Fatty Owls

Again, apologies for those either too young or not having spent time in the UK who haven’t seen probably the finest British comedy series, but this is yet more brilliance from my favourite Mauritanian hotel.

The lift is hidden away from the main entrance, with the staircase a little bit further on. The lights throughout the public spaces are motion sensor activated, clearly designed to save energy, ergo money.

Since I’ve stayed in this lovely place I’ve mentioned to the owners that the lighting takes too long to come on after the sensor has been tripped. Last night was proof positive. I came through the front door after work.  Sharp left turn and walk the seven paces past the lift to the steps waiting for the light to come on. One, two, three fo…….. fore!


I felt my foot hit something mid stride, which then impacted on my leg and up over my knee. I fell forwards, trying to get my arms out of my pockets before I smashed into heaven only knows what. I lifted my head as high as possible, and just as my chest hit the object the light came on and I saw I was about to pile my face into a large bag of something.

When I say large, it was about 2m wide by at least 4m long and nearly a metre thick. Luckily my face piled into something as soft as a marsh mallow.

Laughing I stood up, and saw that was a new collection of bed linen, placed strategically in the way of anyone who dared to want to walk up the stairs at night.

I arrived in my room, no electricity. Winner. This had happened three times in the last couple of weeks, so I knew to walk down the corridor, open the junction box, flick the switch back up and hey presto. Only this time it didn’t want to stay up. I called reception, explaining that it was an electrical problem, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when they sent someone up to change the little card that sits just inside the door. I called reception again, explaining the problem once more, saying it was an electrical problem, not a card problem, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when they sent their logistics manager up. Ah well, at least I’ll be getting moved to another room (Hohohohohohohohohohohoho a little in house hotel joke there.) But no, he simply wanted to check if everything was unplugged. It was, because the cleaners unplug everything, every single day.

I realised it was pointless calling reception so I called Ahmed, the hotel manager and told him I needed an electrician (by now its starting to get dark). Just as night fell totally the sparky arrived and started work. Only he had no torch, and we had no lights as the electricity in my room was off. Joyous. The only way to solve this was for me to keep moving in the corridor, continually tripping the motion sensor to allow him to sort of see what he was doing.

KISS (keep it simple, stupid) so the first thing he did was change the bulbs in the room.


Please note the attention to HSE detail re (nice metal) stepladder and footwear.

Very very long story cut short, sparky finally left my room just before 11pm, power back but no lights, and not once did anyone ask if I would like to go into another room (of which there are 21 currently in the hotel).

Love it here


About bobleponge216

Elderly rotund toothless male seeks wilderness to travel to.
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2 Responses to Fatty Owls

  1. Nikki says:

    I’m assuming that HSE is the European equivalent to the U.S.’s OHSA (occupational health and safety administration), much feared in American industry. Most Africans would laugh at such overly solicitous agencies. My oldest stepson was 13 when the family moved to the U.S. so he
    well remembers how thing are done the African way…. the fact that he worked for many years as the safety coordinator at a food processing plant here made for high irony and many amusing stories.
    Your story is less amusing only in that the unorthodox methods didn’t seem to result in the desired outcome. You are an admirably adaptable person, but do you think your patience and sense of humor will hold out the length of your stay? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Nikki, the Euro equivalent, I’ve no doubt equally overbearing and officious (even if they will point to falling accidents and increased worker safety).
      I’m very lucky to have travelled widely so am used to such things, and I actually appreciate very much how lucky I am to even have this roof over my head, for all its trials and tribulations.
      My girlfriend, however, has only started travelling since we’ve been together, and her face when we saw the brickie (bricklayer) mixing the cement by hand whilst stood in it barefoot was an absolute picture.


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