Our adventure in Lagos had one overall theme: Get it Right the Second Time.
We booked a night in Dom Pedro’s sister hotel called Praia Maia Beach Resort. Sounds lovely, right? We soon discovered that not all sister hotels are created equal in Portugal. After having a cab take us to what seemed to be a deserted apartment complex in the middle of the night in this brand new city, we finally found the “resort,” which was really a collection of grimy apartments set up motel style, with outdoor entrances to each room, accessible through a parking lot. We got our key from the motel clerk, who seemed to be the only human being anywhere in the vicinity. We opened the door to our room, and flipped on the switch to a flickering light. Our two twin beds were set up against either wall of the tiny room, with about an inch in between the two beds. Randi commented that it felt like we had entered a military bunker. We nervously explored the bathroom, afraid to really touch anything, and when I discovered a spider the size of my hand crawling on my bed, I lost it. I picked up our bags and ran back to the check in desk. I knew if we stayed here, I would be standing upright all night long, afraid of the critters and possibly serial killers that lurked nearby. Since the only people within fifty miles of us seemed to be me, Randi and the hotel clerk, it really did feel like the beginning of a scary movie.
I explained to the hotel clerk that we were on vacation, and if we got a hotel closer to town, we’d be a lot happier because we wanted to go out to the nightclubs (this was a lie – all we really wanted was some semblance of normalcy and a hotel that would allow us to sleep through the night, but this was my way of not completely insulting the accommodations we were in). Luckily, his friend had shown up to hang out with him while he was on duty at this abandoned shack, and she told us that she worked in a four star hotel right by the marina. We begged the clerk to call that hotel to see if they had availability, and luckily, they did. He called us a cab, we apologized, and we were off.
The Marina Rio was by no means a four star hotel, but we were just happy to see a real hotel, seemingly near civilization, other hotels, and with other people staying at this one. We put our stuff down in our normal sized room, and went to the hotel bar to have a Sagres, relieved that we had changed our situation.
We had no idea that this theme of getting it right the second time would follow us well into the next day.