Friday, June 26, 2015

Is this what living apartment?

Hircine high-rise
The Goat was recently reading all about pensioners who want to live in the Holiday Inn rather than a retirement home. One of Nanny Goat's elderly friends voiced the same opinion, noting that a hotel doesn’t constantly smell of boiled cabbage, the service is better, and residents don’t get treated like senile old fools.

Check out Snopes regarding permanent cruising. It seems that this might be a viable option provided that you don't mind living in a 10 sq.m space.

But it seems to work for some. What about the Goat? Not to retire, rather to try to justify the Goat’s current existence.

Home, or at least its closest approximation, is the Crumbling Villa in Dubai. It’s about 220sq.m of 20-year-old concrete and blockwork, and apart from a couple of new aircons a year or two ago to replace some of the antediluvian units, it receives almost zero maintenance from the landlord, who fails to pick up his phone, ignores fax messages, and has no functional email. But it is an actual house.

Last time the Goat was in Doha, working for crazy people, he rented a newly built two-bed apartment. The plan was to live there for a year, and then move into a proper residence when Beloved Wife joined him. In the traditional way, the Goat had to pay a deposit plus a full year’s rent up front, he paid a deposit with the telecoms company for his internet, and had to lash out for additional kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom equipment to make the place civilised enough actually to live in. The place was allegedly fully furnished, but of course with the cheapest and nastiest furniture that Najma Souq could provide.

After a year, the Goat left Doha. There was the traditional struggle to recover deposits from the landlord and the telecoms company, perhaps in the hope that the Goat would close his bank account and leave, and be unable to cash the cheques.

Now the Goat lives in Cloud City, on the top floor of a hotel. It’s a one-bed suite, and has usual hotel facilities such as cable TV, internet, 24-hour maintenance service, and someone comes in to dust and to change the towels and bed linen twice a week. Another bonus is that the rent is due monthly, and the security deposit is tiny and not a full month’s rent. But the place is also tiny; not as small as Beloved Wife’s apartment when she lived in Japan, but hardly anywhere (apart from t’shoebox in t’middle o’t’road) actually is.

Anyway, seeking to find some justification in living away in such a tiny concrete box, and to see if the pensioners living in the Holiday Inn had a point, the Goat got his spreadsheet out and did some sums.

First he looked at the raw costs of rent, internet, cable, municipality taxes, furniture and kitchen tools (amortised over an arbitrary five-year period) for each of the three residences listed above. Then he compared each by floor area. Finally, he thought up features such as 24-hour service; on-site gym and pool; walking distance to restaurants, work, and supermarket; the existence of a ‘yarden’ for a private outdoor space; that sort of thing. He evaluated these to provide relative perceived values and a weighted score for each. Adding these weighted scores for the features of each residence, and comparing them with the cost of each reveals:-
  • The best value is Cloud City. Those pensioners are correct.
  • The best value including floor area is the Crumbling Villa.
  • The worst value of all is the two-bed place: expensive, small, and no features beyond basic shelter.
It’s well, then, that the Goat is essentially camping; living out of a suitcase in Cloud City until he can leave. The place would be completely untenable if he had all his tools and electronics (and motorbike, cat, dive kit, books, DVDs...) in Doha. And it’s far too small for two, except for the occasional weekend when Beloved Wife is extremely welcome to visit.


1 comment:

Grumpy Goat said...

Come to think of it, TMIL has a very good deal. Her place is a retirement home of sorts, but it's a repurposed hotel. TMIL's apartment is at least as big as the Goat's first place in Doha, but there are facilities: hobbies, restaurants, pool, gym, etc., all on site, and a fun bus into town every day. Being a seniors' home, there's 24-hour help if needed too.

The place wouldn't suit the Goat, though: a daily commute of several thousand miles really isn't practical.


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