Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some hotel horror stories (as well as a few silver linings). As an adorably obsessed traveller, I’ve stayed in just about every form of accommodation, from pup tent to penthouse; and it has been my experience that the bed in a simple pensione can be as comfortable as the bed in a four-star hotel. I don’t need luxury—just a quiet place to rest my weary head.
Paraty is a Portuguese colonial town 236 kilometers south of Rio de Janeiro. It’s known for being, well, colonial. We were getting bored in Rio, so “colonial” seemed exciting—and so we were off.
We’d been in Brazil for a couple of weeks, so my Portuguese was stellar. I’d haggled with vendors on the Copacabana, I’d rented bikes, and I’d managed to order my caipirinhas even after I couldn’t feel my lips anymore to know if I was articulating my perfect Portuguese correctly. Essentially, I was ready for anything . . . and a little drunk.
Just outside the old town of Paraty, we found a perfectly acceptable hotel and I asked the nice lady at the desk if she had a room available. She seemed oddly reluctant but showed us a room anyway.
“We’ll take it,” I said.
“Blah blah blah blah blah,” she said. Translation: But sir, there is going to be a Brazilian country music party outside your bedroom tonight.
I looked at my partner; he looked at me, expecting me to understand. My ego wanted so badly to understand, so I looked back at the smiling woman: “We’ll take it.”
“Blah blah blah blah blah—” she continued. Translation: Please try to understand, Mr. Ego: The party will last well into the night, and—
“But the room is fine,” I said. “It looks perfectly clean to me.”
“Blah blah blah blah blah,” she pleaded. Translation: Sir, obviously you’ve never heard Brazilian country music. Every song sounds the same, and the woman who’s going to sing tonight is pitchy to say the least.
“What the hell is she saying?” my partner asked.
“She’s saying that they haven’t had time to clean the room, and she’s so embarrassed to offer us this one,” I said.
“We’ll take the room,” my partner said with Germanic authority.
“Blah blah blah BLAH blah blah blah BLAH!” she shouted, handing us the key to the room. Translation: OK, I warned you. You want to try to sleep with this torture blasting through your room like a hurricane until five in the morning, be my guest. Here!
At five o’clock in the morning when the thunderous “music” finally stopped, I rolled over to my partner and said, “I guess the problem wasn’t cleanliness after all.”
“No,” he said, “I suppose it wasn’t. The problem was that you don’t speak Portuguese.”
“Right,” I said. “Right. But my Spanish is pretty good.”
Come back for more hotel horror humor. Next time I’ll tell you about my romantic evening with a bed bug named desire.
I must be off,