This is a little petty, but what are blogs for if not petty venting? One day in Albuquerque, I encountered several shockingly inhospitable bed-and-breakfast owners, and it put me in a very bad mood. The worst of the lot was Adobe Garden B&B in Los Ranchos.
Now this looks like a nice enough place–it’s recommended in one or two other guidebooks, and maybe also in the CVB listings. It’s near a few other must-visit B&Bs, so I put it on my to-cruise list. I pull up, gather my credentials, and ring the bell. Some guy opens the door a tiny crack and peers through. I start my spiel: “Hi, my name’s Zora, and I’m a writer for Moon Handbooks [extend hand with business card]. I’m working on a new guide to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, due out next spring. I’ve heard good things about your place, and I’m wondering if I can take a quick look around.” I smile winningly. I am dressed in a nice silk skirt and color-coordinated tank top and shoes. I do not look threatening, crazy or disreputable–only a little sweaty and still a tad sunburned.
The guy opens the door a teensy bit wider, then laughs nervously. Hmm, is he maybe just a guest? Or the simple-minded brother of the owner?
He finally opens the door all the way and asks me in. “You’d better talk to my wife,” he says, and laughs nervously again. I wonder if I’ve unwittingly arrived in the middle of a drug deal, an orgy or the septic tank overflowing.
His wife comes along, and I give her my spiel, and hand her my card. (Hubby didn’t take it.) She looks me up and down, and says, “Huh. Moon Handbooks? Never heard of them.”
Now, it’s true, Moon is not the best-known name in guides, even though it’s been publishing since 1973–before LP and Rough Guides by many years. Usually people who don’t know what Moon is phrase it a bit more nicely, as in, “Moon Handbooks–I’m sorry, but I’m not familiar with that line–can you tell me more about them?” Because typically someone in the travel industry recognizes that they should be savvy about the various outlets for publicity their business might have. (And not to draw easy comparisons about general savviness and cosmopolitanism, but in Santa Fe, a very high number of people knew about Moon guides, or at least pretended they did.)
Anyway, I forge ahead with my spiel, and again ask to see a room or two. The woman says, “Hmmm, let me see…” and starts walking into the dining room. Then she turns around, looks me up and down again, and says, “Actually, no. We have no rooms to show you.” Not apologetic, or regretful that she’s passing up the opportunity for a guidebook writer to say something nice about her place. More in the vein of, “No way, you scam artist. I can see right through you.”
Her husband is laughing inappropriately again. I ask for a brochure at least, and she reluctantly gives me one, and physically hustles me toward the door. “Why don’t you drop off a copy of your book?” she practically sneers. I have to explain that, duh, I haven’t written it yet, but she’s not really listening as she and her husband slam the door (and probably triple-lock it) behind me.
Now, maybe I’m being paranoid, and something else entirely was going on, but I’m pretty sure they were the paranoid ones, and were convinced I was trying to case their house or something. For chrissake, if I were trying to scam them, I would’ve claimed to be a writer for Frommer’s or something everyone knows, right? I’m just hoping that the next time they go to a bookstore, they notice the presence of Moon Handbooks, and feel a pang of regret. Or they Google my name and see that I have written other travel guides and can be trusted to see their precious place.
End of public defamation. Please visit the Moon Handbooks website for more information.