Fawlty Towers Comes to Cusco

Before getting into this post let me warn you. I have skipped over a few days in order to share the experience of our last night in Peru while it is fresh in my mind.

Some background: On Sunday evening we had a fabulous meal at Morena’s Peruvian Kitchen. It was so fabulous that we made a reservation to go back last night as well – our last night here. However after our long day on Wednesday Lynne and Martin went to Les Melens for dinner while Terry and I went to bed. It was so good that we cancelled our reservation and planned to go there, which is where this experience really begins.

Thursday morning they are out for a stroll and see “the guy” – you know, the one who is always trying to pull you into his restaurant. Lynne asks if she can make a reservation for 7:30. “Sure, you can even choose your own table.” They go upstairs and choose two tables for two which can be put together for 4. And, they are on the window overlooking the main square. Perfect. Lynne mentions that it is our last night in Peru and he assures them that it will be a special evening. Perfect.

Later Martin is out for a stroll and the same guy tries to pull him in. “We have a reservation for 7:30.” A blank look is quickly followed by a “Yes, of course.” We arrive at 7:25 and walk upstairs. A waiter greets Lynne “Hello. Welcome back. How was your trip?” Lynne responds “Good.” Now remember they had been there the night before, there was no time for a trip and Lynne spent the afternoon in bed suffering from altitude sickness. “Trip?” “Good”?

We tell the waiter that we have a reservation for the table on the window and look down the restaurant where the two tables are. One is occupied by two men who have full drinks in front of them and not looking like they are leaving any time soon. The other is empty. We tell the waiter that we will have a drink and wait for it to become available and sit down at an empty table to wait.

Suddenly, there are four Pisco Sours in front of us. Delightful. They are compensating us for the screw up. We toast and have a few sips. Our good fortune on this trip continues. Also suddenly, a different server brings a couple in and seats them at the second table. We are all gobsmacked. When the waiter comes by, I tell him that that is our table and we are waiting for the other table to clear. He goes away and then the first waiter goes by us to, presumably to tell them they have to move. No, it is to remove the reserved sign from the table. Then the manager comes over and we explain it all over again. He looks at his watch and says ” Well the reservation was for 7:30 and it is now 7:45″ clearly implying we were late. “No, we have been here since 7:25 waiting.” He then goes over and tells the new couple he must move them, which he does. I felt sorry for them, but they were very gracious about the whole thing.

It is apparent that reservations and choose your own tables are just like traffic lights in China – just ethereal concepts.

It is now 7:45 and I see food being delivered to the two guys! I go over to the manager and tell him that since the two guys are clearly going to be awhile, he may as well give the table back to the couple and we’ll just sit at a different table. On the way back I stop and explain what was happening to a lovely Swedish couple.

When I get back to the waiting table, the Pisco Sours are gone. Apparently they were for a different table. Lynne thought they were moving us to some kind of special table and almost followed him, but no, they were just taking them away. We have no idea what happened to them. (Shades of Manuel – “Qui, Meester Fawlty?”)

We move ourselves to another table and promptly receive four mini Pisco Sours from the manager. “No charge” he says.

We order a bottle of red wine and a glass of white. The red comes and is opened, tasted and poured. (Do you have any idea how difficult it is to taste wine just after having a few sips of a mini Pisco Sour? I did soldier on though.) We wait patiently for the glass of white which, does come, except it is a glass of red. Back it goes and eventually a glass of white does arrive.

We order our food which is delicious, although according to the menu Terry was supposed to get fries instead of the boiled potatoes that showed up, her chicken seemed to be served in the fetal position and Lynne’s Spaghetti Pesto tasted strangely like Spaghetti Mint.

Jorge, the waiter, comes by at some point and says “Tomorrow I will laugh about all of this, but tonight I feel bad”

Other observations:

The special of the restaurant are 15″ brochettes. They are served on a bbq-like tray with fries. As one is being delivered to a neighbouring table, a brochette falls on the floor.

The two guys on the street trying to get you to come in are also the guys who bring you upstairs and seat you. It is disconcerting to see two guys in parkas and toques seating guests and moving tables about.

The “napkins” at Les Melens can double as a strip of toilet paper in a pinch.

In the week we have been here, we have not laughed so hard at anything – particularly the removal of the Pisco Sours. They truly did make it a special, albeit Fawlty Towers type, evening.

5 thoughts on “Fawlty Towers Comes to Cusco

  1. Riitta Ivison

    I love reading about your adventures. It brings back so many memories of what can go wrong when you travel.
    Enjoy the rest of your adventure.

  2. Wendy Wilson

    I love reading about all your travels. So funny the way you phrase happenings. Do hope you are going to put them all into a book and we can go to Chapters to buy it in the Travel Section!


Leave a Reply