Seen above is the Grande Hotel in Beira, Mozambique, a 50-year-old luxury hotel that is currently booked solid, by several thousand squatters who live there without electricity or running water. JG Ballard would have had a field day with this one -- a large self-organizing community of refugees living in what was once a palace of excess. Belgian filmmaker Lotte Stoops recently completed a documentary about this amazing self-organizing community of refugees living in what was once a palace of excess. (Watch the trailer after the jump.) From CNN:
There were originally 110 guest rooms, but Stoops says every bit of space in the building is now used as a living area.
"The telephone booths have been cut off and made into a room, the corridor is a room," said Stoops, who estimates there are currently about 350 families living there.
There is little inside the hotel to hint at its former splendor. Glass has been taken from its windows and sold, while wood from the interior has been used to build fires, said Stoops.
Farisai Gamariel is an English teacher in Beira, but at weekends he works as a tour guide, showing cruise ship passengers around the city. One of the stops on his tour is the Grande Hotel.
"Tourists come from England, Germany, Austria," he said. "They are quite curious to go and see what it's like.
"Some actually refuse, they think it's not a good place to go, they are scared. But it's not really scary, it's just like a community."
"Former luxury hotel home to thousands of squatters" (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)