Friday, December 5, 2014

Yet, another bus

December 5 2014, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

If you don't want to read bitching, please stop now! You have been warned.

It was a bus day so not much about anything tourist wise. I had hoped for a luxury bus down here, but got a regular bus instead. I had the same seat as on the Dhaka to Chittagon run, directly behind the driver. At least on this bus there were chrome bars separating me from the driver and then the windshield. But except for one big clunk in with a rickshaw in the bus station and one screeching of tires at 60 miles an hour, the trip was uneventful. The trip was supposed to be 4 hours and turned into four and a half hours. I am blaming the extra half hour on it being Friday, the Muslin Sunday and everyone was going someplace just to be in the way of MY bus.

We made one pit stop along the way. The luxury bus stopped at a nice solid roadside truck stop sort of place. The regular bus stopped at two thatched roofed buildings with 2 mom and pop stores and a man with a charcoal brazier outside. A bottle of fizzy orange drink and a smoke and we were back on the road in 15 minutes.

After that the bus stopped, no slowed is the correct work to let people off at various stops along the way. I really do mean slowed, except for when the two ladies departed. The bus did come to a full stop then. When we got to Cox's Bazar the bus stopped right in front of my hotel and voila, Bob's your uncle.

Cox's Bazar is Bangladesh's Miami Beach. Cheek to jowl hotels and restaurants. The beach in a few blocks away, even though this hotel is on the water side of the main drag. I was assigned a room overlooking the main road and asked if I could get the water side. They said no King sized bed only 2 doubles. That was fine with me. It's a nice room and and pretty luxurious in relation to the previous two. Pricey, but it is a resort town and a weekend so I won't bitch. At least until the bill comes.

Now comes the bitching -

When I was in Dhaka the hotel concierge made a reservation for me at the hotel. It was for sixty bucks a night. I thought I'd take a look at TripAdvisor and see what kind of rating it had. None. Okay, I'll pave the way. BUT there was a big advertisement for $35. Hey, twenty-five buck in my jeans is better than their corporate account by my reasoning. Naseef said to make the reservation and he'd cancel the one he made.

The room was spacious, but a little plain. It did have a balcony that I never used because of the bars and jail like feeling. It was your basic third world room, maybe a bit on the better side, but I've stayed in the same room in different countries. Some slightly higher, some slightly lower.

So I go to check out and toss a Benjamin on the counter figuring the room plus (25%) tax should just about cover it. The clerk said “That will be $175.” Really ? “Yes”. I turned and walked to the public computer in the lobby and pulled up the confirmation from, Clearly showing the $35 a night rate. He scratched and itched and after a bit a larger and older man came over and said “But we gave you a larger room. It costs more.” I told him that I had reserved at my price and them giving my a larger room was THEIR problem. If they wanted to up sell me, they should have shown me the smaller room and then the larger room. So, Dude here's your $100 and I'll see you later.

This went back and forth for probably half an hour. I wasn't yelling, but I was firm. I got fed up and said call the police in that case, we'll let them decide. That didn't happen. More back and forth. Finally I decided it just wasn't worth it to keep going. It was time for the nuclear option. I pulled out another C note and threw the two no the counter and said “”Here's your fucking money!” It was like a switch was thrown and his whole demeanor changed. “How much you want to pay?” I went up a bit and he came down a bit and neither of us went away happy, but we both went away. I guess that's what you call compromise.

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