Welcome to Europe Hotel. Located in the breathtaking landscape of the first world, surrounded by incomparable pieces of art and culture, we are happy to offer you the best of what your fantasy dares to imagine. But today, it will be different. We invite you to experience something unusual, exciting and audacious. Today we will visit the Hotel through the back door.
The back door is located at the far end of the parking. In the distance, you can see the houses where most of the Hotel workers stay. They live in shared rooms they rent to sleep in between stressing and constantly changing work shifts.
After typing a number, the metal door opens. We are in.
A long cold corridor extends to the Hotel’s basement, and now, in front of us, we see the automatic clock that registers the beginning and the end of shifts and the Covid temperature detector. Isn’t nice?
If we continue to the right, we will find Remo from Romania. He is in charge of receiving the hundreds of food orders, clean sheets, detergent, meat, and vegetables to run the Hotel every day. You can see Joanna from Latvia, going up and down in the staff elevators carrying a heavy trolley with the dirty sheets. She is in charge of cleaning the rooms and changing the sheets in each room. At the end of this hall, you can see Nando from the Maldives, Africa. He is a kitchen helper, and with a smile on his face, he chops vegetables, fries, bakes and cooks the food that goes directly to the tables. Finally, we are in the restaurant, here, the staff is made up of nice people, they are natives because they are the ones who deal directly with our customers. They are our public face.
Did you like the trip? Now have fun and see you soon.
Europe resembles a large luxury hotel. On the surface, we are surrounded by magnificence, glamour and entertainment. Nothing is lacking, and leisure can flourish amid abundance. This is the place where liberals grieve about the situation in poor countries and sometimes make donations for an NGO to provide drinking water in rural areas of Africa or Latin America.
On the basement floor, people from poor countries and enduring poor jobs make this possible. They are poorly paid and get by with unimaginable difficulty. They will never own a home, they will never go to college, and they will probably never finish learning English either. They, the world’s poor, are the ones who keep this old Europa Hotel running without being visible or acknowledged by the Hotel authorities who fear them but urgently need to keep the Hotel running. Thus, the separation between the luxurious and warm hotel halls and the cold corridors of the subway is becoming more and more hermetic.
How many of us see the wounded hands of exploited workers in Guatemala, Ethiopia or the Ivory Coast when we drink a cup of coffee while we think about our petty daily problems?
(c) Photography by Sebastián Silva. https://la-periferia-interior.tumblr.com/