Awê Ma Se Kinnes!
I much prefer Hotels to Guesthouses. I was reminded of this whilst surfing the net yesterday for a quick li’l getaway spot. (Because that currently seems to be the trendy thing to say: o my word I can’t wait to just getaway for the weekend again! I have looked at some friends who have been saying this and I’m thinking: ma jy gan nooit nêrens nie – over the last few years you’ve only gone as far as canal walk!)
So some of my friends frown when they hear how passionate I am about preferring Hotels to Guesthouses. Well just you hold on to your stolen slippers. I can explain.
Many Guesthouses these days are fancy as hell and are run like hotels – I get that – but that’s not necessarily the case for all of them. The kind of Guesthouse that freaks me out is the kind that is run by a middle-aged couple and a chilled German Shepherd. They’ve been married for very many years. They have 3 kids, all of whom are married. They dearly love their kids and were most perturbed when the kids left the nest to make a life with lovers and children and stuff. What now!? Just the two of them left alone in the empty house!! This would mean that they now have to talk to each other!! Hell no! How do you suddenly start talking to someone you’ve not really really REALLY spoken with for 20 years?! And so the plan is hatched to start a little Guesthouse. Because in so doing, they mos never have to stop looking after their “children”.
And that is how I felt in many of those Guesthouses. Like I was spending the weekend with my Mommy and my Daddy. Like a laaitie. And it’s like they get disappointed when I don’t play along. It starts with a gentle welcome at reception when you arrive around 3pm. Harmless. What can go wrong? So far, so good.
You then get asked by Mom what you would like for breakfast the next morning. You also get asked: what time would you like to have breakfast? These are trick questions. The thing is this – when someone asks you at 3pm what you would like for breakfast the next morning, you deliciously rattle off all sorts of things because it’s like someone asking you to fantasize about your best breakfast everrrrr. And at that 3pm moment, you really believe that at 8am you will want poached eggs and sausage and mushrooms and yoghurt and watermelon plus a croissant. Mommy is beaming as she says no problem – and I’m adding muffins as well – you have to taste my muffins which tripadviser is always raving about. And there it is – a contract has been entered into.
(I must just add here that I’m sometimes convinced that some businesses get their chommies to write those tripadviser reviews – because seriously man…one or three of those five stars are often not there by the time I check in).
Back to Faulty Towers. Mommy hands the room key over to Daddy who shows me to my room, just down the passage. Close to theirs, mind you. Before we get to the room, Daddy shows me where we will have breakfast. In the intimate dining room. With about 5 other people. Strangers. O shit. I’m going to have to make conversation with 5 strangers at 8am. What if they all work for that organisation that tries to sell you sand from the Dead Sea! Disaster looms.
Daddy is as kind as Mommy. The usual small talk. How was the flight. Is that grey patch real. Is Jacob Zuma really sick. Daddy shows me into the neat room with the blue Bible next to the bed. Next to the Bible, a Mr D menu booklet thingie. Flip. Of course. Guesthouses. No room service. Urrrrrrrgggggghhhhh. There’s a silver tray with sherry and sealed little mini pack of shortbread biscuits. The third glass of sherry tastes lekke.
My chommie Robby calls to say we must go out for a Joburg dinner. I can’t wait. Because the tiles on the floor are not my favorite. I mean come now, we are in 2021. Shortbread is kla. I take a sherry nap. Uber arrives at 7. I walk pass Dad who’s sitting in the lounge eating biltong. Next to the “honesty bar”. (Yirre Bronwyn!). Dad reminds me which key is for the trellidor and which button on the remote is for the outside gate and which key is for my room. (Yirre Bronwyn again).
We have a great dinner. I’m stretching the evening because no room service mos. Starters. Main Course. Desert. Tequila gold. And one more round for the Uber.
Next thing I hear, is a knock on my bedroom door. It’s Mommy. It’s 8am. She melodically chirps from the other side of the door – and what time did we get home? – somebody was out late! – almost sure it was half past two in the morning because Rover barked and woke me up – see you now now! – muffins baked especially for Cape Town’s funnyman!
I prefer Hotels.