I used to hide out in the den at my father's teak desk, transfixed by the globe. After choosing the most exotic spot I could find I would pull the phone close and dial the toll free Holiday Inn number from the commercial; the one where they said they have locations all over the world.
"Holiday Inn, how may I help you?"
"Hi, do you have a hotel in Mozambique?", I would ask trying to sound adult-like.
"Yes, we do. It's in Maputo."
"Perfect. I was wondering how much it costs a night to stay there?"
"What day are you arriving?"
"Oh, I'm not sure exactly. It's all still up in the air." I was proud of myself for that line. It sounded just like something my mother would say.
"Ah, the beginning of April? I just want to get an idea of how much money it will be."
"Alright, let me check on that for you."
As I waited I would try to imagine what the hotel would be like in whatever place I was calling about. For Mozambique I envisioned burgundy and gold drapes, palm trees, air thick with spices. I wondered if there would be an outdoor pool. Of course there would be, I decided.
"Ok, the cost for a standard double occupany room for April 1st is $169.00 per night."
"169..." I pretended to contemplate the price. "Ok, well I will have to get back to you with my final decision."
"Ok, thank you for calling the holiday inn", the man said on the other end and then cleared his throat. "Have a nice day ma'am."