Though our hotel was pretty run down, our first glance at it had seemed livable. We’re really not that picky about where we stay, just so long as the room is clean, there is a place for bikes, and it has internet access. As the day wore on however, things started going downhill fast. The ceiling over the bed was actually hanging down, a dangling flap of unanchored sheetrock that no one had bothered to tack back up. The shower actually just diverted water from the faucet to trickle a lukewarm stream of water out of a handheld nozzle. The bed was well worn and the humidity made it feel damp and awful. The place had a funny smell, which I later noted was probably from the field of black mold being cultivated on the leaky ceiling in the kitchen.
We headed to bed around 10:30, hoping to get another early start the next morning. Unfortunately, the girls who moved into the room next to us were running their music at full tilt well into the night which soaked through the flimsy walls and left me feeling like I was trying to sleep in a night club.
Unfortunately, the music was the least of our problems. Though our room was apparently sealed up to the outdoors, a huge band of mosquitoes had moved in with us.
First, Ben decided he could take them out before we slept. He sat meditatively still on the bed, stone still until jumping to smash a half dozen or so before crawling into bed. It soon became apparent however, that we were way out of our league. The buzz of mosquitoes rang so frequently in our ears that it sounded a bit like we were sleeping in a beehive and every time we would lie down, one of us would have to move to swat one, heading in for the bite.
The room was too hot to use the ridiculously heavy blankets we’d been given, but I was still unsure whether it was better to smother uncomfortably in the covers or go without and get eaten alive. I picked halfway.
Sometime, late into the night, the music finally stopped, but the mosquitoes didn’t. Instead, the stray dogs got to howling and barking and the heat remained oppressive. We swatted and tossed and turned all night long. I felt tragically tired, but even as I laid in bed, I could only imagine lying down somewhere comfortable, cool,and quiet.
By dawn (4:45 AM), the mosquitoes had kicked their efforts up an extra notch. So much buzzing compelled us to simply give up on the idea of ever getting any sleep and pack. I felt marginally bad, knowing the girls next door would hear our every move, but given their consideration for our comfort all night long, we weren’t too concerned.
Now that some time has gone by, Ben and I have discovered we have more than a hundred collective bites, leaving our legs and arms looking like we’ve got the chicken pox. We thought we saw bad mosquitoes in Ho Chi Minh, but this put Vietnam to shame! I always worry about bed bugs as we travel, but night mosquitoes are worse!
I’ve never been so happy to get on my bike and pedal away, even if it wasn’t yet 6:00 AM. Ben fervently declared our night the “second worst night of sleep” he’s ever had, second only to the camping trip in which he forgot his sleeping bag. Oh, how I wished we’d spent the night in our tent!