We spent the last couple of days checking out an area about two hours northwest of us as a potential place to relocate. Having never visited the area before, and familiar with it only by emailed or Internet pictures, we had hopes that we’d find something comparable to where we are when we got there, or optimistically, better.
Like most average humans in the world at this time we don’t have minions to manage our money because, truthfully, if someone was working an eight-hour day managing our money they would have about seven hours and fifty-eight minutes left to devote to other activities. We’ve tightened our belts and do less traveling for “fun”, thus haven’t stayed in a motel or hotel in a year or so. Now, during my travels across the U.S. and Canada I’ve stayed in many hotels and motels including upscale accommodations ranging from gorgeous suites with phones and TV’s in the bathrooms and a well stocked bar, right on down the scale to those with the TV’s permanently affixed to the dresser where free ice and hot water are considered to be a strong selling point.
In Decatur, Alabama, my ex and I stayed at one particular motel that springs to mind. Built in the typical one-story strip mall style popular some decades back, it was showing some serious wear. As we were tired and more looking for a place to sleep than a Sandal’s resort, luxury wasn’t high on our priority list. For us, it had several things going for it; one, it was in the same spot we were on the map, and, two, it was cheap. The first tell that this wasn’t going to go well was the key wouldn’t open the lock. (For those of you that are younger, they used to put an actual key on a ring along with a plastic piece indicating the room number, hotel address, and a blurb saying “drop in any mailbox”. This before the advent of the electronic cards.) After much struggling to no avail, back we went to the office which, as I remember, smelled strongly of collard greens, bacon and onions. The owner, looking slightly annoyed at being taken away from the ball game loudly blaring from the unseen TV beyond the curtains, retrieved a cardboard box from under the counter. After rummaging through what appeared to be a hundred keys he apparently located the one he was searching for. Indicating with a crook of one rather dirty index finger for us to follow him, we formed a grumpy single line and trudged back across the dusty lot. At the room he inserted the new key. After some sliding in and out, jiggling back and forth, and a solid shoulder block to the warped wood, the door finally begrudgingly opened allowing the smell of stale cigarettes and God knows what else lingering behind it to escape. Call 911, this, obviously, was a Lysol emergency. I suppose room service is out of the question?
There were so many things that made this room unique that it would take me two blogs and a novel to do it justice. It was cave-dark inside, the better to not see it with, my dear. I turned on a light as I was starting to look startlingly like a mole looking for a field mouse, and the 25 watt bulb cast a light so dim that a large pachyderm would have gone unnoticed in the room. Ugh. The bed was a king size, as advertised, however although the right and left sides both seemed to be at a fairly normal height the trough-like indentation in the middle was situated about 8″ below them. That didn’t bode well for a restful night’s sleep, but I was so tired at that point I didn’t have the energy to complain.
As it was still light outside, I decided to fling open the drapes to allow a bit of it in so I could see to unpack. After tugging at the drapes for a few minutes after closer inspection I determined that the drapes had actually been stapled together with a staple gun. They seriously did not want the occupants to inspect the premises. Opting to just go out to eat and spend as little time there as possible, we found a place to enjoy a delicious dinner of charred freshly grilled prawns and a cold beer and headed back to the Bates Motel later on in the evening.
Feeling my way through the dimly lit bathroom I managed to take a shower in a spray of water so minimal that it would have taken an ant ten minutes to wash off the soap, and put on my pj’s. Looking forward to a little tube, I picked up the remote and settled in next to husband who hit the power button. Nothing. Why was I not surprised? After checking the remote, it was determined that it really was just for show and that this TV had a control knob on it which was broken and would not turn on without it.
Now getting upset, my husband picked up the phone and dialed “O”, and got a voicemail recording. Really? Maybe the game was still on. Back across the parking lot to the office he headed with a full head of steam and the broken knob. The wife of the gentlemen who had manhandled the door said she would send her son over with a new knob in a few minutes. True to her word a knock came shortly, and upon opening the door I found a boy of about ten holding yet another cardboard box containing maybe thirty TV knobs of different sizes and shapes. Handing me the box he informed me that his father said we could probably find one to fit this TV somewhere in the group. With a slight grin indicating, “and good luck with that”, he turned heel and headed back in the other direction.
Turning off the light, and not noticing much difference, we just went to bed. As soon as I rolled over the first time I went careening into the trench in the middle of the bed, thus triggering a chain reaction causing my husband to do the same. With the tip of my nose up his right nostril, I just started laughing. What are you going to do? The rest of the night we slept like conjoined twins unable to free ourselves from one another, waking up feeling as though we’d never gone to sleep.
When we were checking out, the owner, looking quite rested himself, handed us a coupon to be used towards our next stay. Everyone’s a comedienne.
The trip we just took offered up a similar experience which I’ll share in my next blog with my pics. Have a great weekend!
Charred Prawns with Red Pepper Sauce
2 lbs. jumbo prawns, cleaned, deveined, tail on
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
1 small capsicum pepper
6 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley
Salt to taste
Combine garlic, cumin, lime juice and coriander in a bowl. Place prawns in marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or preferably overnight.
For the sauce:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the capsicum pepper into quarters removing seeds and membrane. Place on baking sheet with 6 cloves of unpeeled garlic and drizzle all with olive oil. Cook for 30 mins. or until the skin blisters on the pepper and the garlic is soft but not burnt. Place in a plastic bag until cool. Peel the red pepper and the garlic. Combine both in food processor with mayonnaise and parsley and mix until a smooth consistency. Transfer to a mixing bowl and whisk in lime juice. Add salt according to taste.
Preheat a slightly oiled grill or cast iron skillet until just beginning to smoke. Drain prawns and discard marinade. Grill shrimp in batches for 2 mins. on each side. Do not overcook or prawns will be tough.
Serve with steaming white “sticky” rice, sauce and lime wedges.