07 July 2009

The Formula One of Hotels

Cape Town meant an end to our short camping adventure for now, we had to go back into a hotel. After the relatively expensive places we stayed in in Clarens and Cradock we decided to plump for a cheaper option this time, a Formula One. This French chain advertises itself as: "All you need in a hotel room", but neglected to finish the sentence with "and not a thing more". The hotel provided just the basics, everything else was obtainable from vending machines. The room was like a real hotel room that had been vacuum packed into a smaller space. The bathroom is molded from one piece of plastic, shaped around the shower and toilet, and welded into the corner of the room. When you shower the whole unit gets flooded. The bedroom proper consists of a double bed with a single bunk bed stacked sideways above it, reachable by a metal ladder. There is a sink in the corner and a tiny triangular table with an even tinier stool to perch on in the opposite corner.

Sleeping in a dorm is always a bit fraught, as everyone tip-toes around trying not to interfere with other people's personal space or offend their evening habits. Then there is the potential for disturbing snoring, coughing or staying up too late and keeping the lights on. Luckily, we have so far not discovered any incompatible behaviour patterns, thus the potential for saving some money on hotel rooms still stands.

Unfortunately we needed to use the room as a drying space for dive gear after our visit to the aquarium, too, so with the hanging space under  and the rail across the bunk bed the room soon looked like a dive shop, BCDs and regulators, wet suits and booties all spread out to dry. Luckily we were on the ground floor and the car was parked right outside, so we could climb through the window and ferry gear in and out of the room quite easily. It also helped to smuggle the gas stove and kettle as well as breakfast ingredients into the room without having to go past the receptionist.

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