We took a trip to Phuket and stayed in a posh hotel, perched up on a bluff overlooking the bay. I won’t say the name because this story doesn’t paint them in a good light.
COVID-19 has decimated the tourist industry in this country and in this tourism mecca. Tourist numbers have been reported down by 90% compared with a year ago.
Honestly, it wasn’t the best trip. It’s rainy season and it rained most of the time. The rest of the time it was cloudy. Not the best way to spend a beach vacation.
We did find a rum distillery. That was a pleasant way to spend a storm. Lemongrass rum is refreshing.
There was a museum, too. And, of course a temple. It is interesting. The museum was all about the great things the Chinese immigrants did for commerce and trade. The Temple was dedicated to a monk who tried to drive the Chinese out of the area after they abused the local population and stole their land. If you get a chance it is an interesting juxtaposition.
Not sure if it is a status thing or a South East Asia thing, but many hotels give you a plate of fruit on arrival. A banana, a Dragon fruit. An apple. This trip we sort of grazed through ours. Or started to anyway.
On day #2, we came back to the room and found what looked like bite marks on our apple, and an interesting hole in our banana. Hmmmmm. Being an amatuer tracker, I looked around. I didn’t see any droppings about. Is this fruit just rotting in an unusual manner? It’s hot, so maybe? Maybe, we have a dwarf under the bed? Or lilliputian? I found no other signs of either. No axes. No strands of beard hair. No ropes or tackle. So we put the fruit in the hall and went about our day.
I woke in the night on a couple of occasions to the sound of dishes clattering. I was at first too tired to attend, but at 3:30 there was clatter and then a thud of some sort on the floor. It was loud enough to warrant an investigation, so I arose and flipped on the light. I was met with silence and some empty peanut packages strewn across the floor. This time there were some droppings on the floor, and along the counter. I found it had bounced on the soap dish. That was the source of the clattering. I couldn’t, though, find out where it went. I poked my head behind some decor. Stuck it under the counter. Nothing.
Finally, on the off chance, this was super strong mouse, I inched open the door. And out it sprung. A fat, grey mouse, or small rat, darted directly at me, veered left and then squeezed itself into a tiny crack between the tub and the wall.
In an effort to contain it, I wedged towels into the crack and then all the cracks I could find around the tub and then went back to sleep.
We had a late afternoon flight. And wanted to use the facilities for the day. We were hoping for a late check out. I didn’t think there would be a problem. There were hundreds of room and maybe 10 groups in the whole place. I couldn’t imagine there would be a lack of space.
On the way to breakfast, I stopped at the desk and asked the clerk for two things.
“Hi! I was wondering if we could get a late checkout. Our plane doesn’t leave until 6PM.”
“OK. Let me see….. “ She looked down at her screen. “Oh, I’m sorry. We have people coming into that room this afternoon. We could only accommodate you until 1 PM.”
“Ah. Okay. That’s too bad, but I understand.” I replied. “We’ll check out then. But, hey, I wanted to let you know about another thing. I am not upset and I’m not asking for anything, but you should know that there is a mouse or a rat in our room.”
She looked up from her screen. Brown eyes behind designer frames. “A what?”
“We heard it in the night and then I saw it.”
“Sir, I’m so sorry. You should have called us right away!”
“No, no, it was the middle of the night. What are you going to do? Move us? That’s a hassle. It’s really no big deal. I trapped it in the tub.”
“WHAT?!” Her eyes grew to the size of a manga heroine. “You TRAPPED a MOUSE in the TUB?! Sir, please allow me to send someone right away!”
“Sure”, I replied. “I wedged some towels in the cracks. I don’t think you’ll get it though without tearing the bath apart.” And, I headed off to breakfast.
Twenty minutes later, she came to find me at breakfast. “Sir, I wish to inform you that we will grant your late check out. Please go ahead and stay as long as you please!” She bowed and went about her day.
We had no further interaction with our furry friend. No droppings. No spilled or dropped shampoo bottles. No snacks on the ground.
The following day, I recounted this story to some office mates. They asked how much of a discount I got. But, I told them, look, tourism is way down. This was a 200 dollar a night room which we got for $48 dollars. The place had been shut for 4 months and opened a week ago. It’s a hotel in a jungle. Of course, there are going to be critters. I’m not going to tax this hotel and the staff over a mouse, even if it did eat my banana.