We went to afternoon tea in the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel (something every self-respecting Anglophile and/or reader of guide books to Hong Kong should would do).
We knew going in that they didn’t take reservations, that there would probably be a line, but that did not prepare us for the string of people waiting to sample the goods, nor the fact that a hotel renowned for its service would not take one (or more) of the many service-oriented steps available to it, and that the wait would be more uncomfortable than that you might endure at any Ruby Tuesday. No way to register your party’s name and number of guests (with an estimate of how long the wait might be), nowhere to sit, and certainly not a little buzzer you might take away to find a place to relax and be summoned when your golden moment arrived – we were left to stand on increasingly tender travel-worn feet for endless minutes, avidly watching the traffic of the lucky seated and spotting openings with the enthusiasm of a sports announcer calling out a missed opportunity.
After 90 minutes (because once you’ve invested 30 minutes you morbidly figure that you may as well hang in there), our happy moment arrived. We ordered the special “pink” for October and breast cancer fundraising tea and sat back to enjoy it.
I sat back and tried diligently to pace myself and to let the surroundings sooth my tired tootsies – it helped that I began with the raisin scones as I carefully extracted the raisins first – and slowly savored the goods.
Was it worth it? Well, probably not. But we enjoyed it all the same, and left little evidence of our stay behind!