Monday, December 04, 2006

Narrow escape

I had a harrowing past few days. I made a big mistake, a mistake I narrowly avoided on my first trip abroad several years ago in Rome...

We took a room at a place called Jambo Inn in Dar. Because Jambo Inn consists of three side-by-side buildings housing a hotel, internet cafe and restaurant (in that order), when we walked into the hotel to inspect the room, we failed to notice that the room was situated directly above the roach-infested restaurant kitchen.

We came back after dinner one evening to a room swarming with roaches. Suffice it to say we demanded our money back and left...at 10pm at night.

The hotel clerk was an ineffectual jerk and kept proclaiming that the place was a 5-star hotel which was pathetically laughable (a negative 2-star rating is more fitting).

We were lucky on 2 accounts. First, another traveler turned up wanting the room. He agreed to take the room despite seeing the room with over a dozen dead roaches and a live one which I stomped with my hiking boot (I was so angry) and despite the chemical haze of a half-bottle of roach spray (the floor attendant had heard us screaming and we sent him for the spray; he tried to help but there were so many and they were resilient, they did not die upon contact with the roach spray.) So the fact that the strange traveler was willing to take the only room available at this hotel (they were otherwise fully booked) was the sole reason we were able to get our money back.

Our other point of luck was that there was an available room in a decent hotel right around the corner. Two girls walking around Dar with big packs at night is not the safest thing, and these were the only 2 hotels in the vacinity. So our two strokes of luck got us away from the roach and roach-spray infestation and into another room safely.

***
I would recommend Dar to no one. I haven't found one redeeming quality (and yes I have been to where the expats live and hang out, Oyster Bay). By far my best day was spent at the hotel reading Moby Dick and napping under the mosquito net -- a much-needed day-long siesta.

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