There's a quiet bookish air about the place and an undercurrent of creativity I quite enjoy. It's an easy city to get around and on a good day it's not a bad looking place either. I have to travel to Dunedin every six weeks for work and it's a trip I look forward to. Usually I get away with booking my accommodation for this trip a week in advance, this time I wasn't so lucky. Apparently there is a car rally on in town and almost all the hotels and motels in town are completely booked. I must have tried ringing fifteen places only to get told the same thing: we can fit you in Tuesday, but Wednesday night is fully booked.
"Fuck," thinks I. "I can't ring every bloody hotel and motel in Dunners. I might try that Expedia crowd." I hop on the phone and ring Bangalore and they find me literally the last available room in Dunedin. "Excellent stuff. Sorted." thinks I.
I should have known that this room was going to look like Dame Edna's pap smear. I thought they said it was $138 for a night and was only billed for that amount. Either I had scored a night for free or something was amiss. It turned out something was amiss and misgivings came flooding to the fore when I turned into the street Guest House Paradiso* was located. The street was about eight inches wide and lined with houses that had to, just had to contain Scarfies, burning couches and frozen bags of poo in the freezer. I did an eight hundred point turn and parked the car while trying to maintain some sort of optimism.
It didn't last.
*Not its real name, but not far off.
What the photo to the right cannot adequately represent is the smell, the result of a 'fragrance diffuser, fruit burst edition'. I tried to open the window and throw the fragrance diffuser, fruit burst edition out and get rid of the smell. It turned out that the window was nailed shut and I was stuck with not only the smell of fragrance diffuser, fruit burst edition but also the stank of a beer fridge that hadn't been opened since the Crimean War.
I looked around me. It was a visual tableau that I couldn't take in all of it at once. Maybe it was the clash of patterns, maybe it was the presence of two pairs of slippers by the door that turned out to be around six sizes too small.
|The size is okay, I'm just not sure about the colour.|
Overcome with sensory overload, I sank down on the bed and lay back. Blinking with disbelief, I saw that the ceiling was liberally sprinkled with flourescent stars, such as you would find in a small child's bedroom... not in a hotel room.
Well fuck me.
I took to Facebook where the room captured the imagination of my friends who said:
"Has the set for Mrs Brown's Boys moved to Dunedin?"
"You're either staying in the 1970's or in Barbra Steisand's fanny."
"That's not a picture, it's a window to the outside world and it's actually black and white out there."
"Did you get kicked out of home?"
"You haven't booked into a hotel, you've broken into someone's house."
"Still, it's better than the halfway-house/brothel I stayed in in Malawi with suspiciously wet mattresses and a hole in the floor for a toilet."
I jokingly said to this that my friend hadn't seen what was behind the single bed. Then I thought I hadn't seen behind that single bed, so I had a look and found this:
It looks ludicrous and it absolutely is, but it is unbelievably sinister as well. I was expecting to be chopped to pieces by a Chucky doll. One Facebook offsider speculated I was actually going to be killed by Susan Boyle, although I suspect he had secretly booked her to do the job but she lost the address when she ate it.
In reality, the only danger I faced was from static electricity from the artifical fibres of the bedding causing an electrical fire that would burn the fucking joint to the ground with me in it... after all, it's not as if I could get out the window if I had to, is it?
|I forgot to mention the splendid view of Otago Harbour was on the other side of the house. I hope you like garden gnomes outside the window you can't open.|
|Just a sample of the twee picture frames that still carry the stock images in them from when they were purchased from the Warehouse when in a stupour of mind-altering drugs. Well you'd have to be out of your tiny mind to buy this, wouldn't you?|
So the moral of the story is twofold if there is only one hotel room left in Dunedin when you need it and it's probably this one:
1. Expedia can get fucked.
2. Stay in Oamaru.