Sunday, August 28, 2011

Funny weekend story

Ok, maybe this is a little drunk blogging, but here's a funny, if not revealing story about travel in the third world.  As anyone who reads my blog knows, I've got a lot of connections to the Philippines, and visit it frequently.  Although when in a large city or resort area, I choose to stay in nice place with most of the amenities I'd expect from a decent place in the US.  I'm no elitist, a nice place to me is a Comfort Inn.

But I have to tell this story about when a friend and I stopped at a small town in central Luzon for the night a while back.  We had a great meal at a local restaurant, for almost nothing, and service better than at the Ritz (as if I've ever been to one). It was getting late and either we were going to move on or find a room.

Well, we did find an Inn that looked nice and clean, and the owner was a very nice elderly lady who told us we had a room with private bath and hot water was normally available.  Well it turns out that the "private bath" really meant that we had a private entrance to the communal bathroom for the entire guest house.All the other guests had to enter from the hallway. 

Ok, we had a laugh about that and hit the sack in a decent, clean room with lumpy beds, but, for $7 a night how could I complain.  Motel 6 wasn't that cheap at this time.  The next morning I wanted a hot shower, and turned on the faucet, and what came out was cold spring water from the mountains of Sagod in Northern Luzon.  And though this is tropical, the mountain province it not so much, and the water comes out at 50 degrees.  I asked the owner of the Inn if she could turn on the water heater, but was informed that it was currently was "under repair".  Since we were going to be there for a few days, I asked if it would be fixed later that day.  She very sheepishly apologized for lack of hot water and offered buckets of warm water she could heat on the stove, telling us that the water heater has been "under repair" for 3 years.  I had a good laugh back in the room, but the nice lady was just trying to save face, and I embarrassed her by asking that question.  This is a poor country and a water heater might cost here several weeks income from the inn and restaurant.  I gratefully accepted a couple buckets of heated water, stayed 2 more days, and left a tip that would pay a weeks stay at the place.

Yes this was not 5 star accommodations, but we met a lady who ran a decent, clean (I mean really clean) inn, helped us with sightseeing and gave me a big hug upon departures.

Travel in the third world may not always be easy, but it can be very rewarding in its own way.

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