a white leather micro-skirt, matching white leather jacket and white knee length boots. Her hair had been cut short in what was sometimes known as the gamine style.

“If you say I look like something from Austen Powers you can forget any action later!” she said, dropping down into the leather chair and beckoning to the waitress in her characteristically imperious style. Agent Triple P, of course would say nothing of the kind. Neither would he say, although it was true, that he preferred her with her long, black locks: he had learned decades ago that you never, ever made a negative comment about a lady’s hairstyle. “Just so I know, as I have to send an urgent e-mail, are we just having drinks, or dinner or is it the whole have sex and stay over for breakfast thing?”

C proceeded to place two mobile phones onto the table. His associate Agent DVD had pondered long on this female habit of putting their phones down in front of them. One girl had indicated to him that phones were hard to find in a handbag and so getting them out onto a convenient surface was just practical. It still seemed to indicate, as far as Agent Triple P was concerned, that they were waiting for a better offer.

He indicated, as carefully as he could, that he had not seen C since March and, therefore, as much time with her as possible would be most agreeable.

“Fine. Order me one of your Martinis and I’ll go to the business centre and send my e-mail. Have you got any condoms? If not I’ll get some in the store downstairs.”
C was not what one might call a romantic.

She disappeared to go to the business centre whilst Agent Triple P perused the Martini menu. The Library Bar had recently been voted the best Martini bar in Toronto; an accolade not easily won. They had over 50 Martinis on their special list. Most looked ghastly so he stuck with his usual: two parts Stolichnaya (gratifyingly they had Black Label), one part Bombay Sapphire, one part Dry Vermouth (sadly Martini & Rossi rather than his favourite, Chambéry) and six drops of Angostura bitters. He was feeling louche, perhaps it was all the white leather, so went for a twist of lime rather than his usual olives.

She returned after about ten minutes, took a huge swig of her Martini and, gratifyingly, visibly relaxed. They ordered some food. It was the lobster season and they had a special menu. He ordered a Mozzarella, tomato and lobster salad followed by a chicken salad. He was trying to maintain his recent healthy diet. C, on the other hand, who was always stick thin, ordered French onion soup, which seemed to contain what looked like half a pound of melted cheese, followed by a 10oz New York sirloin with fries. Metabolic rates were so unfair, he mused.

They had an off-dry Trius Niagara Riesling, made by an Australian in the particular micro-climate at the foot of the Niagara escarpment, which complemented his lobster perfectly. He was not sure how it would go with onion soup, however.

Although they caught up on news of mutual acquaintances C seemed very concerned to discuss work and indeed they discussed a particular business relationship between their organisations. This would make Agent Triple P particularly beholden to her and she explained that she would expect him to be particularly attentive to her in the future. Not too much of a trial, he mused, looking at the firm expanse of toned thigh just over an arm’s length away.

C was not a person to argue with. Following their business discussion, and half way through their second bottle of Riesling, he listened to her update on her typically complex love life. C’s problem, in essence, was that she was not sure if she was a lesbian or a homosexual man in a woman’s body. She swung from women to men and back again whilst generally tending towards the feminine. In fact, he had first met her as a companion of his lady friend S from Vancouver. Whatever her proclivities, she preferred to be the dominant partner but, like other supposedly dominant women Agent Triple P had met, what they really often wanted, at least occasionally, was to be dominated themselves. As Agent Triple P was reminded later that night it was sometimes necessary to forget 21st century received wisdom about how to treat women and delve into mankind’s Neolithic past for appropriately basic behavioural norms.

So the end of the evening was as athletic and physically demanding as he had come to expect. Whilst enjoying being caveman to C’s cavegirl there was too much of the modern woman in her to mean that he escaped unscathed. He just hoped the scratches would heal quickly.
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