The next voice was that of the man who took my bags at the hotel. He was quite friendly. I couldn't place his accent. He was from Eritrea.
The phone in my room woke me the next morning. "Umf?" I said.
A sprightly female Southern voice said, "Information?"
"No," I said. I hung up. The phone rang again. "Yuhf?" I said.
"I figured it out," said the same voice. "You're in room 1212, aren't you?"
"See, I was trying to dial New York information, but I forgot to dial 9 first, so the only numbers that registered were 1212, which is your room. See? One, and the area code for New York...."
"Where are you?"
"In another room. I'm from Charlotte, but I live in L.A. now. You sounded so abrupt, I thought I'd call and explain. Bye."
The next person I talked to was another cordial bellman. He sounded local. He complimented me on the cap I was wearing. "Thanks," I said. "It's from Nepal." This seemed to strike no chord of recognition, so I said, more specifically, "Kathmandu." He gave me a very strange look. After a moment it occurred to me that he might think I was trying some kind of hepcat jive talk with him—as if I might be expecting him to answer, "Man, a cat sho' 'nuff do."