Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Road Trip: Fatigue and Roaches

Please tell me that was not a roach that just crawled up the wall.

I didn’t want to believe it, but it was a roach that just crawled up the wall. I very reluctantly climbed out of the bed, in my pajamas, to scope out the scene. I walked over to the side of the room where the roach had been and peeked around for more. I had the unfortunate pleasure of discovering one wedged between the doorframe, one beneath the table by the window, one underneath the air conditioning unit, and one in the closet. Then I stopped looking. It was time to go.

How did I manage to get ready for bed, put on my pajamas, and close my eyes without noticing a single roach, you ask? Well that is simple–the fatigue had reached a whole new level. I had already gotten to the point of bombarding my companion with the ridiculous inquiry of, “where are we again?” at least once each day. And on top of being mentally spent, we had just lugged all of our belongings up two flights of stairs because the elevator was nowhere to be found. Now, this is a routine we are quite accustomed to at this stage in our travels. Park car, take out bags, put bags in room, sleep, take everything out the next morning, move on. However, on this particular night, because the location of the hotel did not give us warm and fuzzy feelings of safety, we decided to take our bikes down from the rack on the car and into the room, just to be on the safe side. So yes, I rolled a full sized bicycle up two flights of stairs–one step at a time. It was so ridiculous and I was so tired, I burst into giggles in the middle of the staircase, making the moving of the bikes all the more difficult. Funny how delirious we can be when sleep-deprived. Needless to say, once I was finally in the room and settled under the covers, I did not want to move one inch. I had zero energy to notice roaches, but once they start scurrying around in plain sight, I have no choice. There was no way we could stay here for two nights.

We had finally arrived in Washington D.C.–well technically Arlington as D.C. hotels did not suit our very low budgets, and we were exhausted. We had spent the better part of the day exploring Monticello in Virginia and rediscovering what a multifaceted person Thomas Jefferson was. We walked in the footsteps of his former slaves and tried to imagine how life must have been for them. It was a history packed day, and after visiting D.C.’s famous Ben’s Chili Bowl upon arrival and devouring two orders of chili cheese fries, one chili dog, and a chili burger between us (the chili was that good), we now had food coma on top of fatigue. I just wanted to close my eyes.

We trudged back down the two flights of stairs and headed for the lobby hoping to get our money back and be on our way with minimal struggle. Oh, how naïve we were.


Exhibit A
We were met with a short, portly older woman who was ready for a fight. We explained the situation and she demanded we show her the roaches, because in all her 18 years of working here, she has never had such a complaint. She behaved as though we had planted our own roaches, and were trying to scam the hotel out of whatever measly money they might have had. Luckily, we had a handy photograph of Exhibit A, the roach in the doorframe, for evidence. “Well I can only refund you for tomorrow night because you have already used the room tonight,” she told us sternly. WHAT?! Now I was ready for battle. Unloading your belongings and spending thirty minutes in a room only to discover it had roaches, hardly counts as using it. I told her very nicely, that was completely unacceptable. She followed with, “Well, I couldn’t refund your room anyhow because you booked with Hotels.com and they have to cancel it, I will upgrade you to a new room.”

Exhibit B
We did not want any rooms in this place, but for the sake of sleeping and ending the battle, we accepted. We asked her what she was planning to do if we found roaches in the new room to which she barked, “Honey, if you do, you come and talk to me because that’s just not going to happen.” Okay. We headed up to the room and walked right past the previously elusive elevator. We inserted the key apprehensively, opened the door and found a new roach perched almost mockingly right on the wall above the bed. Second round of giggles. We marched back to the lobby, and now the male manager wanted to see Exhibit B, the roach above the bed, for himself. He walked back up with us, ended the life of the roach that was clearly there, apologized profusely, and told us that in his 13 years of working here, he had never had this problem. How crazy that they had their first ever large influx of roaches on the very night of our arrival.

By the time we reached the lobby, the woman had already processed our refund for the two nights. Hmm, she must have waved her magic wand and gotten the cancellation from Hotels.com just like that. We unloaded the car, took the bikes back down via elevator this time, and were gone.

Fighting to keep my eyes open, I entered the room in the new, cleaner, safer looking hotel, scanned it for roaches and only found one, dead, way in the corner beneath the safe. At least it was dead. Bags out again, then I am just going to close my eyes…

3 comments:

Eurotrip Tips said...

Poor thing! That's the sour side of travel, I guess. Sometimes, the unknown is not good!

But at least you're laughing it out. I admire you for that, for all I know I wouldn't have wanted to get out of the car again after that! ;)

Have a safe ride home, can't wait to read more, because, as always, your stories are so good!

Thuyen said...

Is it bad I laughed in sympathy at your sheer exhaustion and yet found the will to fight for and get your refund? Awesome. You two are going to be whole new people when you return. Have a safe trip home!

Mary R said...

Eeks! I don't know what's worse- the roaches or that woman! Someone had a roach stuck up her...

Glad you got the refund! Travelers unite!

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