Monday, 26 July 2004
When we get to Dawson Creek, it’s still relatively early. I have made a reservation at the Alaska Hotel. The guide books and the internet explain that it is the oldest hotel in town, built in 1926. It’s right downtown, and we find it easily.
I go into the bar, called the “Dew Drop Inn Pub” because I can’t find another door for the hotel office. The bartender looks at me a little funny when I ask about the hotel. I tell her I have a reservation, feeling uneasy that perhaps there was no vacancy. The bartender says, “Well, do you want to see the room first?”
That was my first indication that something was amiss.
I paused, trying to think of what to do. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked if I wanted to see the room first, before, especially when I’d already made a reservation. But, what could it hurt, right? As she hands me the keys, she says, “No telephone in the room, no television in the room, everyone shares the bathroom, there’s no shower in the room.”
I take the keys from her and follow her directions through the bar and up the stairs. What I see reminds me a lot of someone’s grandmother’s house that’s a little run down. The carpet is low pile, circa 1940, with a plastic runner over the stairs. The walls are decorated with old photographs and paintings, but sort of randomly, and a lot of the artwork looks like someone’s kid did it.
I get up to the 2nd floor, and I have to laugh. There’s a central “TV room” with someone lying on the couch, watching the news. I go down the hallway, and the doors are suspiciously close together. I find the room – 206 – and open the door. The room is small. Ok, no… It’s tiny. It contains a very small iron double bed, a pedestal sink, a miniature “dresser” with a mirror whose silvering has been decaying for the last several decades. The window is open, and it overlooks the alley and the dumpsters.
When I went back downstairs, I gave the bartender the keys and told her I was going to go talk it over with the other person who would be staying. She smiled and said, “You’re not coming back, eh?” I replied that I was just going to talk it over, and I’d probably be back.
I go out to get Stuart from the truck and explain the situation. We decide that adventure is what vacation is all about, and besides, the room is cheap. It can’t hurt to save a few dollars some days on the trip…
We go in, and I think the bartender was very surprised to see us back. We register for the room, and I take Stuart up to see it. We looked around the floor a little bit, and we find that we think the people staying there might live there, versus passing through like us. They seem nice enough, though.
And, despite the humble appearance, the Hotel was plenty nice enough. It was a perfectly acceptable place to stay, so long as you’re not a fluffy towel kind of person, and we’re not… Or at least not always.
“Do you want to see the room first?” I guess it’s never a bad idea…
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