During the Cricket World Cup this year, the three of us followed the team around like a bunch of groupies. We did five destinations in one month with a barely potty trained three year-old, at the peak of summer. We stayed everywhere from a gorgeous, super luxurious, 5 star hotel to a run-down roach infested guest house. Though V and I have taken over 35 flights together (including a ride on a seaplane), we both learnt a lot on this trip. I realized that my baby was super flexible and she came to know the fun side of her strict mommy.
At Ahmedabad (in Gujarat, India) we had booked into an alleged 3-star hotel, where, we were given five non-smoking rooms. We were super hyped because our team was on a winning streak and all we wanted to do was dump our luggage, don our team colours and run out. The first couple stepped into their room to discover a very welcoming bed-frame sans the mattress. My mom and cousin sister were literally bribed into turning into smokers, they found six ashtrays in the room and a whole pack of cigarette boxes in the wardrobe, for free. V and I found the previous occupants still in residence, of course the roach family had sweetly made space for us by moving into the washroom, so we could use the bed. My uncles had a mini-fridge that flooded the whole room with water.
We all used the room without the mattresses to freshen-up reported our problems to the front-desk and rushed out into the blinding sun, some of us to shop and the rest for the match. Our team won, we partied in the street till 2pm and had a delicious but suspicious looking meal at a local joint. (Yes, I have introduced my innocent baby to the nomadic, wild-child lifestyle pretty early. She will now never have to go through the rebellion stage, since we have already done it together. Yay! I am such a responsible parent.)
We got back to the hotel around three to find that the efficient hotel staff had responded quiet well. We were lead by a smiling night manager to this:
- Room one – We found two threadbare sleeping bags courteously laid out on top of the hard wooden frames. “Best quality madam, use one for sleeping and one for covering, very close and cozy”, followed by a wink. I don’t think this was what my sister-in-law had in mind when she discussed a second honeymoon.
- Room two – The set of ashtrays and box of ciggies had disappeared (they didn’t even leave us a thank you note) and there was an overwhelming fragrance of cheap room freshener, which had my mom reaching for her medication. My cousin and mom spent the night in our room. “Sorry madam, we are very decent hotel, first time this smoking problem, all foreigners only leaving things like this”, said with a nicotine stained smile and no mention of the absent gift pack of cigarettes.
- Room three – We opened the bathroom door to find a carpet of dead roaches. For the rest of the trip, I used my mother’s washroom, V used her potty and she refused to have a bath, making do with a pack of wet wipes and baby cologne. (I think we are ready to go camping in the wild.)
- Room Four – The fridge was gone and in it’s place was a plastic bucket filled with ice, namely an ice-bucket!
The next morning, as we settled our bills and checked out, the receptionist smiled at us and asked about our stay. My cousin smiled brightly and said “I’m going to tell all my friends about Hotel Decent”, leaving behind a very happy and clueless woman.
Of course our team eventually won the cup, so it was totally worth it and now makes a great story at cocktail parties.
P.S. – We didn’t take a month off to travel around, we flew out for two to three days every week and were back at work the other days.