Okay, so maybe this wasn’t the *worst* bathroom in the world, but it seemed like it at the time. For the record, I have seen worse since then…MUCH worse.
I think the disconnect – what social scientists call “cognitive dissonance” – between the beauty of the room itself and the horrors of the bathroom made it seem even worse than it was. Yeah, there was mold and slime and one of those scary electric showers that I’m always sure is going to kill me but somehow never does. But the real turnoff was that it was attached to the most beautiful, character-filled room I’ve ever been offered at 4:30am in the middle of Guatemala. It was just…wrong.
The room itself was in a former home and it still had original details from who-knows-when. The tile and woodwork were amazing, and the portraits on the wall of some of the rich people who used to live there made me feel like their guest. The courtyard was a sanctuary, at least until the kitchen set up a station outdoors and started serving breakfast by the fountain at the crack of dawn. Still, the smells enticed me to join them outside for coffee and the memory of that half hour will always stay with me.
We didn’t stay here though. Not even for one night. We’d arrived from the Peten jungle sweaty, dirty, and exhausted after a red-eye bus that constantly looped The Da Vinci Code in Spanish on a black and white monitor. My boyfriend at the time stumbled into the shower then collapsed into a deep sleep for a few hours, but the prospect of waking to the grungy bathroom the next day horrified him. He wanted a nice, safe, clean room with towels that weren’t stained in every color of the rainbow. The prospect of Stranger Germs freaked him out and sent him running to a very nice, very touristy, very CLEAN hotel with a very clean bathroom a few streets over. I went along for the ride, to prevent a total meltdown. It turns out he’s not the Guatemala type – we broke up two weeks after the trip. Apparently, you can tell a lot about someone by their attitude toward bathrooms.
Since then, I find myself mourning the loss of more memories from a unique hotel that just had ONE little issue…the worst bathroom in the world.