I heard a news report about a woman who complained of multiple bedbug bites from her stay at the Nevele, Catskills. It brought me back to my stay there, and to my own travel and tourism experience.
Not everyone knows this about me, but I used to be a travel agent. Then again, seven years after I quit people still ask me about travel deals. I worked at one of the major travel retailers in New York, at four of their Manhattan locations in two years. Of course, the best thing about working in travel is the travel opportunities. I got deeply discounted tickets for my second trip to London, and was able to bring Marie and Cecile at an amazing price. It was a fantastic six days of running around with my brand new camcorder all over the place. I returned to New York invigorated and just in time to go on a weekend fam (familiarization) trip one week later with the rest of my office to the Nevele. I wasn't particularly keen on going, but figured it wouldn't kill me. Hey, free food! Plus I remembered the old commercials and thought maybe I'll get some swimming pool time or something.
Though I survived the trip, I have almost no fond memories of that weekend. First, I had to share a bed with my manager. Though she was a really pleasant woman, she was a smoker and I hated to complain, so I suffered in silence. It wasn't lovely at all to hear the giggles of the women that the guys brought into the suite two in the morning. The food was mediocre, it rained all weekend, and all the dinners consisted of prize contests that had the older travel agents show the WWF side of their personalities. So petty!
We returned on the day of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. That was the same year they made that Seinfeld episode revolving around the parade. I had similar difficulties. It was not fun to get back to Queens. I had to take the N train with all my luggage. A bag full of travel brochures was chucked before I could make it on the train.
There was only one photograph of our group that weekend. The rest of the office was smiling, but right in the middle was a frowning Catherine. I've never seen myself looking so miserable in a photo. I should have gotten a copy.
I wasn't cut out to be a travel agent. I'd had aspirations of being a travel writer, or perhaps working for a specialty tour company; for instance, literary tours, tea related tours... selling packages to Disney World and Sandals was not my thing. It's the only job I quit and my only actual profession with a title and my own business card. Clients must have seen the Nevele Frown on my face often, and that's not motivational. I do miss the discounts though.