Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Living in a hotel

Today we had at least six housekeepers come to our room while it was being cleaned.  And I’m convinced they were all coming to see the "American’s room with all the stuff".  They were all very friendly.  And, it was at 4:30pm.  So maybe they were all finished with their rooms and were coming to check and see if our cleaning lady needed help finishing her rooms..but I’m almost certain it was because we are the exhibit at the zoo for them to all come and see.  Come see what all the screaming that comes from our room is about.  But really, it’s just a cranky baby that’s teething.  Who is hungry, and tired.

You see, when there are four people living in a hotel room for a long time period... not a suite, no kitchenette, no microwave.. and the fridge is a mini bar, filled with all the things they want you to buy and there is no room for your personal items.  It’s a little difficult.  The only sink to wash the sippy cups in, is in the bathroom.  But if somebody just stunk up the bathroom, you really don’t feel like the cups are really getting cleaned.  

Things that are hard about living in a hotel room.. is if the baby isn't settling down, nobody gets to settle down.  No matter how early you have to get up the next morning.  And if the baby wakes up early and doesn't go back to sleep.. then nobody is going back to sleep.  When we were in Germany, we had a one bedroom suite with a kitchenette.  So, if the baby was fussy.. at least we could close a door to minimize disturbance to others... including people down the hall.  But not here.  Everyone keeps asking how we are enjoying our five-star hotel experience.. but honestly.. I'm not on vacation.  This is my temporary home.  And I'd rather have less luxury and be in our new house.  Where I have a kitchen, and I don't have to pay $50 every meal to feed two people.  Where I don't have to worry about disturbing other people who are here on vacation and don't really want to listen to a crying teething baby.  Maybe, if we didn't have children.. this experience would be very different.  But we do have children.  Sure, the view at the free breakfast is fantastic.  As well as the amazing pool.  But, there is no privacy in the hotel.  Everyone can hear us in the hall, trying to talk over the fussy baby.  There is no privacy driving around, as we have embassy drivers who drive us everywhere.  I can't keep food in the fridge, because there is no room.  So, when the kids are hungry.. the only restaurant that is the cheapest, is Italian.  More pasta.  But.. if we don't eat all the food, we can't even take it back to the room with us.  It's a never-ending cycle of so many things right now.

Watching Iron Man 2 with Arabic Subtitles
Amazing pool with an amazing view
But I'm trying not to have selfish feelings like this.  Every time I consider explaining to people who are asking me how our stay is going.. I reconsider.  How can I complain about such trivial things as four people living in a air conditioned room with comfortable beds, electricity, running water, internet, computers, TV (mostly in English with Arabic sub-titles) and a mini-fridge... when so many people outside these walls have none of these.  Every day, we drive by shacks.. with little or no walls.  Once in a while, when you drive at night.. you can see about 20 people gathered around a shack.. all watching the same television.  And during the day, the television isn't there.  Then there are other shacks that are actually little stores, and allow the use of a telephone for a fee.  This is their version of a convenience store.  

This morning, we drove to what will be Lilly's school.. and the streets are flooded with umbrella stands.. and people eating breakfast on little stools.  I'm told they are employees having breakfast that work at the electrical company.  So, it was more like their break room, out on the sidewalk of the street.  And the next thing I know, there is a guy walking with his man-skirt (I forget what they are called) partially open, and he walked right next to Lilly's car window.  I'm not sure if she saw his "man parts".. but I sure did.  And it's not the first one I've seen driving around Djibouti.  People who don't have running water, bathe in the ocean... naked.  People come to your car door and knock, and extend their hand out to you wanting some money.  Poverty is all around.

And then we get to Lilly's school.  And all of a sudden I see women in their head dress, driving expensive large SUV's.  (Everyone here that has a car.. usually has an SUV, because not all the roads are paved.. and those that are paved, have many pot-holes.. and you need 4WD in many places).  The people who go to this school have to have money.  It's a private school, and it's VERY expensive (I had to fork over the money here today.. I haven't held so many bills in my LIFE.. but at least we will get reimbursed for it, so it wasn't too hard to hand it over.)  But seeing these women driving such extravagant vehicles, isn't very common.. and actually shocked me a little.  So, not everyone here is struggling.  There are a lot of very nice houses.  There is even some grass that grows in unoccupied places that doesn't make any sense on how it is so lush.. amongst all the trash that gathers there.  

But again, I feel very guilty for complaining about living in our hotel room.  But, when our house is ready.. we are ready to get settled.  However, we still don't know how long that will be.  But until then, we will enjoy the pool and the view that goes with it.  And enjoy the comfortable beds, and the internet.  Because when we do move into our house, I don't know how long it will be before we get internet in our house.. and I'm quite sure I'm not going to like the mattresses that they've given us.  But, then I will think about the children living outside the walls of our house, and again.. be thankful that we've been blessed.. and are not living out there in the dust and the heat and the poverty.

Djibouti - 9:30pm - 72 degrees... tomorrow, high of 85

1 comment:

  1. wow Lynie -- such an experience! I can't imagine having to live in a hotel room for so long - and with children (of ANY age). Kids need to "roam" and be out and about and to have to sit around in a hotel has got to wear very thin after a bit. Hang in there -- hopefully a house real soon. Then both kids will have loads of room to run and explore in their new house. Glad to hear Lily is in her new school and hope she really enjoys it. It will be such a great experience for her. Gee do you suppose there are PTA bake sales? lol Love you all!