Thursday, October 9, 2014

Red Flags

Those of you who follow me on Facebook would have seen a photo I posted on Monday as I began a long awaited few days away. The drive up to Wasaga Beach only took a couple of hours.  Fall colours are well underway, but the weak sunlight failed to highlight the colours to their full beauty.  

Still it was a nice, uneventful drive and we arrived early afternoon at the “resort” previously booked online. Let me digress a moment.   With a modest budget to plan a few days away, the selection was limited. But we believed we had found reasonable value while booking through and were excited to know we had three days to wind down.  A pile of books, decks of cards and no definite plans equalled some serious R & R.

Wasaga Beach is definitely geared to summer time tourists and this time of year is much quieter; the lodging was only a block from the beach! With sweaters and flannel hoodies I didn’t care about the cold as long as rain didn’t interfere.  Anticipated walks along the beach awaited.

Oh how photos can deceive. The booking promised a suite with living area and two separate bedrooms plus kitchenette. Perfect!  Upon check in we were led to our unit by a pleasant woman who advised that because it’s not summer season, there would be no regular housekeeping.  Not a problem – meant if we decided to veg in front of the TV or read all day we’d not be disturbed. 

But - you know when you get those ‘red flags’…..? 

Red Flag #1 – opened the door to our unit (across the lot from the parked car) and wondered if the aroma wafting out was unique to the area – best description -  cinnamon laced bleach.  Ok, it meant the room has recently been cleaned, not a bad thing.  But I’d have preferred a less intense scent to whatever commercial cleaner had been used.  And even with windows opened the smell never seemed to lessen.

Red Flag #2 – no phone in the unit.  Huh…guess its assumed everyone has a cell phone these days, but then how would we contact the service desk if there was a problem?  (ie how can we get rid of this smell!)

Red Flag #3 came when I looked into my bedroom (and I use the term loosely) where a double bed filled most of the room. A miniscule bedside table with a reading light made for a Barbie doll completed the décor.  No dresser, not even a fold up luggage stand to put my suitcase on.  A tiny alcove of a closet with mismatched plastic hangars would be it for unpacking.   The bed had seen better days, but hey, I’m the type of person who can sleep pretty much anywhere so I wasn’t concerned.   (That would be Red Flag #4, if you’re keeping count)

At least the unit was clean.  Handy to the beach, and shopping we wanted to do.  And shopping we did – I bought a small bed side light knowing that the one provided would not suffice for my planned reading binges.   With only a ceiling light in the living area – no light beside the couch, there’d be no reading there.  Oh, the couch.   Yes, that got covered quickly with a spare sheet before either of our derrieres made contact.  Not exactly a large couch either, the only other seating available were two mismatched chairs meant for the kitchen table, and one of those was pressed into service as a coffee table.

The bathroom was clean – but just like the kitchen and sitting area, the curtains were not exactly sewn for privacy, if you get my drift.  Looked for the light switch – and looked.  Not in the room itself, or by the door.  However, around the corner – BEHIND the fridge, I found it.  Imagine the middle of the night, stumbling to the washroom and groping past the coils of the fridge to find the switch. Yep.

 Light Switch!

Finally came time to call it a night.  Managed to fit my CPAP machine on the tiny bedside table and was too tired to read.  Ah…time to drift off to sleep.  Or not…listened to the rain, and tried, and tried, to get comfortable.   The bed creaked and groaned more than a haunted house. Sleeping right on the box frame might have been softer!  At least using my CPAP machine allowed me to escape the cinnamon/bleach bouquet for a while.  (2 days later and at home, I still get whiffs of the scent when using the CPAP).

Needless to say the next morning, after comparing notes on both bedrooms, we decided there was no way we’d be able to spend another night, so we packed up and left.  Ironically the office didn't even question why we were leaving after just one night. 

The day wasn’t a total loss, sun shining and breezy; a walk along the beach came to pass.  A drive into Collingwood and more time spent by the water satisfied the urge to be by the lake, if only for an hour or too.


All in all, an interesting start to a week of vacation. But next time, a thorough review on Trip Advisor will be the rule of thumb…in hindsight reading about our accommodation after returning home showed the concerns raised by other travellers. At least I did gain a new reading light.

And now, Thanksgiving approaches, and despite the disappointment of a flubbed vacation, there is so very much to be thankful for.

This month’s interview will feature Deitrich Kalteis – be sure to check back for that later this month.     

Cheers and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


1 comment:

Gloria Ferris Mystery Writer said...

Oh, how I can relate to your trip, Liz. Been there, done that. But, I'm glad you made the best of it, and the sun came out at last!