Thursday, April 28, 2011

Would you like the room with hot water or the one with a used condom?

(PICTURE: A used condom and dirty underwear. This was the good room.)

On the map we're using, there's supposedly a way to tell if there's a place to stay in a town or not. If there's a broken underline under the town name, there's at least one nha nghi (guest house). If there's a solid line then there's supposedly many. For the most part this has been true but since the map is six years old, there's generally a few extra places along the way with places to stay.

Well, Huyen and I were taking a very very back road and came to the last town on a map for probably 200km with a guest house. The problem is that it was still sort of early (4:30PM) and we hadn't driven much that day since we did a lot of sightseeing. We decided to press our luck and keep driving, thinking there must be something along the way. Wellllll, naturally there wasn't for hours. By the time we found a place to stay, we were right near the Lao border and had been driving along a mountain pass in the dark for nearly an hour and a half. There were literally bats flying around us and thousands of insects hitting our shields because they were attracted to our headlight.

When we found the nha nghi, we couldn't have felt luckier. The place had two rooms. We were told that only one had hot water so we took that one. That room was next to a large pile of garbage. Inside the room, there were THOUSANDS of bugs. I don't know if it was because of the garbage or because of the rotting wooden door frame but there were termites everywhere! We did our best to kill all the bugs but it was an uphill battle. While I was taking my shower (which was not hot!) I killed two bugs which must have been stink bugs because all of a sudden there was a noxious smell in the room. Huyen started to feel sick and between the bugs on our sheet, we decided it was best to change rooms.

The other room had no obvious bugs except for a few mosquitoes. However, this was just about 48 hours removed from the centipede incident so I moved the bed away from the wall to see if there were any killer insects there. Sure enough there was something lethal looking on the wall. Huyen grabbed a broom from the garbage room and killed the bug (yes, Huyen, not me. God my wife is awesome!).

After that bug was killed, we noticed something else lethal under the bed: a used condom and dirty underwear. Yup, that was the good room!

The girls who ran the place (and perhaps had shared in the condom use as this could easily have been a brothel) were not happy when we changed rooms at 10PM. To make it up to them we ended up voluntarily paying them an extra $1, which they were very happy about. So yes, I paid EXTRA money for this experience.