Friday, April 26, 2013

Sleepless night

We only stayed a couple of nights at our first hotel because the second night’s events drove us to a better place. It all started when I noticed a couple of sketchy-looking people come in while I was down in the lobby using the internet. I didn’t worry much about it because I figured somebody would always be at the front desk, but I thought more about it later.

At around 3 a.m. we woke up to the sounds of a party in the next room. Our neighbors had clearly gotten themselves quite drunk, and had gone from jolly to smashed. I knocked on the wall to let them know that they’d awakened their neighbors. They pounded back, yelled obscenities in English and began pounding the wall with some sort of instrument. Fortunately, the wall did not break, but we decided it would be prudent to barricade our flimsy door with its pathetic lock. Our barricade didn’t look all that secure, and our neighbors continued to rant. Wanting backup, I dialed “O” on the hotel phone.

Immediately, the voices turned quieter in the next room. I asked the guy who answered whether he spoke English, and he said yes so I explained that I did not feel safe because of the situation in the next room. He suddenly did not understand, so he left the room, which we heard through the wall and in the hall, and knocked on the door across the hall. We heard that too. He gave the phone to somebody else and I told my story again, adding that I wanted to know the name of the night manager who had brought him the phone. The translator didn’t want to expose his friend, so he said “It’s just some bastard.”

“Bastard!” the night manager yelled, and made other noises I did not understand but which suggested that he was threatening the translator. The translator calmed him down, much to my relief, and promised me that things would get better. While indeed things got quieter, we did not sleep much. We thought about the fact that we don’t know how to call the police in Turkey, and about the fact that we did not want to spend another night in that hotel.

The night manager was on duty when we came down in the morning, looking somewhat the worse for wear. He somehow did not have the authority to break our booking, and he stalled us until his boss would arrive at noon. Meanwhile we struggled with the fact that we couldn’t find a hotel with vacancy over the weekend, and we had to visit quite a few places to find one in old-city neighborhood. The big boss already knew about the previous night’s events and tried really hard to assure us that we should feel perfectly fine about staying. He told us assuredly, “You’re not checking out.” In fact, however, we did check out. We had to stay three nights in one hotel and then three nights in another, but we’re quite happy about it. The first of the two alternatives has been absolutely delightful, and we expect the same of the other. And we’re sleeping really well.

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