The first time my husband, Rick, and I visited Savannah, Georgia, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast. I don’t remember the name, probably because we were there in the late nineties, but I definitely remember our stay. We arrived at the three-story, wood frame house around dusk, entering an empty hall. A tall, dark figure approached us from the shadows and asked if we’d like to check in. His taciturn demeanor and wide-open eyes made him a little spooky.
We followed him out the front door to steps leading down to a dungeon-like alcove. As our “host” opened a gate to take us into this creepy hallway, I wondered what we’d gotten ourselves into. He opened our door, informed us of the breakfast schedule, then left with, “Have a pleasant stay.”
Our room was in the basement–a generous place with a four-poster bed. We’d asked for a garden room, and we soon discovered why it was available. Several roaches came under the door, making us grateful the bed was high off the floor. We opened the door to the outside world, finding the source of the problem: Huge trees silhouetted against the sky were covered with roaches climbing up and down the branches. Even in the dim light, we could see them from almost a hundred feet away. ”Have a pleasant stay.” Indeed! I could almost hear a Disney song in the background as the insects moved in rhythmic succession.
We survived the night, but awoke early the next morning to creaking sounds coming from the ceiling as someone, or several someones, walked overhead. I tried to go back to sleep but failed, and we finally dressed for breakfast. The spacious dining room was filled with people from all walks of life. Feeling as if we’d been transported to another Bed and Breakfast, we settled at the huge table, noting a foreign man in a corner of the room, talking on a cell phone in another language (unusual at the time).
After ordering an omelette and getting the impression the chef wasn’t happy about it, even though it was still the breakfast hour, Rick and I struck up a conversation with a middle-aged woman. An American living in Malaysia, she told us her son went to school in Bangladesh, and her husband vacationed in Viet Nam. And–oh–she had a maid. Everyone did where she lived.
Next we talked with a man who described to us his near-drowning experience in the ocean. We listened, horrified and amazed that he thought it was rather pleasant. In the meantime, his teenaged son brought bags downstairs (I felt sure those rooms were roach-free), ready for the next leg of their adventure. They had flown from Seattle to help save the sea turtles on Tybee Island, and the father said it was mostly his son’s idea. He seemed deadly serious about it as he piled everything in the hall. I’d never seen anyone that young so concerned about wildlife.
As we continued our almost surreal meal, I’m sure our food was delicious, but I only remember the fascinating cast of characters we encountered while at a most interesting Bed and Breakfast.