Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pensione Roma

I am not one who normally singles out my accommodation by name for praise.  Instead it's normally criticism that I have for the places I stay in.

This is an exception.

Having been kicked out of my hostel in Cairo for no reason other than it was overbooked and I was an easy target for ejection having been a booking off the street, I was forced to wander into the darkness of Cairo with my meager possessions strapped to my back.  This was not a position that I had wanted to be in.  Walking through a politically unstable city that is renowned for robbing tourists in the middle of the night with large amounts of cash strapped to me was not my idea of a wise move.

The girls working at the hostel suggested I go to their "friends" next door.  What I found was an expensive and depressing hotel.  The dirty decor and isolated rooms made me feel like I was about to become murder victim number one in a low budget horror movie.  I decided that I would chance the dangers of the night and keep searching.

I walked a couple of blocks and saw the sign to the "Pensione Roma".  I had read about this place in the guidebooks.  It was the most highly recommended place to stay in all the guides.  I didn't like my chances, but I made my way towards the elevator anyway.

The elevator was an antique.  An old French style wrought iron elevator.  I stepped in and closed the gate behind.  The elevator rose slowly and mechanically.  When I reached my floor, I stepped out and into the hallway leading into the Pensione Roma.
Everything was immaculate.

It was clean and incredibly maintained.  I could not close my eyes as I was trying to see everything I could in this old pension.

Being in this pension was like walking back into time.  It was like I had stepped back into the world of a British Egypt.

I walked up to the wooden counter, which had no hint of any computers or other modern appliances.  In fact, the only item on the counter that had been invented in the 20th century was the pen sitting on the booking notebook.
My luck had finally changed.

There was a room for me in this pension.  Amazingly, the cost was even lower than the hostel!

The man at the desk apologised to me and explained that it was a very simple room that didn't have any air conditioning.  Considering the temperatures outside, that didn't concern me greatly.
I walked into my simple room.  My simple yet perfect room, where every feature and every piece of furniture was a conduit into the past.  Standing in my room with the door closed, I felt as though I was in a secluded time capsule.  It didn't matter what was outside as it could have any time ranging from the days of the British through to the modern age.

The entire of this pension was a monument to the past.  It was a shining beacon of what was once universal in this country.

The next day, I walked out into the foyer with the elevator.

The sun was now out and elevator shaft was filled with a bright and white light.
It was incredible.

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