Looking out the window on a Sri Lankan train

Meet Rodney, a Sleazy Hotel Owner

Our guesthouse room at Rodney's View in Kandy, Sri Lanka
Our guesthouse room at Rodney’s View in Kandy, Sri Lanka

Our time in Kandy was also marked by our experience with Rodney, the owner of our guesthouse. Rodney first found us at the Colombo train station, fresh off the plane and looking to head to Kandy. He was very nice and helped us buy our tickets, explained what the local foods were and gave us all sorts of info on Kandy. We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and it did when he sat down next to us on the train and told us that he had a guesthouse.

We sat on the train, waiting for it to leave, as Rodney continued to pester us. He proudly handed us comment books filled with glowing recommendations from other people he cornered at the same station, but we stood our ground and kept saying no. Desperate for business and not wanting to wait hours for the next train and hope to find other tourists to sweet talk, Rodney agreed to our price requirements moments before the train left the station so we finally said yes.

Kandy Sri Lanka Sunset
The sunset from our balcony at Rodney’s View in Kandy, Sri Lanka

The guesthouse turned out to be beautiful, had a sweeping view of the mountains and the nicest staff ever. Rodney, however, continued to be a thorn in our side throughout our stay there and by the time we left I was glad to never see him again. Some examples… He had Internet that we could use, but it was on his personal computer so he wanted to know full details of what I would be doing.

One time he just walked into our room without asking permission to talk about tours. Another classic was when he told us that he had a washing machine that we could use for 250 rupees a load, then when we gave him our pile of more than 20 pieces he gave it to his employee to hand wash for 50 rupees an item. We didn’t know until Carrie saw him washing them by hand and he told her the actual price.

Rodney’s favorite subject was tours, though it’s partly our fault because we had asked about them. After first quoting us a way too high for us price we spent hours trying to find a way to make it work and keep everyone happy. It could have been a simple negotiation, but he tried to add money to every single aspect of the trip from admission tickets to hotel rooms, meals and gas. In the end we wound up making a decision that we regretted at first, but wound up being glad we did: hiring a private driver to take us around the Ancient Cities.