Friday, June 29, 2007
Narrowest hotel in the world?
In Melaka, in the colonial era, houses were taxed by the width of the frontage. To avoid the tax, land was divided with narrow frontages and stretched sometimes as far back as 100 metres and more. The terraced houses filled the space.
Here in Hanoi, the situation was apparently similar but more extreme. The narrowest house I have seen so far was not worth photographing. The view of it was blocked by an electricity pole which almost obscured it.
In Melaka, they designed the houses with a courtyard or two to let in light and air. Most houses in Hanoi are too narrow to effectively do this. The stairwell takes up the full width of the house. Air flow is almost non-existent. In hot weather they can be very stuffy without air conditioning. And many of these houses are now hotels.
I did move house after a few days in the relative luxury of my previous place. I'm now in one of those narrow hotels. My room can't be much more than two metres wide, if that. But it's long. It has it's own bathroom with hot and cold water. Though why anyone would want hot water in this climate is beyond me.
The only thing I miss is the in-room internet cable. I could sit in comfort and stay online as long as I wanted. But considering that the top rate in an internet cafe here is less than A50 cents an hour, it was hard to justify staying in the old place. The only problem is that the internet cafes are also in narrow buildings and usually lack air conditioning. It doesn't encourage me to spend hours online.