A Very Unparked Domain
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Farewell Taj Mahopolis

It’s late. We should be sleeping. Instead we are packing up to leave after an extended stay in Indianapolis.

It’s something of an emotional farewell.

Before we arrived in Indiapolis, we booked several nights online at a hotel that, for reasons that are about to become clear, I won’t mention by name.

Normally we book the absolutely cheapest room we can find–at least the cheapest room that is non-smoking, includes Internet access so Neil can log into work, and seems half-way clean and safe.

Based on these high criteria, we have managed to stay in some doozies.

“The cheapest room in town” is quite often under an Interstate, or in an industrial park, or surrounded by strip malls. We wind up staying in neighbourhoods that are conveniently located for travelers seeking payday loans, Harley Davisdon accessories and tattoos, but not necessarily for finding independently-owned organic vegetarian cafes or going for a nice walk. Then again, we’ve stayed in rooms for as little as $28/night. For safety and vegetables, you pay extra.

So, following standard protocol, we booked a cheap hotel room, sight-unseen.

At extended stay hotels, we usually stay in a very modest studio room. This particular property only had smoking studios available when we booked, but they had a great deal of a non-smoking Queen Suite, so we nabbed it.

And when we arrived, we fell in love.

This “suite” is bigger than several of the apartments we’ve lived in. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean this is big: our first apartment was a studio of about 400 square feet. Unlike most apartments we’ve lived in, the suite’s kitchen has counter space. (Who builds all these kitchens with no counter space? They drive me crazy.) And there’s more storage space than the house my family lived in when my brother and I were babies.

There’s even a pull-out sofa!

Okay, the presence of a sofa may not impress you luxury travelers out there, but you have to picture a typical day for us in a hotel studio: Neil is sitting on the only chair in the room programming all day, which leaves me sitting on the bed, ALL DAY. I don’t mind; I’m bed-oriented. I’d go so far as to say that beds are my natural habitat. But to be in a suite with a sofa, and be able to get out the bed and sit on actual furniture during the day…I’m telling you, it is the lap of luxry.

We checked into the room and we were awestruck. We rhapsodized about the size, the space, the sweet spectacular splendour of it all.

In my family, when you really love something, you give it a name. (Or when you loathe it. Or sometimes when you’re luke-warm on it. We’re pretty big on naming, now that I think about it.) Neil and I cast about for a name for the hotel. We started to call it the “Taj Mahal,” in deference to the pinnacle of luxury it represents.

But “Taj Mahal” is already taken (obviously), and the name just seemed inadequate.

And then Neil had a stroke of brilliance: we could combine “Taj Mahal” and “Indianapolis” to make “Taj Mahapolis.”

And thus the monicker was born.

Why won’t I reveal to you the actual name of the Taj Mahopolis?

Once we were here a few days, we noticed the stink of garbage in the halls, the TGI-Fridays level of customer service, the deeply frightening stain on the boxspring. The furniture is chipped, the baseboards are scuffed, the wallpaper seams are peeling. The decor is a depressing mixture of sad beiges and washed-out blues. In short: it’s the kind of hotel that men check into when their wives kick them out for having an affair. A real up-beat kind of place.

And even factoring in the smell, the drab interior, the lackluster service: it is still one of the nicest places we have stayed in a year. Which Neil and I find hysterical. As dumpy as it is, it’s the Taj Mahopolis to us.

Tomorrow we check out and head to Peoria, on our way to Minnesota. The Taj Mahopolis has been good to us. We will miss it.

I hope, no matter what your circumstances in life may be, that you can always enjoy the Taj Mahopoli that come your way.

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1 marty { 07.24.09 at 10:29 am }

Indianapolis is a fun town. I should have given you Monica’s information. She lived there for years and there is a section north east of town (i forgot what they call it) that has some great places to eat. I am sure she could have given some advice on other places (sans stains and odors) that you could stay on the traveler’s budget.

At least you were there during race weekend. :-)

When I lived in South Bend and then Evansville, Indianapolis was a great place to visit.

2 fr0zen { 07.24.09 at 5:51 pm }

How do you find the super cheap hotels/motels. We look online all the time and come up with next to nothing under 80$.

3 Shaula { 08.04.09 at 5:44 pm }

Marty, we didn’t even think that Monica is from here. We should have checked in with her, and with our friend Melissa, too. We will for next time!

Hi, Fr0zen! We’ve worked up a few good tricks for finding great deals on hotels. We try to pay under $50, and prefer to pay less if we can. I will write up a list (one of the days, bear with me) of all the tools we use to find hotel deals and send you an email when I get it posted.

4 Spidey from Ircnewbies { 09.18.09 at 11:27 pm }

Hi Dart & Star, are you still in MN or ND? I ask because we live about 45 minutes from the Canadian border in Winterpeg…. As for hotels, we find $40.00 a night hotels in the UK, so I’m sure finding some hotels for that price in the USA must be easy. :) Let me know! Spidey and Mimas

5 Neil { 09.19.09 at 10:55 am }

Hey, Spidey =]

No, we left MN a while ago; just the blog is a bit behind.

We’re on our way into the Pacific Northwest, now. Shaula actually is brilliant with the cost of hotels. We’ve been in some fairly sweet places, for as little as $25 or so.

6 Xanthippas { 09.24.09 at 11:19 pm }

Stopping in for my once-a-year visit. You know what would be good for people who are on the go who have much more interesting things to do than sit and write lengthy blog posts? Twitter. Just sayin’…

7 Shaula { 09.24.09 at 11:22 pm }

Too, too funny, X.

No, we are not likely to pick up Twitter soon.

We’re in a big drive right now, but my brain is teeming with updates. I’ll see about getting them out of my head and onto the server one of these days.

And yes, I’m touched that we still receive your annual visit. :)

8 Xanthippas { 09.24.09 at 11:58 pm }

Too bad! Well, the first rule of a cult is must attempt to recruit others to join, so I’ve done my part.

Look forward to a new blog post one of these days when you slow down for a bit.

9 Cyprus Villas { 11.21.11 at 12:39 am }

Nice! Thanks for sharing.