If you’ve never stepped out of the comfort of your own home, and let’s face you wouldn’t be reading this if you haven’t, then you’ve probably experienced poor service, dank hotel rooms, questionable plumbing, and dodgy transport at some point during your travels.
There’s a certain beach house on the Mornington Peninsula, about an hour south of Melbourne, that’s under the threat of being carried away by ants in the night. The management company simply blamed the craggy landscape for the ants in our beds, cobwebs and grimy floors. I have named one of the oldest hotels in Bali as “Cockroach Motel” where the creepy insects flowed from our faucets as easily as the brown water. As sorry as I felt for the staff who had to deal with this, we weren’t offered any compensation. A particular luxury villa nestled in the heart of a rubber plantation in Phuket has peek-a-boo tarantulas and a “cleaner/cook” who we believe squatted on the lower floor. The only evidence we saw of her (or her services for that matter) was the odd belonging left on the kitchen counter and a flash of her running downstairs when we returned to the villa and interrupted her TV show. The svelte manager simply giggled and flicked her glossy hair over a honey-coloured shoulder at my complaints. I’m not proud to admit that under my breath I suggested she go back to her night job. And in Sri Lanka Ayurvedic oils had seeped into the concrete bathroom of our guesthouse where the greasy aroma intensified as quickly as the humidity. We didn’t bother complaining as the daily massages had pulverised us into a catatonic state. I was so relaxed that I barely noticed our luggage zooming off in a tuk-tuk without us.
Perhaps the issues were cultural, although this doesn’t explain the Melbourne accommodation, but I guess I just didn’t deal with these issues the right way. Maybe I should have taken a more refined approach and complained in style.