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And on the third day

Went to St Paul’s Cathedral. The Occupy people have set up a tent city out the front of the building. I was very excited to see the Occupy people, however there wasn’t actually any people there to talk to… it seemed they were either asleep in their tents, or they weren’t there at all. Now, I know it’s exhausting to Occupy a place, but it was 10 o’clock in the morning… It was interesting to see the range of banners and flags on the tents. Most of them were anti-capitalism, but some were about veganism, or simply ‘Peace’. I wonder at the range of ideals that have become attached to the Occupy movement, and whether all of this is sustainable much longer. It would be a shame to see the Occupiers pack up their tents and just shuffle off home, without anything changing. And of course, me not being part of the solution means I am part of the problem. I admit it, I enjoy certain things about capitalism… the money… buying ‘stuff’… where would shopoholics be if there was no capitalism? Ah, but on a more serious note, I am still a socialist at heart, I still think people would be better off if we actually looked after each other, instead of this individualistic society, with its inherent inequalities, that we’ve created. Call me idealistic, but rampant capitalism is not good for the world.

Enough of the anti-capitalism rant… Let’s move on to the saga of our hotel. When we arrived, we disovered that ‘hotel policy’ was to put an authorisation on my credit card for the stay. I’ve done this one many times, so I handed overmy card. When I looked at the machine before putting in my PIN, I noticed that there was an amount of $260 AU being put on hold. I questioned this, and was told that they needed to put a hold on 20 GBP for each day of our stay. I told him I didn’t have that kind of money just sitting in my account, and I pulled out the card.  He seemed a little upset by this, and explained to me that it was ‘hotel policy’… well, that’s fine, but there’s two problems with this. The first is that I was not told this before or after we booked the room, and the second is that he tried to put it through as AUD, not GBP… they’re not actually allowed to do that without asking you, because there is a charge attached to doing that. On top of that, I have no idea what exchange rate he was using. So, then he asked us if we wanted twin beds (two women), and I said ‘no’, so he then insisted that we have twin beds. We stood our ground, and continued to say ‘no’. I have found that people in hotels do this to work out whether we are ‘together’ or not… we are, but that’s not their business. And in insisting that we have twin beds, he was basically saying that he didn’t think it was appropriate for two women to share the one bed… homophobic tendencies, anyone? Unfortunately for him, that’s illegal here…

We were quite hungry when we booked in,so we asked about the restaurant that had been advertised as being open… ‘oh, no, sorry, restaurant’s not open.’ OK, so what about the breakfast advertised at 7am? No, because of Christmas, breakfast served at 8am… fine, we’ll breakfast somewhere else for the next day… however, we then found out that the next day the restaurant was still not open, and the breakfast on the thrd day woud be at 8am again… I had to actually directly ask (on the evening of the third day) when the restaurant would be open again before I was told that the breakfast would be at 8am during our entire stay, and the restaurant would re-open on the 2nd January… This was not told to us previously, was not mentioned on their website,or even told to us on check-in. One of the main reasons we chose this hotel was that the breakfast was at 7am and there was a restaurant for dinner…

Next day, we went out and about, enjoying ourselves, and returned to the hotel to find that the cleaners had only left us one towel for the two of us, and on the third day, we went out and returned to find that there was no toilet paper in the room…

So, I got on the internet, and found us a hotel in Russell Sq, Bloomsbury for a decent price for the rest of our stay (thank goodness for!). I consider myself lucky that there was so many hotels with rooms still available for New Year’s  Eve… Watch this space for updates on the new hotel…
They have no idea that this morning, we are going to go downstairs, check out and demand the remainder of our money back. I’ve checked the cancellations policy for this hotel, and it states quite clearly that the penalty for cancellation is one night’s tariff. We’ll see how we go.

The BEST holidays

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