Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Pink House

On Saturday and Kristy drove me over to The Pink House hostel.

On the way we took a wrong turn and were forced into a toll tunnel. "Oh no!" kried Kristy. Well, actually, it was more like "Oy Noy!"

Despite the hostel being in King's Cross, a well known gay area, and despite it being called "The Pink House", and despite it being recommended by my good friend Paul, the hostel is actually home to both heterosexualists and homosexualists alike. That was a joke, by the way Paul :-)

It is situated just off the main strip of King's Cross which is home to a parade of kebaberies, internet cafes and sex shops. If Soho was located in Stockwell, it would look like this.

I tell you what though - arrival was a bit of an eye-opener. After Kristy's spacious and quiet apartment this was like switching from Andrex to a brillo pad.

After I had finished at reception, I went to find my room. As I opened the door, the first thing that hit me was the fetid smell of men's sweat. Though it was 11.15 in the morning, the dank room was dark and I could just make out the lifeless forms of three sleeping men curled and entangled in standard prison issue white bedsheets.

The floor was a mosaic of suitcases, toilet bags, mobile phones chargers, socks, blankets, grubby trainers and pants. Gingerly, as to not wake the monsters of the deep, I trundled my suitcase across to an empty bed, and started unpacking as quietly as I could.

OK, so I know it's a hostel. But I'd kind of forgotten it wasn't as good as the The Ritz. Or a Travelodge. Or a Blackpool Boarding House. Or sleeping on your mates sofa.

But then again, it's not meant to be, is it? It's meant to be as mucky and authentic as a backpacker's tie-dye t-shirt. And as cheap as a chip naan.

There are about 18-20 rooms. A few are singles and doubles, but most are 6-8 people. Like mine. People are from far and wide as you'd expect: Sweden, South Africa, Japan, USA, Iran, Belgium. It's like a very sweaty UN Meeting.

Some have jobs. Some don't. Some are taking cash-in-hand one-off labouring jobs to stop them being evicted for non-payment of board.

At this stage I'm veering between enjoying the all-pervading "slacker" atmos and people's willingness to form more casual and expedient friendships AND thinking I can't wait till I get a place of my own, so I can have some peace and quiet, and not have to jam sleeping plugs in my ears at night.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Kings Cross isn't a gay area, its a bars, nightclubs, hostels, sex clubs, whores and junkies area. "Them there gays" hang out down on Oxford Street.

"The Pink House" name is handy in that it puts a lot of insecure riff-raff off staying there. Its more of a literal description than anything else. Its a big pink house.