20
Jun-2017

Panic in a hotel in Nepal

Checked into the Cygnett Hotel in Nepalgunj after a quite exhausting field trip in the far western part of Nepal. They gave me a room and the bellboy took my luggage and brought me up to Room 509. After connecting all battery chargers to charge camera, iPad, laptop and the phone, I go down for dinner. When signing the bill the waiter tells me I am in room 507, not in 509. Ok, maybe I remembered the numbers wrong.

I go for a beer at the bar after dinner, because they did not serve beer in the restaurant. Every 20-30 minutes the lights are flickering or go dark because of frequent power outages. The bartender brings me some very spicy peanuts.

The peanuts combined with the beer, and maybe the spicy food before, have a strange effect on me and I start feeling really sick. I desperately crave for finishing the beer but with every sip I take, I feel worse. It feels as if somebody is sitting on my chest, and I sense that I will have to throw up soon. So I abandon the remaining half full bottle and make my way back up to the room. Once I reach the elevator the next blackout happens, this time the electricity does not seem to come back soon. I think about taking the stairs, but in my current condition I am not sure that I can make it to the fifth floor. So I decide to wait.

Minutes later the power comes back and I take the elevator and go to room 509. The RIFD room key does not work. I remember the waiter saying something about room 507. So just to check, I try the key on the lock of 507. To my surprise it opens the door. I turn on the lights and find a clinically empty room. No luggage, no devices on battery chargers. Still feeling awfully sick, some slight fear starts to kick in. Something is obviously very wrong. Maybe a thief took my luggage. This is the stuff bad movies are made from. All belongings stolen, including papers, lost in a foreign land. Calm down. Fore sure, there is an explanation. But hard to think logically with a hurting stomach.

I go down to the reception and explain the situation. They check their computer and say that I am in Room 507. I insist that my room is 509 and that my luggage is in that room. They re-program the key, supposedly for room 509, and I go up again.

The red light on the lock illuminates when I tried the key at the 509 lock. I am getting angry, for them letting me walk here twice with no result. And the worry about the luggage, is this a set up? So down I go again. “ This is not working!” He checks the computer again. “You are in room 507.” “ My luggage is in room 509. Your bellboy brought me there.” “No. Your friend stays in 509” he says and tries to call room 509, did somebody answer? I don’t know. He wouldn’t say. Instead he says: “I come with you, Sir”.

Up on fifth floor again. The receptionist opens room 507. “Your room Sir.” I step in, wondering, was I wrong and the luggage is around the corner? Nope. Almost screaming now: “The room is empty! WHERE IS MY LUGGAGE?”

Now the guy seems to understand that there is a problem. “You sit down and relax and wait here.” “ I am not going to sit here in this empty room without my luggage…” while somebody in 509 is emptying it and stealing all my valuables, I add in my mind, I don’t want to say it loud, he might be part of the plot. “Wait here Sir.” Nope. That’s not going to happen. I sit here and in the meantime you and your friends are finishing cleaning out my luggage. I follow him outside to the hallway and while the receptionist disappears, I position myself in front of 509 in case the thief tries to make an escape. What if he is armed? What if it is a gang? An armed gang? How much additional fun is it on top of my hurting stomach to lie on the floor with stab wounds?  This is obvious a set-up. I remember that the door was not locked when the bellboy brought me here. How else could have gotten me into the room without a key? Clearly a set-up.

Is there a German Embassy in Nepal to get a new passport? How long will that take?

Every now and then the light goes off for a while.

I try to call my colleague, maybe he can help. But I figure out that I only have his office number. Damn.

Still in front of 509 waiting for the door to open any time now. Should I run or fight?

Would I stand higher chances in fighting if they come out in the dark during a blackout, the element of surprise? Or wait, maybe this is part of their set-up, they cause the blackout to make their moves in the dark?

The receptionist comes back after 10 minutes. He starts fiddling on the door of room 508. “I am in this room!” I shout, loosing the last micron of patience I still have. “509?” “YES, 509!” Reluctantly he unlocks 509, opens the door. There is my luggage. The gang of saber swinging mugs has somehow mysteriously disappeared, is there a secret door in this room? “See? That’s my luggage!” “OK Sir. Sorry Sir, my apologies, I will bring you a new key.”

The only positive thing is, the sick feeling is gone. Who says anger is unhealthy?

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