Thursday, July 22, 2010

hello luntu!

prices in kinshasa have gone downright apeshit.

it's like someone went and drew 0's after every number they saw.
gone are the days of 50 cent lunches or dollar beers, everything has at least quadrupled, and you wonder how these poor people survive.
our hotel was eager to lead the price fiasco and after dropping $70 US on a bowl of pasta and a small bottle of water johannes and i said that's it, we're outta here.
bare simple rooms have skyrocketed to $170/night, a clear consequence of the influx of UN and aid agencies, little supply of adequate accomodations. sadly, our do-gooder environmental NGO, which probably hasn't been innocent to the mismanagement of foreign money has been wrapped up in the targets of this price gouging. this was a "special price."
johannes was furious. we're going to ruin our budgets if we continue at this rate. do you know of any affordable hotels?
weellllll, i do know one i thought lovingly back to the luntu flats, a hotel i swore i would never return to. i told johannes, it doesn't often have electricity, an apathetic staff, birds of prey as pets and snow white and the 7 dwarf lawn gnomes.
"sounds wonderful! let's go!"
and so here we are, 3 years later, the luntu has transformed itself into a luxury, albeit affordable hotel. there is power, a shiny brand new generator whose services aren't often needed, hot water, internet! one of those gold baggage cart things like you see at the four seasons (but no elevators, and not sure how those roll through the dirt which separates the buildings, but let's not criticize), and of course, the begging birds of prey who have gotten larger and wiser.
sadly, the pool is no longer, it's now a construction site for a new 3 story building, but the lawn gnomes have been redistributed throughout the comlpex, the restaurant still has alush ample patio, classy red table cloths and gold mongrammed plates with LUNTU all over them.
alain recognized me immediately. "do yo have a present for me?? you promised me a present!" shit, i totally gave away all my tiger t-shirts. i think he's going to get my ann taylor loft sunglasses, as i bought a nicer pair at duty free.
they put me in the same crappy room i switched out of before, because it has holes the size of my head in the window screens. those are still there. and no hanger in the closet for any of my clothes. the luntu has welcomed me back with open arms!

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