Travel Adventures, on the Road in Charleston, SC

Industrial Fumes, Sluggish Drains, and Wasps

The afternoon we checked into our hotel, it was filled with young baseball teams and Sweet 16 Party guests. The hotel was overflowing with people, young and old. Leaving for dinner, we watched eight moms in trendy boots and casual slacks walk through the parking lot. Welcome to Charleston. Our dinner was at a place receiving high marks on a website we frequent when traveling. My highest marks for this establishment were for my table location. I faced the women’s restroom.

The next morning we drove to one of the historic areas of Charleston, leaving our hotel room window open for the day. Returning to our room after sightseeing, a chemical smell stung my nose the second my husband opened the door. He didn’t notice. I hurriedly re-opened the window and door, propping them open to get rid of the odor. I called the front desk. They sent the housekeeping director to see us. She said, “Oh, now I remember, there was a bunch of wasps in the room. Maintenance sprayed to kill them.” I thought great, now what? She offered us dinner while she brought in an ozone machine to deodorize our room. “Give me 45 minutes,” she said. “This is a powerful machine.” The odor still lingered when we returned from dinner. Deciding to change rooms to get away from the smell, we quietly moved to the vacant room next door during a lively reception two doors from our now chemically enhanced room. The door to the reception was open. Reception guests probably didn’t realize that a nearby neighbor had moved.

View from Fleet's Landing Restaurant, Charleston

View from Fleet’s Landing Restaurant, Charleston

The next morning, my husband took his shower in a growing pool of water. The tub drain was clogged. He went to breakfast leaving me to wait for maintenance to clear the drain before I showered. A mid-thirty year old man who could have been a double for actor Peter Lorre arrived. He left the security latch open, keeping his hands clasped like a clamshell both times he walked out of the bathroom carrying something. “The drain was clogged with hair. I cleaned it out, he said.” I imagined the dripping water from his clamshell hands hitting the carpet like breadcrumbs dropping through a hole in the bottom of a bag. Never forget to pack flip flops in case a Peter Lorre look alike shows up posing as a maintenance man.

The maid arrives early. “I’ll need five minutes,” I said. I open the door to leave, she is sitting on the couch, in the smelly dark room we evacuated the evening before. I interrupt her time on her cell phone to tell her I am leaving. I check both ends of the hall to make a quick dash for the elevator. I’m going to Starbucks, looking forward to finding some normal people.

Night three, we discovered that the toilet leaks Our friendly neighbors are hosting another reception. We can’t change rooms. An unsuspecting guest has occupied the fumigated, now ozonated room we evacuated. We’re sleeping with the window open, thinking the wasps that survived the Peter Lorre and associates fumigation will be sleeping unless the neighbor’s party wakes them.


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