Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ode to Cheap

Our students have returned home, and we are on our own for a few days before we fly home on Tuesday. We drove up to Paris and found a very cheap, very sketchy hotel for 31 Euros a night, which is amazing for Paris. It’s near the Tour Montparnasse on a calm residential neighborhood, and close to about 4 different metro stops.

This hotel is so sketchy it’s hard to describe. For starters, hotels in France are rated on a star system, from one to five. This hotel has zero stars. The stairs are uneven and slope sideways, so when you are going up or down you feel like you’re in a funhouse. Our room is quite small, and the bed is at best a full size. I can feel the springs on the mattress when I lie down. It’s a bit too cozy for three people so we made a soft bed on the floor for Zari out of extra blankets. I pick her up to nurse and lay her back down when she’s done.

The sink in our room is starting to come off the wall, and in a last-ditch effort to disguise that fact, the hotel owners put a lot of caulk in the gap. The caulk, of course, is completely gray with mold. I don’t think the floors have been mopped since the hotel opened. I think I saw a cockroach (dead) on the floor too. There is of course no television in the room, but we do have a bidet!

The toilet and shower are down the hall. Or rather, down the hall and down the stairs, since there is only one working shower in the entire hotel. One of the others no longer has a shower hose or curtain. The one on our floor has plastic tape across the door to prevent entry. More often than not there is no toilet paper in the WC. Back to the shower room: the ceiling is totally gray with mold, and it’s falling down in places. The light fixture is broken and now has just a bare bulb in the middle. The shower is tucked inside a small alcove. An odor of mold predominates, probably because there is no ventilation. (There is a small window, but it’s broken.) Mold is growing in all of the caulk and grout. The room’s door is peeling and starting to delaminate.

I love cheap. This hotel would probably horrify our students, who are used to a certain level of comfort and luxury. We don’t mind, because after all a hotel is just a place to sleep at night. What’s the point of paying an extra 20 or 50 or 200 Euros just for a fancier toilet or shower? When you’ve grown up camping—and I mean real camping, the kind where you have to boil your water from a stream and dig latrines—staying in any hotel is a luxury.

I will, however, not complain at all when I get back to our 1900 Arts & Crafts house with its king size bed and washing machine (it’s been 2 months since we’ve had one and that’s with cloth diapers) and handmade wool rugs and leather furniture.


  1. yes but mold and cockroaches...

    I think I would shell out the extra euros just to eliminate those two things.

  2. Ew is right. I don't think I would subject my baby to that! So what are you doing with her dirty diapers until you can wash them??

  3. Hey, it's still Paris ;) And, everything's tolerable when you know it's only temporary - it's an adventure! CHEERS!!

  4. Cloth diapers: I went to a laundromat or hand washed. We had a "washing machine" in our apartment, which was basically a little countertop device that swished water around. We had to fill it, turn it on and off, empty it, and repeat several times in order to get clothes kind of clean. Then we had to wring all the clothes out by hand too. So it was almost hand-washing except the machine did the swishing around part for me. Kind of a pain.

    The hotel wasn't dangerous for a baby--it's not like she was eating pieces of moldy shower ceiling or anything LOL! Still way more luxurious than camping, which I would have no qualms doing with a baby.

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  6., 12:23 PM

    I love your sense of adventure! And I'm not sure I wouldn't have ditched the clothies having to wash for 2 months like're dedicated! :)

  7. Eeeewwwww, woman, you've got some major cahones! :) I'm very rustic myself and not squeamish at all, but I think staying in a hotel like that would just gross me out.


  8. You go Rixa. Slumming builds character, doesn't it? I've done some pretty low budget traveling myself :) Glad to hear you had the sense of humor for it!

    I wish I could stick to cloth dipes for the next few weeks at my parents' cottage (no washing machine there either). My mom already pronounced on it though, and purchased the disposables, ugh. I won't argue (no sense of humor for that) guess we'll just start going diaper free as much as possible.

  9. I wouldn't be able to shower in there! I'm seriously allergic to mold.
    I'd much rather the camping. My family and I drove from Texas, US to Montana, US in order to look for property for my parents to buy and retire to. We took 2 loooong weeks. Didn't stay in a hotel unless it was serious weather ahead. Camped the whole way and I LOVED it. Beautiful stars, fresh smell of the wild. The occasional coyote howl. It was wonderful.


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