Friday, May 28, 2010

A room with a view

Doing things on the cheap can sometimes be entertaining in a semi-disastrous sort of way. This trip to Cape Town is a case in point. Last time I went somewhere on business, I was lodged in a backpackers, and it was very comfortable, commodious and all the things a weary traveler could wish for. So this time, I booked at a backpackers too, and as you can see, I got a room with a view!

The showers are the most comical of all, they’re communal showers, not a problem in itself, but the cubicle doors don’t close, and there’s nowhere to put your clothes where they’ll stay dry. The trick is, to take the shower while the place is fairly empty in the afternoon, holding the door closed with one’s foot while getting a quick rinse off. You hang your towel over the cubicle door, since there’s nowhere else to put it, and when you’re done with the balancing act involving said door, you wrap yourself up securely in the towel, and streak down the corridor to the room.

The building itself is rather intriguing, and should be good for a few photos. It’s some pensioned-off institutional building next to Falkenberg mental hospital. There are broken windows on the upper floor, and the guttering hangs precariously in places. Despite the unprepossessing fa├žade with its chipped and peeling paint facing a railway line, and the equally unprepossessing interior with its painted concrete floors, there’s a rather pleasant, grassy quadrangle lined with Avocado and banana trees, which is where I sat as I wrote this.

One other, vital factor in its favour is that its clean: the linen is spotless, and the floors are clean enough to eat off, supposing that you’ve a yen to eat off the floor, in which case you probably belong at the mental hospital next door, but that’s beside the point.

Names are also misleading: although the place is called 'River Lodge', there isn't a river to be seen. Most remarkable of all, is the fact that its situated in an 'Eco village'. I haven't an idea what could be 'Eco' about it: the railway line? Yes! Come to South Africa and view the wild railway trains - bigger than any of the big five! Something like that, perhaps.

To tell you the truth, I rather enjoyed my stay in a perverse sort of way, I always feel out of place in plush places, as if I should be waiting on tables instead of eating at them. So, what’s the most surreal place you’ve ever slept in?


  1. Your room had a penguin on the door. Words cannot describe the awesome.

    After four years in the Army, including sleeping inside armored vehicles and while laying on the ground in near-freezing water, I've never had lodgings that I considered appalling or substandard.

  2. Everything's relative. My last place didn't even have running water, but I'm uppah crust since I moved a month ago.

  3. Sleeping in a tent, pitched inside a building with no roof, somewhere in Croatia.