It is 9:20pm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We survived the deluge of heavy rainfall while walking around downtown, scurrying back to our rental vehicle under the measley cover of our one British pound umbrella purchase in Bath of all places. After a half day of flying from Newark, New York via a one-hour layover at Chicago’s Midway, and taking a 90-minute bus ride from the Detroit Airport to get our rental car, we drove through some heavy rush-hour traffic and eventually made it here to Ann Arbor. We were definitely looking forward to our Airbnb, which features a private entrance, a private bathroom, ample parking and stellar reviews.
Upon collecting our luggage from the trunk of our car, a humongous cat approached us meowing and curious as to our presence. Curious because I think we were encroaching on his or her property. We got into the room, and then it hit us.
The awful stench of cat piss.
No idea if this odor is fresh or from a few days ago, but from all outward appearances the place is super clean, spacious, comfortable and pleasant. This would be a perfect Airbnb, except for the smell. We have no Febreze or air freshener drying sheets, nor do we have a clothes pin to pinch our noses. My eyes are stinging. Is this from the toxicity of the air? Or is it just a figment of my suddenly paranoid imagination? I think the worst part about this is the fact that there is zero ventilation… We have one sliding door with no screen, which means if we open it then the cat gets in, defeating the purpose. We are in the basement of this home so we are just breathing in stale air from x-number days of cat urine.
We could leave. We could drive away to a hotel, or as a last resort sleep in our car. We could go up the stairs and complain to the owners. We could, yes. But we are hardy travelers, this will not break us! We have had worse experiences, like the bed bugs of the Bowery’s Whitehouse in New York (which is now permanently closed, which I just found out by looking it up on Google); the Barcelona room with no air conditioning in the middle of summer; the teeny tiny $100 motel room in Missoula, Montana with the super loud yet ineffective air conditioner on the hottest day in record for Missoula; the various hostels in Honduras and El Salvador; the hostel in Anchorage, Alaska with the drunk guy shouting in the middle of the night on the street; and of course the other scary possibly drunk dude who followed me to our Airbnb flat in Copenhagen and pounded on the door saying that he was going to kick my ass. Comparing those experiences to this one?
Yeah, I think we can survive one night in this Airbnb with the stench. If anything, we will never forget this place and we will remember that if we have another potential no-so-great Airbnb, we can always compare it to this.
Good night. We’ll see how much sleep we actually get..