Nightmare on 14th Street – 23 June 2011

After feeling nauseous for two hours on the tro tro,  traveling over the mountains between Koforidua and Accra, I was ready for all the luxuries of a hotel – hot running water,  a flush toilet, satellite tv, and no screaming or fighting children. I did my research. Looked in the Bradt guide for a reasonable hotel in the OSU section of Accra. It was close to the supermarket and not far from the Peace Corps Office. So I called and booked a room for two nights. It cost 60 Cedis ($40)  a night. Sixty cedis is very expensive on my Peace Corps budget, usually I pay 20 or 30 cedis a night for a hotel. I expected star treatment and excellent service. Oh boy was I wrong.

I was hot, tired and still feeling a bit nauseous when I arrived at the hotel.  I began to worry right from the moment when the receptionist sped off empty handed to take me my room, leaving me to carry my bags up two flights of stairs.

After I hauled my tired butt up the stairs, the receptionist was already in the room turning on the lights and the fridge. I tersely thanked him and encourage him to leave by not chit chatting with him. He left and without a tip from me.  I tried to turn on the TV so I could watch it while I unpacked.  After 10 minutes the TV had still not turned on so I went down to the reception desk to ask for assistance.

My friend came up and poked and prodded and finally the TV came on. “How did you do that?” I asked so I could repeat the magic when I came back from the Supermarket with cheese and multi grain bread. He mumbled something then said “I’ll get you the remote.”

I then asked if the only MNET channel they had was the action movies. I am not a fan of the action movies they show in Ghana. I wanted MNET series. He said he would change the settings. Off he went. In about two minutes my TV was scrolling through channels and came to rest on MNET movies. Not exactly series but good enough since I would have to walk down  the two flights of stairs again if I wanted it fixed.

I unpacked. Then wanted to take a shower so I turned on the hot water heater. I also decided to wait until he came back with the remote before I got in the shower.  A movie was just starting,  “Leap Year” with Amy what’s her name from “Enchanted” was starring. Just what I needed a mindless romantic comedy.  I would watch it while I waited for him to return with the remote control and the water to heat up.

Well the movie was finished and still no remote control. I decided to take a shower and tough luck if he came back while I was in it. He could come back again later.

I am already for my shower. Soap and shampoos on the edge of the tub, bath mat on the floor, hot water light indicated I had hot water in the tank, and me in my birthday suit. I turned on the faucet my whole being excited at the thought of hot running water and the idea that the soap would actually be rinsed off me and out of my hair. A hot shower is such a luxury to someone who usually takes a bath with a cold bucket of water.

No water came out of the faucet.

I turned some knobs on the wall by the hot water heater, sometimes that brings water.

Still no water came out of the faucets.

I tried the sink.

Again no water came out of the faucets.

I tried to flush the toilet.

No bloody water was in the tank.

I threw my dress on. In out right contrariness I didn’t put on undergarments. I then walked back down the two flights of stairs.  No  one was at the reception desk but I saw a woman who looked like she worked there. She did. When I asked her, she called the receptionist. I told him that there was no water in my room. “Oh I’ll go turn on the water for you ma’am.” he says with attitude – like I am making an outrageous request to have water in my 60 cedi a night room!

When I return to my room the water is working. I use the toilet only to find there is no T-roll! There isn’t even a place to put the T-roll! Luckily I have Kleenex.

I decided to ask for some when I went shopping which I decide to do before my shower because soon it will be nightfall and I want to go before it gets dark. The joys of Koala Supermarket. I got brie, multi grain rolls, two pats of butter and two small berry jelly packets, Lays salt and vinegar potato chips, Dr. Pepper and pickles! I was going to feast tonight!

Back at the hotel I asked for T-roll at the desk. Because of the slow service or no service on the remote control I opted to wait while the receptionist gets me a roll.

In my room I spread my feast out on the bed and turn on another movie. About 10 minutes later the door to the room next to me slammed so hard that I jumped. I look out in the hall to see what’s up and see that the key to that room is on the outside of the door. Confused, I close the door and settle down again to my movie when the TV in that room went  on so loud that I could mute my TV and I could still hear the dialog.

I took a deep breath and calmed myself down and finished my food because at least they are watching the same movie I am! I hope they will turn it down. Thirty minutes later their TV is still so loud I don’t need the volume on mine. So I walk down the two flights of stairs, the sounds of their TV following me ½  way down; I tell the receptionist about the loud TV.  Before I reach the top of the stairs the sound is lowered. No employee has come up before me. I wonder what happened. But peace and quiet at last!

Now I can take a shower. I do and it’s wonderful. Squeaky clean hair and fresh clean skin are wonderful things. I lay down and read. In the next room there is a bang and some yelling. Then its quiet again for a chapter or two. Next door at least three children’s voices raised in the common sounds of kids fighting. Sounded like an argument over what to watch on TV. I got up and opened my door and saw the woman who found the unhelpful receptionist for me unlocking the door and entering the room. She shut the door and I heard her scolding the children. I escaped BASCO to get away from unsupervised children only to be put in a room next to one that a hotel employee had commandeered to entertain her kids during her shift!

If it wasn’t 8:30 pm I would have left the hotel. Instead I put my ear plugs in. Got lost in my book. There was no more noise from the room next door. Thankfully, the nightmare had ended before I fell asleep.

-vc

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