Monday, April 09, 2007

Dangerous guests

My mother was a travelwhore, she doesn't mind my calling her that since she's in her 80's and finds it amusing that the "younger" generation seem to use words like slut, whore, bitch with so much candor. My mother used to teach us all the proper definitions of curse words, it was important that when we'd curse, we cursed with knowledge. She made my brother do an entire week's worth of research on 'fuck', so much so that to this day he rarely uses it. Says he only wanted to when it was illicit, but not when one's mother tells him to use it so long as he knows what he's saying.

She'd drag the entire family around the country with her, especially on our summer holidays. We'd pack the station wagon (we had a green - then it turned red - Datsun station wagon), and head off on some trip loaded with clothes, WetOnes, and sick bags for long drives to Sorsogon or Ilocos. The only times we'd fly or take the ferry was when we'd go with her to Mindanao.

We had our share of disastrous holidays with her, but the one that I remembered last night was the time my sister wrought havoc on the hotel bathroom in Legaspi, making it impossible to use, flooding the floor, and to make things worse, my dad came down with some horrible fever, requiring us to stay for a few days more (with the broken, unusable toilet). My brother and I would escape into town, to get as close to Mayon volcano as possible, then reluctantly return to the hotel hoping that the hellish trip was over and we could drive home (possibly to deal with car sickness along the way).

The reason I remembered this bathroom fiasco was finding myself locked in the Peninsula bathroom, near Nielsen's at midnight. I had arrived a few minutes after midnight, and went to use the facilities, only to find myself unable to get out. The poor bathroom attendant tried her best to jiggle the handle open, but both of us were faced with the truth: we were locked in. I called the hotel management who sent over the hotel "engineers", who began jiggling the handle without much success. The door knob was jammed and that little metal tongue wouldn't budge from its nest. We suggested removing the door from its hinges, but there wasn't a way for them to do it from the other side. Eventually, they began to throw themselves (or a hammer, or something really heavy) against the thick wooden door. I found the approach a bit primitive, and noisy; it took them awhile to finally break the door down, the plate falling off at the same time. Management and service staff were quite apologetic, not that they could have foreseen that the door would do something so inhospitable as stubbornly lock while a guest was using the toilet. I suppose if I had been more hysterical (my friend T suggested I remained calm and mellow because of all the wine I had drunk through the day) I could have gotten some discount for the inconvenience. But my only desire at the time was to get out of the bathroom!


Katrina said...

How horrible! Yet...what a funny story! ;-) So how long did it take before you got out? It's a good thing there was someone inside with you and that it happened in a hotel, where finding help is simple. Nevertheless, I would've expected a hotel to have better ways to open a door than to break it down. Couldn't they have just removed the knob/lock mechanism?

Mila Tan said...

That was what I was expecting from the hotel engineers, that they'd have special door removal kits. I was a bit disappointed that they had to resort to brute force to get the door open.

christine said...

Omigosh, haha! You poor thing. Thank god it was at least a pretty posh bathroom no? Imagine if it was like a gas station toilet you were stuck in?

Mila Tan said...

Yes! Remember this life message kids, if you must get stuck in a bathroom, make sure its a 5 star hotel bathroom!

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