Fumigation Hallway and the City by the Sea
Daniel left early in the morning for his plane and I slept until about 9am and then packed and cleaned up and prepared to hike down the mountain for the last time. I arrived at the bottom to turn the room keys in and quickly get to the bus station to catch my coach to Brighton. The receptionist was not there. I rang the bell probably 7-8 times, banged on the desk, was really frustrated because I did not want to be late at the station, and finally, 12 minutes later, the receptionist comes in through the front door. She had gone to the store to buy herself a drink. During checkout time. She left the desk to go to the store. Add that to your review, Daniel.
The coach was mostly fine, except for the man behind me who was snacking very loudly on a huge bag of crisps and then smacking his lips like mad on something else. I had to put my headphones on to drown it out. There was also a girl one row up on the other side of the bus who kept puffing at an e-cig. And y’all know how much I hate e-cigs. For that exact reason: they think they can smoke the things wherever they please. I slept most of the ride until we arrived in Brighton.
Turns out CityMapper only works in big cities. I was going to take an Uber to the flat I’m staying at, but the address she gave me kept registering in the complete wrong place and I gave up on it. So I walked the 15 minutes, trying to use Google Maps, which once more failed me on this trip. The compass is whack for some reason and I can’t see which way I’m headed. But I made it eventually, using my own intuition, buzzed up to Amanda, my host, and was let in. I then rode the elevator up and went to turn into the hall with the rooms. It was here that I about died. I was hit by such a force of smoke; it was as though I was assaulted from all sides by a smoker taking a puff and blowing it in my face. It was so bad. I was almost sick right there but Amanda opened the door to her flat and I tried to get in quickly while responding in-between gagging and trying to appear not to gag.
Her flat, by the grace of the gods, does not smell of smoke. If it did, I probably would have just turned and ran and dropped whatever I had to drop to get a hotel elsewhere. But she is a very kind host and has been real accommodating and sweet. I set my stuff down, read some of the travel guides she provided on the night stand, and then went out for a little walk of the town. It’s been a terribly rainy and foggy day, from London all the way down to Brighton. I say this in order to perhaps excuse what I’m about to say. Brighton isn’t as pretty as I thought. The clouds and rain may have had something to do with it, but the lanes and the north lane were just kind of meh. And Brighton Pier is just this really old and worn down carnival, basically. The beach is wonderful, as all beaches are. I love the ocean and it’s nice to have it right next to city. I might try to find a different part of the lanes tomorrow and maybe go see Hove, the more colourful counterpart to Brighton. I don’t know. I really have no plans and I’m at a bit of a loss as to what I ought to do here. I have 3 days here and so far as I can tell, there’s not a whole lot to be done. It seems like it would be a real pleasant city to live in (just get a flat that’s not going to require a gas-mask to get in). It’s just not a 4-day vacay city.
I actually started checking out other hotel options, both here and in London. I just don’t know if I can handle that hallway every day. I pull everything over my face and hold my breath as I leave and return. But they’re all super expensive and I’ve pretty well exhausted my budget at this point. I’m hoping to only spend money on food for the next few days.
Speaking of food, I didn’t know where to go. As I was walking around I had about 4-5 different places that looked good but I said I’d keep walking and come back. Then I stopped at this small, hole in the wall Mexican place called Los Dos Sombreros. I know, I’ve had a lot of Mexican and Italian in England. It’s funny. Make jokes. I suppose I’m just preparing for my next journey, which will be somewhere in Latin America! Anyway, the Chile con Carne burrito was pretty good and it was quite filling for only 6 quid on the lunch special. I was pleased. And I haven’t been hungry enough to eat since.
I might feel slightly guilty about it, but I’m probably going to spend the next few days mostly writing my novel and working on my grad school apps. I know, some vacation. But I always meant to have Brighton be a peaceful and relaxing end to the trip: I just need to learn to let myself relax.