The Background Story
During the summer of 2012, my husband and I went on vacation with our friend John. The surprising part? I wasn't responsible for planning a single item on our jam packed agenda.
The planning was done entirely by the guys.
Together, the guys had arranged a two week trip for all three of us to travel to Eugene, Oregon and attend the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials. The only responsibilities that I had were: 1) pack my own suitcase, and 2) hop in the car when they were ready to leave for the airport.
Lucky for me, the guys had already attended the two previous Olympic trials (in 2008 and 2004 respectfully) and they had already discovered all of Eugene's fun spots. Plus, did I mention that for the third Olympic trials in a row, they had made reservations to stay in the same hotel as 50+ of their track fanatic friends? Well, they did.
In Summary: I was a relative track and field newbie, and I had agreed to embark on a 2 week trip with my husband and friend John to vacation with 50+ people I had never met. Oh, and I had no idea what was on our agenda.
I'm not going to lie, the fear of the unknown had made me slightly nervous for the vacation. However, I was aware of how much time my husband and John had put into the planning of the trip, so I had convinced myself that I was bound to have a good time no matter what adventures I encountered in Oregon.
Two days before we left for our trip, my husband and John were frantically making last minute adjustments to our vacation itinerary and I was scrambling to wrap up 5 billion projects at work before I took two weeks off to hop on a plane for a 14 day adventure. It was during this hectic get-stuff-done time that my husband informed me that there was a slight problem.
The problem: Our plane was landing in Portland at midnight, and the taxi ride from Portland to Eugene was farther and more expensive than the guys had realized.
I suggested that we book a hotel room for one night in Portland, rent a car for one day, and then drive to Eugene the next morning.
The guys acted like I was a genius, and while I spent the evening frantically throwing things into a suitcase, cleaning, sending last minute emails, and making arrangements for our plants to be watered while we were away, my husband and John told me they had found a great deal on a hotel room in Portland.
I trusted my husband and John, so I gave them a thumbs up and asked zero questions.
Flash Forward To Our Arrival In Portland
- Due to flight delays, we landed in Portland at 1:30 am.
- Exhausted, we instantly got in line to pick up our economy-sized rental car. We were happy to be spending the night in Portland instead of making the late night commute to Eugene.
- The man at the rental car counter gave us our keys, and we went to the parking lot thinking that we were about to drive to our hotel in a Ford Focus. When we clicked our car remote, this little car flashed its lights at us.
- No big deal I told myself. We had a lot of luggage, but we would make it work. So, I sat in the backseat with a suitcase on my lap, and my husband followed the pre-packed Mapquest directions to our Portland hotel destination (these guys were prepared!).
- The closer we got to our hotel, the more obvious it became that we were heading into rough territory.
- Finally, we found our hotel. It was located between a strip club and an extremely rowdy bar. We were not in a safe neighborhood.
- We entered the hotel lobby of the less than par half-star hotel. The man at the front desk informed us that, due to our late arrival, he had not held our reservation. All rooms were occupied.
- At this point, 3 police cars with sirens blaring pulled into the parking lot next door. The policemen parked, and then proceeded to exit their cars and hang caution tape around the parking lot.
- The front desk employee kept shifting his eyes from the computer screen to the police cars. Then he said, "it looks like a rough night out there, don't worry, I have a solution! Our regular rooms are full, but we have two suites that are connected to each other. They are very nice rooms. As a thank you for your patience, I will give you both suites for the price of one regular room!”
- My husband and John didn't think that this was the least bit shady or weird.
- We left the hotel lobby and wheeled our luggage to our 3rd floor double suite. Also, I need to point out that we were given 3 keys, because our suite was in a separate building which required a key of its own, and our suite was in a private hallway that also required a key.
Why? Our discounted double suites in downtown urban Portland were decorated like a tropical paradise.
More specifically, our hotel rooms resembled a tropical paradise if you could find a tropical paradise in Antarctica or on a farm.
A Photo Tour Of Our Hotel Room
- Not one, but TWO hand-painted parrot murals.
- A couch made out of fluffy white polar bear fur.
- A couch decorated in cow hide. Seriously, white with black splotches.
- Two stone fireplaces.
- Two mounted flat screen TVs.
- One lava lamp.
- One balcony overlooking a strip club.
My only hope was that we wouldn't hear any gunshots during the night, and that the police cars would stay nearby.
This is when my husband chimed in, “Yeah, wow, this is beautiful!”
Then John said, “This is the best deal I have ever gotten in my life.”
I was terrified.
I crawled into bed and positioned myself as far away from windows as possible. Yes, I heard sirens, yelling, and unidentified scratching noises throughout the night. Thankfully, no I did not hear any gunshots.
I survived the night.
The next morning, we drove our tiny rental car to Eugene.
The good news: I spent the next 2 weeks enjoying one of the best vacations of my life.
The Guys Actually Do Know How To Plan A Vacation
To this day, I’m still not exactly sure why the guys liked the parrot hotel so much. When my husband and I meet up with John, the guys still talk about the place like it was a 5 star grand hotel. Maybe I'm missing something?