I’m at an internet cafe near Tottenham Court tube station…and I’m alive. Which, given what I was doing four hours ago, could be considered a success of sorts.
Four hours ago I was wandering around Stratford (the district, not the town), weighed down by my suitcase and looking for my hostel. Late last night I found a single room with an ensuite for thirty-five Canadian dollars a night (no, that’s not a misprint). But the instructions on the website were deceptively simple–so naturally, I got lost. So I dialed the number, and found it was out of service (alarm bells!). Then, when I stumbled across was I thought was the right address, no one answered when I rang the doorbell. So I wandered down the street to another internet cafe (I was in a Carribean neighbourhood, by the way), confirmed the address and went back. Once again I rang–and once again, no one answered. I tried the door: locked. I rang again; again, no answer. I was on the verge of cutting my losses and getting a room at the £70/night hotel down the street, when suddenly the door flew open. Standing inside was a metal chick with pink hair. The exchange went as follows:
Me: “Is this a hostel?”
Ladies and gentlemen, the Stratford Student Hostel! My room can’t quite be described as spartan–I do have an ensuite, after all–but it’s still a fairly apt description. The shower is tiny; also, there weren’t any towels, so I dried myself off with, uh, a pair of worn boxer briefs. But the price was right–very, very right–and after three nights sleeping on HLP Paul’s concrete floor I’d have spent $35 a night for a bed in a heroin den. Which, for all I know, this could very well be.
But whatever: I’m here, and now I’m feeling restless. My first stop is the Maple Leaf Pub–partly in the utterly vain hope I’ll run into someone I recognize, but mostly because I haven’t eaten anything since consuming a chocolate bar on my way from Liverpool to London this morning. Tonight, meanwhile, I was going to see a show–but I’m knackered, and I’m starting to dream up an utterly preposterous plan for tomorrow. In fact, I think I’ll look into that right now. Drop me a line! I’m slightly homesick and especially lonesome for Bri Monster, but I’m also really excited for the next couple days. A bientot!