“Merry Christmas in March”

If you ever want to suffer in Kinshasa, try looking for a Hotel, I meanan affordable hotel room.  

If you ever want to suffer in Kinshasa, try looking for a Hotel, I meanan affordable hotel room.  

Some of you may think that I am out of my mind but the reality is that, despite being a city of ten million inhabitants, Kinshasa probably has the lowest per hotel rooms per capita.  First of all, someone suggested to us to go and stay at the Bethany Hostel or something like that.  

We immediately swung into action and sped to the venue, behold, the place was like an ordinary Secondary
school, there was what looked like a students’ canteen and all sorts of people were busy enjoying what looked like their daily dose of SKOL.  

Apart from the school-like atmosphere, the place was not suitable for guests of our nature; staying here would give as one of the most negative images of Kinshasa.  

After all, we were four and the place had just a room, they promised to avail us more rooms the next day (as if one was enough for now), moreover, a room went for US$60 a night!

We moved to several other places and they were all fully booked.

Call them Hotels, though they did not deserve to be called so, maybe calling them Motels or Inns or even Lodges would have served them some justice.

As is the custom, Hotels are graded in STARS, I suppose, the STARS in Kinshasa must have got so run down that, they broke up, these Hotels are most probably “Quarter” or “Half” STARS.  We got to a place called “Merry Christmas”, this place was as amazing as its name.

Have you ever heard of Merry Christmas in March or so?  They could have done the place justice by naming it “Seasons Hotel” (having seen many seasons).  

As we were contemplating on leaving and continuing with the search, a gentleman who had been on the same flight walked out and told us of the trouble he had gone through looking for a hotel room and finding none!

We decided to take the rooms at the Merry Christmas lest some people took them and we ended up sleeping on the streets of Kinshasa.  

Why the place was given that name, don’t ask me because I did not ask its management.  How many STARS?  I suppose, not even a Quarter of a Star!

Kinshasa is a very hot and humid city.  The temperatures are normally between 32°C and 32°C and sometimes even higher.  This is no place to be without the much revered Air-conditioner.  

Nearly every house worth calling so is fitted with the wonder machine.  Whether it works or not is another story.  
Despite DR Congo having some of the biggest Dams on the African continent, they “enjoy” constant power blackouts.

The ights keep flickering and blinking as if trying to focus themselves. Because of the intense heat, I was so “hungry” for a good shower.

I decided to head for the bathroom.  I will not describe the bathtub because you will not be able to understand it unless you have been here or to a similar place.

I turned on the tap and soaped myself, as if in mockery, the trickle of water from the tap also stopped.  I had to wipe the soap off with a towel, dressed up and went downstairs to complain.

The receptionist called a sort of room attendant and instructed her to deliver a bucket of water to my room.  I don’t think I was going to like Kinshasa and the Merry Christmas hotel in particular.  

Like most of Kinshasa, this place must have seen many good days, at the moment, it required a real renovation.
 Looking at the floor tiles, the walls, the bath tubs etc, one could easily guess that, this hotel was from the twentieth century.  Come the next day, I have to find a better place worth calling a Hotel.

Mfashumwana@fastmail.fm

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