In my last post, I wrote about my experiences with homelessness. Looking back, I’ve slept in so many different places that often times, I wake up confused about my surroundings. At other times, I wake up with a smile as I rediscover where I am. Today, I’m stepping back to take a lighter look back at some of the more interesting places I’ve spent a few nights in during the past year. Enjoy!
The Hello Kitty Room
I could have chosen another room, but for the sheer amusement factor, there was no way I was going to miss this one. I also had a chance to get in touch with my feminine side – double bonus!
The Musician’s Pad
I rented this beautiful place from a couple who took off to visit family in Argentina. Some of the food in the fridge was incredibly old (close to a decade past the expiry date!), but it was really fun cleaning it up. The mad scientist in me ignited as I discovered a bottle of decomposing anchovies nestled amongst other jars of food so old, that whatever once grew in there, died long ago. As I mixed the organic goop in the compost, I seriously hoped something would come alive or at least fizz.
Fridge contents aside, the musician’s pad had some serious soul. It came complete with a large, vinyl eclectic music collection, to which I danced interpretatively to every morning. Further entertainment came in the form of free instruments to practice on. To top it off, the owners were really warm, friendly people, and I believe their home was filled with the same energy.
The Artist’s Loft
This was my by far my favorite place I’ve stayed in the past year. I sublet an old loft in an artists’ building. And it was really old. So much so, that from the outside, the building looked like it had been abandoned for a decade. The building interior was aging, unfinished wood, which created a smell reminiscent of my childhood music conservatory. There was almost never hot water. I had no stove – only an electric plate (I went mostly raw vegan for the month). I would trip a circuit breaker if I used the hot plate simultaneously with any other appliance, so I resorted to my camping stove frequently. The building was right beside railroad tracks (watch out when using the emergency exit!). The floors creaked. The stairwell had the permanent smell of stale marijuana…
Of course, none of this mattered, and it actually only added to the appeal and enamour of the loft. I really loved the space – it was beautiful, warm, and serene. It was an extremely creative space, and I was able to accomplish some great work here. To top it off, silk acrobatic curtains hung from the ceiling, allowing me to pick up a few tricks. This place definitely suited me, and I would live here again should I ever settle.
Suk 11 Hostel
While backpacking through parts of Southeast Asia, I didn’t have any particularly memorable accommodations other than Suk 11 in Bangkok, Thailand. The dimly lit, wood hallways were furnished in such a way that it felt like I was walking through a narrow alleyway in a Vietnamese village. The narrow boardwalk leading through the hallways hovered over mirrored glass and pebbles, giving the illusion of walking over shallow water. The rooms were nothing much to write about, but everything else made up for it. You really have to be there to really experience it. Conveniently enough, Suk 11 is also a short walk away from a popular nightclub, the Bed Supper Club, which actually is a bed-themed restaurant by day. Needless to say, I squeezed in a lot of dance practices there.
This was probably the worst place I took up residency in over the past year. I had no place to stay, and it was winter, so I quickly settled with the first place I could find. At first glance, the house was a quaint Victorian near a beach with an amazing German shepherd to accompany me. Unfortunately, my housemates were all chain smokers who smoked in the house. Fortunately, however, I had my trusty minus 10 degree sleeping bag, and so every night, I would sleep with the windows opened. When I think back, I might as well have gone winter camping instead!
The Mint Condition House Of Horrors
This house looked very appealing on craigslist and at the doorstep. It was a sizeable mansion, and I was renting a large room in it. As I approached the house, the owners came to greet me, and whisked me away to the rear entrance. As I passed an outdoor garden full of fake, plastic perennials, my suspicions slowly became aroused. Once I entered the house, I realized what was up. The interior was really sterile. I mean more-than-a-hospital sterile.
The IKEA lamp in my room was still in it’s packaging – yes, complete with the instructions tightly wrapped around the light shade. More plastic flower arrangements peppered the house interior – I’m guessing real flowers were deemed too dirty for the immaculate floors. The not-so-new fridge still had all its original protective plastic sheets on it, interior components included. Everything was protected. Every item on the kitchen countertop, cups included, had a coaster under it. And, most evidently, all hallways and stairways had layers of towels protecting the floor from any scratching.
I didn’t stay here long. It was a bit eerie. I either felt like I was being watched or that I couldn’t touch anything. When I met the other temporary tenants, I could tell that they also sensed the same horror – the idea that we all might be lambs waiting to be slaughtered. Sigh. It was such a far cry off from The Artist’s Loft.
Think I’m over-exaggerating? I’ve put up more pictures of this surreal house at the bottom of the post. Click here to go to the post if you’re reading this post from an email.
Rags to Riches
From a murky basement to an upscale two-story penthouse condo, I wrote about these places in a post here.
World’s Smallest Room
I wrote about this room briefly in another post. Hong Kong is well known for its super-expensive real estate. After a last-minute dance opportunity materialized, I was forced to quickly find accommodations in one of the densest buildings in the city. Needless to say, the room was tiny. It fit a twin a bed with a narrow space to shuffle to the washroom. It kind of reminded me of my brother’s closet, where I actually spent a few nights in during a time of transition. The redeeming factor was that I was forced to go out every day. See the bottom of the post for a photo!
Side of The Road, ON The Road
I’ve had to pull a couple of nights in my car on a few occasions where I couldn’t find a campsite or it was too late to set up camp. Truth be told, I’ve never really gotten used to it. Since my seats don’t recline flat, I often sleep in uncomfortable positions that result in a stiff neck the next morning. So, the few times where it was possible, I preferred pulling out my Thermarest mattress and sleeping bag and settling on the road, off to the side of the car. The road is firm and flat. My sleeping bag is warm. Conclusion: the sleep is better on the road.