Throwing in the towel

Luxor Temple in Luxor, Egypt

The Luxor Temple

This is a story of how I gave up. This is a story of how I threw in the towel. This is a story of me being a bad budget backpacker. This is the story of how I pointlessly threw away money.
But its not a bad story.  This is not a story of an awful night in Egypt. This is not a story of getting robbed or harassed. This is not a caution story of being safe while traveling.  But it could have been.
This is a very boring story and sometimes that is a good thing.
A row of sphynxes in Luxor, Egypt

Luxor, Egypt

But let me back up a little bit. I was in Luxor, Egypt. I had just finished my three day cruise down the Nile and I was spending another night exploring the many ancient ruins throughout Luxor. The company I arranged my cruise through had offered to book me a hotel room for the night, but I had rejected that plan and done my own booking in both Aswan and Luxor.
Things had turned out okay in Aswan (with the exception of a rather large burn from the shower pipes), so I was confident my hotel in Luxor would be great. The reviews on trip advisor were positive and as I approached the door I was happy to see it was in a great location.

Carvings in a temple in Luxor, Egypt

Carvings in a temple in Luxor, Egypt

But, when I got to the hostel there was a sign on the door saying it was closed due to electrical issues. Since I had prepaid they gave me two options: they could refund my money or they could give me a better room at their ‘sister’ hotel for the same price. Without anywhere else to go and still holding my bag in the middle of the street I agreed to the new hotel.
When I walked into the hotel I instantly felt ill at ease. I am used to small, slightly less nice hostels. Places filled with young backpackers and second hand furniture.  A little dirt and disorder isn’t enough to send me packing. This hotel was different. First of it was huge, and empty. Then is was run down…peeling tiles, dim lighting, creepy old people.

A Temple Outside of Luxor

I asked to see the room before I agreed and was led past a dirty, empty pool to an elevator/death trap. My room was in a secluded outside corridor overlooking the pool/ scum hole on the ground floor. When I entered the room my attention was immediately drawn to the decorative mold accents covering the walls as well as the shifting light patterns thrown by the lone light bulb over in the hallway.
A quick inspection of the bathroom revealed that additional burns would be in my immediate future. It was bad, but it wasn’t the worst i’ve dealt with. I was exahusted and just wanted to be done. I put down my bags and told the hotel person that I would take the room. As soon as he left I realized that more than 10 min in this room would be too much and decided to leave for lunch. It was then I discovered that my room didn’t lock. Beautiful.
I took my valuables and went to lunch to decide what to do. As I ate I thought about the long hours of night the stretched ahead. Second after second, minute after minute of sleepless night. Hours spent staring at the moldy ceiling, painfully slow seconds of listening for intruders in the silent corridors, countless occurances of wondering what the weird scrapping noise was….
I knew I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. I knew I had already paid, but I reasoned that they couldn’t stick me with a room without a lock. I would go  back and ask for my money  back and I would check in to some fancy hotel with a pool and a resturant and maybe some wifi. I felt happier just thinking about it.
I spoke with the front desk and they insisted on showing me some other, “better” rooms. Carrying my bags I was led through dark corrider after dark corrider. The first room I was shown was slightly better but apparently did not have a working toilet. Oddly enough I had to explain to the hotel staff why this situation would not work for me.  The next room had ground floor windows that wouldn’t close. Again, I felt myself in the odd position of justifying why the room wasn’t acceptable. After a few more rediculous rooms, I was done. I told them I wanted my money back. I wanted to leave.
Of course, they refused to give me my money back. It was only $25 but I was still frustrated. Why should I pay for this room I was clearly not going to use. For a moment I doubted myself – maybe I shouldn’t just throw away $25. I was about to go pay a lot of money for a room when I already had a perfectly good room right here.
But then I imagined myself alone in one of those lock-less, toilet-less, moldy rooms and knew I had no choice. With a personal vow to rip them a new one on Trip Advisor, I exited the hotel and walked a block to the amazing Luxor Hotel.
Twenty minutes and $60 later I was by the pool, beer in hand. I had never felt so good. The sun was shining, the pool was clean, and my door was safely locked.
In all probability I would have survived my night in the Sixth Cirlce of Hell Hotel (Note: Not the actual name), but I’m not sad that I spent the extra money. Sometimes its important to trust your instincts. Sure the mold and dark was bad, but the real dangers were the questionable locks and empty hallways. Never be afriad to spend a little extra money to ensure your own safety. Had I wavered over an additional $60, this post could be a very different story.
This entry was posted in Misadventures and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Throwing in the towel

  1. Jaime says:

    Wow… so this doesn’t sound promising for me as I will be in this area very soon! Sorry you had to experience that. If you don’t mind whats the name of this hotel you stayed at with a pool. I haven’t been in a pool in a while and could use a pool day.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Hey Jamie! Don’t worry – for the most part Egypt was amazing. Just do some research on where you stay. The luxor hotel I stayed at was “El Luxor Hotel”

      Ps. I love your blog!

  2. Sabrina says:

    Yikes! Sounds pretty bad. Good call on changing hotels. You probably wouldn’t have slept a minute in a hotel you didn’t feel safe in. We had something similar, yet not as bad, happen in Hong Kong over New Year’s. We ended up staying in the “replacement” hostel they took us too, but only because it felt ok safe and we were a small group of people. Alone, I would have left.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Yes – It wasn’t fun at all! I think its always easier in a group to accept something slighly below your usual standard, but alone I was ready to run!

  3. Suzy says:

    I can so relate to this story. Just a few days ago I had a similar hospitality situation occur in Croatia. The owner was just awful, so much so that I found myself shivering in the coldest of rooms and in tears. Sometimes for sanity’s sake, we have to eat some money to enjoy where we are.

    • ElizabethJ_Bird says:

      Thanks Suzy. I read your post – doesn’t sound like a fund way to spend your first night a new city. Glad you were able to sort it out.

  4. Briana says:

    I just stumbled across your blog. You are a great travel writer! Kudos for exploring the intricacies of life as a traveler. Can’t wait to keep reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>