May 1, 2013 .
Suisse Majestic Grand Hotel, Montreux, Switzerland
5.38 am Switzerland, 11.38 am Singapore
Of the 28 Singaporeans on this packaged tour, the travellers over 40 years old predominate. There were one couple (married, one year), another one (married two years), 3rd couple (married 5 years).
Yesterday, we had to lug over heavy luggage up two flights of a narrow escalator to walk to the entrance of Suisse Majestic, an expensive hotel according to our guide. A woman in her late 40s fell backwards down the escalator and hurt her right hand and back. At the lobby, her friend palpated her head (no pain). "Wait and see if there is vomiting," another lady suggested, bringing forth a packet that I thought was the Chinese herbal patch. I asked the hotel receptionist. She said: "No hotel doctor. Take a taxi to the Emergency department of the nearby hospital." Travel can be dangerous when hotels are not easily accessible.
This morning at 4.30 am, I could not log in my iPhone 4 and consulted the receptionist. He finally figured out to log via Safari. I asked if it was OK to go out. "Very safe in Montreux," he said. I exited the revolving door. The air was slightly chilly. The street was deserted. The train station which has rumbling noisy trains now and then was across the road. "Should I risk being mugged?" I asked myself. I wanted to return. The revolving door did not open. I rang the bell. No response. I looked for a place to flash my security card hoping to gain access but there was no such panel as in a condo with gated security. "What should I do?" The air was fresh. The sky was getting lighter. My solution came from the British as 4 well-dressed people in coats and good quality nice dresses were moving towards me after being lifted up by the same escalator that caused my travelling lady to fall backwards.
The group increased to more young couples and a senior citizen with a younger lady headed towards the hotel. The ladies were in their late 20s. One did not wear shoes, the other wore black stocking, carrying the shoes. British accent. "You are not going to knock on the glass door, Annabel," the brunette said to the fair lady with blond hair, bare feet and red dress. I studied in Britain 4 decades ago and understood a bit about the Caucasian culture after a few drinks and being happy and vocal. It was 4.30 am now. Annabel rang the bell. No response. Anthony asked: "Did you ring the door bell? What time will you be leaving? 10.30 am? You may as well go to the train station to wait for the train!"
The trains were running. Another lady banged on the curved glass door. "Knock, knock, anyone inside?" There was the kind gentleman in his 40s who had got the internet access for my iPhone. He came and opened the door.
So, this is Montreux for me. Is it really safe to walk at 4.30 am alone? The hotel door self-locks too at this time. So I guess I have been lucky as I did not go out alone. Who knows? The drug addict may be around looking for victims.