As soon as I saw it I knew it was where I wanted to stay. Every flake of paint that had fallen from it’s wooden beams had taken with it some splendour, but those that remained had absorbed enough glory in their time to put it a step above you average slowly rotting hotel.
As I walked in a smiling man swept the floor, obviously a habit he had developed when people still used the hotel. Fresh flowers straight from the jungle sat in jam jars of dirty water on the tables of the dining room, the menu on the wall promising a ‘Menu Ejecutivo’ for businessman who would never stay there. My kind of place, especially when the alternative is $20 a night, I booked in immediately.
The room was basic but clean, the showers clean but falling apart and the electricity much appreciated when it was available (it was cut off four days before I left as they hadn’t paid the bill). I quickly settled in, hanging a mosquito net over the bed and throwing clothes all over the floor. It was just like living in a student house again. Except even there we had electricity.
Leaving my room for the first time, I looked off the balcony and into the dining room. Hunched over a table was a man with liver spots running up his arms to his forehead, where their progress was halted by a thin combover. I was introduced to him as Carlos, the hotels owner. His symbiotic relationship with the hotel was apparent, his pride intact but his body no longer what it once was. His first concern was that I felt it necessary to use my mosquito net. He pointed repeatedly to the wire mesh covering the windows. I pointed repeatedly at the distinctly larger than mosquito shaped holes that punctured the mesh. He was unpersuaded, and in the end I dropped the mosquito net and stuffed the holes with plastic bags. Lizards still found a way to run around the hotel, but I think it kept the frogs out.
In Bogota now, but heading for the border with Ecuador tonight. It looks like the next week is going to be spent almost entirely on buses, obviously worth it to save 100 quid on plane fares

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