Friday, July 20, 2012

Cloud eight

"Cloud nine gets all the publicity, but cloud eight actually is cheaper, less crowded, and has a better view." George Carlin

Paul AND I weren't sure we were going to able to attend the Olympic Swimming Trials held in Omaha June 25 to August 2 since Paul was still recovering from a brown recluse spider bite, so we ended up making our hotel reservations at the very last minute. 

Four years ago, we attended the Trials on a whim and also booked a place to stay in the nick of time. I secured a room at a Clarion Hotel and felt extremely fortunate to have found anything at all, especially at such a reasonable rate.

We felt like we'd lucked out, but when we drove to where the Clarion was supposed to be, we couldn't see it anywhere. There was, however, a hotel called the Clarino on that spot. It didn't look necessarily open, and we began to think we'd been scammed. 

It turned out an Indian family had purchased the Clarion and to save money, had switched the N and the O to change the name from the Clarion Hotel to Clarino Hotel since it was no longer part of the Clarion chain. The evidence of the letter swapping was obvious; the big illuminated letters had left an imprint of their original positions.

The hotel had seen its better days, but it was clean, and considering that we were happy to find accommodation anywhere and at such a low price, we weren't complaining.

This time around I wanted to find a better place to stay, but since we were once again searching at the 11th hour, we discovered that area hotels had tripled their normal rates; a $100 room was now $300 (or more) for Thursday and Friday, and Saturday night was sold out entirely. 

Paul suggested staying at the Clarino again, but I demurred and asked for a little more time to search the internet before we had to resort to that. Eventually I found a hotel that looked pretty nice called the Carol. The rates weren't inflated and amazingly they had availability for all three nights. 

All was well, and I was relieved that we weren't having to stay at the Clarino

Thursday afternoon when we drove into Omaha, Paul was navigating to our hotel when he noticed that it was kind of in the same neck of the woods as the old Clarino/former Clarion. As he made the last few turns he exclaimed, "Kelly! This isn't near the Clarino. It IS the Clarino." We about died laughing! 

Yup, they'd done it again. They removed the I and the N and rearranged the letters to turn Clarino into CarolWhen we checked in I said to the desk clerk — the same Indian man as four years ago, "The next time we come back you're probably going to be the Cal."

They'd gotten new furniture for the rooms, which perked the place up a bit, and except for the fact that although we could regulate the temperature inside our rooms to our satisfaction, the owner hadn't deemed it necessary to cool the lobby or hallways — it was fine. 

The other oddity was that there was a living room couch in the lobby where two elderly family members — in a traditional sari and whatever the male equivalent is — perched with a laptop studying out loud for their citizen test. "What is the name of the ocean on the eastern coast of the United States?" "Who was the first president of the United States?" "What is the White House?" 

Rather appropriate I suppose for an event leading up to the international Olympics and almost the Fourth of July.

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! :D You made me laugh - enjoy your next stay at the Cal.