DECEMBER 2003/JANUARY 2004

HOTEL

Adonis Palace

Muhsine Hatun Mahallesi

My father appreciates his own naked body, and whenever we share a hotel room, I know he’ll be spending most of his time indoors swanking around in the nude. He’s unhappy otherwise. When we travel together, my father’s nakedness is the last thing I see before the light goes out, and when the sun rises, there he is, just out of the shower, explaining something about a sightseeing opportunity we will be enjoying later—only I can’t make out what he’s saying, because again, here is the nakedness, freshly laundered, ruddy from recent towelwork, right at eye level, sucking the sound out of my ears. It is an exotic sort of communion. It is like gazing into the face of an elephant seal.

Tonight we are in Istanbul, and my father has booked us a room at the Adonis Palace Hotel. I wonder what kind of hotel this is, and how it will be for us there. In fact, it’s very good, a restored Ottoman-era townhouse within earshot of the merry racket of the Kumkapi fish market. Just beyond the check-in desk is a shady rear patio, where you can have an inexpensive drink and listen to songs by American rappers. The interior hallways are dark and narrow, and they lead to twenty-four guest rooms. Ours is nice, a two-story suite with ample windows and a glossy parquet floor. The first floor has a minibar and a foldout sofa, and down a spiral staircase is an honest little chamber that holds a toilet and two twin beds. “Not bad for fifty bucks,” my father says.

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—Wells Tower

Wells Tower’s writing has appeared in the Paris Review, the Oxford American, Fence, and elsewhere. He lives in New Orleans.

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