After this recent incident that happened to my wife and I on a trip to Maputo, I asked some friends to contribute to their worst travel experiences…here are some of their stories as well as ours
We were at a rather quirky Hotel in Maputo (actually in Catembe) which I visited briefly on a previous trip.
If you look at their website (http://www.catembe.net) you will see that they are supposedly a 4 star venue…RUBBISH!
Our room was small but ‘fun’ until my wife decided to have a bath (it was a Jacuzzi bath). SHE almost electrocuted herself, as all the bath fittings became ‘live’ due to some sort of electrical fault. I called the night manager who scratched his head and called the ‘general manager, Basil Fawlty*, who scratched his head and as Brits (he said he was from Brittany but then ‘conceded’ that he was originally British) often do, apologised profusely.
This all happened at about 9pm and it was decided to move us to the penthouse, which would seem like an upgrade…BUT NO!
Bloody bed was surrounded by a wooden four poster frame which was not attached to anything…so getting in and out of the bed was like tackling an obstacle course.
The toilet in the en suite bathroom was not attached to the floor or the wall and sitting on it was like being in an episode of ‘The deadliest catch’ but with out the crabs…oops, let me rephrase that!
But that was not all as they say in the TV adverts…
While getting out of bed, carefully, to go to the loose toilet, carefully my wife put her foot on the floor and then leapt back onto the bed with a startled look on her face. I thought she had stepped on a cockroach/seen a mouse, but much worse…it was a used condom!
Back down to reception to let them know about said prophylactic…more apologies but no further help forthcoming!
We decided to move back to the our original room(with no help from the staff I might add)…and we kept the key to the penthouse so we could use the shower while steering clear of our killer bath!
At least we had a sea view as the penthouse bedroom overlooked a rather dusty street and lamppost!
A really strange smell woke us the following morning and we had to turn the fan on to get rid of that.
Going to breakfast we once again had to run the gauntlet of the even more apologetic Basil Fawlty…
Luckily we were able to escape back to the Polana, but there was one last incident.
The hotel bus was being repaired and Basil kept us at lunch until it was ready to take us back to the ferry and the mainland.
Here the hotel had organised us a taxi that wanted to overcharge us by a third for getting us back to the Polana…
Anyway it all ended well and in the rear view mirror it was quite funny, but not at the time!
I did say to Basil that if we were American I would have sued the hotel and called in the health inspectors!
(There were Fawlty Towers episodes that included Americans (Caesar salad!) and health inspectors (the rat in the water tank)
*Basil Fawlty is not his real name, but Richard is!
Being a modest man, when I checked into my hotel on a recent trip, I asked the lady at the registration desk whether the porn channel in my room was disabled.
To which she replied, “No, it’s regular porn, you sick bastard!
My wife and I stayed at a place – for one night – in the KZN Midlands. Turns out their poultry was provided by the local wing-shooting association and turns out the thank-you party for said association – at the venue and in the pub, directly below our room – was scheduled for the one night (did I mention that) that we would be spending there. They couldn’t have said something on the phone? Oh, and my wife was pregnant. Good times.
There is the time I woke up in a hotel in Singapore (where I was performing at a festival) after a long flight from London. Horribly jet-lagged, I drew the curtains, expecting it to be morning in Singapore, but it was midday… in Switzerland! The room I had been allocated was in the middle of the building and the ‘window’ was actually a backlit, Perspex panorama of the Swiss Alps complete with goats, milkmaids and men wearing Lederhosen.
PS – weird sense of claustrophobia you get, knowing your room has no (real) windows. My Stage Manager actually freaked and insisted on a room with a real window. But she was charged extra and her view changed from the Swiss Alps to a the local red light district.
Our worst hotel was in Xi’an, China. No windows too. A Three Star Hotel in China isn’t on par to what most would think of elsewhere. Try to get non-smoking room there is impossible. So, Smoke filled and windowless. Bring nose plugs and exhaustion. Of course we have hearing protection, always. 🙂
If you have any stories you would like to share, please mail them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org