Have I mentioned that I do not stay at luxury hotels when I travel? The places I pick are easy on the wallet, if not on the eye. They are not rated with 3 stars, 2 stars, or even 1. They rarely rate at all. But in my own 4-scar system, the Hotel I. merits a strong 2.5. The bathrooms are clean (although the toilets sometimes leak). There is good security: A guard (armed with antibacterial lotion to spritz on your hands when you enter the lobby) protects against the spread of swine flu and the threat of strangers (maybe). The rooms are either bright or quiet, but not both. The ceilings of rooms on the fourth floor leak only when it rains (which is nearly every day or night, but only for an hour or two).
After A.'s return stateside, I change hotel rooms. No longer in the spacious, noisy, and relatively bright room we shared, I am now housed in what I shall henceforth not so fondly refer to as "the inner sanctum" (I.S.); its only window opens onto a hallway, with a view of the door of a room with an actual view. This unfortunate positioning allows the fumes from the cigarettes smoked by those I am henceforth referring to as "the other f____ing tourists" (or OFTs) to filter their way into my lungs.
The only other things that enter the room while I'm trying to breathe or sleep are mosquitoes. I am apparently hosting a swarm (a herd? colony? cartel? convention?) of them. I am their oasis in the desert, their all-night diner, the only room at the only inn -- a neon sign flickering "Welcome," beckoning on the way home to the other side of the(ir stagnant) pond.
I'm sure that there must be a series of very, very teeny-tiny signs posted high up on my door: OPEN HOUSE. ALL U CAN SUCK. CHILDREN FEED FOR FREE WITH PARENT! LIMITED TIME ONLY. FRESH FROM THE USA. TASTES LIKE CHICKEN!
Itchy and bumpy, I awaken in the mornings expecting to see paint-ball sized splatters on the walls, the bloody remains of those buggers so sated with my lifeblood that they were unable to make it out of the IS, much less to their meetings of Overfeeders Anonymous.
It is so dark in the IS that I don't open my eyes until what I think is a late wake up -- 9am. Turns out it 's noon. The good news is that despite smacking my head at least twice in an attempt to foil a dive bombing mosquito and banging my head at least twice on the shutters that open into the IS directly above my bed, I have awakened. There is the distinct possibility that later in the week someone (the maid? an OFT?) will find me, severely concussed, a bumpy, bloodless, and dessicated husk, in the smokey, murky shadows of my room.