Submitted by megan on Wed, 04/29/2009 - 17:05
Bloody fucking hell. Ireland has stumped me, yet again.
This last time, it was the wake up call. Did I just set it? I followed the written instructions, but there was no gentle electronic voice prompting me to enter my time, or reassuring me that it was set. Just an empty line, then three quick tones. Do I call back? According to the written instructions, this may cancel my wake up call, if indeed it is set, and it seems unlikely anyone - electronic or real - would inform me that it had been.*
This all started with the windows in the hostel.
In Berlin, we were fine. The three of us shared a huge apartment - the living room itself the size of my main floor at home. Everything was intuitively well-designed, in good working order and beautiful.
The hostel in Dublin was a come down. First off, it was about the same price for the two of us as our quiet giant apartment in our beautiful bustling Berlin neighbourhood. Second, it was loud in the lobby, a busy throughfare without much room for people, never mind their suitcases. It was okay, but worn and loud and ugly. There was no lift. We carried our suitcases up to the 3rd (North American 4th) floor.
Okay, fine. It would be fine. We had a twin room with a private bathroom. I was envisioning the room CT and I had shared in San Fran. Clean, roomy, quaint.
The door swung open and nearly clanged into the child-sized metal bunkbeds (though these were more comfortable and better assembled than my last encounter with such beds). The room wasn't wide enough to have put another set of bunk beds in, and only had about 4 feet at the end of the bunk beds before the bathroom. Which was kind of dirty and contained the stinkiest perfumey towels ever.
We needed to open the windows wider. Much, much wider. We looked up.
Being on the top floor, the height was the only big thing about the room. There was a pole with a hook on the end to louver the windows open and shut. Shelley got one of them pulled wide open and we drank in the fresh air, the rain spitting blessedly down on our faces.
Wanting to have a nap, she started on the roller blinds all curled up quiet at the top of each window. Hook, pull, dark, snap, bright. Over and over. And that was on the blind with the loop. The other, we quickly realized, had no hook at all, just screws marking where the hook once waited.
They were so poorly designed that even when you had the blind pulled down, the hook in the loop was in the way of you snicking the blind into place. We both tried, each of us till our shoulders ached.
Shelley broke first, more tired that I was, and got the guy from the front desk. I lay on the floor and took pictures.
When he showed up, he didn't really talk to us, just set up the ladder. After he'd tried for 5 unsuccessful minutes with the pole.
Since then, it's been more of the same. The next morning, we couldn't get the shower to work. The woman from the desk came up to help us, chuffing a bit at our uselessness until it took her 5 minutes and both hands to twist it into working.
But okay, it's a hostel, old, perhaps not all that well cared for. We hoped for better at the luxury resort. And it's luxe, this resort, with a Rolls sitting outside the front doors, maybe for show, and a helicopter that is definitely not for show, but for transporting the wealthy British to their horse races.
Tired and overheated from the trip from Berlin, we walked into our new double room - that the glittery tongued young man behind the desk gave me as single in a fit of facial piercing solidarity - and dropped our bags. Though the sun streamed through the west facing window, late afternoon orange, the bathroom was pitch. I flipped the light.
I called reception. The switchboard operator didn't even switch me, said only, sounding bored, "Yuh put yer kay caird in te slaht."
"The key card? In the slot? Like on the door?"
"Nah, te slaht inseyde te dahr."
I hadn't seen any such slot, so we went back and forth a bit until I remembered that the first extra wide glowing switch-looking thing had a slit in it. I popped the key card in and and there was light.
We got settled, putzed around, internetted, reorganized. I gave Shelley a fashion show. We decided to watch some Irish TV. Still putzing, I tossed Shelley the remote. She pressed this button and that button, and nothing. I read her the instructions from the top of the TV. We got snow.
A knock on the door. Housekeeping with extra blankets.
"Oh good!" I said. "Thank you! While you're here.... we seem to be having trouble with the TV. Is there a trick to it?"
She stiffened. Rolled her eyes.
Aye, well he didn't know te trick neither.
*UPDATE: It worked. If only because I was so nervous about it not ringing that I was awake 20 minutes before it actually rang.