Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Strangest Hotel in the World

A couple of weeks ago Thieu had to go to a training thing in a nearby city called Karlruhe. There's an air traffic control centre there, an operational one rather than a training one, so Thieu and his collegues were sent to have a look. Mads and I joined him for the second half of the week. When Thieu rang after he arrived he kept saying 'You're going to love this hotel. It's the weirdest place. I think it's been designed by an insane person.'

When we arrived I saw what he meant. If a building could ever be described as a 'stream of consciousness' than this hotel was such a thing. And the stream of consciousness would sound something like this: 'We'll make a big clown face and each section of the face could be a separate room. The eye room. The nose room. The mouth room. And there will be other rooms, equally as weird, with weird decorations and strange, out of place objects in them, just to keep people guessing. And there will be a labyrinth of underground tunnels, so that the guests will continually doubt the strutural integrity of the rooms they're sleeping in.'

Here is a shot of inside our room:

Yes. The artwork is hanging upside down. I felt like I was back at art school viewing someone's end of year installation. Here's another shot:

So strange. But our room was positively conservative compared to the one given to one of Thieu's collegues and his family. This one had a waterbed (which is weird in itself as far as I'm concerned) and a coffin-like sauna in the children's room:

Here is a shot of one of the children's beds:

That's a sunlamp. What a lovely, homely touch. Give the children cancer while they sleep.

Despite the weirdness (because of it?) we had a great time. It was the kind of place children love as it had all kinds of weird (and possibly dangerous) objects everywhere and great places to hide. And it had a full German barf-ay breakfast, which, as I've previously mentioned, Mads is hugely in favour of. She wept when we left, but I suspect this was largely due to being separated from the other children.

Then we went to Munich. Munich was rainy. Torrentially so. We headed for the Deutches Museum on Saturday morning, along with everyone else, just to be somewhere dry. The queue was 45 minutes long. Happily, this provided me with an excellent eaves-dropping opportunity, as the American couple behind us had fallen into that travellers' trap of assuming that no one around you understands what you're saying, so you can speak with impunity. Hooray! Here's what I heard:

She: I'm not going to do it any more, Peter. I'm not going to starve myself.
He: Robin, please. Listen to me.
She: I'm not going to starve myself or gorge myself. I'm sick of it.
He: Robin. You're a beautiful woman. Beautiful! Why won't you listen to me?

Sadly, it all came to an end when Mads blew my cover by breaking into the chorus of 'Emily Rude'. Then there was an awkward moment where we all exchanged tight smiles and said 'how about the rain?' Then Peter said 'your daughter is so sweet. We have a daughter just like her,' and Robin said, 'well, not quite like her, Peter,' and I thought 'should I tell them she was just singing a song about her favourite kitchen implement?' I decided against it and recommended they go to the high voltage electricity display which we saw last time we were there. They seemed like the kind of couple who would enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. That is one nutty hotel! And that conversation was fantastic! Shame you didn't get to hear more. I remember being on the Eurostar from Paris to London with my son Max, who was around Maddie's age, deciding to launch into his favourite made-up song of the time, which basically consisted of all the French swear words he knew put to a random tune. A very efficient way to sort the Frenchies from the Anglais in our carriage! Looking forward to seeing you in Melb. I've already planned to come down and see you at Fed Square on the 29th. Do you know what time you'll be on?