Being homeless is not much fun.
This is Gabriel, who is homeless and bathes in the Los Angeles river when things get stinky.
I’m not that homeless, but when you’re between moves, pissed off with your parents, and your girlfriend is in the throes of those sorts of issues of temperament that come about roughly once a month and subtly infer you should get the hell out of her face, that pretty much qualifies you as without home.
And like i said it’s not much fun. Until now.
HOTEL IBIS EXCEL LONDON DOCKLANDS
A stone’s throw from the delightful Canning Town roundabout and only accessible by four lane motorway, the location leaves everything to be desired. But with three hours notice it remained the only place with a vacancy in east London, and weighing up the situation, seemed a superior option to hitting the streets or braving the lair of the aforementioned fire-breathing dragon.
And let’s be honest Ibis has a classy ring to it.
Two hour’s bike ride along motorway towpaths cutting through weird parts of London I didn’t even know existed got me to my destination. I breezed through the double doors and hit up reception with the nonchalance of somebody checking into a hotel, on his own, in his hometown, for no real reason. The place didn’t exactly ooze atmosphere, but I could tell things were just warming up.
The elevator stopped at the 8th floor, i stepped out, hooked a left and saw this.
Shit just got freaky.
I Usained it to my door and fumbling around with the keycard like a girl for two minutes I calmed down, summoned a milligram of coordination and finally got inside. There is nothing quite like the feeling of opening a door to a hotel room that you have booked, for yourself alone, in your own hometown, for no real reason.
All the mod-cons yo. Bathroom capsule with power-shower, tv with up-to-date adult movie selection, high-speed internet, sick mood lighting, no view whatsoever. My night was licked. I spent the next two hours doing all that shit you could never justify in a million years doing within the confines of your own home, but feels like the only shit you could possibly get up to within the environs of a hotel room.
When that got repetitive I spruced up and hit the hotel bar.
Things had not warmed up. Not even remotely.
I was certain the man left of centre in the blue shirt was either made of plastic or in rigor mortis. In the time it took me to work my way casually through two jars, he didn’t move once. Still, when in Rome.
As the cold gold inched its way slowly towards my dome it dawned on me that a lack of atmosphere that acute was severely endangering my health, and it suddenly made sense that the only guy in there was dead or made of plastic. So i got up, checked that the guy was actually plastic – he was dead – and braving the freaky corridor arrived back to the sanctity of my double-room. I spent the rest of my night nonchalantly watching the paralympics from the comfort of my polyester sheets.
Lincoln once said that good decisions make you feel good and bad decisions make you feel bad. The next morning, superbly well-rested and with a disturbingly wholesome spring in my step I bounded out of there feeling like the King Of The World. I can’t quite put my finger on what brought about this elation, but something tells me it’s that indefinable X-factor that is just simply trademark Ibis, the very same thing that made that place more than just a hotel, that made it a home away from home, and more than anything a home for the homeless.
The questionnaire says more than words ever could.
Ibis you’ll be in my heart always.
Next stop, loyalty card.