The water is a disturbing color. A deep rusty brown. And it smells really bad.
The good news is – it is not coming out of the tap.
The bad news is – it arrived in a large splash from the ceiling and landed on my head, face and shoulders just as I was entering the hotel room. My rather stylish outfit appears to be ruined.
The blog has fast forwarded two weeks and finds Gordon in England and moi in Mallorca searching for warm sun and sea with no culture whatsoever. The second part is working well, the first part not so much.
I have booked a small hotel on the beach at Puerto de Soller on the north coast of the island. I like the hotel, it is charming and stylish in an understated modernist sort of way with just a little help from Ikea. I am not so fond of the watery greeting.
I return to reception where the lady behind the desk is busy with another guest. She does a double take when she spots my rust streaked shirt and in a moment of unwarranted optimism asks if I have a small question
I do not.
I have a rather large complaint.
The hotel manager miraculously appears from behind a door. He looks vaguely familiar but I can’t place him. He quickly takes my elbow and with what appears to be a well practiced move, firmly guides me away from anyone who might hear what I have to say.
“Oh dear. I wonder how that could happen” he says when I explain the situation
He speaks really bad English with a heavy accent and suddenly I know why he looks familiar. He is Manuel from Fawlty Towers, a thought that makes me smile which is totally the wrong reaction for the current situation
He says he will send the repairman straight to my room, which seems like a good start. But he studiously ignores my once glamorous and now badly stained shirt
The English in me decides not to make a fuss, which I find almost as annoying as the actual incident. But “breeding will out” as my mother was fond of saying.
I tell Manuel that I will go out for a few hours
Several hours later I return to my room.
Water is dripping from the ceiling.
Back downstairs I ask the manager why the problem hasn’t been fixed
“It has been fixed” he says.
My voice may have raised slightly when I repeat that the problem has not been fixed.
“It most certainly is fixed” he says in his bad English accent. “But the repairman wants you to know that it will continue to drip water until all the moisture has gone”
“Ah! Not quite fixed then” I reply. But the subtleties of the English language are lost on him.
Manuel shrugs just like the real Manuel
“I need to be moved to another room”, I tell him
He tells me that all the rooms are booked.
It is at this point that 30 years of living in America, and many more years of living with Gordon comes to the rescue.
All sense of control leaves me, along with my English upbringing.
I make a scene.
People start looking
I get a new room almost immediately.
The new room is directly below the one I currently have which, unfortunately proves to be significant.
I wake early the next morning to the sound of dripping water
Manuel is waiting for me. I know what he is going to say
“Oh dear. I wonder how that could happen” he says
Once more I leave for the day.
The warm sun, a good book, a beautiful beach, a comfortable chaise and two umbrellas (one for the shade and one to decorate my drink) should put me in a better frame of mind. I have rented a sporty little BMW for the week. It makes me feel young, cool and carefree as long as I don’t look in the mirror or at my bank account. I set out for a beach a little way away that I have heard about. The sun promptly disappears and is replaced by alarming black clouds that are so low and foreboding that I feel I can touch them. Suddenly lightning streaks across the sky inches in front of me and rolls of thunder rock the car.
And then the heavens open. I have never seen such rain.Within minutes water has reached curb level and starts flooding the sidewalks. It is the middle of the day but there is so little light
Traffic inches forward while people run for cover
Hours later I am finally able to return to the hotel. I am soaked.
Manuel is there to greet me
He pays no attention to the pool of water gathering around my feet.
“Everything is fixed” he tells me
He continues with what sounds like a rehearsed speach
“I would like to thank you for your understanding. I am happy to offer you a dinner for two at our lovely restaurant”
For once in my life I am speechless. He is the hotel manager. He must know I am on my own, or is he offering to find a suitable date for me as part of my reimbursement.
But it gets worse. I have read about the restaurant on tripadvisor and while it’s reviews are not stunning they are certainly acceptable. But the main reason for eating there is that it is about the cheapest deal in town. It’s claim to fame is the three course dinner for just $25. At that rate he is offering to refund me the equivalent of about 90 minutes of my 7 day stay.
I decide never to refer to him again as Manuel
The real Manuel used to make me laugh.