Pamela is one of my oldest friends. I mean, she’s not, like, my old lady friend- just, we’ve been friends for a really long time. Anyway, way back in the day, we agreed that we should totally travel together. But at this point in history, travel wasn’t really that easy; the internet was still new and sites like Orbitz and Travelocity seemed scary, and even scarier was the idea of walking into a travel agency. I mean, that was for fancy people! So years went by and we never traveled, because also we were poor 20 somethings.
Fast-forward to 2009: I was squirming at my desk (this was the year I was awkwardly employed, trying to find another teaching gig while keeping my business afloat), and sent an email to Pamela that went something like “OMG I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE LET’S GO TO NEW ORLEANS”. She agreed, and I think by later that week (day?) we were booked for a June adventure to the Crescent City. Do you know what’s oddly relaxing? Having a trip on the calendar to look forward to.
Pamela and I are good travel partners because we tend to agree that we don’t need a fancy hotel so long as it is reasonably priced, in a good location, is reasonably not sketchy, and has a bed and a shower. I mean really- don’t you always feel like it’s a waste when your hotel room is sooo nice and then you just leave it all day to go on adventures in your destination city?? No? That’s just me? Well whatever. Here are all the places we have stayed, in order from super weird to super awesome:
The Garfield Suites, Downtown Cincinnati, Ohio
In 2010, Shepard Fairey opened a limited run exhibit at the CAC in Cincinnati. Obviously, we HAD to go, so Pamela and I (and our men) hopped in the PT Cruiser and fled south. The show was worth it, but Cincinnati is not somewhere we’d choose to go again, I don’t think? Anyway, this was our room:
Jess: This place was straight up weird. But awesome! It was totally an apartment? Remember how it had 1980’s pots and pans in the kitchen? We should have cooked something.
Pamela: Totally weird. Also it might have been a parking garage turned into apartments, turned hotel. That’s the only way to explain the giant cement pillars at random spots through the, um, room? Apartment? I think we left leftover food in the full size refrigerator for the cleaning staff. I hope they enjoyed it.
Jess: I just thought about that too- that we totally left leftovers! Was it ribs?
Pamela: BBQ something. For sure.
Jess: Wasn’t Elton John always playing in the (impossibly long) hallways, too? For sure we heard “tiny dancer” more than once. and maybe “Benny and the Jets”.
PS- the tagline for the Garfield Suites is “Accommodations As Big As A House”. Accurate.
The Prince Conti, New Orleans, LA (French Quater)
Jess: Oh, prince conti!! 1800’s switchboard. keys that were actual keys. Mysterious wallpaper…
Pamela: With a tv that seemed to endlessly play Legally Blonde and Land of the lost. And a very tiny bathroom.
Jess: Yes!! Legally Blonde was on for our entire trip except for the great afternoon of muffalutta illin’. Worth it.
The Flamingo, Las Vegas, NV (In the “newly remodeled” GO room)
Pamela: They def have had some work done. This room was a pink and white explosion! One of the coolest, yet not useful at all, things of that room – the tv built into the bathroom mirror. I think I watched something staring David Hasselhoff while putting on my makeup.
Jess: We were totally impressed by that bathroom mirror tv. Where did it come from?? There was no tv poking out the back side. I think we only turned it on that first day.
An Apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, NY
Summer of 2012, we FINALLY made it to New York City together. Lyn was there, too!! Hotels in NYC are super expensive, so we tried something new and used Airbnb.com and rented the most adorable apartment from the most adorable couple at a ridiculously reasonable rate:
Jess: I wanted to live here.
Pamela: I loved this apartment! I feel like it should have been weird to rent out someone else’s home, but it really wasn’t. And I got to water the plants!
Jess: It made me want to throw out all of my things and start over with better, more purposeful things. I need a photographer to redecorate my house.
Pamela: They had their books arranged by color. I have my books arranged by color! The owners of this apartment also left a very useful guide to the area – restaurants they really liked and things to see and do.
Verdict: We would totally use Airbnb again, but apparently people are getting weird about it? So maybe not.
The Grand Palladium-Riviera, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Jess: There was beer in the fridge! every day!! We would feed agouti peanut butter puffins off the balcony every morning. I sometimes worry that they grew accustomed to it and are waiting. Or angry.
Pamela: …and yoga…. I did yoga on the balcony. There was a lot of extra furniture in the room too (but not like golden girls apartment syle), which worked quite nicely when used as wet beach clothes drying racks.
Jess: I could get free wifi from the fancier (!!) rooms if I scrunched myself way up against the wall. But come on Jess- why do you need wifi in Mexico?! Go to the pool bar!!
That’s all the places we’ve been together so far. Where should we go next??
Jess & Pamela