We decided that we'd go to Charlottesville and see Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's home. It's a special place, because Thomas Jefferson holds a special place in America. It's also a marvellous example of it's period in history. It's a fascinating place - I knew that Jefferson was an early President and had been involved writing the US Declaration of Independence, but I didn't know much more. This fellow was very well read, was passionate about education and defined himself as a farmer - not a politician. He was a man of ideas. Our visit to Monticello left me with a desire to read about Jefferson and find out more.
Charlottesville is the town nearest to Monticello. It's a few hours from Richmond, and so we thought that we'd stay a night or two there. (If you've been following along with our travels, you'll know that our bags have already been to Charlottesville) We had dinner with George and Mama ( at the Outback Restaurant - it's supposed to be Australian themed and George wanted to check out if it really is. It is.) and then after dinner drove the few hours to Charlottesville.
America is full of inns - Quality Inn, Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Days Inn. Some towns will have 2 or 3 of a particular chain in different parts of town. So we drove on up to Charlottesville after dinner and programed Ken for the Comfort Inn - we'd booked on line with Expedia. We drove to the Charlottesville Comfort Inn......and found that we weren't booked there. Not to worry they said - this happens all the time we were told, and they directed us to the Comfort Inn on the other side of town. The one that isn't called the Charlottesville Comfort Inn.
Trouble was, we weren't booked there either. I knew I'd booked us somewhere, but in my first act of disorganisation and overconfidence, I hadn't printed the email confirming it. And without a hotel to check into, I didn't have any way to check my email.It was dark and not much was open and there are very few netcafs in the US anyway because there's so much cheap and free internet access. Except at 10.30pm in Charlottesville.
Amy remembered my phone - my Australian mobile, which had been turned off for most of the trip. But it also downloads my email. We switched the phone on, got onto my email and got the email confirming our accommodation.........at the Quality Inn.
Back across the other side of town, not far from where we'd started at the first Comfort Inn, we checked into the Quality Inn. It was dark and we were tired. Amy went to the bathroom, planning on running bath before she went to bed. I could hear her......because she squelched across the carpet. Maybe you know that sound that wet carpet makes when someone walks across it - that's the sound that about a third of the carpet made when we walked towards the bathroom, because it was soaking. Not just a bit damp, but really really drenched. We decided that we were too tired to move rooms and that we'd cope with telling hotel reception the next day. Amy tried to run the bath and found that the only way to run it was to turn the shower on. Another thing to add to the list for Reception. And then she found the final clincher - pubic hair in the bath. Urk.
I told Reception the next morning. The fellow on reception at that point was very apologetic and told us that he'd get a plumber to fix the bath, the cleaner to take care of proper cleaning, and he'd get a fan into the room to dry out the carpet. We went off to Monticello.
When we got back from Monticello late that afternoon he'd done exactly as he'd said. The bath was fixed and we didn't need to turn the shower on to fill it - and there was no foreign pubic hair. There was a huge industrial fan in the room - which helped with the Virginia-in-summer-heat - and the carpet was drying. We went off for dinner feeling much better about the whole thing.
After dinner we settled back into bed to watch some TV and read. That's when we discovered that the fan had got the fleas in the carpet on the move. A lot.
We told Reception the next morning. We expected some sort of discount on the room, or voucher for future use........something! Instead, we were told that they 'don't do discounts' and it was too bad about the fleas. The manager told me that as well when I asked to see him.
I told Expedia about our experience and received a voucher from them that we used to reduce our accommodation costs in LA on the way home. And we left a scathing review on the website.