This week of observing amazing choral work in Northampton has had an underlying, more disturbing sequence of events. The last leg of my Fellowship journey is in San Francisco, a place I only know in legend and song. This week when not at sessions, I began to shape up the San Francisco time, recontacting people and making new connections. I idly looked up reviews of my digs.
Holiday places get reviewed in England but they are along the lines of:
“view wasn’t great….breakfast a bit boring…dog hair on the sofa”
Hotel reviews have become a vicious, virulent art form in the US. A few from my temporary 10 day home (Travel Lodge) read as follows:
“I have one word for this place – FLEE!…bedbugs…thin walls…the drug dealers and hookers only stop plying their trade at 4 am…bedbugs…cockroaches…they make black customers pay in cash…windows open from the outside…bedbugs…
The rating was 9 out of 60 and rated poor – fair. After a sleepless night during which my head itched incontrollably, I cancelled my reservation and set about finding my new, fabulous digs….
yes…well…hm. Do bedbugs in a 2011 review mean the hotel still has them? “A rough area of town” – well, I live in Camden, that’s not exactly the most gentile of areas. Define rough. How rough is rough?
I also quickly realize that there is a line above which lies bankruptcy and below which lies bedbugs and that some people are seriously on the make. I looked at one room in the morning. Three nights for $450 had jumped to $1000 by the evening by the time they had added tax, and cleaning (over 100 quid for cleaning for 3 nights? Please!)
An enterprising friend of mine asked if I had considered “sofa surfing”. Sofa surfing!!!! Am I a sofa surfer? Was I ever a sofa surfer? Possibly, but those days have long gone.
At the last minute a friend of my sisters has offered digs for a few nights while I sort myself out. She has even generously offered to drive me round to look at places. I will obviously bring a magnifying glass, rubber gloves and Lysol spray.