My original hotel choice fell through when I couldn’t find it in this small place. It wasn’t late, so I wasn’t panicked, but I wanted to put an end to a long day of buses, boats and border crossing, so I went in a place that I saw some other backpackers go.I asked if they had a room for one person for the night, and when the guy quoted me “Noventa,” I heard “900.” It was about $35, more than the $20 I planned on, but I figured it was one night, and I could look again tomorrow. I handed him 1,000 and asked for change. He laughed and said again, “No, noventa.” 90. $3. It took a second to process, and right then I should have asked to see the room, but I froze and mechanically handed him 100 cordobas and followed him upstairs. We passed a room with an open door with an old man flopped out on the bed, clothes scattered around. Another room about the same size housed a woman and here two children. She was hanging out her laundry to dry on the balcony. We got to my door and he put the key in a small padlock I’m not sure I’d trust on a diary, and opened the door.
Too late to back out now, I confirmed that this was a private room and I wouldn’t be joined by anyone else. He laughed again and said he was confused as I already told him I wanted a room for one person. Well, it was only one night, and it was $3.
I decided to try to open one of the storm shutters to get some air, since the room didn’t even have a fan, and at least see the view. The first one fell on my head when I slid out the bolt and pulled gently. It had just been weakly nailed to the frame. I tried another, more carefully, and saw that I didn’t have the worst view. Off course, those rooftops were awful close and the shutters not very secure.
I went downstairs to find the bathroom, he hadn’t told me where it was. There were two toilets, and one was missing a seat.
I guessed that was the official urinal toilet. When I pulled the handle to flush, nothing happened. I paused and looked around, and realized the blue barrell of water with the scoop outside the door was for flushing. When I tried to rinse my hands in the utility sink, it was dry, so I figured that barrel was for washing up as well. I looked next door at the showers, and saw each of the two had water barrels with scoops in them as well. I had checked into a hotel that appeared to lack running water.
I thought about just writing off the $3, and going to find someplace else, but instead, I just kept repeating to myself “$3, one night, funny story.” I went down to the Malecon and watched the sunset with all the other Nicaraguense.
I sat at a Soda at one end and had three $1 beers. I took out my phone and saw it was nearly dead. I occurred to me then that there very well might not be an electrical outlet in my room. I turned my phone off to save the battery, as I still needed to email reply about a hotel reservation at my next stop, Altagracia on Ometepe Island, where I’d be arriving at midnight Tuesday/Wednesday on a ferry. I needed to confirm so someone would wait up for me. I went to dinner and decided not to think about the electrial outlet until later.
I got back to the room, and after much searching, I did find an outlet, but it didn’t work, so I turned the phone back on, used the last bit of the juice to email my confirmation, and had an early night. I tried two of the beds, skipping the springed frame with no matrress. The other springed frame sagged near the floor when I sat down. The other mattress was thin, beaten down, and rested on slats. I tried mattress one on the other spring frame, and sank to the floor again. I chose the barely-a-mattress on slats and pretended I was camping, sleeping on the ground. There was no topsheet, but I had a liner for this kind of situation. Then I wondered about bedbugs. It hadn’t occured to me until now. I looked at the mattress carefully, but didn’t see anything. I stripped to my underwear, put the rest of my stuff on the mattress-less frame, and hoped for the best. This is what real travel supposed to be, right?
There was a bar nearby, and I went in and out of sleep hearing voices and laughter. At somewhere around 5am, I guess, the roosters started. At 5:52am, there was a knock on my door, then another. A voice said “You awake?” It was the guy who checked me in. I said “un momento” while I put on my shorts and wondered what he could possibly need at 5:52am. When I got to the door twenty seconds later, he was gone. I laid back down in bed, but I was awake for good. I checked myself for bites, and found myself bite-free. As if I wasn’t already getting a new hotel, I certainly was now.
I found one, just around the corner, for $11.50/night. I had my own roon, with a fan and a bathroom. The toilet has a seat, and a lid.
But the shower, well:
They must have a water pressure issue in San Carlos. It’s only $11.50 a night.