Alex Bikes

Ottawa bike politics.

Day 8: Campan to Arrens

65km, 2050m

I think of the French as being a scientifically savvy people. They have brought us Penicillin, SI units (metric), the derailleur and various radioactive substances. But plumbing is not their forte.

The story that really needs to be told here is of the hotel in Arrens. I cannot remember its name, but it is the only one in town.

My ideal hotel has the following qualities:

– cheap

– adjoining shower

– no newlyweds next door

– a bed with sheets, and a towel

And the following less obvious qualities:

– a showerhead that actually affixes to the wall

– a window that opens that faces west, for easy drying of clothes

– a toilet whose function is familiar to me

I’m afraid Arrens failed in this last category. Read no further if you are sensitive.

I should have been tipped off by the eight air fresheners that were within a meter distance of the toilet.

I investigated the device carefully before using; it plugged into the wall as well as with traditional plumbing. It had no flush handle, just a button on the top. I pressed it, and this cylindrical stainless steel plate, driven by a motor, spun around while water flowed around it. Neat, I thought. It’s a combination blender/toilet, something that could take anything you (figuratively) threw at it. I couldn’t quite see how it worked, but after testing its basic operation I thought I’d give it a try.

This did not go well. It was more of a shredding and spraying than grinding and flushing. Fortunately, I had the lid down, and it was never raised again while I rented the room. What had gone wrong? It wasn’t a bidet… there was no other plumbing, and there was no other toilet-looking device in the room. If there had been some other mechanism to flush properly, it wasn’t labelled in any language. Believe me when I say I know toilets, I do not see what I could have been doing wrong.

In Spain, there’s a requirement that all hotel guests have proper ID, but this is not the case in France. I do say this anonymity only encouraged my silence. By using the bathroom in the hall, I completely abandoned the bathroom I was paying for. And the next morning I left without a word.

I feel bad for the cleaning staff, however I do feel that Hotel le Tech bears some responsibility for providing what is

The next morning, its retail multiplied by about a hundred as the local market was on. But I was focused on sprinting out of there, even if it was up the Col de la Soulor (parts are more than 10%).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: