Not to ruin the suspense or anything, but I made it just fine to Hôtel le Relais de la Reine, a lovely hotel where Brett had scored me room about 30 minutes before.
I was pretty frazzled (didja notice?) and I didn’t want to leave my phone in the taxi (I’ve done that twice already in my life), but I wanted easy access in case I wasn’t actually in a hotel shuttle and I needed to call Brett to come and rescue me again, so I stuck it in the top of my bra, like I do when I’m riding my horse.
We drove through tall metal gates and entered a bright reception area where people expected me to speak French but all I could get out was Spanish.
But I DID get checked into the hotel, a series of long low buildings with flowers, set around a garden and a pool and surrounded by walls and guards and alarms (in a safe, reassuring way).
It was midnight, but people were still up in bar area, watching the end of the soccer game with Madagascar’s National team playing against…some other team that unfortunately beat them. The whole scene was reassuringly peaceful and I was ready to be relieved.
Once in the room, I dug in my pocket to tip the porter and change skittered all over the floor. He waited patiently while I knelt and picked the coins up and then dropped them into his hand. I have no idea whether I gave him euros or dollars or what, but he was polite about it.
I turned on all the lights and drew all the curtains and locked the sliding glass door and put a chair in front of it, as one does in hotels. I washed my face and went for my phone so I could text Guy.
I Couldn’t. Find. It. Not in my bag. Not in my backpack or my suitcase or my pocket. I panicked.
It was in the car. I knew it was in the car, I had to get back to the car before it was gone forever and I’d really truly fucked myself this time.
I flung the curtains open. BAM they came crashing down on top of me, metal rod and all. I kicked them aside, unlocked the door and ran toward the reception area.
Then I stopped, turned around, ran back, got the key, locked the door. Safety first.
I ran into the darkness again, passing a hotel worker. Halfway up the hill my brain kicked in. My phone was in my bra. I grabbed it out and said loudly, “Oh. My Lord,” and walked back down to my room.
I passed the hotel worker who looked at me politely.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “That was weird, I know.”
“Bonjour,” she said, in agreement.
Once back in the room, I stood on the chair I’d drug over to block the door and reassembled the curtains all the while wondering why I suck, so bad.
Then I took a shower, drank both the warm beers that the minibar offered, texted Guy and got some work done in the online class that I’m teaching because I told them I was traveling but I didn’t tell them where.
The bed was big and comfortable and I finally wound down and fell asleep, stretching my legs sideways like you can when you are sleeping alone.
Around 3AM a dog barked and I thought, “Oh, Daniel,”. Then I thought “Holy Shit that’s not Daniel, I’m in freaking Madagascar.” and I couldn’t go back to sleep.