That Will Be A Non Smoking & A Non Dog RoomSaturday, July 23, 2011
el baile de las sábanas blancas or the dance of the white sheets. This was her pleasant euphemism to inform me it was bedtime.
Bedtime for the girls in our trip to and back from south Texas was mostly a pleasant one thanks to our neighbour Robert Freedman who gave us an extremely valuable tip. Like my friend Paul Leisz, Freedman is a smart and frugal man. He knows all about spending money only when one has to, and when one has to, it is to be at an absolute minimum. Freedman suggested I simply ignore my iPhone and the belligerent roaming charges that Telus charges for using it in the US. He suggested we purchase a $30 Nokia phone in Bellis Fair with an equally cheap minutes plan. With this phone and with our BCAA (AAA) individual US state manual, Rosemary would call the hotels a few hours before our arrival at some town like Ontario, Washington, or Butte, Montana. She would then ask these questions to the groans of the girls in the back seat:
1. Is that your final price even after you consider our AAA card?
2. Does it have a microwave and a refrigerator?
3. We want two queen-sized beds.
4. Does that include high speed internet?
5. Does that include free breakfast?
6. And what does that breakfast include?
7. I understand your hotel has three floors but no elevator. We need a room on the first floor.
8. Is it a non smoking room?
But we soon knew that there was one more question we had to ask but that we did not know how phrase it. In our second night we stayed in Richfield, Utah. As we were carting our luggage into the second floor (there was no elevator and we learned our lesson after that stay) a room on the first floor suddenly opened and two women (they looked like Quantico boot camp sergeants) walked out with a huge German shepherd in tow.
After enquiring we noted that even our AAA manuals listed not only which hotels had elevators or not, but also they had a little phrase we had not noticed, “Pet friendly.”
On another day I asked at the front desk of a Holiday Inn Express (and yes it, too, was pet friendly) what this meant. The man told me that usually the first floor was reserved as the pet friendly area and that there was a $15 fee per pet. I asked the man if the room maids had problems in dealing with the pets. His non answer I interpreted as a rare form of American diplomacy. To lighten the moment I made the joke as to why it was I had not been charged $15 each for my two granddaughters.
None of the hotels ever charged us more than the agreed upon fee that Rosemary obtained on her phone transaction. But it was at a hotel in Butte, Montana where we had to pay more. It seems that in Butte, little girls are considered to be pets. And we were on the first floor so that confirms that!