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The Roach Motel From Hell
The No Name Motel
Leaving Manhattan had been a challenge. Between navigating one-way streets filled with pedestrians, getting on the wrong highway, missing the exit, and finally getting on the George Washington Bridge, I accidentally found myself in New Jersey - with no intention of returning to the driving maze I had just left behind in New York. Driving slowly and attempting to get my bearings, I exited into no man's land - just an industrialized area spewing forth corner markets, broken sidewalks and questionable people - with a major thoroughfare running through it. Quickly becoming dark, confused and lost, my eyelids began drooping more and more by the minute. I headed for the first no-name motel I saw.
I should have been concerned when I heard the young lady through the bullet proof window ask, "Do you want the room for the night or by the hour?" The words by the hour just hung in the air. I began to slowly look around. They had a 1960's unplugged refrigerator on the cracked sidewalk outside the hotel. The parking lot was filled with long haul truck drivers. Would it be safer to keep driving (while falling asleep at the wheel) or would it be safer to stay in a hotel that was payable by the hour?
After a cursory look at my driver's license, the lady took my cash and gave me a key. I returned to my car to find three sleeping children. I woke the two young teens and picked up the 60 pound seven-year old. She felt like a bag of bricks, at half my weight, and her little pink tennis shoes bounced on my chest as I carried her to the room. I must have set the car alarm four times before I walked away, feeling only slightly comforted that I had parked the silver van, in front of the bullet-proof window, at the front of the motel.
With the quiet swoosh of cars in the background and a passed out child on my shoulder, I managed down the hall with my small crew and their rolling suitcases. Wordlessly, we walked slowly - the march of the exhausted - the sounds of the wheels halting on the threshold of the doorways to new hallways, one smoke infused hallway after another, before reaching our own room. I entered first and laid the sleeping child on the nearest bed, her long brown hair slipping down over her face as she rolled to her side. That's when my 12 year old girl - the one behind me - started freaking out, practically hyperventilating - not speaking, but heaving and waving her hands. Then my 14 year old boy shouted "What's that? What's that!" My son began pointing and jumping from one spot to the next, while his sister panted, and I followed his finger to the corner of the room when then I saw it... the nastiest thing - a roach.
This was no ordinary roach. This was a roach that could move mountains. This was a roach that defied scientific explanation in its size and speed. Roaches - like rats - are those things people like me hear about and see in movies but not creatures that come alive in our real lives. My heart racing, I realized my kids were expecting me to save them from this one roach. But then it happened. Another roach darted across the room. Then another. Then I knew I was dealing with something much larger than one roach.
While Not Bed Bugs, Travelers Can Find Cockroaches in Bed
My daughter recovered her voice and started hollering at the top of her lungs, "Mama! Do something! Do something!" When I tried to quiet her down, there suddenly was a loud pounding on the wall. Then it was me hollering at her, "Stop your shrieking before you get us kicked out of here. I already paid for the night!" My thoughts raced back to the sign behind the bullet-proof lady: No Refunds. The thought of sleeping in the car was enough to snap her out of it. She'd done that before and she much preferred official lodging.
Clueless, I sent them in the bathroom, telling them roaches don't like the bathroom, hoping they would believe it, while inwardly thanking the God above that my smallest was asleep. I noticed a newspaper on the dresser, picked it up and rolled it - arming myself for battle. But I was so unnerved, I dropped the paper all over the floor. When I reached down to pick up the pieces, I noticed the creatures were living in small clumps under the furniture in the darkest recesses and that's when I realized roaches don't like the light or they would be out here eating me! I realized right then the roaches were more afraid of me than I was of them!
I gathered the troops who had managed to calm down while huddling in the bathroom. I used my very best mother voice and firmly informed them that no roach would touch them whenever they were in the light and that we would all just sleep with the lights on. This seems to satisfy them immensely, as they slowly made their way to the beds, without changing into pajamas. Expecting roaches to jump out and grab them from under the bed, they each carefully got into the beds, making sure no sheets or blankets touched the floor for the "roaches to climb." I didn't have the heart to tell them roaches are the best climbers known to man and that pulling up sheets would not improve their chances. They soon fell asleep, curled into little protective balls, surrounded by white sheets.
Cockroaches in Florida, Also Known as the Palmetto Cockroach
Cockroach Infestation In Hotels
Apparently, once a hotel has a cockroach infestation, they are everywhere. Visitors may even find a cockroach in bed. The cockroaches move into every room, under the floors, in the attic, and in the walls. This means that, short of leaving the hotel, the hotel can't help you. Sure, it may be a health violation to have the buggers there but when staying in a city that has them in the best of hotels, switching hotels might not be a viable option to solve the problem. In tropical areas, roaches appear in five-star, extremely clean hotels. This is because they can get inside through very small cracks and hitch rides through people carrying boxes or baggage. Pricey hotels do everything they can to get rid of them and the cockroaches are still a problem. Here are some potential solutions if the destination includes staying in a hotel with a high probability of a roach infestation:
- Carry a roach-killing spray. These kill cockroaches on contact.
- Bring roach hotels. These are roach killing boxes sold in grocery stores and hardware stores. Place them in dark corners under the furniture. The cockroaches are attracted to them. They climb inside them but die inside from the poison.
- Sleep with all the lights on and wear an eye mask, if necessary. (If needed, bring a mild sedative.)
- Keep suitcases zipped up.
- Shake clothes out before putting them on.
- Do not leave food out (that's what they're usually after).
- If you have thrown anything edible or food wrappers into the hotel garbage can, tie up the garbage bag and set it in the hall.
While it seems wrong to have to prepare to be around cockroaches and travelers would rather have no roaches at all to deal with, in some areas of the United States - or the world - every hotel in that area will have cockroaches. Don't let a minor inconvenience derail the vacation experience. It's possible to deal with cockroaches and still enjoy traveling to exotic locations.
Prepare For The Hotel by Making Bite Size Death Treats in Advance - As This Cockroach Expert Explains Kills Roaches
Facts About Cockroaches
- Cockroaches can run about 3 miles an hour.
- These creatures are attracted to tropical locations and warm, damp, dark areas.
- Roaches can survive 24 hours in water. (MythBusters proved this.)
- These creatures can come in different varieties. (About 5,000 kinds exist.)
- The origins of the roach date back to the age of dinosaurs.
- If you chop off the head of a roach, it will stay alive - for days.
- While soft food can be processed by a cockroach within 48 hours, they can live up to a month without any food and a week without water.
- In some parts of the world, people eat roaches as a delicacy or use them for medicinal purposes!