Monday, October 29, 2007

New. Hotel room. Now.

So I was all ready to endure my disgusting-filthy hotel room. I was ready to suck it up and behave like the poor tourist I am.

No bedding? Well, that's one of the 101 uses for a dupatta.

Floor is dirty and insecty? Okay, then when I go down through plank and cobra I won't let my body touch the floor (which is actually a better workout, as I discovered).

Went to ask the manager if the room could be sprayed for bugs only to hear "we sprayed this morning, madam; it should be clean?" Fine. I'll go to the kirana and buy some spray and do it myself.

And thus I tucked myself into bed, hoping for a decent night's sleep. Unfortunately, the other backpackers seemed to be the partying kind, and sleep was difficult. (Note to backpackers: that "Hare Ram" song from Bhool Bhulayiaa is not that friggin cool. Do not put it on perpetual repeat.)

At 6 a.m., the backpackers woke up; and, it seems, all started screaming at one another. Go back to bed! I thought. Don't you know nothing in India opens before 9 a.m.???

Still, I was up, and thus crept into my tiny bathroom to use the toilet.

To understand what happened next, consider this: the door to the bathroom was warped and stuck in a perpetual "open" position. Before I had gone to bed, I had pulled it closed so I wouldn't be kept up by the five dripping faucets (hot and cold bucket, hot and cold sink, toilet). It closed very unwillingly, but I forced it into position.

So. 6 a.m. and I'm in the bathroom. The door, previously stuck in "open," now wants to remain permanently in "closed." No matter. I wriggle inside and the door falls shut.

Then I see it. I hadn't seen it before, because the open door had been hiding it from view. Against the back wall of this miniscule bathroom is a pile of dirt. Piles of dirt, in fact, the entire length of the wall. Crawling in and out of the dirt are thousands of white bugs, about the size of grains of rice.

Oh. My god.

I finish using the toilet and tiptoe back to bed. I can handle bugs. I've handled this many ants before. But I've never seen bugs like this. I wonder what they are?

Oh-my-god-they're-LICE-aren't they.


If I get lice, I'll have to shave my head.

Check the clock. 6:30 a.m. In ten minutes I am dressed and out the door. No shower, no teeth-brushing, I don't care. I flag down a cycle rickshaw and tell him to take me to a particular hotel that I saw the other evening while wandering. That hotel has no vacancies, but no matter; now I'm in the right neighborhood, and it's a matter of going from door to door (literally) until I find exactly what I'm looking for.

A lovely room, a sparkling clean bathroom, and all for just Rs 100 more than that Star Palace dump. Instead of being filled by young party animals, this hotel seems primarily occupied by (white) people in their 50s. People who will raise a fuss if they see bugs, and go to bed at a decent hour. ^__^

I go back to the Star Palace to collect my things. On the way I realize I'm starving, so I duck into the cafe next door. It's packed with people, so I figure it's okay.

I order cornflakes with a banana (how exotic!). When it comes, I'm about five huge bites into it when I notice something. A legged something. And then there are two of them.

"Don't order the cornflakes," I say to the young couple squeezed into the table with me.

The young woman examines my bowl. "Oh, they're just weevils," she says. "Nothing wrong with eating weevils."

Yeah; leaving this rathole was the right choice.

1 comment:

ctrlalteredmind said...

holy smokes!!! I had to wikipedia (that a verb?) weevil to know exactly what you meant and splattered my coke across the screen!! get out of there already!