Hotel stories!!! Yes!. I have a million of them. Do I write about the hotel in China where they always call me up between 10 and 11 pm, and ask me if I want a “massage” or “sleeping partner”? Hmm… Or do I write about the hotel where a man nearly killed his wife? Hmmm… Or maybe, I should write about the one where the one squatty potty for the entire floor was backed up for a week??? I could write about the great little cottage I stayed in on Phi Phi Island, Thailand – but that doesn’t exist anymore. It was destroyed in the tsunami of December 26, 2004. Or maybe I should write about the time when we were on a medical clinic and I was the only American on the team and all the Brits decorated my room for the 4th of July? So many different stories I could tell. But I don’t think I will share all of them with you now. Let’s go back to when I first went traveling through Tibet with some friends. It was 1985. We were working our way across country on our return trip to Nepal. We got to Gyantse, a town of about 2,000 people. Hotels were hard to come by, and especially hotels that would take foreign guests. The summer monsoon season was in full swing, and the rains that made it over the Himalayas were often pretty intense. It had been raining all day, and we finally found a hotel that would take us. We were able to get a room that had eight or nine beds in it, though we only needed five. We had had a very long, hard day of traveling, so after a dinner of noodle soup with yak meat, we played a little pool, then we all went to bed. The rains continued on and on during the night. About an hour after going to bed (we were all sleeping in our sleeping bags on wire-spring beds), I noticed a drip, drip, drip on my head. So I moved to a different bed. Ah, dry, so I went back to sleep, but not for long! Soon, Ray moved to a different bed. Ok, back to sleep. A few minutes went by, then, Alice moved to a different bed. Then John. Then Pete. For the next half-hour, we all kept moving around to different beds to try and stay dry. Finally, to sleep!!!
Then, drip, drip, drip. We had each been in about four different beds by now, trying to find a dry spot. So I moved my bed over. About five minutes later, I heard a scrape, scrape, scrape, as John moved his bed. Another minute or two, and Alice moved her bed. Another three or four minutes later, Ray moved his bed. We were all trying NOT to wake the others. Then we started laughing as we tried to avoid the drips from the ceiling. Not huge drips, but just enough to keep us awake. Were these the famous “Chinese water torture treatments” we had heard about? “OK, OK, I’ll talk! Just keep the drips off my forehead!” We finally settled down, as we found places where we didn’t get dripped on too much. I don’t know how much sleep any of us got that night.
When we awoke in the early hours of the morning, it was overcast and cool, but the rain had finally stopped. We looked around the room at the puddles of water on the floor. Then, saw that each of us had mud smeared all over our faces! The roof had leaked not only rainwater, but since the ceiling was made of logs with dirt packed in between them, our faces were covered with mud!
This photo is one of my favorites from the same area as this hotel. I just don't have my "hotel" photos with me right now.