Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Snockered

“Think you can move on?” AdventureMan asks me, and no, no, I am not ready to move on. I am still mad. So I am going to tell you about it so it will not happen to YOU, and then I will move on.

Outside of Carlsbad, I used my handy-dandy iPhone to find out if there were any Marriott Hotels in Carlsbad, and there was a Fairfield Inn and Suites, one of the Marriott Brands. We like Marriotts. We like their culture of CLEAN and SERVICE.

So I googled “Fairfield Inn and Suites in Carlsbad, NM” and wow, there was a phone number! I called the number, but when the lady answered, it was all sort of scratchy, maybe we had bad reception . . . or something. Anyway, I told her I was a Marriott Rewards customer and we wanted a room at the Fairfield Inn and we would be there in about an hour. She said “Oh so sorry, there are no more rooms at the Fairfield Inn. We can find you a room somewhere else, in fact, it is the last room in town, everything else has been snapped up.”

This has happened to us before, when we were heading into Louisiana, and every Marriott we walked into was fully sold out because of “the convention” or some such, and once before when the area had been hit by a tornado and the hotels were full with people living there.

So we said “Oh! What is the room?” and she told us about a nice room at a hotel we had never heard of and it was the last room left, did we want it? So we said ‘yes’ and gave her our credit card number to reserve it. When we got to the hotel, the desk clerk gave us a receipt for forty dollars less than the person I had called had said it would cost, so I asked about it, and was told I had gone through a booking agent who charged $40. I was livid. I checked again on the iPhone, and sure enough, the small print was some website – NOT the Marriott, even though the header was Fairfield Inn – Carlsbad, NM. Oh arrgh.

Here is what makes me so mad. I think they deliberately deceived me. I kept telling them how we loved Marriotts, thinking I was talking with Marriott people, and assuming they were helping me out because they were full, finding me this other booking. OK, OK, my bad, yes, probably the reason I am partly angry is that I am angry at myself for being so easily taken, but I was. Totally taken.

The room was nice enough, but I am willing to bet there would have been a room at the Fairfield Inn. I think this booking lady lied to me about the Fairfield Inn being full, and I know she lied about this being the last room in town – we could have gotten a room just about anywhere, and a lot cheaper.

Yes. I am embarrassed. That’s why I am writing this, so it won’t happen to you. Check whether the web site is the chain you are calling or a booking agency.

I don’t have any problems with a booking agency when I know it is a booking agency – like in Fredericksburg, the agency that handled all the B&B’s. That’s all aboveboard. It’s when you think you are calling a certain hotel or chain and they let you keep thinking that, oh, it makes me so mad.

OK, now I am moving on.

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April 25, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Customer Service, Entrepreneur, iPhone, Lies, Road Trips | Leave a comment

Fredericksburg, TX; an Unexpected Pleasure

We are headed west, and our friends suggest we take a route which will take us through Fredericksburg, TX. From the time we get on the road, we are surprised – good fast roads, even the backroads, wildflowers along the highway, and, soon, a wonderful store where we found Mayhew Jelly:

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Continuing on, we arrive in Fredericksburg just about noon, after driving past countless tempting wineries and farms, all with great old German names. We find a place to park and look for a place to eat, finding the Lindenbaum and oh – they have Zigeunerschnitzle, schnitzel Gypsy style, which we love. Actually, when we lived in Germany, we sort of stopped eating schnitzle because it is meat and then deep friend meat, with fattening sauces, but it’s been years, and we couldn’t resist.

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Oh! It was so good!

We decided we need to stay the night in Fredericksburg; there is the Nimitz Museum which is calling my husband’s name, and there are little shops calling mine. As we are eating lunch, we find a place in a Fredericksburg Magazine, The Austin Street Retreat, but to book there, you have to go to a place called the Gastehaus where they have a bunch of B & B’s and you get the reservation through them and then go to the place, which is a really good thing because some of them are a little hard to find.

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We book Annie’s cottage – and when we get there, we are delighted. It is very French, a cottage all to ourselves, quiet, private, a great retreat:

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And then AdventureMan heads off is his direction, and I in mine, both of us finishing up about the same time and heading back to the cottage to rest and plan our next day’s travels.

Dinner was at Mamacita’s, a very popular place with both local people and tourists, and reminded me of Chevy’s Fresh Mex – they made their own chips, and our server was very polished and attentive; we really liked the way Jason took care of us:

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This is the schnitzle from Lindenbaum, but I can’t figure out how to get it in the right place.

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April 25, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Friends & Friendship, Germany, Health Issues, Road Trips, Shopping | , | Leave a comment