“Phillip, are you up yet?“, or “Go back to sleep.“, were often comments I got in the morning from my mother when I was a younger boy. If she was awake, then I and the whole world should be awake, to be up and about, but, if she wanted a lay-in, if she wanted an extra hour of sleep, which always seemed to be on a Sunday, then I should also sleep in.
Living in a block of apartments in Norbiton Hall, it means I have a family above me, below me and to the two sides of me, and noise does penetrate the floors, ceilings and walls, which is understandable when sharing communal buildings.
It is the same in hotels, where one usually has a small room with very thin walls and doors separating ones-self and the other guests.
Travelling the world as I do on a regular basis, I have encountered many styles and types of hotels, and it seems that I do not sleep in the same bed for more than ten days at a time. I also encounter different cultures and behaviours.
Early morning calls for hotel guests, especially those on a tour when their bus/coach leaves at 7am. I did not ask for a call, but with the walls so thin I also hear their wake-up call.
Tours which need to have block booking of multiple rooms is another, “time to wake up” signal for Phillip, although I do not need one or placed one.
Suitcases being dragged down the corridors, and banging doors as guests come and go are a sleep disturbing episode.
School trips or sports team members love to stay-up late at night, perhaps going out to a late night disco, come back in high spirits, laughing, singing, shouting, running from room to room, banging doors.
Chinese tourists seem to have to shout from room to room with their doors closed. Have they not heard of the bedside telephone which they can use? The Oriental women seem to have to shout and in a high pitch voice in all their conversations.
In hotels catering for the Middle Eastern peoples, they seem to travel in family groups, and they allow the children to run from room to room into the early hours of the morning. OK, in my culture from the UK, all children have to be in bed for say 9pm. The hotel guests also leave their doors open to their rooms and shout to each other in conversations.
Then you get the couples, who, after a good night out, or a great meal in the restaurant, return to have an argument in their room. As I will not be able to probably understand their language, it all becomes a mass of unbearable noise which keeps me awake.
Then you get other noises.
A hotel in Ankara, Turkey where I stayed, gave me a really pleasant room, and I went to bed early to get enough sleep to give my course the next day. I was awoken with a thump, thump, thump, on the dividing wall between my room and the next. It was not long before the sounds of pleasure were penetrating the walls. Laying there, I had to endure the sounds for a few more minutes, until they ceased, and I was able to get to sleep.
An hour later, the thump, thump, thump, on my wall started again, waking me up, followed by the sounds of passion and pleasure. I lay there until it stopped and went back to sleep.
On the hour, every hour, all through the night this continued. I was exhausted.
The next morning I left my room to go down for breakfast the same time as the guests from the room next to mine left their room. She was young, model figured lady, and he was a wizen old man. I was amazed by his stamina, or could it be that the lady was a business lady?
I moved rooms.
On top of all the other noises as mentioned above, there are the traffic noises, people snoring, perhaps the person I am sleeping with fidgeting or talking in their sleep, keeping me awake at night.
Last night I knew I was in for trouble. I arrived home from a meeting at 10pm, to see two taxis’s waiting outside the next apartment entrance, and young adults streaming out of the apartment block laughing and joking, obviously going to a night club.
At 3am in the morning they returned, and their party continued in an adjacent apartment, loud talking and shouting, laughter and banging of doors and furniture.
Other residents were obviously being disturbed to, as I heard knocking on floors and walls, loud enough to make me think someone was knocking on my front door.
The noise continued until 7:45am, when all went quiet, and I went back to sleep, only to be awoken by a telephone call half an hour later to inform me by a recorded voice that “Congratulations, you have won a prize…..“. I did not stop to listen, but switched the phone off and placed it under my pillow.
My sleep had been disturbed now and I got up.
Oh for a good nights sleep.
Perhaps I should go and find a desert island somewhere.
But then I expect a flock of seagulls would wake me up as soon as it became light, signalling each other it was time to get their early morning food.
It is now 1:30 pm in the afternoon, and the revellers have just woken-up, and shouting and laughing has started again.
So afternoon nap for me then.