Horrendous. That was my immediate thought when I asked about my most memorable sleep during my travels. Seconds later I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. I guess it was definitely an interesting adventure.
The day had been one of those unbelievably amazing ones. There wasn’t another person in sight on the white sandy shores in Mandrem, Goa. We had our very own beach, accompanied with a side of gloriously bright sunshine and cloudless blue sky. Our cheeks were hurting from grinning so much. Here we were, two average backpackers, lazing in our newly acquired kingdom feeling like millionaires.
The price tag of our accommodation clearly showed our budget was a lot lower. I don’t think it even cost us a tenner for the night. When we had staggered out of our questionable ‘taxi’, hot and bothered after a cramped journey, we had been blown away at the sight of teepees and huts.
Framed against the green palm leaves and bright orange flowers, they called to our inner hippies. Despite being slightly leveraged off the ground by small stilts, they looked sturdy and better yet, they looked stylish and cool. Obviously, important factors in choosing accommodation. Obviously.
Sunbathing on that beach, we got lost in excited chatter and before we knew it the sun was setting. As the sky grew darker we made our way home. The narrow overgrown dirt track that we had explored earlier now seemed dangerous and scary. Distracted by cute huts we had forgotten to bring a torch or even a phone. We practically ran the one mile back to our hut, relieved to make it back in one piece.
As we eyed up the interior, the reality of the open gap between the ground and our hut hit home. We worried about creatures crawling into our room, or worse yet, biting us. We dashed to open the mosquito net and to then tuck it in around the bed. Climbing in, it was apparent that the double bed was in fact a single bed. The two of us wedged together, it was uncomfortably cosy in the hot, sticky Indian air. Five minutes later it was even worse.
The mosquito net transformed into a sheet of twinkling eyes. Okay, I lie – I think beady eyes is more appropriate. Wings fluttered and multiple spiky legs wiggled, manoeuvring their bodies up and down the net. They were relentless and seemed to multiply as each second passed.
We covered ourselves with the minuscule bedsheet and tried to tilt our bodies away from the net. Although our beetle foes were on the other side, it was still touching our skin and just far too close for our liking. Our muscles ached in response to our abnormal positions. The juicy bugs showed no sympathy and continued on their dedicated mission to ease their way into our bed.
Exhausted and hours later, our eyes shut for what felt like a tiny second. A deep grumble bellowed from the ground. We peered in the direction of the sound, but couldn’t see anything. We pulled the torch ready and as it called out again we flicked the switch. Sitting there at the foot of our bed stood the fattest and grumpiest toad we had ever seen. Its skin was a shade of putrid green and it was covered in bulging lumps. It now seemed entitled to the grumpy expression it wore so well. It cried again and I’m pretty sure it translated as “Oi. Fellow toads get in here. There’s a whole wall of tasty looking bugs for us. Ignore the two girls in the bed, they’re too scared to get us.”
Oh, the morning had never been so welcomed after that long and exhausting night.
The moral of the story? If you want to experience a romantic, traditional hut or teepee on your travels, be realistic. If you’re scared of bugs, spiders and toads you may want to reconsider. Secondly, if you’re sharing with a friend, try out the bed before you commit to your booking to ensure you can both fit in it. Finally, go ahead and ignore my advice because the best learning tool is experience. Plus, you’ll probably get a funny story out of it.
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