You can check out any time you like

I’ve returned from my trip to Greece and Turkey and I really have to give myself a hand. I did manage to plan an itinerary. Actually, like the super-capitalist that I am I managed to outsource my itinerary planning to my travel companion, Mike. And he did a great job, his only mistake was letting me pick some of the hotels.

He didn’t know it at the time, but I am completely unable to stay in a hotel that isn’t the cheapest possible option. I just can’t bring myself to click “book it” on anything else. My ability to ignore any and all negative yelp reviews warning of what ill fate may befall me should I stay at that hotel is uncanny. It doesn’t matter how many bedbug warnings or Board of Health citations there are; I don’t care if the Gods of Egypt have recently visited a plague upon that hotel or if the innkeeper is making money on the side storing nuclear waste in the kitchen.

If it’s the cheapest, I’ll book it! I like to justify/disguise that fact that I’m willing to sleep on mattress made of eels and fire ants by saying “I’m a restaurant person, not a hotel person.” Just between us, I’m willing to admit that there may be a little willful ignorance on my part; Mike described it as a very unique manifestation of mental illness.

Mike, on the other hand, really likes to be comfortable and clean. He’s willing to pay a little more to stay in a place where the sheets  won’t give him a rash.

If you remember the Overlook Hotel from The Shining, you have a good sense what vintage hotel I usually choose — the deranged caretaker is trying to ax-murder his wife and children, an elderly demon has decomposed in the bathroom, a deluge of human and animal blood erupts from the elevator bay, etc. Now, while all that is happening I’m usually at the front desk disputing several charges on our invoice. Mike could be found slumped over in the corner crying.

To give you a sense of the disparity between the accommodations we booked, here is the view from our flat in Athens (booked by Mike):

The golden age of Greece right from my private balcony

The golden age of Greece right from my private balcony

Yes, that’s a full-frontal view of the Parthenon from the balcony of the apartment we rented in a very tony Athens neighborhood. The full-frontal views at the hotels that I booked were of an entirely different and more intimate nature.

Here is a picture of the interior of one of the hotels that I booked in Turkey:

2013-10-13 18.19.01

I wasn’t willing to pay for such Kardashian-esque opulence like a bathroom that is private, where the shower head wasn’t mounted above the toilet.

 Upon seeing these photos, one of Mike’s friend described it as having “all the charm of an al-Quaeda training camp.” Mike disagreed; he said it was more like the a Guantanamo Bay haunted nightmare. I was quick to point out that it wasn’t all bad: the marmalade they served at breakfast was definitely above average.


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