mardi 31 décembre 2013

Belize - 3. How to tell if your hotel room is just TOO dirty

I travel for work, and am usually away at least once a week at some hotel somewhere. Most of the time, I don’t worry about a mark on the wall here, or a thinning carpet, or a bathroom that looks like it stepped out of your Gran’s 1970s re-make. A hotel room can be worn down, and fringing along the edges, and that’s fine with me as long as it’s clean.

My husband’s grandmother use to get into a hotel and whip back the covers to see if they were smooth and ironed. This was her fail-safe ‘clean’ test. I am sure that we all have pet peeves when it comes to a cleanliness standard. I have friends that are paranoid about bed bugs. Never seen one myself. Ever.

I once stayed in a hotel in Chicago where the carpet by the door had been ripped out in the shape of a body, and the door had a huge dent in it that had been covered with steel bars. Not sure what happened there. But I stayed, and it was fine for the price.
I have also stayed in a motel room in Niagara Falls where they charged extra for a second pillow. There, I woke up to a man vomiting outside of my door. Nice. Those are the low points. My minimum bar of [un]acceptable.

And so, having arrived in Central America, my expectations were already low, but how low can they go before you just can’t live with it anymore? Sure, at the Chateau Caribbean the carpet is falling away in threads, and the walls, judging from their marks and exposed studs haven’t been painted in awhile. The air conditioner didn’t work and the windows were wide open to the street traffic. Still, not worried.
Upon arrival, there was even a small lizard - a ‘makalah’ (“MA-Kah-Lah”) the locals call them in creole- that greeted me on the wall as I entered. Even makalahs don’t concern me. Nope. Not worried about it jumping on my face or anything in the middle of the night. After all, at home we have the odd mosquitos, spiders and flies coming and going, don’t we? And European travellers find those offensive.

No, I was completely content until I woke up last night to go to the toilet, and found two three-inch cockroaches running across my bed. To give me credit, I didn’t scream (although I wanted to). I didn’t even pack my bags right then and there. The one I chased down and smushed flat with the telephone book.
It took five tries, but then these are the creatures predicted to survive a nuclear holocaust after all. The other got away. And I spent the rest of the night with the lights on worried he was going to bring all of his friends back. When dawn finally surfaced out of my nightmare, I said, “Okay, this IS the limit.”

And I packed my bags, took the dead roach to the front desk, and left.

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